Best Advice Received [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Best Advice Received

04-27-2011, 11:03 AM
In an effort to get some positives going again.........I am initiating this thread and hopefully we can have some positive sharing.
The thread: Best advice you ever received from someone else re fishing (esp stripers, but not limited to them specifically.........humor accepted) :)

I have two:
1. When I first started out not knowing my reel from my tippet and having no success what-so -ever on the flats....I met a senior gentleman who had a thick Irish brog(sp).....don't remember his name sad to say. After his watching me flail unsuccessfully for a morning, he came over and asked me if I wanted to join him. I learned more from him in 4 hrs than I did the whole previous year.
He asked me what my goal was....I answered catch stripers. He said..."that is why you are not being successful....your goal should be to learn at least one new thing every time you go out...if you do will catch fish"
He went on to make me aware of subtle changes in flats, current direction, swimming behavior to determine mood of fish, presentation, bait and bait behavior etc.
To date...I have tried to do this everytime I go out....actuallly learning something new is often more rewarding than catching fish....but that made be an "age thing"...I hope I never know it would take 1/2 the fun out of fishing for me;
2. From Ken Mc paraphrase because he demonstrated rather than attention to every retrieve you make, don't just aimlessly cast and retriieve...try a certain retrieve to at least 3 fish, if it doesn't work, vary the retrieve and pay attention...change fly if fish appear to be in a feeding mood and tried retrieves failed. I have yet to fish with anyone who had a higher cast to catch ratio than Ken...he studies everything and was a great role model.

Hopefully others will share........if there is interest....maybe a thread can be started on "what you have learned re striper behavior and techniques". I am sure that most of it will be "common knowledge/old hat" for most....but there are newbies out there like we were and it could be a great resource for people or simply verify that what we have seen and learned has been seen by others as well.
Much appreciated,

04-27-2011, 11:49 AM
keep the fly in the water

04-27-2011, 11:51 AM
Taught to me by my grandfather "take this rod ,go flair away with it ,have fun,ask questions and by all means don't give a GD about how you look or what others think,just go have fun.:hihi:

Jim Miller
04-27-2011, 11:55 AM
keep the fly in the water

keep your fly zipped! :whoa: :tsk_tsk:

seriously...a great thread. I will give some thought to an appropriate post. :D

Paul J
04-27-2011, 12:18 PM
A couple of basics- which i still need to remind myself of at times
Limit your false casting to two backcasts- more time fishing less time casting.

On the boat if you cast barefoot you know when your standing on the line.

check for line twist and do something about it


04-27-2011, 01:27 PM
Back in 2003 out on the flats..... visit this forum

04-27-2011, 02:03 PM
"This one time at band camp..."

Good thread Paxton-

1. Salt- fly don't catch fish in the air; fly catch fish in the water.
2. Fresh and salt- spend at least as much time looking and watching as you casting.:smokin:

04-27-2011, 02:21 PM
"Chuck it out as far as you can, feed in more line, and let it swing"

The Estey Swing (for the Monomoy pt rip)

04-27-2011, 03:03 PM
1. Fish one area a lot and really learn it - don't chase after the next "hot" area.
2. To succeed at #1, spend a lot of time in an area at low tide during daytime and learn where the structure is and how it might impact fish behavior.

04-27-2011, 03:10 PM
"Never cast with the wind blowing against your casting shoulder"- whispered to me by the first clouser I ever bounced off the back of my head- OUCH....:roll:

04-27-2011, 03:22 PM
Good idea for a new start.

Not really advice I've recieved but observations I have made or gathered from multiple sources about flats fishing which is what I like the best.

Always look at the bottom of a flat and see if there is evidence of life, also if it's a shallow flat that gets bare at low tide it's a good sign if there's evidence of clamming.
Pay attention to all slight changes in depth, the troughs are the travel routes the small holes can be feeding stations, if you stare down into them and see shadows moving in and out of the dark spots you're looking at fish.
When the light is bad, a lot of times all you will see is a quick flash or a hint of a dark form but if you can get a fly out quickly you'll often be rewarded.
When fishing under bright sun use no flash whatsoever.
Get a hat with a dark under brim and a bill that curves down around the sides of your polarized glasses.
Make sure your fly is sinking to the level of the fish, they'll go down, but they're
reluctant to come up.
Learn to deliver the fly quickly and on target, practice making casts with only one backcast out to sixty feet of so.

