South Beach in late September [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: South Beach in late September

09-14-2003, 09:57 AM
I've never fished South Beach in the fall. Could some one please, from past experience, tell me what to expect? Looks like Isabel will be dropping by fore a visit on Saturday.


09-14-2003, 12:25 PM
Once the mung clears and the storm waves settle, it should be some of the best fishing of the year. Fall migration is no better anywhere than on the beaches from the Race down to Monomoy Point.

Definitely do it!

09-18-2003, 07:22 AM
Waves up around 8 feet tall yesterday, barely fishable even with the two-hander, the spin guys were even coming back from the surfside shaking their heads. Staying inside inlets and estuaries or fishing water under tension from current flow helped, landed some nice fish to the mid-30s (inches) - real drag burners in peak condition, one had a pink abdomen tag I left on the fish although was tempted to remove it due to the irritation and weed buiild up of the poor choice of materials they use. I put some more mileage on the prototypes and the drag discs and I expect the final version in a matter of days. Christmas comes early for me this year :)

South Beach will have to settle down a little before the flyfishing will get good, but with all the bait and fish still to the north I suspect the weeks following the current high surf will be excellent.

09-18-2003, 07:39 AM let's keep our fingers crossed for the Rip trip and I will be on South Beach tomorrow morning without rod..but with camera.....

09-18-2003, 07:58 AM
John, good plan I wish I had a camera for sure, the beach is violent but so beautiful. But you should bring a rod :devil:

09-18-2003, 08:39 AM
Yes...:devil: ...but with 40 mile per hour on shore winds it might not be a fly rod.

09-18-2003, 08:53 AM
Wimp :devil: :p ;) ;) ;)

09-18-2003, 09:05 AM
I'm really looking forward to pounding the surf this fall. Juro, sounds like you are still finding our friends inside...excellent.

Jonh...are you implying the use of a spin rod? BLASPEHMY :devil:

- the man they call BigDave

09-18-2003, 10:58 AM
On a serious note, I could see the use of metal in those giant waves... but the bait was smart and avoided the unusually high turbulence, there were shoals of bait and birds well beyond even the biggest kastmaster working the area way out and I am not sure it would pay off anyway in such conditions.

Inlets and bays where ocean influences are minimal were quite fishable in fact it didn't take too much to find them provided you tuned into the bunker pods and their pathways.

During the biggest storm so far in 2003 I had one of the best flyfishing days ever, tucked just inside an inlet near the pounding waves and with the wind gusting well over 40 mph. The hardest part was standing up and keeping my hood from slapping me silly in the howling wind. I'll admit it was pure luck to find such a concentrated and anxious pod of fish, but the experience was totally exhilarating.

The story (cut and paste from my site) from June 1st, 2003:

Heaven in Hellish Conditions

A ferocious nor'easter rolled into town on my day to fish. I had Sunday open and as much as I truly love guiding, any guy builds up some anxiety after seeing many hundreds of fish thru the week without casting at them. So this day was for me to cast away, it figures that all heck was breaking loose weather wise. Torrential rains, winds gusting over 40 mph, breaking branches, power outages - it was downright miserable.
During the previous day's charter my camera fell into the brine during the excitement of landing Jay's 37.5" monster blue. I regretted losing equipment but the loss of Jay's images was much worse. To be unable to capture images of nature's fury during a wild tantrum was also a shame. It was violent but beautiful and exhilarating, like a lightning storm.

