Brewsters Flats in wet suit [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Brewsters Flats in wet suit

Mike Oliver
12-09-2007, 01:12 PM
Guys last year I fished the flats at All Saints arriving at 1.5 hours before low water. It was an incredibly brutal day with high winds that made casting for the right hander nigh on impossible. The best place to be was on the far side of the big sand bank. Only way was to swim across at the western end where the channel was not very wide. I did this and it was not the best decision I ever made as swimming without flippers and carrying a stripping basket and rod was pretty difficult. Put it this way I was glad when I got to the north side of the bar. I took a few fish but was conscious of the flooding tide and did not fancy a repeat of my early swim so bailed out early. Now I did see three other guys turn up after I left and they were having great sport but obviously knew the flats and how they could get off them without drowning.
So my question is to you Guys in the know is how doable is it to stay on the sea ward side of the sand bank and then to swim back in with the incoming tide. This is wearing fins and of course a wet suit. I don't expect to get out on the beach directly opposite from where the swim starts of course due to current.

12-09-2007, 03:11 PM
The current pushes through there pretty good on a strong flood - not excessive but it would be hard work staying on a bearing and hauling gear .

I've done it many times in the kayak and that's the way to go imo unless you are a very strong swimmer.

Mike Oliver
12-09-2007, 04:12 PM

Thanks. Yes ideally a Kayak would be a great way to learn more about the current strength etc. Problem is getting hold of a decent kayak being a tourist.. American Airways I bet don't alow them on even as carry on baggage.

If I am to do this then the stripping basket does not come with me. Less is more on this kind of approach. 12 flies, spool of tippet material, whistle. light and one rod and reel that's it. All swimming is done on your back no arms at all. I have skished a little on LI so not completely a novice but each mark has it's own hazards and risk assessment is important if you want to stay alive. I would not intend staying too long into the flood before swimming back. First time out it would be more of a very deep wade. You have to learn by degrees a bit at a time. It may be too dangerous to attempt which is why I am looking for some guidence here.

12-09-2007, 05:22 PM
Don't BUY it...RENT it! ;)
The Penguin knowz where there is an Aquaterra Keowee hanging in some obscure rafters...:smokin:
It's a tiny stealth tupperware boat with a BIG cockpit and just the sort of appliance that allowz for maximum loiter time over target with a safe (and dry) egress back to terra firma when the flood ownz the phlatz...:whoa:
As a shameless jesture of International Good Will and Detante...perhaps a resonable security deposit and some treatz for the Girlz (Lucy & Dingo) could free it from the rafters...:D

Mike Oliver
12-10-2007, 04:50 AM

I did consider renting a Yak and would also need the roof rack of course. But the swim thing can be fun in it's own right to providing it's safely doable. I guess I enjoy the challange but I don't deliberately go for suicide either.


12-10-2007, 11:07 AM
You're a braver man than I. Then again, I practically drown taking a shower.

12-10-2007, 03:57 PM
If you are out on the phlatz in front of an undisclosed parking lot and the flood is seriously under way...:eek:
Someone with a cell phone will, more than likely, make a 911 call to the state cops who will call the local polizi who will call the local rescue squad who will call the harbour master who will call the Coast Guard... :Eyecrazy:
If you get my drift?! :hihi:
...and let's not rule out amorous advances by depraved horsehead bull seals! :whoa:
Please let me know when you're planning to don your wet suit so that I can get some HD video footage... :D ;)

Mike Oliver
12-10-2007, 06:15 PM

I get your drift. Still chuckling. It's good that people care. Dam, can there be no adventure left in the world.

12-10-2007, 08:31 PM

with all due respect, the only problems you would solve are hypothermia, elimination of risk from wader impairment in motion and perhaps some degree of flotation.

Those are not compelling to me since the temps are not generally going to cause hypothermia in the dates you are in the US, the rod and stripping basket will impair you seriously unless dropped, and the flotation element would be much better served by something other than a wetsuit.

