Technique questions [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Technique questions

06-13-2005, 01:52 PM
This past week raised some technique questions that perhaps some of the striper gurus can answer.

The first couple of days at Nauset, I did quite well. I was using two-handed stripping and ripping it in pretty fast. Most fish were caught while using a 24', 400 BB when the light was falling though earlier some were caught on a clear intermediate. The other two were using clear lines and stripping slower. The surf was not high but going pretty good.

Later, I switched to an Airflo DI7 head and kept the high strip speed but the others started doing much better than I in the latter half of the week. Fly choice didn't seem to have much impact. Generally the surf was lower. The weather was about the same.

Is there a relationship between the size of the surf and stripping speed?

Do stripping speeds matter that much and is trial and error the only way to find out?

Is it bad news to use black sinking lines in daylight, especially in clear water and high sun?

Whe they're in the feeding mood, does fly depth matter that much? I was running my flies much deeper than the other two, thanks to the fast sink heads I was using.

With the Atlantis, I was booming out big casts while my son was barely hitting 50' with his single hander. All of our hookups were 40' or less. Is there any value to long casts in the surf? I kept expecting to run across a fish holding hole or a lane further out but never did.

I was quartering my casts across the beach, running more or less parallel to the incoming waves. Good or bad idea? The other two were casting straight out and overall did a bit better than I. Even though I was hitting long casts, the quartering should've kept the fly longer in the close-in "fishy" zone but this idea never produced the results I had hoped for.

My son used exclusively flo yellow or chartreuse clousers, Greg used mostly a nice sand eel clouser that looks very realistic in the water, while I alternated between imitations and attractors. If they're in the mood to feed, does the fly choice make that big a difference? It didn't seem to make any last week as far as I could tell.

The Atlantis is a decent rollcasting rod and I could roll cast farther than my son was overhead casting. My 35' clear head was rather short for this job and I'm wondering if anybody uses roll/switch/spey casts for shorter ranges when the fish are in close? A longer clear intermediate head or even a clear DT would've been nicer to use.

Will all of the splashing caused by rollcasting/spey casting have any effect good or bad? It seems to me that if I rollcasted on top of a fish, it would probably spook that close-in to shore but if I rollcasted a short distance away, the noise and splash may attract it. Right or wrong?

I found the need to strip the fly in very close to me, often leaving only a few feet of line out of the guides, to be one awkward facet of using the Atlantis for close-in fishing. Given the distance design requirements of the Atlantis, it's understandable that it doesn't load quickly with only a little bit of line out. Is the All-Rounder a better choice for this sort of thing?

06-13-2005, 02:22 PM
I can hear Juro typing a reply as we speak but here is my 2 cents worth...

Peter a couple questions for you as I have been using the atlatis the last couple times out and useed it exclusively the last week I was out on the cape.

Were you standing out of the surf or in it? The advantage I found with the atlantis in the surf was I was still fishing under 75' at Nauset but I could stand 60-80' back out of the surf and not get wet. That in my mind is the biggest advatage at Nauset. I did not need to get pounded by surf to fish the same water as the single hand guys. I never really found fish to be all that far out in the surf. Semed the fishy lane was right in the breakers at low tide.

For short in work I would use a shooting roll cast to get the head out from being stripped all the way in. Takes a little practice but as the head is slipping through your fingers you can feel the running line connection going through your fingers and clamp down once the head is far enough out the rod. Then either rip a long cast or just fish it short in. Like I said I stood out of the surf so I was making long casts the whole time even though the fishing portion of the cast was short. I have spent a lot of time with the rod just practicing over the past year and this year I really had no problems setting up for a cast after stripping all the way in. I think it just comes with practice.

For really short work just single hand it :lildevl:

I used black lines in the surf but in talking with Juro I really slowed down my strip and dragged my sand eel imitations through the sand rather that above it. Seems to get the fish excited and an approach I did the best with.

I am still a newbie and will know a lot more about atlantis fishing soon enough when I move back east but so far the above is what has been working for me with fishing the atlantis.