I started the day at 5am, driving around with the wind threatening to pick the truck off it's tire treads and with the rain blasting sideways into the windows so loudly I had to turn up the radio to enjoy it. I scoped out a few spots around Chatham but the inside of Pleasant Bay looked like Woods Hole at full tide flow and you couldn't see Nauset from Claflin Landing. Big boats were rocking and rolling on their moorings and I didn't see a single boat working. The surfline around the lighthouse was unsafe to be within 15 feet. Even Stage Harbor had 4 foot waves. Pretty much everything had gone to pot. But this vibe was eating at me... I suspected good fishing in all this mess.
To kill time I visited pretty much every fly shop I could, chatting with Jared when the power went out at Fishing the Cape, our sponsor. Then I visited Harry up at Nauset Angler, where Capt. Bill Strakele, Wallace and Heather (who run that awesome kayak fishing service) were killing time. The tide reached peak flood, and it was time. I jumped up and announced I was headed for Stage Harbor Light, everyone got a good laugh out of that. I don't think they thought I was serious.
When I arrived, the parking lot was a lake. I couldn't park with the nose of the truck to the water or I feared the doors would face undue stress when I opened them. I had to turn around and face the wind to use the doors as shields while I prep'ed. I had my waders on already and popped on the chestpack, goretex jacket before stepping into the teeth of the storm hoping there would be no more lightning.
When I shut the door and turned toward the water the blasting wind hit the lower flaps of my hood and they slapped me senseless like a baseball card on a bicycle wheel. I quickly zipped them up and kept moving. The wind was such that it was impossible to stand straight or walk straight, and actually had me stumbling. The fly stood straight out to the side as I walked, like a bird on a leash. The sound of the howling wind and the beating of the rain pelting the jacket and waders was deafening. The vibe drew me onward.
I finally reached inlet and worked the deep eel on a QD into the deep dropoff. The tide was just starting to ebb but you could not determine anything by the turbulence on the surface. The wind pushed so hard on the rod that it was bent while stripping the line, which was half-mooned to the lee side as I struggled to keep from getting blown in to the water, which was a realistic threat. I stepped back. The strip retrieve had to be changed just to move the fly, and I felt a hard knock on the line. Strip. Strip-strip. Fish! It was a 25" fat and energized striper that if the only fish I caught all day would have made me happy. Under the circumstances, the joy came from taking the challenge in the teeth and finding victory, no matter how little, even if it was a 25" schoolie.

A vibe called me over to a shallow bowl that formed by the currents ripping along the shore. Although there was a lot of crap churned up by the storm, there was an open sandy shoal that lined the bowl, and it was very clean until the fly reached the shoreline. I found a swing angle in the ebb current that was mung-free and dug in my heels as it was all I could do to avoid a digger into the water with the wind swirling in different directions around me. The thrashing wavelets were tipped with spray and forming into random honeycomb patterns as the chaotic wind couldn't decide which direction it should blow. As my fly coursed it's way in the shallows beneath the mayhem it was suddenly met abruptly by the hard side-swipe of a 32-33 inch striper who then proceeded to rip the line from the basket thru my cold granny-wrinkled hands and started to take the skinny stuff into the next time zone. I looked up and the rain covered my face, but I was elated! Over the next 2 1/2 hours I landed in the order of 3 dozen fish with 5 over legal in the end, 4 in the 15# class or higher. Every fish I hooked was electrified with energy. They hit hard, fought hard and took off like rockets. A 21" fish actually jumped - only the second or third time I've ever had one jump. The bigger fish were just murder and I lost a couple hogs as well in between. Two of the 15# fish came on consecutive casts, and the second cast was only a flip into the windstorm to get some line out of the reel after fighting the previous fish on the reel.
I could not hear myself think but I was overjoyed and talking to myself as the coast guard boats cruised into the harbor from patrol looking at me like I had two heads. There was only one more boat that passed by the entire time, a large trawler.
When my goretex soaked thru and the fleece started to let water chill my back and my elbows were cold wet and heavy where the moisture accumulated, I decided I had my "day off" and started the trek back against the wind to the truck. My hands and face were sand-blasted by the whipping tan haze of beach sand elevated by the steady gale winds to the point of being painful coming from the direction into which I walked, one foot in front of the other almost knocked over by the gusts a couple of times. Looking up to check my progress was not an option - the sand would immediately attack your eyes and exfoliate your cheeks. I had to hide my hands inside my jacket and hoped that the constant sandblasting would not damage my goretex waders and jacket. Eventually I made it back to the parking lot and peeled off heavy wet garments and shut the door, when the howling finally stopped. I felt like a rat who had found a floating board in a flooded drain pipe. I probably looked like one too with sand in my eyes, nose, teeth, even the ears - but didn't care a bit because I felt very much alive and totally energized, just like the stripers I enjoyed in the storm.