Nothing here for veterans but for people getting started flats fishing it's the stuff I find important.

04-27-2011, 04:08 PM
These are great..........must admit I have been very guilty of too many of them...especially leaving fish to find fish......duh!!!!!!!!!
Thank you for the contributions, am looking forward to more.
The flats contribution is of personal interest to me as that what I do 90% of the time...there are so many little keys to being more successful....maybe if those of us who do primarily flats fishing, we can expand on what has already been written.
It be interesting to find out if we are seeing the same patterns and variables, not to mention ones we were not aware of.

04-27-2011, 04:21 PM
as this is only my seventh year, I have recieved a heap of advice (much of it from here !)

the best advice I've had was to sit and watch the water before you tye on a fly.

Stevo (Binckesy) advised me that if you're catching in one spot, to change your fly occasionally to up your catch rate, and present something new to the fish - i find that works in both fresh and salt.

I also got good advice from Craig - CSJ60 about beach fishing, use straight through 20lb tippet and don't worry about the fly colour too much. if the fish are there, they are hungry.

Always watch the water carefully when walking the beach to/from a spot

also, on foggy or cloudy days big fish may run right along the beach, so try to hit those - even in late July/early August.

buy and use good glasses. keep a spare in the car. and a towel.

A new piece of advice that I was given this year was - why drive for 75 miles south in July and August when you should be driving 75 miles NORTH to the cooler water.

Ipswich, NH and Maine will see my fly line this summer :hihi:



Green Ghost
04-27-2011, 04:30 PM

This discussion gave me a different perspective about fishing the salt and striper behavior in general. I do that more now than ever before and I definitely learn something every time I am out there. I do not quote these words as sacred, but many posts so far are expressing a similar theme. Tight lines. It won't be long now.

04-27-2011, 06:23 PM
Juro.....a there a vehicle available on this site in which these contributions/observations/techniques/facts etc. could be organized and placed in some sort of "reference guide"/ file?

I don't feel that this material should be lost once the thread is done. Maybe it could be titled "Striper Facts for Beginners and The Experienced"...or whatever other title you or others may suggest.

Once this thread has run it's course, I would be willing to make a list of all the contributions received and categorize them by:
- Philosophical
- Humerous
- General
- Flats facts
- Equipment
- Surf (if we get some)
- Blind fishing techniques (ditto)
- Rips (double ditto)
- etc...........there may be more categories ...just an example of what might be possible.

I know I would review it (I've picked up at least 4 to 5 things so far myself) and it made me think and examine what I do...would be a good general resource for those just starting out as well.

Even better would be if folks could either add to it themselves or send their contribution in to be added to the appropriate section.

Just a thought.

04-27-2011, 07:16 PM
Great post! Just reading the reply's to date has reminded me of things I have forgotten about or discarded and that alone is beneficial. One thing I was told, too many years ago to admit but still worth remembering, "It is never exactly the same, even in the same exact spot, so be willing to always try something new and different."

Thanks for getting this started.

Pete Readel

04-27-2011, 07:18 PM
Like Mark, this is my 7th year of fly fishing. One great piece of advice I was given came from JimS. I doubt he remembers. He and I and few other guys were on the Ryp Ryder heading out to N. Monomoy. It was my 2nd year and I didn't know **** from shinola ( my Dad's favorite expression) Being new to the sport, I asked him a few questions about what flies to use and he understood, probably from the rookie look on my face, that I needed a lot of help. He told me to use a chartreuse and white sand eel and to join the fly fishing forum. Not only did the sand eel work, my time here on FFF has been especially helpful. For example, getting to see Pete's artistry at the vise. It opened my eyes to new possibilities. I've managed to tie a couple of his bug bond flies and can't wait to try them out. Of course, I will blame Pete if they don't work! :D


04-27-2011, 07:33 PM
Also from Jim, on fishing the flats : "If you're above your thighs, there's a good chance there are fish behind you."

04-27-2011, 08:00 PM
Speypages has a "Spey Basics" forum. Perhaps " salt basics " ?

04-27-2011, 10:42 PM
Wonderful topic for a thread.

I fish for Silvers (Coho salmon) a couple of times a year in Alaska. I'd have to rate them as one of my five favorite fish.