06-13-2005, 02:46 PM
I did a lot of rollcasting to setup my main cast, a Belgian. The wind was on my casting shoulder the whole time and I'm still not comfortable overhead casting a heavy clouser on my wrong side. In fact, I don't like overheading clousers period. The Belgian on my right (windy) side with a very high launch proved to be an excellent cast in the surf. This prompted my query about rollcasting on top of fish as I was doing a lot of it. Just as you suggested, I let the line run through my fingers and clamped down when it was about right. I didn't have a problem with the short game but I would've liked to avoid all the rollcasting I was doing. When the fly got dragged to my left, I'd often do a reverse Snake to get it out and that worked better. If I didn't have enough line, I used one rollcast to feed it out then right into the snake.

When in the water, I hit some mammoth switch casts when the water was around my ankles to provide an anchor. If I hit it right with an incoming wave, the distance from a switch off of a rollcast setup was amazing. I liked using it as it solved the problem of worrying about the stupid gawkers standing right behind me. However, I gave up on it and went to the Belgian as the wave timing was just too fiddly.

I did not stand back, rather I was right in the waves (seemed like part of the fun). Should've thought of that one. I could've stood 20' back and solved the short cast problem. The fishy lane was in the trough right below where the waves broke and the majority of our hookups seemed to come from there.

I did drag my sand eel imitation along the bottom using a heavy head, but that only seemed to get action during low light. Greg was getting fish after fish with his using a slow retrieve and a clear intermediate line.

06-13-2005, 03:15 PM
Yeah standing back does solve the short cast problem as you can finish the strip with the head still out of the guides and ready for another cast. You pretty much can take a spinning rod mindset with overhead since distance aint a problem. You do not even need waders, just have your son retrieve the fish you hook and you do not get wet :chuckle:

06-13-2005, 08:33 PM
Boy not much I can add to what Sean said!

Unless you were fishing a heinous fly (which I am sure you were not) the difference was that their fly was "in play" longer than yours. If you chose a totally snag-free structure-rich stretch and 'hopped' a good looking sand eel pattern along thw sand slowly, you would have probably had very few casts without a grab or even repeated grabs with so many fish in the wash.

Depending on bottom and structure, flies fished on a slow hop most often outfish those stripped aggressively, but sometimes the inverse is true. It pays to mix it up with stripers and the strip is often the difference between you and the guy next to you. Let the fish tell you what they want and go along with it. Stripers are funny that way so mix it up all the time until you are convinced.

When you have current, flies fished on a slow swing definitely outfish those stripped because - (a) the fish are moving against the force of the current and are less apt to waste energy for our offerings thus a swung morsel is an easy meal and (b) the fly stays in the zone longer in the lowest layer of the water column where the faster mid-column sweeps it aside to shore too quickly and (3) the fish are more prone to prowl along the irregularites of 'tiger stripes' and humps on the bottom than in the middle layer.

When I showed big girl bar to the gang back when, every single person could not get over the do-nothingness of that approach. A little twitch here, there - just to prove it's alive and that's it.

We're talking stripers - hardtails would be a whole different story. Blues play it both ways depending on what they're doing, and there are spots where a fast strip or surface popper is the very best approach for big bass even in 60 feet of water.

Sean hit the nail on the head with the Atlantis, my knees are dry until I hook a good fish I stand back so far from the slop. These new 37.5-38ft two-hand lines are amazing and if you stand so the fly is over the berm on the wave you can dangle more than the head length and hook fish on the edge.

I fished the Outbound last weekend - it matches the Atlantis so well it's scary. You've heard Sean talk about the new Airflo two-hander as well.

The advantage of distance is for those days when the fish are not in the wash, which is more often the case than not. There are days when 120' cast just barely gets you in the game. That's all I will say about that on line.

I never cast with any movement on the same side as the wind's advance - I find the reverse (cack-handed) overhead to throw piercing loops and can fish quite effectively left-up. I know of the cast you mention but prefer to keep everything on the offside.

In any case it looks like you had a good visit, next time give a heads up maybe we can hook up for a few casts or a cold one!

06-13-2005, 09:08 PM
Interesting reply -- thanks.

First off, I was always told that with stripers the fly must be moved fast to keep them interested. Obviously, the past week's experience and your comments show that this isn't always true. So when I referred to quartering casts along the wave troughs, if I had allowed them to swing on an intermediate with just a few strips, that would've been preferable -- looks like I had it half right.

About the Belgian -- I'm not recommending that as an Atlantis method, just mentioning that it worked for me. The outgoing line was very high up so there was no danger of getting clunked. I did clunk myself three times and had the unnerving experience of making a right handed cast and have the fly whiz by my left ear. But all of these occurred when I tried to sneak in a right hand overhead cast between gusts. Never clunked myself with the Belgian nor did any get close. I found the Airflo 28' 12 wt DI7 and the 400 BB to have ugly flight characteristics on the overhead but they were decent on the Belgian. Wierd cast with the wind behind it as it never formed a loop -- just lays up and out -- landing about 90' away. Decent under the circumstances.

I have a bad problem of having the back cast kick under with clousers then having the fly whiz by low on the forward cast. To beat this, I'm going to work on sidearm back casts followed by a vertical forward cast. I did a few of these when the wind allowed and they were smoooooth. I know why I'm having the kick under problem but trying to prevent it is another matter. For some dumb reason I can lay out a nice backcast sidearm but not overhead -- go figure.

I did get a lot of decent overhead casts off reversed but I also dumped a lot of them too. I was there to fish, not work on my casting, so I fiddled about until I found something that would work with greater consistency -- enter the Belgian.

Next time out, I'll work on the slow strip and have some left side practicing under my belt first. Then you can show me big girl bar. :)


06-13-2005, 09:18 PM
She's back this year... the spawning class fish have done their thing and are coming up the coast fast and furious... and once the big sand eels move into the inlet it will be time :smokin:

06-13-2005, 09:27 PM
I have a bad problem of having the back cast kick under with clousers then having the fly whiz by low on the forward cast. To beat this, I'm going to work on sidearm back casts followed by a vertical forward cast.

the Belgian is how I work this out, too. I'm interested to hear other solutions / opinions

06-13-2005, 10:15 PM
I used to use a belgian style cast but for real distance it is not the best.

I cast about 60 degrees out the side ala Lefty and not directly overhead like the scando guys do. That is how I cast a single hander and spey cast and I figure it is best to keep my stroke consistent across styles.

Sounds to me like you guys may be waiting to long to start your forward stroke and the fly is dropping under the backcast as it loses energy. Hard to tell without actually seeing it.

When casting I try to focus on an abrupt stop into a slow drift back. For me that drift really helps settle down the crazy line speed you generate with two hands. Also helps lengthen that stroke some. Then start a slow pull on the forward cast right underneath the plane of your back cast to insure no tailing loop. Then right at 12:30 on the dial I really accelerate to the abrupt stop at 11.

Seems the longer you can hold off on that quick burst of accelertion into the forward stop the tighter loops you can throw. I am still working on this but this has really improved my loops. I have no trouble casting anything you can tie on. From clousers to 12 inch herring flies, piece of cake with a two hander.

For wind off my shoulder I cast lefty since I sucked at cack handed casting, both spey and overhead.


Dble Haul
06-14-2005, 08:20 AM
Guys, thanks for this discussion. It's a great read for someone like me who only has a few months' worth of Atlantis experience under his belt.

06-14-2005, 10:15 AM
I really, really don't like false casting the Atlantis with a honking big clouser on the end of it as it's a recipe for clipping the tip off. Everything I do revolves around not false casting and that leads to some compromises.

About low flying clousers, I generate the problem one of three ways: On the Nauset beach berm, the slope is significant so the backcast must be aimed up. I use the high stop and dirft, as was mentioned. The forward cast must also be aimed up, creating a shallow "V" path resulting in the clouser dipping down on the way through as it crosses the bottom of the "V". I also tend to rush the cast if I have obstacles behind me (the berm, stupid gawkers, etc.) and this results in the typical kick under and slap into the sand. The third problem is harder to avoid -- an overly energetic backcast caused by the clouser getting "stuck" in a rising wave crest then popping free with the rod deeply loaded from the effort to free it. I found that if a wave crest formed under the clouser as I was in the process of lifting it free, it tended to "stick". When the clouser hits the end of the backcast, there's a bounce, the rod unloads and the clouser tends to drop.

The Belgian minimized all three problems, however, the best I could get out of it was about 90'. OK for when they're in tight but obviously not good for reaching a blitz some ways off.

When casting sinking heads + clousers, I don't aim for tight loops thanks to the lousy flight characteristics of short, dense heads, A big loop, or the "lay down" I get from the Belgian doesn't seem to hurt the distance much.

I will be working on a sidearm backcast in to an overhead forward stroke as that seems to promise the best of both worlds. It simply a Belgian with a pause, waiting for the cast to straighten out. Any kick at the end of it is a lateral movement instead of vertical, so in theory the clouser should clear my head by a comfortable margin.

