puppet

My first season in the salt

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Great year for you puppet.

 

Fishing over wrack if it’s on the surface is pretty much impossible.

 

With enough water over the top of it then you could get some good fishing.

Floating Line territory.

 

Clousers are vastly over rated. Shop purchased ones typically have heads that are way too heavy and positioned too close to the eye.

Spirit River size 5/32 are nice sized and castable eyes.
 

With wind blowing onto your casting shoulder it’s a real big no no with a Clousers and a no with none weighted flies. The Belgian cast, well it works sometimes but not everytime even for a great caster. Only needs one wayward cast to stick you or break your rod.

Thats a very motivational story you tell. I hope new guys read it and get totally inspired, because they should.

 

Mike

Edited by Mike Oliver

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Come on Guys man up a tad. It’s a gentle stroll. Done it in a very hot wet suit more than a few times. Only to be greeted by hoards of those lovely seals.

The once possible death walk to S. Monomoy now that was a killer. Sadly when I got to the Cape it was no longer possible to do it.

Rock on the spring.

 

mike

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15 hours ago, puppet said:

I fish RI and MA equally. Home waters are CT, but I fish NY a bit as I am on the border, will fish LI and Mtk, and sometimes dip down in NJ. Really, I like fishing on the road.

 

If you fish the Cape, I would not be surprised if we have crossed paths at some point.  I have been surfcasting the cape for about 20 years too.  Nauset is always a draw even though the fishing can be challenging and a lot more work than other locations.

I just started fishing eastern long island with the fly and its pretty amazing out here. So many opportunities for big bass and bluefish if you know where to look!

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Sounds like a great first year. Other then blackfishing and occasionally using a spinning rod instead of a 6 weight for fluke fishing I have not touched my spinning rods in decades. My sons now use them. Only a very hard south/west wind keeps me from fishing ocean front but then I just use that as an excuss to try unkown spots 

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1 hour ago, jerseystriper said:

Sounds like a great first year. Other then blackfishing and occasionally using a spinning rod instead of a 6 weight for fluke fishing I have not touched my spinning rods in decades. My sons now use them. Only a very hard south/west wind keeps me from fishing ocean front but then I just use that as an excuss to try unkown spots 

What flies do you tend to use for fluke, last year I tried casting some crab and shrimp imitations on drop-offs with no luck

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Great post and congrats on a great season. I just started in the salt with the fly 2 years ago so this was my second season. I had many similarities to your experiences as well. Buying to many flies especially! Haha.  I can say that my second year was really where things changed for me. The first season was a big learning curve even with just equipment alone. Took me a whole season if not a a season and a half to really figure out what I liked and didn’t like after trying out and fishing a lot of different lines, rods etc. what lines and flies to use in what situations, wind, where I could fish and where I couldn’t  etc. This past season it really came together. I went out on a guided trip where I learned a ton from a seasoned fly fisherman who gave me a lot of tips as well. I have since lost enjoyment in fishing my spinning gear and would much rather fish the fly then anything else at this point. As many have already stated it truly is a fun and at times frustrating journey but the reward is unbeatable! 

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Jack- I have a 6 weight I use- intermediate line and then I cut a 6 foot section of fast sink line for the end- loop to loop connected- simple 12 pound test leader- 6 or so feet and size 2/0 clousers - I like brown over white but color does not seem to be a big thing as other colors work- fish the usual drop offs in the surf- slow retrieve 

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On 1/10/2022 at 8:20 PM, puppet said:

I thought I would share my little adventure into saltwater flyfishing in the event it is helpful to someone else who is just starting out.

 

I did have the advantage of surfcasting for years with spinning gear and already have a few spots pretty dialed in.  Every season I do some multi day binge trips.  A couple of them this year were earmarked as flyfishing priority, and only would break out the spinning gear when conditions were too rough for me.

 

Overall I had a pretty good season. I did not catch any monsters but enjoyed hooking bass to about 30".  I probably caught about 60 or so bass, and a fair number of blues and shad.   I was really hoping for some fluke, but none presented themselves.  I had a lot of goose egg trips.  It was a season of feast or famine.