That being said, besides the advice you get, sometimes important, fish-inducing concepts come to you when you're well away from your quarry in both distance and time.

Silvers can be easy enough to provoke, but they become bored and indifferent very readily. Some good advice I got from somewhere stressed changing the fly often. I've seen many examples of this principal in action: wade in behind another angler who's been flogging the water for hours unsuccessfully and pull a fish out from practically under his waders (all decorum maintained -- not crowding in on someone). It's no big thing, raising the fish, it's just showing the school a different fly. Your unsuccessful angler will most likely tell you he hooked a fish just as soon as he started fishing, but hadn't hooked any since. He naturally assumed he had a hot fly and confidently continued to use it. I've made this error hundreds of times.

Sometimes, there is a hot fly. The fish will let you know after ten casts or so.

Go to fresh fish. This is a corollary of the "change your fly often" principal. Keep moving to fresh schools. They haven't seen your bug yet and chances are, one of them will be eager to chomp it.

The last bit of Silver lore I write down here is something I figured out away from the fish in both time and distance. We fish one estuary with very strong runs of Silvers that show on the outgoing tide. The lower the tide, the stronger the runs (sort of counter-intuitive since the fish are so visible as they come over the bar). Common practice is to cast ahead of the schools (you can see the Vee approaching for a hundred yards and more) and swing the fly ahead of the leaders. You can do this lots and lots of times. With no result at all. The fish just pass you by.

However, cast the fly smack dap in the middle of the school, and "wham" some crazy back in the pack will smack it. I think it must be a competitve reaction thing. Who knows. But when I tried doing this, after it dawned on me one winter that it might work, it did. Often enough to keep it in the hopeful bag of tricks.


Kodiak Dreamin' in Waldport

04-28-2011, 06:23 AM
Dreamin Kodiak, cast the fly smack dap in the middle of the school,...we have a somewhat similar experience with stripers on the, unless actively feeding are dificult to get.......find a pod of 3 to 5 fish however and that 'competitive response" usually occurs....the only difference is that a lead cast is required as to not spook the flats Spring, often there are large pods of 50 + those times, slinging in the pack will work.

With our sight fishing for stripers on the flats ...likelyhood (not a hard and fast rule, just a tendency)......the order of best chance to catch a fish are:
1. large pod
2. small pod
3. a fish or multiple "flashing fish" (actively feeding)
4. single fish swimming in a zig-zag manner (searching for food)
5. slow swimming fish (may be looking for food or at least thinking about it)
6. a fish or small pod swimming fast in a straight line (just going from pt A to pt B )....usually not feeding.

At least this pattern is what I have observed. If I sight fish and have a choice between the above situations, I will shoot for the higher likelyhood fish.

04-28-2011, 08:34 AM
Good thread Ron. Really got me thinking.

1. Get priorities straight. Fish are not as important as family.

2. Be more patient. Find a fishy spot. Wait. The fish will come.

3. Just go fishing! Don't sweat the details so much. This is supposed to be fun!


04-28-2011, 09:05 AM
Fortunately I have never been in any desparate situation, but I like to carry a compass if I am wading out onto a flat very far from shore. Fog can sometimes materialize fairly quickly, obliterating visual reference, so knowing the proper direction to head back to shore could be important. A GPS unit (with working batteries) should serve the same function.
I sometimes carry a small whistle, to potentially attact attention, though again I have never had occasion to use it.

04-28-2011, 10:16 AM
"Just go fishing! Don't sweat the details so much. This is supposed to be fun!"

Phil, that may be easy for are not an "anal retentive Virgo " like I am :D

GM....great point...sad to say 3 yrs ago, I DID get lost in a fog that just materialized instantly with no warning.....fortunately I had a compass and walked into a clammer's boat (thank God) heart still pumps fast thinking of it.
I now take no risks...I will die for my family but not a to fish another day!

FYI to all....this weekend I will start listing and categorizing all that has been contributed so far....put it on "Word" so it can be added to as needed and I'm am happy that folks have expanded the thread to observations, techniques etc. It certainly has made me think about my fishing (sorry again Phil :D )

Have never tried to attach a document to this site...but will try (I have the computer skills of an earth worm)...that way folks can not only have an opportunity to read it in summary form, but more importantly can edit anything I may not have interpreted accurately from your posts.

