Fast Food Stripers? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fast Food Stripers?

06-08-2009, 04:08 PM
Alright, who’s been educating our stipers on the pitfalls of fast food? Took the Rip Ryder out to NMY yesterday and confronted many, many, pods moving at feeding pace across the flats. The conditions were perfect and pods could be spotted easily in the distance. Fish would follow and inspect every pattern presented with very few takes. Tried varying speeds, depth, “setting the plate”, etc. but they seemed to be in full summertime, tight lipped mode. It appeared as if they were not hungry but more curios about the fly. If they weren’t feeding why would they be on the flats? Are they just in such a leisurely mode that they don’t mind following the bait for a very long distance? This time of year I’m used to seeing them rapidly address the fly and making a quick decision to strike or flee.

While my catch to presentation ratio was low, it was one of the best times I’ve had on the flats. Seeing so many fish and getting to observe their behavior was fascinating. I wish I could do it more often.


06-08-2009, 04:39 PM
The retrieve seals the deal. Easy for me to say not being there eh? :D

But I'm convinced it's so. You have to make them eat when they won't do it on their own. If they are interested enough to follow the fly you can get them to commit with the right presentation. I recently was reminded of this after seeing thousands of bass and three of us throwing every fly in the book at them, in the end it was a deep eel and the right retrieve that accounted for 75-100 fish in two tides after hours of frustration.

Of course the more bluebird the day the more cautious the fish, but they can be had once their trigger impulse is solved.

Oh man I would have loved to be there in such perfect conditions - rainy, dark and cold the day before when I was out there. I had a feeling what I was seeing was only a slice of the pie!

06-08-2009, 10:02 PM
I think you’re right Juro. The whole day I felt like the presentation just wasn’t what they were looking for. The good news was I had plenty of opportunities to try different things, but I never quite figured it out. Most of the day was fished with a sand/white deep eel. I tried stop and go retrieves with varying speeds and timing, I tried constant strips, even very subtle movements of just a few inches but in the end I ran out of things to try. I guess I just need more time out there. This brings me back to my original thought. If these fish are on the flats to feed, why are they so picky? Isn’t there competition with the other fish in the pod that would force a quick strike? Why are these fish so patient while feeding? It seems unnatural. Ever watch a bunch of engineers when a pizza is thrown on the table…you could lose a finger in the mayhem. :biggrin: Are these fish that smart?


06-09-2009, 12:06 AM
I'm not sure "smart" is the right term, but particular - definitely. The bluebird conditions exemplify this.

Recently despite several thousand fish (see the video I posted) and after trying every fly on the boat from crabs to bangers it was a particular presentation with the same fly you used (deep eel) that unlocked their lips - and there were many other boats throwing everything in the tackle box around us throwing gear from which we saw only one fish hooked. Once I dialed it in four casts in a row resulted in four fish and we did well from there with it.

When a presentation results in consistent success among the ranks of many other anglers (as it did for us last weekend) including those throwing gear who are having no action it's a sure indication of that being the key factor.

Luckily, each day (even each tide) is different and those same fish can turn hot in a flash!

06-09-2009, 12:35 PM
I may sound odd , but recently I have had some success with some pods by dropping the fly right on top of them. It seemed that it triggered the competition factor that time. Sunday, It actually happened by mistake with a bad cast that prompted a strike instead of a spook.:confused:

06-09-2009, 06:29 PM
Ok Juro, you’ve convinced me. I have a lot more learning to do. I also have this notion in my mind that as soon I as I figure it out everything will change. I think that’s what’s so appealing about the flats though, something is different every time out. Not to mention it’s one of the prettiest places on the planet.

06-09-2009, 07:59 PM
John, since i don't know what presentation Juro used, I have 2 comments:
1. when I have had the experience you described, I cast out about 3 ft quatering to the lead fish and just let the fly sit no has worked for me;
2. On Morris the other day...the fish were slurping the surface and taking small 3/4 inch shrimp flies with a very slow drift/twitch and drop retrieve.
Then again....sometimes nothing works...but i agree........opportunity is exciting even if the catching stinks.

06-09-2009, 08:51 PM
Not to sound like a broken record but... rules of sight fishing in order of priority (again):

1) presence of fish (if they aren't there then there will be no catching period)

Know the locations, patterns of approach, habits and tendencies on given tides, wind, and times of day.

2) mood of the fish

When they want it, they will fight each other for any fly in your box and chase the hooked one around. When they don't they might as well have zap-a-gap on their lips. Most of the time they are somewhere in between on the flats - picky but can be had.

3) presentation

Where there are many flies that can seal the deal, there are very few presentations that will. Positioning, element of surprise, retrieve speed / cadence - all matter. There is no one presentation, but they may want it a certain way and it's up to us to find that for the given situation on any given day or tide. You'd be surprised at some of the ones I've had phenomenal success with, just plain bizarre presentations. Try them all, and put them in your arsenal.

