Jump to content

Worm Hatches 2024

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Worm Hatch #1, 4/30/24

After 12 days of sun in April, I was able to find the first worm event in a backwater area.  The day before, the water temperature reached 66°, today was a cloudy day, so it dropped down to 61°.  No stripers present, only herring. 

 

Worm Hatch #2 & #3, 5/1, & 5/2/24

Today, there were a few stripers present.  Some guys further out in a boat were catching a few on surface plugs.  Along the shore were still mostly herring.  I had only one hit from a striper and landed 2 herring.  The next day was only a mini hatch with no fish present.  Mostly cloudy days and a couple of half-days of sun for a week after that turned off the worm hatches. 

 

Worm Hatch # 4 & #5, 5/7/24

For this evening, we had a new moon low tide, so I figured with a day and a half of sun, if the water temperature was favorable, that the worms would most likely be spawning, no matter what the tide was.  I arrived early at my secluded cove location with a picnic dinner.  On the way in, I picked up a piece of 2x6 that I could use for a seat and set it up under the shade of a white oak tree to shield me from the hot sun.  From this spot in a conservation area, the trees, and an island on a peninsula shielded from view most of the million-dollar homes and a hideous row of condominiums.  I enjoyed munching on crackers and cheese followed by a roast beef rollup, with key lime pie for dessert—before all hell broke loose. 

My kayak fishing buddy Gary was to arrive soon, and he is now 82 years old, and blind in one eye.  On the way in, along the trail, I noticed a stump, and reminded myself to tell Gary about it so he wouldn’t trip on it.  Gary arrives at 5 pm, so I sent him out to a user-friendly peninsula to blind cast his spinning rod until a potential hatch started, while I walked along the shore to the other side of the cove to look for worms.  At 5:30 the worms started to swarm, so using my radio I signaled for Gary to come over.  Then I noticed he was going to take a short cut across a muddy ditch, instead of using the trail.  Before I could get my radio out of my sling pack to warn him NO!!, He disappeared with only his head and shoulders above the marsh.  So, I am headed back over to help him, to find him stuck in the mud, and fishing around with his arm rooting around in the mud to find his sandal.  He uses sandals instead of wading boots to protect his stocking foot waders.  He gave up trying to find the sandal and was able to pull himself out of the ditch. I grabbed a 3-foot long 2x4 that had washed up on the shore and used it as a shovel pulling up mud and chunks of peat, trying to find that sandal.  Finally poking the 2x4 into a now 3-foot- deep hole, I felt the black sandal, the same color as the mud, on the bottom, and was finally able to pry it out of there.  After that fiasco, we decided to leave this location because there were no swirling stripers here.  A short way down the trail, I heard a sickening thud, oh no, I forgot to tell him about the stump.  Sure enough, he was planted face down on the trail.  By some miracle, he was OK, so we continued on by vehicle to a salt pond nearby. 

We arrived to find a hatch underway at 6:30 with about 15 stripers swirling.  On the first cast, I hooked a good-sized fish, and my leader breaks, so I tied on another fly and the same thing happens again.  Come on, this was 20lb test, and those were really good flies that took a long time to tie up.  I had heard about a bad batch of Seaguar fluorocarbon, so luckily, I had an older batch of some extra 20lb test that had never failed me in the past in my vest and tied that on and began catching and releasing fish.  Gary had two spin rods rigged with soft plastic worms and was not getting any hits.  So, I gave him my spin rod that I brought along just in case, rigged with a casting bubble and a floating worm fly.  Gary finally lands 2 fish, and one was 27 inches.  With my fly rod, I landed 7 fish.  This was probably the first day of the hatch here, with not many worms, so the fish were hungry and hitting aggressively.  We fished for an hour or so, and headed out at sunset.  On the way out, I asked Gary how it was driving at night with one eye?  On the way home, I closed one eye to see how it felt, and was surprised that I could see quite well with only one eye, so I probably could have seen that stump in the trail, and those muddy ditches as well. 

Gary is only a shore fisherman as a last resort, his kayak trailer hitch will be installed soon, so he will be back in business, and will probably never go shore fishing with me again. 

