This season I was a little more sedate and began to actually notice what was going on around me. I was persuaded by Juro to think more about what I was doing (thanks Juro) than blindly casting away.
When I got into large schools of fish, they were all around the same size. When I was catching schoolies, I would try to change things up to find the big fish in the school - no success. When I got into a schools of larger fish (25" - 30") they were all around the same size.
The exception seemed to be the rip trips where we would land a wide variety in sizes but never any real dinks once the rip turned on.
So, what does the forum think? Are the schools size/ age based?
i'm so outta here
11-11-2000, 05:32 PM
Roop - great question and it gets me remembering the season <sniff>
I have seen the same size grouping you mention, but I've also seen a few mixed size schools this season and in places you wouldn't expect to find them. I have no idea why they intermingle in some spots and seem to run in age packs in others. Could be the way we fish for them, but I tend to think what we are seeing is a pattern of fish behavior, and not a lack of a particular skill. (At least that's what I tell myself when I only catch the small guys ;)
Wish we had a resident Marine Biologist to enlighten us. <hint, hint Aaron>
11-12-2000, 07:50 AM
My experience from pre-fly days showed that fishing either at the outer edges or under the average feeding lane depth would produce large size class fish that the body of the school. I remember one morning in Boston Harbor with a friend and we were right in the middle of a large school of breaking 24-26" fish. I snuck the boat out to the edge of the school (much to the protests of my buddy) and told him to start casting right outside where the fish were showing. Next 4 fish were all 32-36".
Fishing off Chatham this summer found smaller fish on top of the shallower bars and the larger fish around the outside of the points. Were they of the same 'school'?, I'd have to believe so if we accept that premise that stripers exhibit 'school' characteristics when they have set up their seasonal feeding grounds....
I would think that for the shore fisherman the size will be more consistant for a given location. With the mobility of a boat you might have more options to explore the 'edges' of an area. (You can also lose contact with a school in a hurry too!)
In addition to the great observations mentioned above, I have noted a tendency to have mixed schools during migration periods and segregation through the main season (with exceptions as always).
This is to say that in spring during the herring run (another influence) and during the fall push past the homewater (south sound) you could catch a dink on one cast and a cow on the next. During the main season you'd be real lucky to find anything of size until the pogies came through in the late summer / early fall.
Just saying this makes me realize that the presence of big fish is consistently tied to bait and if this brings big fish to the schoolie hangouts then I think we'd see a mix anytime of year.
I think the tip rip is a striper magnet of incredible force, drawing any fish "in the know" to it's conveyer belt buffet. I'm sure some of the fish we released this year will be solid 30# and perhaps even bigger class when we meet them again. Our discovery of plopping our tasty entree's on the chow line was truly one of the great discoveries of our area's coastal fly fishing venue if you think about it!
Wonder what next years great discoveries will be!
11-12-2000, 05:51 PM
The only mixed schools I found were during the spring linking nicely to Juro's migratory statement. Though I did not fish there much this year the canal seems to regularly have a mixed size.
11-12-2000, 08:17 PM
Your analogy Juro, of a conveyer belt buffet is quite cleaver and accurate. Next time we have a company function I'll have to remember to submit that idea.
When a set of conditions exists that have the following:
Access from channels through shallows/depths
Correct tides, current and some disturbance thrown in,
You will have diversity and some great fishing. You just described Cape Cod to a “T,” from a fish eye’s point of view. That’s why the Canal fishes so well.
All the fore mentioned suggestions have been excellent observations. All are correct.
Unlike our system of the corporate latter, fish have an inverted pyramid. It’s gets heavy at the top with smaller fish. No wonder why I never get anywhere in the business world?
One observation that I have noticed that’s different is with mid-size fish. For some reason, the 28-30 inch striper range, their behavior changes drastically. Maybe bigger fish become more competitive for larger less available bait? They start to individualize, yet during certain conditions of plentiful sand eels, start to school again. With numbers they can control larger schools of sand eels. Nature must have a signal, just like us, when you get big enough, its time to leave and be on your own. But remember, you still have family there when you need them.