By learning the paths the fish take, particularly what I refer to as the terminal points in their strafing runs, you can back off along your own paths and still catch lots of fish as they encroach and even find them on full tides right up near the parking lot(s) especially in twilight hours tailing and hunting.

Sure being able to stay out past the tideline will catch you more fish but at what cost. That zone is best left to boats and frankly with some effort the shore angler can have great success - it just takes caution, aptitude and study time.

Although the sands shift constantly, there are nuggets of perennial knowledge that keep you on the safe side of the tide year after year and I feel that starting on the most cautious and working toward the limits is better than finding a way to beat the odds.

Many many fish have blown past already when the tide has made it difficult to get back in.

Also - get a Brewster beach pass at the town hall. Best deal in town and all day access to all beaches from the Orleans to Dennis town lines. Having all of them at your disposal puts less jaded fish in easy reach day to day.

In my past life as a part-time guide the mood of the fish has been second only to the presence of fish, then presentation and last - the fly. However all are important.


12-11-2007, 05:08 AM
Mike , Stearns makes an inflatable kayak that fits into it's own duffle bag. Another idea to think about. You wouldn't need a roof rack and it travels nicely . This would be better than trying to swim back to shore . Careful out there on the Brewester Flats. FishHawk

12-11-2007, 05:53 AM
Brewster flats are nice if you like catching little fish. Probably not worth swimming for.

Mike Oliver
12-11-2007, 09:55 AM

I hear you. The wet suit I wear is 5mm I also have a 1.5mm neoprene rash vest and on top I have a 3mm shorty to finish off plus a hood.. This lets you stand vertically in the water with your shoulders clear. It's what I wear in Oct and Nov on LI when skishing. There is no way you swim with a stripping basket or without fins. All swimming can only be done effectively on your back.

As no one has appeared to have taken this approach before I will adopt an extreemly cautious approach of a bit at a time so I can establish what happens current wise and water depth wise for a given point in the tide and location on the beach. I hope I don't do stupid. If it is not safely doable I promise you I will not attempt it. It's like mountain climbing you also have to be able to make the descent as well as the summit. The basic start and get off times I have been advised on and worked to on my one and only visit so far. The advice was good and allowed at least a 30 minute margin of error which was appreciated. The person who gave the advice knew we were newbies so gave the extra margin for error. One of our party was only 5 foot tall and that probably came into the reckoning to. LOL. Wish everyone was as sensible.

I also take on board your points regarding fish movements and staging points. Thanks for your considered reply I have listened very hard.


Mike Oliver
12-11-2007, 11:02 AM
Mike , Stearns makes an inflatable kayak that fits into it's own duffle bag. Another idea to think about. You wouldn't need a roof rack and it travels nicely . This would be better than trying to swim back to shore . Careful out there on the Brewester Flats. FishHawk


Thanks for the info. Inflatable kayaks, I wonder how much they get effected by wind on the sea. Will look into them further, Still fancy doing it by the wet suit if it's doable. I do something similar in a Welsh estuary but I know the mark much better of course

12-11-2007, 04:19 PM
Mike- I would take up Pete's offer instead. I've got a 14 ft Sea Eagle inflatable, and it is definitely at the mercy of the wind...will be looking into a sit-on-top once I work myself out of the poorhouse. Currents on the Bayside definitely high risk...would advise some form of flotation device and a reliable communication device while out there. We wouldn't want to have to explain your sudden disappearance to the local UK consulate:(

Mike Oliver
12-11-2007, 05:03 PM

Thanks for confirming my initial potential concerns regarding an inflatable yak. Floatation has to come from the wet suit and with 9.5mm over the top half of the body you are very bouyant. You can't swim effeciently wearing a PFD. The main concern is current and it's speed and direction. On LI there are reputed to be about 100 Guys who skish. This is not an entirley new thing, It seems that it has not captured the imagination of the Fishers on Cape Cod. Mind I can see why as you do have some serious currents on some of the marks I fished last year. Ok it's a minority thing on LI and most of the Guys think you are nuts. It' is not something you do lightly which is why I was enquiring about the hazards that exist. You have to accept responsibility if it goes wrong and self help is the first line of assistance. If this is beyond my capability I will not go there. The risk assesment starts on dry land.