 

I forget the source but they compared fighting fish on a flyrod to handlining, which I found to extremely accurate.  I am in the habit of horsing in my fish and found the most difficult part to be bringing the fish to hand.  I dropped quite a few but that was fine with me.  It is a very interesting dance trying to land green fish on a flyrod, I am still learning.  Obviously much easier with spinning because of the durability issues with the rods.

 

Like any normal fly fisherman I went off the deep end being my first season.  Of course expecting to fish a lot more than I did, and buying some stuff I did not need.  I bought a bunch of flies that probably will never see the light of day.  Mostly because I almost immediately started tying my own.

 

I purchased a pair of rods and reels. 

Colton tradewinds XS 9wt and a ColtonTerrapin 1012

and a 10wt second hand rig.

TFO TiCrX  10wt and a 3Tand 120

 

Both are fine outfits. If I had to guess I may have fished 30 - 40 outings total over a couple couple dozen or so days.   None of them show any wear or corrosion.  I fished the Colton rig about 85% of the time.  It is a beautiful looking combo and priced reasonably.  Robert is fantastic.

 

Pre season I taught myself to cast and after getting the line weights dialed in I can occasionally get a cast that is around 70 -80'.   Most casts land around 60 ', and when I finally got on the water I suspect there was a 20% casting penalty when the line was wet as the casts definitely felt shorter.

 

The short of it, this season I will seek out casting lessons.   I would have last year, but I was between jobs and on a budget.  The motivation for casting lessons is less about distance and more about confidence in form.  I know I can catch fish in close if need be.

 

Another large part of the motivation for casting lessons was what I witnessed on the water.  I witnessed a flyrodder  cast effectively in a 20 -25mph head wind.  I have no idea how he was doing it, as it was one of those days I chose spinning over the flyrod.  In that sort of wind I would be lucky to get 10' of line out.

Other motivation was on a couple of occasions I hooked my head in crosswind.  Not a big deal because they were barbless, but I started wearing shooting glasses at night and sunglasses in the daylight.  It would be good to be able to cast in wind, and also cast well with my other arm.

 

The other thing I did was fish some rocky surf with bubble weed and white water.  Well, I should rephrase that I tried.  It was totally absurd and thankfully no one was there to witness.  A mess is not the right descriptor.  The incoming water was faster than my strip speed, and if I hesitated at all my line quickly found the bubble weed.    If any of you fish rocky surf, I am impressed and in awe.

 

Thank you to all who have helped me in starting this journey.  I am already looking forward to next season.

 

I found that although I caught fish on clousers, I had more casting control of unweighed flies especially in wind.

 

 

 

 

 

Puppet, as someone who is looking to pick up the fly rod in the surf this year I found this very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to do a write up. As someone new to the fly, what are a few of the most important things you'd recommend a new flycaster focus on. I typically surfcast at night and typically fish boulder fields. I have a 9wt Orvis Clearwater with a Van Staal reel spooled with 10wt WF Rio10wt intermediate line. I've spent a few hours practicing my cast in the backyard and have a lesson lined up with a seasoned local flycaster. 

Again, I very much appreciate the post and good luck out there and stay safe.

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5 hours ago, Turkeybacn said:

As someone new to the fly, what are a few of the most important things you'd recommend a new flycaster focus on. I typically surfcast at night and typically fish boulder fields. I have a 9wt Orvis Clearwater with a Van Staal reel spooled with 10wt WF Rio10wt intermediate line. I've spent a few hours practicing my cast in the backyard and have a lesson lined up with a seasoned local flycaster.

You are welcome. I would definitely post your query as a new thread after also searching for older threads.  That way some things may be answered for you and in a new thread you can ask about stuff that is not answered.  Stuff that is personal to you and your objectives.

 

Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am new to this.  In general, I take everything anyone says with a grain of salt.

 

The mechanics of flyfishing are complicated and advise is all over the place, you are doing right taking lessons.  Seasoned flycasters like @Mike Oliver continue to take lessons and if you dig into his threads he has some great reasons in his motivation.  It has motivated me to seek out professional help with my form.
 

