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rods-art.jpg (11067 bytes) In the heart of Cape Cod runs a coastal river that personifies the notion of coastal river systems.  It starts in a fertile brackish pond, runs fiercely with each tide change and provides an ideal array of habitats for countless species. It is a favorite haunt for striped bass, thus the name.

The area is particularly good in spring and fall, but stays good through the season during off hours and at night.  In spring, it's a great place to celebrate the striper's return to New England.

Clavemeister Terry Weir has somewhat of a family legacy on the river, and to our benefit, he called us together to kick off the first conclave in the new millennium.

The weather cooperated for 1.5 of the 2.5 days, the fish cooperated pretty much right through, and we all had an awesome time.

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Terry Weir Photo

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The fast-track crowd showed up on Friday to kick things off.  Fish were in the river in good numbers and many had success before nightfall.

Saturday was the main event, most converged on the river mouth to find lots of action on the dropping tide.  I started at Parkers River to the west trying to capitalize on the spring herring-hunting keeper bass but to no avail.  I joined the crew over on Bass River in the early AM, just in time to watch the "Pope" Gregg Estey do the funky popper thing at slack low with Jeff Roop.  We were impressed!

Jeff and Nate jumped east to Herring River and got into a dozen or so more schoolies there.  I hopped on the boat with the meister and had a great time drifting down the tide casting to structure and finding a lot of fish to eat the fly.  The spring flows on the mid-river drifts are crisp and clear, it was like fishing one of those salt inlets up in Maine.  A really great time.  We all enjoyed the sunshine and good fishing - and that was good because Sunday brought us a reminder that it wasn't time for flip flops and shorts just yet.

Anyway, we all converged on Clancy's restaurant on Swan River in Dennis for some first-class grub on Saturday night.   We raised a toast to the clavemeister, made the Pope's election official, and rung up another classic for clave historical records.

Sunday had that dark menacing sky with a cold wind blowing hard out of the east (if I recall).  After surveying the situation, I opted to go into a dark tannin stained shallow estuary where the water is warmer and the bait has been holding in lately.  Bingo - lots of fish, and a couple of them were respectable drag-burning fish amidst the smaller ones.  In fact the following weekend several fish from 28-32" were taken out of that stretch.  This re-inforced the theory of fish being up inside estuaries during cold water conditions.   I closed the clave festivities with brunch at the Red Cottage diner.  I had striper thumb for the first time this century, and it was good.  Bring on the millenium baby!

Below are some of the images and memories of the SpringClave '2000 gathering.  Although they don't come close to capturing all of the good times at Terry's or the excursions to surrounding areas in search of fish or the celebration dinner at Clancy's - they each tell a thousand words and perhaps more to those who attended. 

ENJOY!

Juro Mukai

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(click any picture to enlarge)

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Terry Weir Photo

A new century rolled in...

...somewhere in the middle of the " tying season".  Some things changed, while others stayed the same.   We worried about the late spring, but finally winter gave way to spring once again, and the stripers came.  It was time to go fishing!

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Terry Weir Photo

Ken Jenkinson from Australia joined us for the spring clave, setting a new record for long distance clavin'.   Come on all you other international members... see if you can beat Ken!

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Greg Owirka Photo

Al Deluca feels that great spring striper feeling once again!  Those fish were bright as dimes.   We all felt that great feeling just to get 'out of the cabin'.  Great folks, great food, great times - all the ingredients that make a great conclave.
PETE2-tn.jpg (1513 bytes) Pete gets into the action!  These spirited spring fish kept us on our toes the whole weekend.

But you had to love it - the sun was shining and the fishing was done in shirt-sleeves.  By mid-summer we might take something like that for granted, but in May we'll take all we can get!

Nice going Pete.

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Jeff Roop Photo(s)
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Terry Weir Photo
The word "conclave" comes from the historical gathering of bishops to elect a new pope.  We apply this to gatherings of fishermen because of the biblical importance of these events after a long hard winter ;-)  In any case, to be true to meaning, we have decided to elect a new pope for the spring clave.  Gregg has a knack for doing well when fishing (see "gates of hell" photo from the Rhody Clave Journal).   Hands down it was Gregg Estey during the spring clave.

First image: Gregg "the pope" Estey finds a way to get slack tide stripers all excited.

Middle Image: The fish and the popper it could not resist!

Bottom: "The Pope" of the SpringClave '2000... the most illustrious Gregg Estey (watch him do the 'wave')

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Juro / Terry Photo
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Terry Weir Photo
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Juro / Jeff Photo
Jeff Roop finds a nice fish to rip his line into the backing in an area to the east of Bass River.  A fly he tied from a Flip Pallot pattern called "prince of tides" helped work an area with lots of weeds effectively, as the fish shows.
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Jeff Roop Photo
The issue of recreational fish mortality is a serious one.  Here we find a gorgeous spring striper of approx 28-29" freshly killed with a heavy steel leader and a bait hook buried in it's gut.  It's eyes were still clear, scales bright - we believed it to be a casualty of the previous night's bait fishing.
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Terry Weir Photo
The most incredible sunset signalled the end of a great day.  Nothing like being on the water in spring with plenty of fish around.

Kudos to Terry for a great clave... hope it becomes an annual tradition!

Threads from FlyTalk...

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If you still have clave photos needing to be added, please email me and I will get them up here.  I have recevied full-sized images from those who attended.  If you want full-sized versions of any of these images, let me know and I will send them to you electronically.

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Nathan Smith,
Jeff Roop Photo

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