Rather than drag this thread on I will committ to having a very serious look see from a kayak first ok. A couple of the guys above have very kindly offered to loan me a Yak.


12-11-2007, 06:04 PM

Have to admit when I first read your post I thought this guy is nuts. ;) But after reading the follow ups it sounds like you are in good shape and have an adventorous spirit but a level head. One device you may want to look into is a ResQFix PLB from ACR Electronics. Not cheap ($650) but is small and has a floatation pouch. If you do find yourself out there and something has gone wrong you can call for help.


Mike Oliver
12-11-2007, 06:26 PM

Have to admit when I first read your post I thought this guy is nuts. ;) But after reading the follow ups it sounds like you are in good shape and have an adventorous spirit but a level head. One device you may want to look into is a ResQFix PLB from ACR Electronics. Not cheap ($650) but is small and has a floatation pouch. If you do find yourself out there and something has gone wrong you can call for help.


Thanks for the info. I will check it out. I am 55 and you don't get to be that if you do totaly nuts. I am in good shape I do gym and play 5 to 8 hours of competitive sport a week. I also get swim fit to before I come over . But even that is not always enough insurance hence the enquiries. But I sense the unease so I am going to respond to that and try and suss it out from a Yak first. I have immense repect for the sea it can be a very scary place to be. As Paulie Melynk told me first time I skished if you aint scared you should not be here.

12-14-2007, 05:16 AM
Hey Guys,

How is the Great White population building up in those parts. Protected species, all those tasty seals and Mike in his wetsuit definitely not a protected species :)


Mike Oliver
12-14-2007, 09:48 AM

Any Great White would be able to smell that I am well past my sell by date.

I hear that you are coming out with your own group this year. It is likely that we may bump into each other then, maybe even OZ or Jamies's crew to if they decide to return to CC. We are well to the west of you and that route 26 does not get any nicer. I am going to grab a few days in Chatham area and bunk up in a cheap if they exist motel to save constantly driving from Cotuit each day.

12-17-2007, 02:37 PM

Anything that will eat rotting whale meat will find you quite a tasty snack!
Will be in the West Yarmouth area but will have our travelling boots on. Less than six months to go!


12-17-2007, 03:35 PM
I put in a fair amount of time scuba diving each year and I am in pretty good shape. From my experience I would warn you that even the slightest current can quickly become serioiusly exhausting if you are trying to buck it. Scoping it out in a kayak is a good idea but remember that bucking a current in a kayak is worlds different that trying to swim against it and if you don't have fins I would put it in the impossible category. Most currents run parallel to the shoreline so that shouldn't be a problem as long as you are not too particular about where on the beach you come out. If you want a sobering experience to see if you can do this find a wadable place with a current wade up to your waist with any gear you would plan to take on this adventure and then try to swim against it. My guess is that it wont take long before you decide to stand back up. If you decide to do it include in your gear kit a whistle, a compass, and a distress flag you could tie to the top of your fly rod - all very small easy to carry and potentially life saving items to have along.

Mike Oliver
12-18-2007, 02:44 PM

Thank you for your advice. It is very much appreciated and listened to. I fully agree that trying to swim against even a weak current is a no no. I would not even attempt that. I would be planning to swim across it . This is with the proviso that the current is running parallel to the beach at worst. Anything heading seawards and it's no thanks.

I don't much mind where I make a landfall as long as I make land in one piece. The amount of gear taken on a swim like this is minimal. Surf belt, small lure bag with flies. Whistle, light and rescue type blunt tipped knif. A compass and water proof VHF would be handy to.
The rod is carried under the arm whilst swimming. Fins are a must . If you lose them then you have to jettison your rod so you can swim on your front.