 

5/8/24 Worm hatch #6

Even though today it rained in the morning and was cloudy all day, I felt compelled to check it anyway because I didn’t want to miss anything, or make mistakes like I did last year.  Plus, I realize that I need the walking exercise, and that you could actually be rewarded for it.  When in doubt, check it out.  I arrived on site to find that the water temperature had dropped 10° from yesterday, down to 60° with the new moon tide bringing in colder water with no sun for heating.  I didn’t expect to find much but did see some worms in a shallow tide pool on the way to check the lagoon location of yesterday.  I arrived at 6:30 to find another hatch in progress inside the lagoon and the outside as well with about 15 fish inside and another 15 or so on the outside.  The stripers inside the lagoon seemed reluctant to hit, so I targeted the ones on the outside.  There were not many worms today which was an advantage for me.  In a half hour I landed and released 5 fish from 24 to 27 inches, then the bite tapered off.  At 7:30 I heard thunder and lightning approaching in the distance, so I started heading back to the car.  About half way home, it started to pour with thunder and lightning.  If I listened to the weatherman’s forecast, I would have stayed home.  I am sure glad that I went, that lagoon is a special place, and I am getting to know the timing of it better each year. 

Worm Hatch Inspector.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5/9/24 Worm hatch #7

I hiked in to my first location at 4 pm, and didn’t find anything, but waited around until 5:30 and left, hoping to find something at my location at the lagoon of the previous 2 evening hatches.  I arrived at the lagoon at 6 pm, and took a water temperature of 63° with nothing happening.  I noticed a few gulls circling another lagoon 50 yards away, where I had found a hatch back in 2014.  So, I walked over there to find about 20 stripers swirling away.  The water there was warmer at 66°.  After taking a few photos, I managed to land 4 stripers there within 45 minutes, then the swirling tapered off abruptly, so I headed out.  On the way back along the marsh, I found a few worms flowing out with the tide at the mouth of a creek, and cast toward some swirling fish, and landed one more before heading home, thankful for a very satisfying and successful evening outing.  Over the course of the evening, my legs were rebelling on me while walking in and out of two different locations, but sometimes you just have to punish yourself if you want to be successful.  I seem to be having luck with lagoons this year, there must be some kind of similarities within the 6 lagoon hatches that I have found over the years that I will analyze to come up with a formula for future success. 

 

IMG_1096T_1.jpg

Worm Hatch Inspector.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5/10/24 Worm Hatch #8

Heading out again this evening to the site of the two lagoons.  I made sure to check around the edge of the first lagoon for either of the two worm flies that I had lost 4 days ago when my leader broke twice on me.  This makes the 4th day of searching for them, my precious and meticulously tied articulated worm flies.  We continued on to the 2nd lagoon, the scene of yesterday’s hatch, arriving at 5 pm.  There was a cold and raw northeast wind today and with only a couple hours of sun, it would be a miracle if we found anything with the water temperature drop down to 61°.  While waiting for something to happen, I wandered around the marsh looking for any sign of worms in the shallow tide pools where the water was warmer at 66°, without finding anything.  Then there, without actively looking for it, in the middle of nowhere in the marsh, 50 yards from the first lagoon, was one of my lost worm flies.  The new moon tide had evidently floated it above and across the marsh to deposit it there, the proverbial needle in a haystack.  After close to an hour, we were thinking about leaving when I saw the first worm.  Ten minutes later there were a few more, then at 6:15, about 10 stripers began swirling.  I was lucky to land 2 fish and my buddy Tom got one.  Then 20 minutes after it started, the fish just vanished.  This event is what I would call a cool and cloudy weather mini-hatch, but at the moment I can’t recall any that happened for such a short period of time.  However, none-the-less, it turned out to be a fortuitous day. 

 

DSCF6299C_1.jpg

Worm Hatch Inspector.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5/13/24 Worm Hatch #9

Today’s outing took place where I used to go duck hunting when I was a teenager in the mid-60s.  Back then, you could drive all the way in on dirt roads and ancient ways.  Now these days of course there is a gate, so you have to walk in, which I don’t mind, because at my age I surely need the exercise.  Best of all, this area is now preserved as conservation land with a series of 3 spectacular worm spawn coves.  In a lee shore cove I saw the first worm appear at 4:30.  While waiting for a swirling fish festival to appear, I noticed a few 10-inch long white worms mixed in with the small cider worms.  Blitzing began in the first cove right up against and along the bank heated up by a full day of sun.  Here, I could watch about a dozen or so stripers swirling 3 feet in front of me, and some of those were bigger fish.  I landed a total of 6 fish in an hour, included in those were a 28 and a 29 incher on my 8wt.  With the 29-inch fish, my fly line flew out of the basket and a knot formed ripping through the first stripping guide, so I quickly grabbed it and held on so the knot wouldn’t rip off my snake guides.  In doing so, the knot became even tighter.  After releasing the fish, I unraveled the knot to find that the outer jacket of the fly line was torn in 2 places, exposing the inner core.  So, I picked up my 9wt backup rod and continued, but by then, the bite was winding down.  My buddy Gary was in his kayak trolling, and only caught 2 fish as the hatch was concentrated in a very small area as a one-day of sun mini hatch.  With another day of sun, I expect the hatch to be more wide spread. 