It was a day I won't soon forget!

09-19-2003, 07:52 PM
Juro. Please post your website address. I have not seen it. Thanks


09-19-2003, 10:50 PM
Phil, it's

09-22-2003, 10:59 AM
Thanks John, and thank you Juro! Great story! Randy Jones had a similar day this spring that he reported. His sports insisted on fishing and said the fishing was fabulous. He used long rods and the fish where hitting flies dangled in the wind, just bouncing off the surface! No stripping action imparted to the flies. Lots of O2 in the water certainly helps charge up the fish's energy.


Greg Pavlov
09-23-2003, 07:42 PM
It was a 25" fat and energized striper that if the only fish I caught all day would have made me happy. Under the circumstances, the joy came from taking the challenge in the teeth and finding victory, no matter how little, even if it was a 25" schoolie.
Two years ago I went out towards the end of a northeaster - it was going to be my last morning fishing for the season - and walked out Harding Beach because it was the only place I could find that I could fish. I made my way to the end and finally caught one 20-22 inch striper. I felt more satisfaction from that one fish than I have from most that I've caught.

I usually fish with clousers because they're flies I can tie: I'm kinda new to this. I am going to be out in Chatham-Nauset for 4 days this coming weekend and would appreciate any suggestions of what I might want to try to tie up before I head out.

Thanks !

09-23-2003, 08:00 PM
Two words of advice:

1) tie extras - bluefish are plentiful

2) fish structure - for the shore schlepper (like me) it's productive to do so. Bass are structure oriented this time of year particularly when bunker are passing over the structure in clouds. The open-range blitzers are either out of reach or a momentary frenzy, but there are fish who hole up in good structure eager to grab a fly on every tide you don't see until the bait flows over it. If there is no bait, you might as well move on. Once you find the bait, look for 'traps' that the fish can set on the pogies and trap them like the alpha predators that we are ;)

Fly is far less important than presentation and choice of spot. There are silversides, bunker, sand eels, herring, mackeral, acnhovies, all kinds of goodies on the menu for the fall pre-spawn fattening fest.

Don't ignore Pleasant Bay, this time of year the fishing inside can beat the back beach and or inlets.

If the tide is favorable, and only if, take a peek on the bayside. If the shoals of bunker get trapped over there things go ballistic around low tide when it's very safe to fish. At incoming tide, get off the flats and concentrate on the ends of the larger channels that were exposed at low tide close to shore at the high water mark. The fish will come shooting down them and eventually end up at the dead ends, looking for something to kill.

The whole south side (Nantucket Sound) at high tide can be covered with migrating bass at times, and it's not unusual to see albies and bonito within an easy cast from shore this time of year as well.

Things are happenin' right now but it's fall so keep moving until you find 'em - the bait is moving fast and the fish will too.

Good luck!

Doc Duprey
09-23-2003, 08:09 PM

Frabjulous advice and one heck of a great story! Ever think of maybe writing in a longer format? You have a gift for making the scene come to life. Think about it, please?

How about early October...or is that too late? I would like to make a last gasp trip to the Far Side (as Penguin says) and give your two-handers a try? Any chance...or must I dream away 'till spring?

Best regards,


09-23-2003, 08:39 PM

Thanks for the kind words, the way I've been striking out lately in the tech sector I might just end up a poor writer :rolleyes:

I certainly hope you are coming out in October, the third and I hope final tweaks to the rods will be completed and the migration on the beaches should be in full swing, just the right time to take the wood to the waves.

After the speyclave in Ontario I hope to spend as much time as possible doing two-handed stuff until old man winter clamps down on all the fun. Let's plan on hooking up if you come out. A hot chowder at the place Case recommended last time would shake out any chills afterwards too, not to mention a dram or two.

Doc Duprey
09-25-2003, 07:29 PM

Just got hiot with a probable Paris business trip (not again!) for October 14 to 18. How does it look for other October weekends. Mrs. Doc and I would love to come up, fish, cast new two-handers, etc. The chowdah and the wee dram is on us!

Best regards,