I will scope this whole thing out from a Yak first to see if it's doable. You may well ask well why bother to do it at all from a wet suit. Well I guess it's because I enjoy the adventure and the freedom of not having to cart a boat or Yak around. It is a bit like the guys who first started off fishing from Kayaks in the ocean and many regular boaters considered them extreeme.
I am going to attempt this in stages a bit at a time. I have no wish to drown myself or cause unnecassary work for the US Coastguard.
I do somthing similar in the UK but each spot has it's own dangers. Mostly you have to figure it yourelf as not too many people do this kind of thing.

Sean Juan
12-18-2007, 03:39 PM
I have a question?

How is this fun?

So you get where you want to be without incident. Now you are there fishing without a stripping basket, dressed in a wetsuit with flippers either on your feet or slung across your back, in a wet PFD and by the sounds of it most to the gear you have/will carry is non-fishing gear.

If you are scouting the area in a kayak then you have access to one...

Don't want to be a Nay-sayer but sounds like a lot of aggravation for very minimal gain.

Mike Oliver
12-18-2007, 04:38 PM

It depends on what floats your boat. When I first asked the question I had no easy access to a kayak I now have that thanks to a couple of the Guys above.

I don't need a stripping basket to still enable me to fish OK. I don't need to carry all the gear that most beach dry land based Fly Fishers tend to carry. Do you/they really need most of what you lump around. You can only fish one fly at a time on one rod and one reel.

Sean I don't wear a PFD they are too restrictive. The boyancy comes from the neoprene wet suit. The fins are carried on the surf belt. You only put these on when swimming back. This is a walk out to mark.

If you have ever fished Montauk and fished from the south shore rocks in the surf line you would realise the advantages that a wet suit gives over std Fly Fisher clothing. You learn to fish without a stripping basket, its not that hard if you are short casting and can use the non rod hand to do that.
To you having a short swim back lacks appeal whilst to me it adds to the total experience.
If you want to learn more about this kind of fishing look up Paul Melynks web site Mostly it's lure Fisherman who adopt this approach. Ok we can't fly cast whilst standing in water that is over our heads. Yes standing the positive boyancy of a good wet suit means you can suspend yourself without having to tread water. The wet suit in Montauk alows you to swim out to rocks or deep wade to them in water that is too deep for chest waders. If a wave knocks you off you just get dunked and just climb back on. It's not the end of the day as it would be wearing chesties. I am not saying this is mainstream stuff but I have been doing it for a few years now and to me it's fantastic fun.
As I said at the start it's what floats your boat.

12-18-2007, 05:55 PM
If you gotta do it, you gotta do it. But...
Saints landing to the edge of the outer bar is about 1.1 miles.

Long shore currents run west to east on the flood but inside the bar current direction is a function of the topology, it can be any which way. But on the incoming it'll tend toward shore. If you stay west of the channel that bends to the blue hole you'll probably be carried toward Paines and quivet creeks.

Once the tide gets going the backside of the outer bar fills in quickly so a swim could be close to a mile as the crow flys but probably more with the currents.

Kayaks can be a pain in the a$$ unless you have the time to fish a tide cycle. Ride the tide out then ride it in. Otherwise there's a lot of dragging of the yak over sand. Also, winds clockwise of SSW will create a lot of chop. SOT's or sprayskirts recommended.

IMHO the concept of skishing, at the location at least, is way overrated.

I also have a couple of yaks that you are welcome to borrow when the time comes.

12-18-2007, 06:51 PM
Or you could fish the sound side. Tide's won't drown you there unless you lay down and refuse to stand up ;)

12-19-2007, 11:46 AM
Mike maybe also check with the guys at saltwateredge in RI. Skishing is gaining popularity around these parts and most of the guys in the shop do it on a regular occasion and may have some cape cod experience with it. I am thinking about getting a wetsuit for next year as well. I think it is much safer then what I am usually wearing when wading deep amongst the rocks.

