: First Peanut Bunker?
Time to tie juvies!
I saw the first freshly beached peanut bunker on South Beach last weekend, as well as some freshly killed young squid. The meelee must have occurred at night, not one fish was seen caught despite 50 or more anglers throwing everything from sand eels to plugs to metal to flies. I fished less than 2 hours but took the first skunk of the year, and never got back out to wet a line for the rest of the weekend.
Wife's happy but Saturday can't come soon enough!
08-08-2000, 07:28 PM
Fished some of the Falmouth beaches Friday and saw a "ton" of little peanut bunker around 2 to 3 inches. The bass and blues where hammering them all day into dark...........Because of their size, I thought they where sand eels until I was able to snag one. Once I put on a juvie pattern, the fish where much more cooperative.....It was great to see all of that bait !
What's everybody's favorite patterns?
08-08-2000, 08:35 PM
So that's what I saw at the Stage Harbor Light! Little guys about 4" eating the littler guys. (Saw Bob Pink cruise by too).
Are we talking wide profile? They seemed medium wide
08-08-2000, 09:10 PM
My favorite pattern is very very simple......I take some white Sea Hair or other type of full bodied synthetic and tie in by the eye being careful to stay as close to the eye as possible. I will then add a few strands of pearl flashabou on the sides. I then tie in a few strands of peacock crystal flash and some black crystal flash for topping on the back. I then shape with fine scissors to give profile. Then I add a large eye and epoxy the first quarter of the fly. Very simple, nothing special. Really it is a version of the Bonito Magic fly that you may have seen but with a wider (up and down) profile. Quick, easy and effective !
I also tie this pattern with Bozo hair using the white and then a few strands of the brown with some of the black crystal flash and peacock. I am starting to believe that the white and the profile mean more than anything else.....just my 2 cents !
i'm so outta here
08-09-2000, 08:30 AM
I've been seeing juvies in the Pocasset River for about a week now. Have yet to see them in and around Buttermilk Bay. Last night at Electric Ave it was silver sides and nothing but (and damn few fish bothering them http://18.104.22.168/images/flytalk/Sad.gif)
My favorite juvie fly is a polar fiber number that has become my "go-to". Yellow polar on top, chartreuse on the bottom, a whisp of white on each side, and a few stands of perl flashabooboo. Dip the head in softex and comb the rest out. Magic! I've also varied the colors going with olive on top for night fishing and mixtures of white and chartreuse for transitional light situations. One drawback of this fly is that larger patterns are difficult to tie because most polar fiber is very short and the extra long variety lacks the same texture and translucency. I'd like to experiment with some other synths on top to address this problem.
08-09-2000, 08:54 AM
My favorite pattern is just a regular old stand-by: big-eyed baitfish in 2-4" with purple (lavender) over grey over white with a solid clump of peacock herl and a big holographic eye. Sometimes I add olive. When wet, they slim right down to that little football shape.
In years past in the west end of the canal, that was pretty much the only fly I ever fished...
I can say that what you saw was snapper blues eating silversides, with some certainty. They are also interesting to stripers, I can tell you a tale about a huge cow coming hard for a snapper blue I was fighting last year. Only time I live-lined in a decade. http://22.214.171.124/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif (didn't work)
Like Jeff, I am a big-eye fan (all of Page's work in fact) but also derive my own patterns as he does. As mentioned in old posts, the use of hackles for rearward half and marabou abdomen is something I've been doing since my days out west for ocean coho >sigh< where the pacific herring are rarely more than 6 inches long as adults (although they do reach 10"-12" and are called horse herring at that size). The trick is to create a 'foil' behind the abdomen so that the hackles 'dance' in the turbulence, like a tadpole but not nearly as fat up front. Rabbit strips worked well in this manner as well. By omitting the tube (the latter was a tube fly) and using an 811s TMC hook, the pattern applied well to stripers when I moved back in '95. This was especially the case during the young bunker explosion over the last couple of years, although when there were too many around it took more than a good looking pogie pattern to get strikes (ie: the wacky experience). Overall, my "juvie" pattern was responsible for more keeper-sized bass in the latter half of the season than anything else over the rest of the season, although my best fish came on a deep eel on the flats last year.
I posted Juro's Juvie <!--http--><a href="http://flyfishingforum.com/cgi-bin/UltraBoard/UltraBoard.pl?Action=ShowPost&Board=coastal_fly&Post=4" target="_blank"> HERE </a><!--url-->
Now's the time to put your favorites in the archive! Also, a great time to post what you've learned from the awesome sand eel season that we've had so far.
08-09-2000, 10:42 AM
favorite juvie flies:
Plain ol' deceiver - white/lavender/gray/blue (bottom to top). I like to tie the hackle with some curving in and some curving out (paired, of course). I think this provides a similar effect to Juro's 'foil' - i.e., the hackle undulates.
Skok's Mushmouth - Dave's come up with an awesome fly!
After the stripers and blues have gorged on the little bunker for a while, they can get selective (i.e., a good bunker imitation won't work), so don't forget to carry and try some non-bunker flies for just such times.
My experiences are that when big fish are feeding on bunker *AND* there are not ten million of them in front of you, you'll do well with a bunker pattern. When the water is thick with bait, I do best by figuring out the behavior of the fish rather than the bait they're taking. What are the ambush tactics? When do they go ass over teakettle (tides/time of day) to fill up with abandon? Will a lone cripple do the trick? What alternate forage breaks thru the monotony for them?
For example, around breaks, bowls and jetty ends when pods of bunker are running through usually against the tide flow with cheeks flared feeding there are big fish waiting for schools to come by. Some fish run with the bait and attack once the obstruction becomes evident; others hang by the trap and wait. When a few pods of say a hundred pogies are moving quickly through, I fish the 'traps' with a pogie pattern and find big fish even at mid-day. When the fish decide they've got a pod trapped and start to attack, the lone cripple gets them almost every time. When in open water, the fish surround an open school of pogies and pound them, a sinking twitch does it for me best... a fly falling down from the pack with a twitch. Funny how poppers, swimmers, kastmasters and other offerings often do squat but a well fished fly gets constant action over a mass of small pogies in open water.
Other times it takes a big popper ("banger") fished on the periphery to do the trick - particularly if the game is blues. That's why I carry those humongous poppers in my flybox come pogie season.
Perhaps the best part of all this is that it brings really big fish close to shore, so even if they are a bit turned off by the abundance of bait they are there to have a crack at for shorebound fly mongers like me!
They also mark the start of the exotic season. Smitty taught me as a young guy that the blooming of apple trees marks the arrival of stripers to the area. I've noticed that when the first green apples get fat enough to fall, silversides take over the sound and the exotics appear on the islands. The south cape is not far behind!
can anyone point me to a good photo of a real(live) bunker , so I can see the colors? thanks, Tom D
08-10-2000, 07:43 AM
Ahh, but the colors are so changeable. That is one reason why a certain color combination works one day but not the next. For a real live (living) sample, go to the New England Aquarium. They have a tank with two species of Clupeids (the herring family of fishes, which includes menhaden), which will give you a great idea as to colors and shape.