06-18-2003, 09:35 AM
Decided to cap off my long weekend at the refuge with a trip to SB yesterday. Said hi to Juro at the HQ and hopped on the 8am boat.
4pm high was not ideal but after a long walk, managed to find some water that was good to sight fish. Incredible visibility with light wind and no clouds. Started seeing pods almost immediately and had some good presentations but no takers. Switched up to a crab, shrimp and still no dice. Even had an "armada" of a hundred + fish swim right around me and could not hook up - felt like august out there. Then I saw the 30 or so seals hovering in the distance from where the fish were coming from which sort of explained things
I finally tied on a dinky sandeel pattern which got some attention and 2 legals. As the current picked up big big pods of medium sized fish came by in waves. Hooked up a few more and spent the remainder of the day exploring for future trips. Almost stranded myself trying to get back to the dropoff - be careful out there! Met up with Adrian at the drop off who took a really long walk and did well for himself. All told a great day to be out and superb sight fishing conditions.
06-18-2003, 09:44 AM
I agree with you Dave.....was there yesterday as well. Never saw so many fish.....and so few takers. Finally switched to a 1 1/4 inch miniature clouser and picked up 4. Was with my wife who enjoyed the sun AND the seals.....thanks to you, I can now use the "seal excuse' to explain to her why I was so unsuccessful :-)
However, no day out there can be unsuccessful....all the way back, for 2 1/2 hrs of driving, all we could talk about, was the beauty of SB.
06-18-2003, 10:19 AM
Ron - not sure but I think it was you I was fishing with out there around lunchtime. Could not beleive how lockjawed they were before those big shoals started moving thru - the double header was fun - good times!
06-18-2003, 08:25 PM
That was me Dave.....and my wife did see fish for the first time. Found it really interesting and then went back to her book :-)
06-19-2003, 06:04 AM
Nice report Dave. Last week I notice small bait about 1" in the shallows. Now its making sense why they keyed in on the small flies.
Interesting how fish behave differently from area to area, my observations were that they are ripping 6" sand eel flies all week. Even on 6/18 we were across the inlet where Jerry had a banner day landing at least 8 legals, 15-20 decent or better fish overall using the same battered fly all day. I gave him a fresh fly but he put it in his box and wanted to save it instead. Never had to use another pattern on charters the whole week actually, although soon that will change.
That being said there are advantages to going small, I believe a smaller fly often allows a broader range of presentations to succeed, but I also believe that the right presentation allows a larger fly to succeed more consistently. Especially when big fish are the target.
I did also mess around with a new seaworm fly I've named "swizzler", they liked that too and it's about 5" long. Still a prototype.
It could also be that there are additional experiments to try with presentation that could unlock their lips. I made such a tweak recently to my presentation, and it paid off big. After Big Brother Day (6/15), we had about 2 hours to fish for ourselves (considering walking time, etc). I landed 7, I'd say 5 were over 28" and 3 over 30" with one about 33-34" all on the same 6" fly, then used the same beat up one-eyed fly for the friends and family picnic the next day (6/16) to land at least a dozen legals (plus a bunch of shorts and two blues) with the biggest being 37" standing within earshot of the group on the beach so as not to be rude. I don't think it was the fly, although the fly was right for the job. I think it was presentation more than fly and both were working. The fly was 6" and tattered. I'd fish it again today if I were there.
IMHO - I am confident that downsizing by itself is not the key. These fish could east grapefruit their mouths were so large, they will eat bunker and mackeral as soon as they can find them. Most of the sand eels we saw were 4-6", and they are but a snack to fish this size. I think given the right presentation they will take a huge fly consistently on the flats, it would be a fun experiment anyway.
Order of importance IMHO:
1) presence of fish
- all critical!
Master #1 - sighting, then #2 - presentation from the cast to the retrieve, all the while worrying about #3 the fly but much less than #1 and #2.
When you get back to the boat ramp and chat before the pickup, compare the flies that were successful for people. Quite a variety. I tried a bunch myself when the fish were coming up hard on the flat, of course some flies were useless but I'll bet I could get to at least a dozen sizes and patterns that would be of equal effectiveness in a single day.
Now compare the presentations that were successful. Much, much less variety in fact I would argue a small finite range of approaches succeed beyond pure luck.
Then poll those who fished where fish were verses those who did not.
Then as soon as you figure it out, the season will turn the page and you need to tune back in to what's happening all over again! :chuckle:
Oh well that's the fun and challenge of flats fishing!
06-19-2003, 08:37 AM
Juro I think the problem was the fish had seen enough of your reel eel the day before we got there:devil:
Great points about presentation but the big schools of tight-lipped fish were not grubbing in a typical fashion. They were fast movers...almost like they were still migrating (maybe they were). We were standing in more of a travelling lane than a gateway to the flats - and it was about mid-tide. Even head-on shots were totally ignored.
As I moved later in the day and found warmer water, I found more singles and slow-moving feeders that were eager to hit or at least follow the fly.
To me, one of the most interesting things about stripers is the variety of behaviors they exhibit on the flats. Just a matter of showing them what they want at a given moment I guess.
Great point! The fish moving in one fashion will take a fly presented one way while you could turn around and cast to another fish at the same moment who would be amenable to a whole different retrieve. As you pointed out, the way they are acting is a key to the presentation they will go for. I certainly don't have a 100% solution but the trends are getting pretty clear and the percentages much more than pure chance. You are right about that for sure.
But I remain convinced that the missing link was presentation for the fast moving fish, which by the way made up all but two of the fish I landed the day before. For example, the gentleman I had out the other day had spent 3 full days with limited success prior to our trip even during the heyday weather and tides we had. Although the fly helped he was only missing two subtle elements to his approach and with these in tune with the fish he was quite the monster! I'm glad he went back to his home out of state ;) ;)
Of course these things change rapidly out there, in fact the invertabrate phase is going to set in any day now and we'll all be re-tested with new rules in the game. I've got a list of experiments waiting, but for now I sure am enjoying the small finfish phase with the rich population of sand eels inside the Monomoy complex this spring/summer!