Hopefully, if desired and possible, it can become some sort of readily accessible document for general referrence that can be added to as we continue to learn.

It still bothers me personnally that a fish with such a small brain, out wits me more often than not :smokin:


04-28-2011, 10:52 AM
40 years ago I was fishing in Ireland on the Midland lakes and I met two young Welshmen (I was young then, too). They told me to always sharpen my hooks - no hooks were sharp out of the box back then.
I started off with a carborundum slip, moved on to a diamond nail file which I still use for small flies and now carry a ceramic sharpener for the saltwater & pike flies, etc. It's become second nature to check and touch up the hook point before and during fishing and I know I hook and land a lot more fish.

My father and grandfather took me flyfishing on small streams and taught me to wear drab clothing, keep my silhouette low and move slowly. The knees were the first part of my hip boots to wear out. It surprises me how many flyfishers I see standing bolt upright and wading like a water buffalo (but that's OK, it leaves more fish for me!).

Finally, I've picked up too much advice from this site to be able to list it all. However, the phamous Penguin phlies - phantastic! Make my pheeble ephorts phade into isigniphicance!

04-28-2011, 11:39 AM
[QUOTE=Paxton]"Just go fishing! Don't sweat the details so much. This is supposed to be fun!"

Phil, that may be easy for are not an "anal retentive Virgo " like I am :D

Ron. I, like you, am often frustrated but I learned that life is to short to let those pea brain fish make me crazy. Another thing I learned. Chatham is 2.5 hours away from my house. It is and always will be worth the drive even if I get skunked on the flats. Sometimes they win but I never really lose. If I hit one good day after several skunkings in a season it just keeps me coming back! I once got skunked and drove home pissed off. That doesn't happen anymore. I am just happy to be alive and walking in the sand I love. Even better........... if you or someone else that was so helpful, joins me for that walk.


04-28-2011, 03:13 PM
Tony Stetzko was the featured speaker at last nights Cape Cod Salties. For those of you who may not know him, he landed a 73 lb striper in the surf (spinning rod) and has landed many 30 and 40 pound stripers on the fly rod and guided many of his customers into big fish.

What Tony stressed last night was absolute attention to details ( such as weather, tide,time, bait, etc.). That no matter how long you have been fishing there is always something new to learn and if you approach fishing in that light every trip will be successful and you will also probably even catch fish.

I've been saltwater fly fishing for 47 years and boy do I have alot left to learn!


P.S. Bonefishmon - I'm with you. Learn to enjoy the fishing. Catching is just the icing on the cake!

04-28-2011, 11:24 PM
When I was 10 0r 12 a friends father who took me fishing along with his large brood told me. "Slow down and have fun. Fish or no fish." I try really hard to remember this simple statement.

Alosa52 aka Shadfreak

05-01-2011, 06:14 PM
STRIP SLOWLY:chuckle: :chuckle:

05-01-2011, 07:09 PM
Ummmm Kimosabe, what do really mean by stripping slowly? Just wondering....:hihi:


05-01-2011, 07:23 PM
Kimosabe...a multi application recommendation if I have ever seen one. I sincerely appreciate your getting my mind off of fish and on to other more important things in life. Thanks!!! :smokin:

05-02-2011, 01:07 PM
You fellers should be warned that Kimosabe is not right in the head...:Eyecrazy:

05-02-2011, 04:18 PM
Taught to me by Capt Joe LeClair when fishing for finicky albies is to make sure the fly is moving before it hits the water and make long two handed strips as fast as you can.

05-03-2011, 08:40 PM
From Aaron Adams' web site, watch how the bait is behaving to determine how fast to move your fly. Last summer there was a video on this site of stripers on a flat zooming around at high speed chasing bait, in a situation like that a swinging fly or slowly stripped fly is very ineffective, a fly that is ripping along will get hits, you won't hook up every time but often enough.

05-04-2011, 12:16 PM
The one thing I remember learning early on and now preach over and over again to those starting out is to keep the rod tip down and watch the line. This one thing will increase your your hook up ratio significantly, the landing part is another lesson.

The other thing is I tell people when they hook a big fish is not too panic, go slow, enjoy it and keep steady pressure on the fish, As long as the fish is moving forward slide the fish up on to the beach or into the net. As long as the fish is moving forward your good, just remember a fish can't swim backwards, they can only push them selves forward so their is no need for sudden jerks.