Back to one of my original questions -- do you think a couple of roll casts would like spook close-in fish?

06-14-2005, 11:25 AM
"When casting sinking heads + clousers, I don't aim for tight loops thanks to the lousy flight characteristics of short, dense heads, A big loop, or the "lay down" I get from the Belgian doesn't seem to hurt the distance much."

Well you gotta try the new airflo or rio over head lines. They throw lazer loops. Open loops are no good in windy conditions.

I still say if you stand up on the berm you do not need to aim your backcast up. Chaging casting planes alot in my mind is a little dangerous with a big fly. I strive to keep things in line and only throw one backcast.

As far as a roll cast disturbing fish. I doubt it in sloppy surf conditions. On the flats though it would probably spook fish.


06-14-2005, 12:43 PM
Sean, are these new lines heads or full lines? I'm only interested in heads. I have two 12 wt. full lines as backups but the heads are my main lines.

BTW, if I stand on the top of the berm, I don't have a problem withthe plane of the casting path, but where I was standing last week, I had no choice but to throw a "V" path if I went overhead. I'm not comfortable with the idea of standing on the top of the berm as the backcast covers too much beach area that may be occupied.

We had problems with a couple last week who seemed intent on getting hit. We were not sure if they were just stupid, being obstinate, PETA PITAs, or somebody looking to generate an injury lawsuit. The three of us were lined up about 50' apart and they stopped directly behind each one of us for a minute or more, right in our backcast lanes. They were quite deliberate about it. Anybody else had this happen to them?

06-14-2005, 04:26 PM
They are shooting heads with integrated running lines. At first I started with the old airflo heads but they just do not perform all that well. They were designed for single handers and it shows when casting at distance.

Really you need 2 lines to fish the cape. An intermediate and full sink. I carry one reel and an extra spool and it takes just as long to switch a head as it does a spool. The airflo lines were designed specifically for the atlantis and it shows. Rios are also outstanding as well. A thousand times better than any other shooting head out there.

Plus there is no hinging and the head slides nicer through the guides. I was skeptical at first but am now a convert to these new class of lines. They rock.


06-14-2005, 05:33 PM
The man knows of what he speaks!

As part of this whole two-hand adventure, I've messed around with many lines to meet this application.

It started out: "I'll make this work!"

Then... "wow - that isn't half bad"

Eventually to "if you do it right it's GONE"

and now it's "YAHTZEE!! BINGO!! SHAZAAM" :hihi:

Alright I am being a little over the top, but not by much. Sean and I were getting a little giddy the way the line would bolt out over the water and you should've seen it in Simon G's hands at Chatham. Being a gear head as you are, you owe it to yourself to give them a try. It used to be hard to match lines and find the stroke, now if you are not totally blown away it's time to work on your casting :lildevl:

The research period is over, IMHO it's time now to enjoy what's resulted from the cooperative work of anglers, rod makers and line makers. Who knew that drag played an important role in CASTING :smokin:

06-14-2005, 05:46 PM
There are also times more often then not when a floating line will out fish a subsurface line any day.When the fish are right in tight to the surf break,cruising along the steep angle structure line,all it takes is a roll cast to keep the fly in the strike zone.

06-14-2005, 06:02 PM
AAACK!! I have to buy another line? ;)

Oh well, I got the rod, I got the reel, might as well have the line. When will these beasties be available to the great unwashed?

06-14-2005, 06:12 PM
The RIO lines should be out now. Think a few shops out this way have them. I think Juro said the 12wt is the one to get for the big atlantis. I have the airlfo lines through a local shop but have heard others have had problems getting them. They should be avail though. They are called the Surf Tamer line and match up perfect with the big atlantis.


06-14-2005, 06:51 PM
Thanks, I'll get one before next year comes around. The bane of my existence -- at best I only get one shot a year at Ms. Striper.

Last year I did OK with just an intermediate and this year the other two did better than me with just an intermediate so I'll probably survive with that and keep a different reel with the head system, just in case . . . .

06-14-2005, 06:53 PM
Juro and I will more than likely be at the grand river clave come October. We will bring the lines with us so you can try them out.


06-14-2005, 08:02 PM
Thanks, looking forward to it and to meeting you.

The clave is shaping up to be quite the event this year.