puppet

My first season in the salt

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14 hours ago, puppet said:

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=rOnKWzS7

 

Puppet, that's using your head.  Breaking up what we are conditioned to believe is really complex into small manageable parts and working each one.  I had a similar learning experience when first getting into Trout fly fishing after a guide handed me a long Tenkara rod on a small mountain stream.  You are also listening to the best resources.  I was lucky enough to take a Tarpon class with Andy Mill.  In addition to being a super personable guy, he is a great teacher, e.g., "this is what I do", versus being an instructor.  I've tried to stay away from the later.

 

Mark

Edited by 02807Fish
Correction

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On 1/12/2022 at 8:07 PM, puppet said:

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

 

 

 

Thank you for this tidbit of information on landing fish! I'm just getting into fly fishing for striper, but I've been spin fishing for them for years. I listen to Andy Mill and Tom Rosenbauer's podcasts religiously and a big topic of conversation has to do with the declining fisheries both here in NE for striper and Florida for tarpon. It's such a sad topic, especially as a young angler. I'll be sure to keep your tactics in mind as the season approaches. 

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thank you puppet for this thread, lots of good information. 
Being landlocked I've yet to catch a striper on fly or conventional, don't get to travel much and when I have fished in RI and around, the water seems empty.. lots of sea and most of it doesn't have stripers in it.. but I live in hope ;-) 

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