The ongoing pursuit of hardtails has matured a bit, but by no means has it been as thoroughly learned as the striper. I recall when I landed a bonito as a teen on the south side and no one knew what it was! I'm glad I brought it home and ate it. That was one fat and tasty mackeral! ;)
I guess in retrospect I am glad it wasn't an albie :p
Over the years it's been an area of new discovery even in the gear guy's book, but from a true flyfisher's perspective I am curious to hear what you'd consider the secret sauce for hooking hardtail.
How do you set up? Into the fray or go for the deep runners? Match the hatch?
Season is here!
I will post my perspectives sometime this weekend but I am very curious to hear what others have found, no spots just tactics.
08-11-2006, 06:26 PM
If I get lucky enough to have them to myself,and resist the urge to run and gun:hihi:
I try to set up up current,hold my postion, and use a sink tip line:D
08-11-2006, 07:53 PM
Your number one go to bonito tactic should be to go to North Carolina in May!!!!:smokin:
Clearly the Yo-Zuri Hydro-Poper would be the go to tactic, it's really more a matter of putting it in front of the feeding fish and retrieving away from them, seems to be the same thing on the BF just bigger and faster, easier said than done though.
08-14-2006, 08:28 AM
Find a place where lots of them are feeding on the surface. Cast into them :D
Often the most productive methods are to work edges of rips (ledges where water tails off) at anchor and blind. Do I do that? Not often, but I would if I my wasabi had not been cracked open mid-way thru the boneclave.
When they are popping, do you try to put something that is a facsimile of the bait they're on, or do you use a popper with no resemblance to try to take their excitement to the next level and smash it? I like to start with a slider that looks like the bait they're on, thus variations of page's slim jim have been among my top goto flies when they are popping on the surface on silversides, sand eels.
Failing that I go under the fray and let the less ambitious feeding fish in the group pick up the fly fished like an odd cripple. I have to say this is actually much more productive for me in terms of hookups.
My experience is that hardtails, like stripers and coho salmon out west - get into what I refer to as "cloud-feeding" mode where they are looking for concentrations of tiny bait, much like we look for pods of migrating fish on the flats. When there are many pods, we are not likely to go for a single shot. OK well I have done that after so many fish that it got boring, but fish aren't likely to entertain themselves that way.
When cloud-feeding any fish is challenging. Of course one or two or more can be had but not proportionate to the number of fish there. When the bait is larger and they are singling out individuals to eat the fishing gets ridiculously good for the fly angler.
One thing that opened my mind right up was the effectiveness of Chuck's big honkin' spin popper at boneclave last year. Even when the fish were finicky an agressor could be weeded out of the group using a mega popper at breakneck speed. Hardtails have an achilles heel in their fast beating hearts - they can be excited into striking with something ridiculous, so somehow I want to translate that into more success with the fly.
Of course it's all up to the fish - sometimes they are acting "normal" and a good cast into the fray will do the deed. In those cases it's simply a matter of right place right time. But when they are being damn finicky.... that's when we have to be smarter than the average bear.