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Worm Hatches 2024

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Last year was 2 weeks ahead of usual and was over by mid-May.  This year due to all the cloudy and rainy weather with some cold nights slowed things down, so we seem to be on a normal schedule and should/could last to the end of May?  When we used to have polar vortex winters the hatches would go to the first week of June.  Cold or mild winters play into the mix, but the sun dictates and has the final say on all of it.  

Worm Hatch Inspector.
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A partial day of sun today, or even milky sun should keep it going for today.  After that if the water temps drop below the threshold that the worms want that might put them on hold or reduce the activity to a mini-hatch.   If you can find it, the fish are easier to catch during a mini-hatch.  

Worm Hatch Inspector.
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I have noticed that too during the lighter days the fish are easier to connect with. Seems after the fish develop a taste for the cinder worms they are actively looking and when there are fewer worms swimming they seem to find the fly more often.

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5/15/24 Worm Hatch #12

Today, there was a light rain from 2 pm on, but I was still hoping to find a mini-hatch.  Yesterday, Gary had found a spectacular hatch at the south end of a salt pond.  I hadn’t been there in years because it was now highly developed, but wanted to see that because he said they were blitzing away even way up inside a salt marsh creek.  So, I parked along the road and cut a trail so I could access the marsh and be below the high-water mark.  I had visions of people screaming at me “private property,” as I have on numerous occasions, but these were mostly summer or weekend homes and so most houses appeared to be empty.  In the creek I found about 6 big stripers milling around waiting for worms, but there were none yet.  I could see where the fish were heading by watching the wakes that they made, so, I cast as stealthily as possible well ahead of them so as not to spook them.  I had a number of follows and nips, but no solid hits, what a tease.  I did however land one small fish.  I decided to leave at 6 pm, maybe I left too early?

 

I arrived at my second location at 6:30 preparing for a long walk and so to make it easier, put on my knee boots.  I walked past a shallow tide pool and saw some worms in there, so that was a good sign.  Then I walked along a salt marsh creek for 100 yards to the mouth of the creek where it entered a salt pond, but did not see any worms in the creek.  At the mouth, it looked like the start of a mini-hatch, with about 10 fish starting to swirl.  At this point, I only saw one worm, but landed one fish and went back to my car to get my waders, so I could wade and cast to the bigger swirls further out.  When I got back, there were a few more worms and more fish were starting to come in.  A half hour later at 7 pm while landing a fish, I was surprised to see the creek now full of worms heading out with the tide.  It must have taken them several hours to get here from their source further upstream. After close to an hour, I was quite satisfied and grateful to have caught and released 9 fattened-with-worms stripers, with two at 27 inches and one at 29 inches.  So, I left the now school of at least 40 or more fish to eat in peace and headed home. 

Worm Hatch Inspector.
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I love your reports. Great detail. They make me want to go fishing!!! Keep em coming.

 

What rods and lines do you like out there fishing the worm hatch? 

 

You mentioned clear floaters. I hope they do continue to develop some good options there. I have a Cortland Ghost Tip 9 on my 7wt that I really like, but that's an intermediate. 

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For rods I am using Echo Boosts, 8wt and 9wt, these are really good rods made by the casting champ Rajeff and very affordable as well compared to other rods.  I have tried a number of different clear floating lines, and still trying to find one that I like.  Air Flo: don't use those anymore.  Cortland Liquid Crystal: many tangles don't use anymore.  Now using Monic recent purchase: if a tangle goes through the guides, and the knot tightens up, the outer jacket of the line seems to tear easily.  Just ordered SA Grand Slam clear floating which is a tropical line: going to give this a try soon.  I should go back to trying a colored line again to see if it makes a difference in the catch rate.  I compared clear and colored only once in 2014 and did not get any hookups with the colored line.  Since then, I have been obsessed with clear, maybe unnecessarily so?  Just looking at my notes, since 2010, I have found 184 worm hatches (not all of those had fish present) and have caught just over 1,000 fish. 

