9/2 finicky funny fish [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: 9/2 finicky funny fish

09-04-2000, 01:07 PM
Fished lower Buzzards Bay/Woods Hole/Vineyard sound Saturday, frequently in very thick fog with about 100' visibility. Flat calm, very few boats around, and pods of funny fish EVERYWHERE. The most I have ever seen. My buddy Ben took one right away on a yozuri crippled herring style spoon--turned out to be a spanish mack and his first exotic fish, which was nice.

The amount of fish alone made the trip fantastic, but unbelievably frustrating as I never even hooked up. There were fish rocketing out of the water everywhere--small macks and what I believe were bones, and definitely big Albies. However, they were finicky as hell and very skittish--in fact they were generally completely unapproachable. Since no one was around, I tried every boat approach from mild run and gun, to slow steady throttle, to slow appproach with a quick engine kill, to dead drifting with engine off, but we got very few quality shots into the pods, and when we did, they snuffed everything--bunnies, small epoxies, sparse Ray's flies, juve pogie deceivers, and small tin and bucktails on the spinning rods.

With almost no current out in the bay, it's tough to set up a "drift" and hope you float into a pod, as I have been able to do in canal for instance.

There was a ton of bait of various varieties. The spanish mack caughed up a few 1-2" pogies, bu I saw both smaller and bigger bait up to 4-5" in the water. COming back to the ramp defeted, i saw an older guy in a beat up boat filleting two bones, and he had a large white bomber on a spinning rod--I am having a tough time thinking he took those fish on such a huge lure but who knows. My instinct was to drop down to tiny #6 flies, but in all the excitement of just getting to the fish, i never made it below a # 2 pattern.

Simply an incredible day of witnessing and trying to learn fish behavior...and surprisingly no rude boaters in the fog, which was great, but I would have liked one fish for my effort! Any funny fish experts care to enlighten me? I am all ears.


p.s.--as an aside, Sunday I went out into Boston harbor, which was just loaded with acres of finning bass. They too were more finicky than normal, but very catchable. Still no blues for me in the harbor though, which was all I was getting this time last year...

09-04-2000, 02:25 PM

We had a similar situation with Albies a week ago. We would have these huge pods breaking in acre to two acre size schools for almost 90 seconds some times. We would get multiple shots with a "no-motor" drift and tried fast and slow retrieves. At that time, we where using bunny flies and silver side patters. After the 5th pod or so and no luck, I switched to a small (size 2) juvie pattern that is about an inch to an inch and half. That was the ticket....combined with a very slow if non existent strip, I got multiple hits on each cast into the blitz. My problem was hooking them ! I tied up more of these patterns and am trying a longer shank hook to see what happens........I will let you know....


09-04-2000, 04:11 PM
There's so much bait now, they can all afford to be finicky. Got a couple a few days ago, and noticed they were full of krill. Last year we had a similar situation offshore, and finally got it to work with size 4-6 Gotchas and Crazy Charlies, fished dead drift, almost in the film. I haven't tried it recently, but it did work on krill-gorging bass some weeks ago. As to approaching fish, there are so many pods that one can go to areas not normally associated with bonito, and just drift. I've been getting a couple of good shots per hour this way. A pair of big bait rods with lines off the stern confuse the passers-by as to what I'm actually doing, and they don't stop.:)

Bob Pink
09-04-2000, 06:46 PM
I was watching bass gulping krill along the Elizabeths on sunday and wondering how they feed on such a small bait. Do bass have the ability to close their rakers tighly enough to trap such a small bait as the water filters out? Pink &/or white on the gotchas?

ps; nice touch with the bait rods

09-04-2000, 07:06 PM
Talk about thumbing noses! We were right in the path of some frenzied hardtails today, churning right on top for 20-30 seconds until the boat got too close (which wasn't all that close!). They weren't runnin' and gunnin' (the fish that is) like last year, instead staying fairly stationary when they came up or taking on a moderate push vector with fish sometimes busting in several different directions at once seemingly undecided about the direction to push the bait. I recall seeing much more aggresive pushes covering more distance per strike session in years past, perhaps the bait was bigger and faster. At last year's boneclave they were screaming through the rip but much more willing to eat the fly.

Josko - fascintating that they were full of krill! Your technique of putting a small fly in the film is one I hope to try at the clave. The big rod decoys are sly, I love it!

Bob - will we have the privilege of your attendance next weekend?

John - I'll be tying bunkers from 1/2 inch to four inches like a madman for the clave... that's not a tornado onthe horizon, that's feather bits coming from my bench!


09-04-2000, 07:20 PM
Give us a clue on them bunker. Images? A general description will do.