4) fly

I rarely start with anything other than a deep eel, not switching until I have #1-3 exhausted. Sometimes a crab, a surface fly or some odd thing like a yarn worm will do the deed when the eel won't but that's very rare. Usually it's a matter of using the right retrieve or finding another pod that is hunting instead of loafing around.

Now that the Southway is a thing of the past, here's a specific example. Off the Rip Ryder there were often a few pods milling around just to the south of the rendezvous in the dog days. Always a lot of people fishing them, some would stay all day trying.

I would stop, take a few shots and watch their reaction. Some days they would hammer the fly, other days they were impossible. We'd leave those fish and their entourage of anglers and head down to the humps (you know the spot).

Down there the fish were big and working the striations in the sand on the (now extinct) ocean water flush looking for something to kill. Still not easy but a well-made presentation would be rewarded with a grab.

Funniest part is how the anglers at the first flat by the rendezvous would still be there, skunked when we walked back to the ferry.

I try to manage the day for an overall success and don't get hung up on one pod. This takes a good amount of research and even more faith.

Flats fishing is great isn't it? Like a big gorgeous puzzle beckoning to be solved.

06-10-2009, 08:29 PM
John - One of the fish I managed to fool was under the same situation. I noticed the pod late and made a cast right over them instead of in front. To my surprise it didn't spook them and one jumped on my fly. What seemed like a hundred perfect casts yielded nothing.:confused:

Ron - Thanks for the tip on the no retrieve method. I didn't try that one...and of course the one Juro used! :o

Juro - Thanks again for reiterating the rules. I know them forwards and backwards but when you’re out there, and a pod of 50 stripers is bearing down right at you, and you know you only get one shot, it's hard to try something bizarre.


06-10-2009, 09:09 PM
John...the "bizzare " no retrieve was tried because I tried everything else. It was out of desparation :) I was at the point of "what difference does it make, I can't get any of them to hit or follow". On other days like that...I must admit I just resolve myself to target practice. I do agree however, if one pod is not responsive then find another one. After all, we can't be that bad :chuckle:

There are so many suble things to learn out there...a few years ago I got to fish with an old sage who walked my butt off sad to say....we came upon a pod of 30 fish in a large depression just circling around. I got excited....he said "don't bother"...after about 20 casts getting no response he said...."look 40 ft to your lright at the drop"....I did and there were about 10 seals there. he said..."those fish are thinking only about surviving, not eating".

The best advice I ever got from anyone was from him........."if you want to catch more fish, don't fish to catch as your primary goal, fish to learn something new every time out (on good and bad days)....then you will be more successful". I wish i remembered his name...he had to be 75 and had either an Irish or Scottish accent...sadly, I never saw him again. But was very greatful that he led me by the nose all afternoon....he saw everything...tiny depressions, subtle creases between flats and one of my favorites...."see those 3 guys up there with their butts sticking coming" :chuckle:


06-11-2009, 03:41 AM
I agree completely.
1 when the fish have an attitude, they will have all of their fins flexed and ready for some action and have sort of swagger while moving around the flat. These fish WILL take your fly. On the other side when all of their fins are laid back pectoral and dorsal and moving fast it seems that they have lock jaw and they are on the move and going , who knows were ? Some will follow the fly and most wont. You will be very lucky to get one of them to take.

2 presentation another major factor.

06-11-2009, 07:04 AM
Ron - Thanks for sharing the great advise, "if you want to catch more fish, don't fish to catch as your primary goal, fish to learn something new every time out (on good and bad days)....then you will be more successful". I think this applies to a lot more than fishing.


06-11-2009, 08:51 AM
So true John!!! I have also had the pleasure of learning from Ken McK....he has the uncanny ability to actually pay attention to each of his when a fish hits, he actually knows what he has to do. In my opinion he is probably one of the most knowledgeable , successful, talented guy out there and there are many.
That's the secondary benefit of the fellowship of FFs out there.....most are very willing to share knowledge....and God knows...I take advantage of it and try to pass on to others what little I know. It can be very gratifying to see a rookie out there and help them know more at the end of the day than the beginning. Sharing is the best way to say thank you to those that shared with you.

One downside however.....I met a guy 3 yrsd ago who was on vacation who previously had only fished for trout. I looked at his fly that a certain store sold him that looked like a Chinese fire drill.....I gave him a fly and put him on a certain spot and on his first cast, he caught a keeper......if I ever meet him again, I wil have to kill him :chuckle: Did feel good however. :smile:

06-11-2009, 04:58 PM
Ron, It’s funny you mention passing on the knowledge. I was introducing a colleague of mine from Nijmegen to striper fishing during this outing. He’s a fly fisherman but never fished the flats before. While he didn’t catch any on the flats…mainly due to my diminutive skills, he did get a 26” fish at the Big Girl Bar. It was his first striper and according to him “the largest fish he ever landed.” He was fascinated seeing all the fish on the flats and can’t wait to come back. Looks like the stripers have hooked another one of us. I hope he can forgive me!:chuckle: