Flats Logic #2 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Flats Logic #2

02-13-2004, 01:27 PM

2 high scorers will get a day on the flats, lunch, shuttle fees, and a schlepper of your water for a day c/o myself. I might not guarantee you will score on a cow bass but I will carry those mighty fine sandwiches from the Chatham Village Cafe' and the water stays cold in my pack when you need a drink and offer a few suggestions as to where to stand at what phase in the tide and why through the day.

Sean McDermott is the winner of the last quiz.

Here's the situation:

It's September and you see fish busting like mad, then stop, then again, then stop in one spot. They are on peanut bunker washing over a bar.

These are small bunker and it's mid-day, your attempts at putting a pea bunker fly into the fray are not working because they are big fish eating clouds of bait, not individuals.

After some frustration, you stop to observe and notice that the bass are circling thus the pauses in between busting sessions.

Knowing the stream of bait and the set-up in front of you will not last, what is the best place to stand (1-6) and why?

(results may vary but this is an exact replica of a real situation that has occurred on several occasions for me in fall peabunker times on the flats)

The winner of this round will be the one that comes closest to the rationale in this scenario, which I have confirmed over multiple occurrences and believe to be verifiable and true.

Feel free to post questions to clarify, I promise no dumb jokes this time. :devil:

02-13-2004, 01:27 PM
Sorry here's the diagram...

Dble Haul
02-13-2004, 01:41 PM
My two cents....

I'd stake out at position number two with a low profile in the hopes of putting my fly in front of one of those fish prior to its return to the mass of bait. The fly would probably have a much better chance of being seen and taken there because in position one it could very well get lost in all of the bait, and in positions four and five the fish may very well still be eating/swallowing what they just inhaled from the cloud of bait. Position six isn't bad because it allows multiple shots at different fish in the cycle, but in my opinion it also increases the odds of spooking the fish (this is coming from me, who stands six foot six).

Position three might work, but I'll stick with position two where the fish are closer to returning to the bait and are more likely to be keyed on actively striking.

02-13-2004, 01:42 PM
If the fish were Albies I would say 4 because they tend to feed in a race track pattern. If they are stripers they can vary somewhat. in that case either 2 or maybe 5 which would be better because the bait would be pushed by the current and go to 5.

02-13-2004, 01:43 PM
They are cow bass, 34-40" fall fat and smart.

John Desjardins
02-13-2004, 01:47 PM
I disagree with Mark, #1 is the place to be . It allows you to hide behind the school of fish and use the current to swim the fly up to the fish and then tighten up on the line and pull it way from the fish towards the bait ball like a natural would.

02-13-2004, 01:51 PM
I still think 5 would be ok. It has happend to me. The diagram looks very familar:devil: . They tend to move with the bait., as usual. FishHawk:D

02-13-2004, 01:56 PM

It just occurred to me that people who were with me during the reference times have signed on as members since, so of course you are not eligible for the contest meaning no disrespect.

02-13-2004, 02:04 PM
4......The bait and current are moving...but will not last long... standing at 6 will interfere with there circling once the bait move with the current... 5 is too close and will be in there feeding lane. 4 seems like the best position with the Facts you give.

02-13-2004, 02:08 PM
I would think from position 2 you could place a cast down and across the current (in the direction of position 1). Letting the fly run a little and get kicked around by the current at the edge of the running bait. I would expect strikes to come at the tail end of the cast as the circling fish meet the erratic fly being tossed out of the current into slack water looking like an injured baitfish being tossed out of the school. Just my two cents ....

02-13-2004, 02:13 PM
My guess would be for 1 because you can drift your fly over the bar with the naturals, around the edges, and show the fish what they are looking for - a disoriented Peanut tumbling over a bar...at the mercy of the current.

Also position 1 would allow you to see the fish beggining to break and put you in a better position to cast to the sweet spot in the blitz. The fish will be facing into the current behind the bar.

Down and across presentation allows you to keep a tight line and swing the fly to "feel" the take.

02-13-2004, 02:23 PM
Dave..#1 I would agree...but I can not tell how far you would be as the current moves them to the north..which is what I think... I would want to hit the edges of the feeding. They seem to be feeding in a northerly direction.

02-13-2004, 03:13 PM
Anyone else? I'll check tonight, winner will be announced then.

02-13-2004, 03:55 PM
I like spot number 3. As the fish are moving through spots 4 and five they are regrouping for the attack. As they make the turn through spot 3 their mindset is moving toward going back on the hunt. They are returning to the scene of the crime. This gives you an opportunity to present your fly in an area where it will be noticed with fish that are ready to strap on the feed bag.


Dble Haul
02-13-2004, 04:02 PM
Sean, that's twice we've been on the same wavelength. I only chose spot two instead of three because the fish would be even closer to strapping on the feed bag again.

02-13-2004, 04:08 PM
Sorry, I just reread your post and I agree we were on the same page. I'm at work so I tend to speed read through. If Juro agrees with us on this one I think you are in position for the gold star. I still like 3 though because as soon as they make the turn they are ready! I guess my vertically challenged self might be fine in spot 6 as long is I could wade out that far :whoa:


02-13-2004, 04:39 PM
Juro, I'd take the 4 position. Why.....can place the fly into the current(natural) from mid way from bar and #5 position....can place fly in front of the oncoming fish....#5 too close ie. they just stopped hitting a school of bait, give them some time to see a "single" bunker(fly). And regarding "knowing" when I'm on fish....my ass won't be of any help to you....I lost it a few years ago at age 55.:hehe:
As my wife says...."your back is now your front"

02-13-2004, 05:06 PM
My Choice would be #2.:razz:

02-13-2004, 05:42 PM
!. More shots as they circle if you can avoid detection.
2. Opportunity for the cows to see a single fly outside and before they surround and move thru the baitball.
3. More presentation styles can be offered: e.g. dead drift, twitch, moderate to fast retrieve.
4. Able to cast into the deeper water where the big boys may be laying.


02-13-2004, 06:51 PM
I guess the question is is the bait moving with the current... I would think it is.... not moving into the current if it is following bait fish... so Juro... which way is bait moving in your description .I ask because your arrow is at the bottom on that little bottom dot..is that the last place you saw the surface feeding... or is at at the top.

02-13-2004, 08:52 PM
My guess is going to be location #1. In addition to being on the skirt of the hits - its also along the flats/shelf. Always thought fish are more comfortable hitting bait in this transition area. These are tarpon right?

02-13-2004, 09:00 PM
No... striped Bass.... but this would be where you would be with tarpon.. ?

02-13-2004, 09:40 PM
sorry striblu, my bad attempt at joke ... I know this is striper country. But when tarpon are daisy chaining in a circular pattern, the preferred approach is to cast along the side of the chain and make offerings to the outside fish -- they will vere away from the chain for a quick bite.

02-13-2004, 09:58 PM
OK, I'll play and I'm going with spot 1.

My reasoning is that since you guys have already occupied all the other spots, that's the only one left :devil:

Assuming bait is getting "tumbled" by the current and trying to push "upstream" I would cast "down and across left and let the current swing my fly through the blitz with an occaisional twitch.

02-13-2004, 10:50 PM
Well all the spots are taken unless you are inconsiderate.....Ill be that richard and make spot 1a..I like to be able to present pitches from all angles.....also, I will have be fishing at least 2 if not 3 similar patterns (maybe a slight difference in profile or color or size) tied off of the bends of one another and praying to not get a double 40" hookup...droppers work great no matter what kind of fishing especially so when fish are not targeting solos but binging...just the 2 cents from one who still has tons to learn...dont forget I took 1a cause Im a richard.......


02-13-2004, 11:51 PM
Thanks for the great answers! Of course in fishing there is no absolute BUT in this case even on different days after the appearance of pea bunker changed everything about the way fish feed on the flats, the logic was reliable and I suggest trying it if you get the chance, I think you'll agree.

#6 - under most circumstances, standing in the middle of a circling pod of big smart fish is a bad approach. If the circle is very large, the visibility very far, and the fish very dumb it would work, but in general I would never suggest wading out to try to stand in the center of such a circling pod as they shift position with current, bait, etc. If they see you, game over. We are not talking schoolies here. If you accidentally ended up in the middle, take your shots but they aren't going to try to squeeze between you and the shore too many times once they know you are there.

#5 - the fish you can reach here are the ones that voluntarily stopped feeding for whatever reason - all we know is that something in their walnut sized brains told them to stop and swim around again. They are not in the mood. Not only are you appealing to them after the action has ended, but you are wading way too far out and creating a fence in the natural irregularity of their cycle.

#4 - although this spot provides good shots, is stealthy to avoid disrupting their circle, the fish didn't seem to be to psyched about grabbing the fly here. We tried it.

#3 - the fish were much antsier and almost starting to race each other. There was a distinct accelleration going on from the wallow away from the bunker stream. We got follows, and a take or two per several casts. Nice and stealthy, but the increased excitement in the fish led us to move closer to the bait.

#1 - standing in the lane of bait advance as mentioned tends to disperse the bait to the deep channel, which moves the predators further out and might even cause them to stop circling. On one day there was a guy and his girlfriend/wife way out there allowing the bait to pass on the inside, but very frustrated and unable to hook a fish from the busting activity because the stripers were not targeting individuals at that moment even though their lures and flies were swinging right into the fray.

My client and I stood nearby and were hooking up quickly on nice fish until the circling stopped, really confusing the couple.


It was really something to watch these fish come around, just like the Patriot's special teams coming to the ball on a kickoff after they just scored 7 points. You could see them materialize from the post-blitz area, tighten into a wedge of bodies, almost racing each other, then EXPLODE into the bait coming over the bar. If you are a baitfish, the worst place to be is near the ball when they arrive, but once the return man catches the ball they are focused on him not you. If you objective is to get creamed (like our fly) then the best thing to do is to look like the return man before they know who's got the ball.

Of all the positions tried, position #2 where there was no bait to compete with but the fish were at their peak of excitement just before taking someone's head off was easy and it didn't seem to matter what fly as long as it was reasonable, the deep eel worked great waiting, leading the pod, getting inhaled on the first strip by keeper fish in 20" of water even though the fish were eating bunker! Furthermore, casting the same fly into the bunker blitz resulted in an ignored fly.

#2 also allowed us to stand ankle deep and take two shots before they went nuts, but it was not usually necessary.

Thanks for playing, winner is: Double Haul


Sean McDermott 1
Double Haul 1

02-14-2004, 12:59 AM

These have been fun. As usual I continue to learn from your willingness to share your experiences. Great stuff.


Well done.


Dble Haul
02-14-2004, 01:33 PM
Well Sean, since we've been on the same page a few times here, that means we have to fish toghether again soon. ;)

Juro, thanks for sharing these real and practical situations.