Everyone is different.  Prior to picking up a saltwater flyrod/reel I had some experience fly fishing in the salt with a fixed line rod.  I was using a 17' carp rod, the below rod in the picture does not have a reel.  It is just a line that fastens to the tip of the rod, like a modern version of an old fashioned cane rod..   The below pic is of a a hookset of a striper taking a clouser.  

fixedLine.JPG

 

What this illustrates is that one does not need to cast far, or have a reel, or fish at night to catch striped bass with a fly.  This was a sand flat in the middle of the day with no fancy equipment at all and 26' feet of line. So, whatever your skill level and equipment , you are 100% capable of converting fish. So much of the fly fishing industry is designed to make you think you need something you dont.

 

 

My recommendations:

Keep your fly selection simple.  2-3 patterns and only dark and light versions of each.  Focus on presentation and not what fly you have on.  A large part of the time striped bass are not picky about what fly but rather how it moves or how it is presented. If you consider a jettycaster bucktail in spinning, a person who has those techniques mastered can catch a lot of fish.  I fish bucktails on spinning and a good 50- 60% of my annual bass fall to them.  I use a white jetty caster 90% of the time day or night.  That is one pattern and extremely successful.  I do not believe we need a ton of patterns to catch fish.  It is good to have a fly selection but fly selection is not going to catch you more fish.  Keeping it simple will keep you focused and will force you to change other things in your presentation to improve productivity.

 

Dont rush your journey and just build a strong foundation.  Flies, just like fishing spots focus on one or two at a time and learn them well.  A rays fly, a clouser, and a flatwing is all I use.  I tie one light version with a little white/chartreuse and one black version with a little purple. My flybox is boring, but it works.  The good thing about it, I am not lugging a lot of crap on the water. One flybox tuned to what has been working....dark or light or if unsure a mix.
 

 

Stack your odds.

If you read this thread, I noted earlier that I struggled presenting in the rocks and in white water conditions.  Even with a stipping basket on a sand beach I have had line get away from me and tangle around my feet.  Stick to easy terrain. Clean sand beaches. Dont make it hard on yourself.

 

Fish in lower wind conditions.  Save the windy ones for scouting around with spinning gear.

 

You mentioned you are a surfcaster.  Dial in a bite with spinning gear at night and return in the day with the flyrod (dont bring a spinning rod).   Also, night time is the right time.... but not all the time.  I have caught striper to almost 40# from the surf in the middle of the day.

 

Fishing at night is productive and can result in reliably larger fish.  For a flyfishing beginner it is more challenging because for us it is important to have more visual feedback.....we need to see(line managment and casting form). The nights I fished I picked locations that I did not have hazards on backcast or anything I could tangle with.  Sand beach inlet or flats fishing mostly.

 

Inlets and drains.  These areas can be the most productive and easiest areas to fish if you know them well.  Fish feeding on structure in inlets can often be really close to shore. Moving water is always easier to fool fish in, because they have to make a quick decision to eat or not.  Sometimes this fishing is so easy with a small fly that it gets boring.  I had a few outings with that fixed line rod were I had fish on every cast.  After a couple dozen it gets old, but for us learning it is just what we need.  It is a great opportunity to improve confidence and skill.  School fish are our friends and teachers.

 

Just by using a flyrod you can be stacking your odds of success. One thing I have learned fishing with the the fixed line rod on a couple of good bites.  I caught more and smaller fish on a small fly that I could on a bucktail and teaser combo.  Like....I would fish with one method then the other and was immediately hooking up on every cast with the fly, but on spinning I would get just strikes and no conversions.   I suspect this is a nuance of available forage and presentation/retrieve speed differences.  

 

 

Fighting fish:

This part is highly personal.  Fly fishing is an awful idea if you care about the striped bass fishery, especially because it is in decline.

Watching some fly fisherman land fish makes me boil.  They take forever to land fish, high stick showboating or babying their rod, you think they have a large fish on and when it comes in, you notice it is 16".  Then they let it flop around in the sand for 2 minutes while they search their luggage for a pair of forceps.  Lets face it spinning guys have their own version of that dance, but neither angler has a good excuse for the behavior.

 

With that in mind this is probably the most important thing I feel I need to share.  Learn how to properly fight and land fish.  Learn how strong a 15-20# tippet is. It is strong! 