One day in probably 1965 or so, I saw a flock of ducks here in the second cove, so to get up closer for a better shot, and a duck dinner, I crawled about 50 feet across the salt marsh bank.  Just as I was about to open fire, I looked over to my right and there were 2 duck hunters in a blind, and those ”ducks” were their decoys.  Totally embarrassed now, I slithered back out of there so they wouldn’t see me.  No duck dinner for me on that day!

 

IMG_1080_1.jpg

Worm Hatch Inspector.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, always look forward to reading about your search for the May worm hatches!

 

Question and you may have noted this in the past but I am curious what your choice of flyline and leader are for this fishing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am always on the lookout for better clear floating lines, leaders and hooks.  I have tried a number of different brands.  I am about to replace the Monic line that got dinged yesterday with Scientific Anglers Grand Slam clear floating line.  I had been using a 7-8 foot leader using Seaguar 20lb Invisix but had bad luck with it lately, so I no longer trust it, so I did upgrade to Seaguar 25lb Gold Label since the 25 is thinner than the 20.  It got a good test yesterday with the two big fish, one went into backing, but the other I slammed on the brakes to prevent the knotted fly line from going through the snake guides, and it held up as expected.   I haven't used colored lines for years.  I might be overdoing it, but I want every little edge that I can get.   I don't bother with tapered leaders, just one long section of 20 or now 25lb.  I love the new hooks I am trying this year as well, Gamkatsu SL11-3H #1 with barbs crushed.  

Worm Hatch Inspector.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Love the Gama 11-3H - but #4.  The wire is too heavy in larger versions.

 

Re SA clear lines - they are only in tropic version now.  Per my SA contact- they are working on cold water clear - but not there yet.

He told me the current clear lines are too stiff for 50 degree water.

How are you finding them in cold water?

Herb

Edited by HL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wondered about that issue but could not find any info on cold water lines, or figure that out from the description on the line I was interested in.  I have not tried the line yet but ordered it anyway today.  Well anyway worm hatch waters are in the 60s.  I used a Cortland tropical line before, and it worked OK.   Sure, the Gama #1 is 3x heavy, but I still like it, and it outlasts the fly materials and stays sharp unlike all the other brands of chemically sharpened 1x hooks that would bend or break after only a couple of fish, very annoying.  

Worm Hatch Inspector.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great dispatches from yonder worm country. Thanks for sharing. Bummer about the fly line. 

 

I believe baldwin or jonc suggested the Mustad C68SNP-DT tarpon hooks I been impressed on their durability in the defined above categories. Keep sharp, don't bend out. These aren't right for that pattern above but the way I would use them is to hang them off the back of a front shank. I been using them as hooks on tail of small gliders work well on that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5/14/24 Worm Hatches #10 & #11

A lot more fish showed up for today's event in the “duck” hunting cove, probably 5 or 6 times as many as yesterday.  Gary also found the motherlode on the opposite side of the salt pond.  Prior to today, I was beginning to worry as there seemed to be a lot less fish around this year to this point.  Now, on the second day of the hatch at this location there were many more worms as well, so not as conducive for catching many fish.  However, I started early as soon as the hatch started, so I was able to catch my usual 6 fish in an hour or so, with one at 27 inches.  Gary trolling in his pedal kayak had difficulty hooking up, as the fish were all close to shore because that is where the worms were.  So, at 6 pm, I decided to leave to check on a location at a different estuary 8 miles away.  Last year, I missed this spot entirely due to the weather being sunnier and warmer than normal, so everything happened all at once.  I arrived at my next spot at 6:30, and there were a couple of fish starting to swirl.  While taking a water temperature, I noticed only a couple of worms, good, a mini-hatch on the first day of the hatch meant that getting hookups would be easier here.  In close to an hour, I was able to land 5 fish with another 27 incher.  Since this cove was right in front of the parking lot, scoring a double header today was easier, as I didn’t need to take another long-forced-march with heavy hip boots or waders on.  The spinning rod guys there were heaving huge spook plugs and wondered why I was getting so many hits.  Score one for the fly fishermen. 

Worm Hatch Inspector.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...