09-04-2000, 07:53 PM
As far as the fish, we had a <!--http--><a href="" target="_blank">THREAD</a><!--url--> a while back on the topic. The ones out there today were fry, so young they had no spots yet although a some I looked at had spots where the scales were stripped off by gamefish. There were loads of them pushed up on the sand at Chatham recently and I took a close look. Also, all you have to do is pull sharply to snag one out there now. You could tell they were bunker because they have a bigger head to body ratio and are more keel shaped than a herring fry. I'm sure they are just a year class younger than the hordes of bunker we had last year... which makes me wonder where last years are?

dOh, I think you mean the fly... I plan to tie a variety of patterns starting with matched hackle juvies (see patterns) to polar fibre w/ angel hair to small bigeye baitfish-like variations of Page's pattern. I'll get on the digital camera when these hit the vise on the week nights after work, I might even tie during lunch hour!

I will also tie a number of silversides, and smaller deep eels in every shade from neon green to chovy to flats-semi clear; jelly bellies and plain.

I have three little squid fry flies tied, probably tie a few more.

A handful of gotcha's and crazy charlies would be important.

Got a few ideas for tricking them, and I am willing to try anything. It will take some extended time over breaking pods to figure out anything meaningful because you only get a shot or two before they sound. One things for sure, conventional wisdom is not working.

09-04-2000, 08:10 PM
Bob: I don't know how they do it, but I just cleaned a BLUEFISH with the belly distended with krill. I actually swirled the contents in a cup of water, finding it so hard to believe. I have absolutely no idea how bluefish can manage to filter-feed!???!
As to bass, we were looking at them pushing water in a line, many abreast, casually finning the surface. Couldn't get too close to see the mouths.

I used whatever bonefish flies I had left over. I think the crabby shape and bead-chain eyes is what gets them, but mine were light tan with a bit of pink. Still not sure how they'd pick my krill from millions of others surrounding it, but it seemed to work.

09-04-2000, 09:34 PM
Terry and Juro:

The fly I tie is absolutely simple. I just take a size 2 or 4 800S or 811S hook and put a small bit of combed out sea hair or some other type of white poly and tie in a the eye of hook......add 3 strands of pearl flashabou on each side and then 4 strands of peacock crystal flash on top. I add 2.5 size molded eyes for the small guys and 3.5 for the little larger ones I tie. I then epoxy the head to just behind the eyes. I do not use the drying wheel on these but actuall dry them upside down in my Renzetti.....very slow but the fly looks much better. I have found at least visually, these flies look better the less material you use and they seem to be durable. I actually called this the "one fly" because I have rigged a few rods either in the boat or my truck with these flies regardless of the species I am after. I have caught almost ever species that swims near shore (or at least the major 4) on this pattern. I have even added a version with a little chartruese hoping to have it stick out amongst all of the bait. Isn't always effective though.....

Good luck....

09-05-2000, 07:42 AM
I like the idea of fishing something really small on a dead drift. my intentionwas to go down to some really sparse #6 flies that I had tied specifically for such an occasion, but I was so confident that they were feeding on the juve pogie that the spanish mack caughed up on my boat that I never tried that approach. I also may have been too worked up to dead drift--first sight fishing I have done in a while...

The weekends are starting to get super tight, but I am hoping to get back down for another crack at these guys.

Juro, taking time off from work is not really in the cards for me unfortunately, but what would be my options for a Sunday day trip to the Boneclave? I'd love to at least drop in...

09-05-2000, 08:17 AM
I too am pumped up to try Josko's technique on those crazed surface busting animals we saw. Calm in the eye of the storm!

Jeff, Sunday is going to be a big day, we'll absolutely do Sunday with a vengeance. Everyone can make that one - but most are going to stay at least Monday and many Tuesday as well. With plenty of places to stay Sunday night at the waterfront camp site on the refuge, and festivities that make Boneclave a unique experience, staying through and hitting them hard on Monday will be the best choice. Afterall, what we learn on Sunday will pay us back on Monday, and those who stay on Tuesday will be happier once this arctic air turns the fish south for the season!

PS: brought my vise and materials to work today! I'll be sneaking to a park bench somewhere for lunch.

09-06-2000, 01:47 PM
9/6/00- fished the special little outflow in Westport from shore and had the funny fish within range many times but they just weren't interested in anything artificial. They seemed to be feeding on small silversides or sandeels(small). There weren't any large pods just alot of small ones scattered all along the shore on the AM incoming tide. Did manage a flounder and a sea robin as did one of the other flyflingers out there. ronl

09-06-2000, 07:08 PM
That is truly a special outflow. Almost did the clave out on Westport but their camping schedule was as tight as Washburn, so we went with the familiar of the two - maybe next year!

Thanks for the report, hope you had breakfast at that diner on the east side.