I did not catch anything big this year but I horsed in every single fish and had a few that were around 30".  I did not put a single one of them on the reel and pretty much stripped them in.

Some fish came off, because landing them that green is a dance best informed by the below thread.  Not one of them broke my line or the rod, which is something you need to learn in the video below.

 

Fighting fish with a flyrod is something I am still learning.  It is like hand lining and is definitely an art and extremely physical. That is the fun!!!  The end of a two hour session of catching, my hands were useless...so fatigued that I could not cast properly.

 

This is the best video I have found.  He is targeting 100# tarpon from a boat, but the principals and info are the same.  For schoolies, there is no reason they cant be horsed in. We are talking fish to 12#. I am not an athlete and I can do it.  I have not tangled with fish bigger, but if I do I am not going to change my operations.  Landing fish is the objective, but if they get away it is equally fine and fun.  Most of the fun is just getting them on the leash.  Landing can be tedious and kind of keeps us from whats next.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOnKWzS7Udc

 

 

 

Edited by puppet

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On 1/11/2022 at 0:37 PM, Mike Oliver said:

Come on Guys man up a tad. It’s a gentle stroll. Done it in a very hot wet suit more than a few times. Only to be greeted by hoards of those lovely seals.

The once possible death walk to S. Monomoy now that was a killer. Sadly when I got to the Cape it was no longer possible to do it.

Rock on the spring.

 

mike

I hope it was early or late season for the wetsuit.  Just the walk alone makes me overheat even in civilian gear.  I do that walk to the inlet.  I think it is 2.5  miles one way.   I usually will just stay up on the beach or wet wade  in camping shorts/wading boots as most of the water is too swift or beach break. Definitely culls everyone but the diehards and dedicated.  Lately it is rare that it has paid off for me, but sometimes a few stops along the way can be good.  I enjoy most cape spots as it often is a solitary event.

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Puppet now pole fishing in the salt is super hard core. Like it.Pretty origional.

 

Night fishing with the fly really can be top draw. I agree we can catch Stripers during the day and when starting off that is the sensible way to go.

Its a sad fact that majority of guys do not fish at night and I understand the reasons why. But if you are a Fisher that has spun at night the only thing to get sorted is night time casting.  I have written about this a few times on Sol and will lose the will to live if I do it again.

The size of fish On average that I catch at night is way way bigger. When ready to rock and roll night time is your friend. Well it’s the difference between night and day. Sorry.

 

mike

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

10 hours ago, puppet said:

Fishing at night is productive and can result in reliably larger fish.  For a flyfishing beginner it is more challenging because for us it is important to have more visual feedback.....we need to see(line managment and casting form)

@Mike Oliver
I agree, as noted above.  It is sort of buried and I am overly verbose.  But....I also believe it is a general rule snd not a golden one.

 

I will add that among the hard core surfcasters who hunt with spinning gear....night time is the right time....is such a strong mantra that most never fish in the daylight. Some spots are actually more crowded at night, and it is a geographic phenomenon.   Like there are places  where I will not see a soul during the day....but at night it is a zoo. 

 

It seems in the flyfishing community sometimes the opposite is true.  I have seen bias to the daylight in popular spots and no one at night.

 

My stress on the possibilities in the daylight is to counter the mantra.  Some anglers have it so driven into their behavior that they laugh at the thought of daylight fishing.  I can say from experience that there are situations where daylight fishing has actually been better than night in both quality and quantity. I know this because I will often fish both day and night until I dial things in.

 

Fishing or scouting in the daylight always pays off for me and it can also be overlooked.  I see things in the daylight while other anglers sleep, that can make me more productive at night.  Some anglers never scout and waste time in the dark fishing unproductive water.

 

The post that I responded to made specific note of his night tide mode and was asking for advice as a new fly caster.  A lot of my stress on day has to do with the challenges of line management as a flyfishing newbie, especially  with a surfcaster who may be conditioned to think fishing in the daylight is a waste of time.

Edited by puppet

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Thanks puppet. Love to hear about others hooked on this awesome sport. Never learn it all in just one life time. Look forward to hearing about your future adventures. You can never get bored with this stuff, especially if you mix it up with tying flies. Wish you the best.

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