That being said I think a kayak is a better proposition for the bayside on the cape mainly due to the relatively flat sandy terrain and the crazy currents there. It looks like you will have a few to choose from when you get over here.


Mike Oliver
12-19-2007, 05:42 PM

That was very salient advice and very sobering. It's easy 6 months after the first trip to forget just how far you wade out. I am having a rethink, and will stick with wading and watching the currents and tide fore a while. If I get the time then the Yak and I will make a decision then. It's a similar process of sussing out back here. I have a favourite estuarary mark where I follow the tide to the bottom of the ebb and swim back with the flood. The current moves at a fair lick but to be fair it helps rather than hinders but there have been drownings in this location. I don't want to pee anyone off here especially as you have the advantege of more local knowledge than I can ever hope to gain on annual two week visits.


Nice to hear that I am not a lone voice amongt the Fly Guys who use the wet suit some of the time. It's just a fabulous way to fish near shore rocky terain where sometimes chest waders are too limiting. They are a good back up as well if you ever do get cut off and just need to take a short swim. In waders it's really scary in the wetsuit just scary.

12-20-2007, 04:55 PM
A couple of guys "skished" by me at Pt. Jude one dark night this year.

Kinda spooky seeing the outline of this guy "emerge" from the water about 50 yards out and appear to be standing on the surface with no visible means of support :Eyecrazy:

Actually, swimming at this particular location would be preferable to wading over the bowling balls.

Mike Oliver
01-05-2008, 12:16 PM

Yes, I understand. The first time I spotted a Skisher I was ready to call the Coast Guard until another Fisher explained what was happenning. The Skisher happened to be Paul Melynk and when he landed on shore I approached him and asked how to get into the sport I was so inspired by what I had seen. He had caught a 25lb plus Striper and the epic battle that resulted was just awesome. He spent a fair amount of the fight being towed by the fish. He offered to take me out and I accepted some 5 years ago now. Main stream this is not but in a detuned version it is great for fishing off small individual rocks say 20 to 50 yards off the beach and also for fishing a sandy beach where the shore break means you are going to get soaked if wearing std chesties. Its also good for getting onto steep beach sand bars at low water and walking the tops of them casting both sea wards and into the near side trough if sea conditions alow. I don't see many Fly Fishers doing any of this yet in fact to be honest none so far but I can't believe that I am the only person using a wet suit to fly fish in.

01-05-2008, 02:00 PM
This is interesting, although not for me... but it makes me ponder what methods of line management would be good for a flyfisher in a wetsuit?

Mike Oliver
01-05-2008, 03:20 PM

The method of line management varies with each very specific mark fished. If I am fishing a small rock that say sits in 5 feet of water around it then I can swim/deep wade to it with a std line basket if the surf conditions alow for that. If there is a possibility that I get swamped and knocked off my rock then I do without. Often in Montauk I am fishing the white water around 30 yards off the beach when a short say 12 yard cast is all that is required. It is easy to do all line management then with the normal line retriving hand. Wind permitting most casts are roll casts and the cast is not fished for long periods. You can't in fast moving roily water with real surf. Often the most successful cast is that one when you hold the fly steady against the water as it flows back out to meet the oncoming waves.
When I fish the South Shore beaches in a big NE wind you get a big shore break wave which will toss you around and again I will dispense with the line tray. Because of the high winds it is difficult to cast far enough to get over this wave and maintain line control by mending over the wave top as the wave is too darned big, Std chest waders just mean a very wet soaking, the wet suit alows you to fish happily slugging it out with this wave and have a lot of fun and catch a few fish. You don't need a tray again as you are lucky if you can cast even the head portion of your line. A line tray in such a situation is again a liability.
On the North Side it is possible to get well out onto smallish rocks near low water fishing a nicely flowing ebb current. Sometimes there is no surf and then you can take your line basket with you. The ability to cover the extra water can often although not always mean extra fish or the difference between catching and not.
Getting in amongst the fish is key, you will always find a way to figure how to cope with your line the best way you can, even if it means leaving your tray on the beach.