Worm Hatch Inspector.
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2 hours ago, isleomaniac said:

For rods I am using Echo Boosts, 8wt and 9wt, these are really good rods made by the casting champ Rajeff and very affordable as well compared to other rods.  I have tried a number of different clear floating lines, and still trying to find one that I like.  Air Flo: don't use those anymore.  Cortland Liquid Crystal: many tangles don't use anymore.  Now using Monic recent purchase: if a tangle goes through the guides, and the knot tightens up, the outer jacket of the line seems to tear easily.  Just ordered SA Grand Slam clear floating which is a tropical line: going to give this a try soon.  I should go back to trying a colored line again to see if it makes a difference in the catch rate.  I compared clear and colored only once in 2014 and did not get any hookups with the colored line.  Since then, I have been obsessed with clear, maybe unnecessarily so?  Just looking at my notes, since 2010, I have found 184 worm hatches (not all of those had fish present) and have caught just over 1,000 fish. 

Thanks for the info on the gear! I've never tried any Echo rods but hear mostly good things. I'd say within a year or two we should expect to see the first cold water clear lines coming around from SA, etc... Maybe next 5 years tops. Who knows. 

 

It'd be interesting to know how many worm hatches you have found that didn't have any fish around too. I bet you've seen some interesting patterns with all of that information. 

Edited by R.T.
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It is mostly the early hatches that don't have any fish present because they have not arrived yet.   From 2014 to 2024 there were 30 hatches without fish, 2014 had the most at 8, due to the polar vortex winter, schoolies did not arrive until mid-May.  Water temperatures dropped 4° down to 60°, so I did not find anything yesterday evening after a rainy day.  However, I did some blind casting to try out the new SA Magnitude Grand Slam clear floating line.  My first impression of this line was wow, this is the best clear floating line that I have ever cast.   It was effortless to cast, and I was pleasantly surprised to find no tangles either.  I don't do any false casting, just one back cast and let it go, and it punches right out there easily.  

Worm Hatch Inspector.
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Stumbled upon a worm hatch yesterday evening - Unbelievably, I left my worm hatch flies at home. Fortunately I did have several flies that fit the bill in terms of small sizes that I could get to mimic the movement of the worms, and I did score 3 up to 20" on a small (as in 2") slim jim (of Page Roger's fame - I think my own personal ties are smaller than what Page used to tie - mine were on size 4 long shank hooks)...but I wonder how last night would have fared had I remembered to bring my 'other' box of flies...I also had a fair number of swing and misses. 

One thing I did note last night that a more aggressive retrieve seemed to attract a little more attention - usually, I use a small red gurgler that I just kind of draw across the surface very slow, and the incoming fish will be evident in the form of a slow v wake that will out pace the fly.

Lastly, these were my first fly caught stripers of the season as I've been busy focusing on throwing albie snax with the spinning rod.

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5/22/24 Worm Hatch #13

After a whole week off due to weather issues and recuperating from the early to mid-May hatches, I was back on the hunt. Feeling refreshed, I went about the process in a very patient and relaxed manner, especially knowing that the rest of the month’s hatches would all be very short walks to fly fishing nirvana.  While preparing to take a water temperature, I saw the first swirl at 5:30.  Fifteen minutes later I saw the first worms, and more stripers were beginning to become active.  In an hours-time, I had landed 8 fish with one at 29 inches.  I was quite satisfied with that especially since there was no one else around at a usually popular location.  It was one day before the full moon, so I headed to a beach nearby to see if I could take an appropriate photo to remember the day by. 

 

IMG_1113T_1.jpg

Worm Hatch Inspector.
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1 hour ago, isleomaniac said:

5/22/24 Worm Hatch #13

After a whole week off due to weather issues and recuperating from the early to mid-May hatches, I was back on the hunt. Feeling refreshed, I went about the process in a very patient and relaxed manner, especially knowing that the rest of the month’s hatches would all be very short walks to fly fishing nirvana.  While preparing to take a water temperature, I saw the first swirl at 5:30.  Fifteen minutes later I saw the first worms, and more stripers were beginning to become active.  In an hours-time, I had landed 8 fish with one at 29 inches.  I was quite satisfied with that especially since there was no one else around at a usually popular location.  It was one day before the full moon, so I headed to a beach nearby to see if I could take an appropriate photo to remember the day by. 

 

IMG_1113T_1.jpg

Watched the same rise from the trees.Then the swirls began as the tide started on incoming.Shad were "sipping" right at my feet. All fish were 22" or just smaller.Tried an red gurgler out at 70-80' swinging in the tide.Na-da! Rollcast 20' boom! Nobody around too!

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