Need your opionion [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Need your opionion

06-10-2002, 05:45 PM
What is a respectful distance for anglers to keep from you, when you are obviuosly sight fishing?

I say 100 yards. Not feet, but yards. What do you think?

When some see's you hook a fish on a flat and then decides to pick your pocket, What do you do?

I try to politly ask the person if they could give us a lil space. (Normally this is followed by a blank stare.) Wha, you talk'n to me? Then they wade out waist deep or deeper and start to thrash the water madly turning it into a frothy foam. ( Blowing the fish out)

When there used to be an area that you could walk out too and be the only one there, and now there are 50 people casting to spooked stripers running for cover. What do you do?

I would suggest that we all make an effort to not name names. Or give directions. Im sure most of you who fish some of these area's would agree that they can NOT handle the pressure.

Does the word "CRIB" come to mind?


06-10-2002, 06:19 PM
Randy, as you know I also shore guide around the cape and a large percentage is flats oriented. I completely disagree, when I see you I feel like I have the right to be right next to you, in fact can I use your ladder? :devil:

Seriously: To answer this question fully would reveal things that would make the situation worse, so I will not do that.

But I am not sure we can set 'hard rules'.

In some spots it's critical; other spots it's not a big deal. IMHO, 100 yards is a generalization that can work for or against, in fact:
100 yards is not enough if they do the wrong thing with respect to that flat's nuances (wade into a 'sensitive' area) 100 yards is way more than necessary if they are in a fishless void 10 yards away from you and they just don't know it :devil:

Rules would have to apply to boats, kayakers, jet skis as well as fellow waders. I had a boat anchor in front of me every time I landed a fish one day last year. As I would move and hook up, they would motor over - in a flats channel nonetheless! Finally, I walked as far as I could up flat and hooped up a fish as I hooked it. They motored up, sure as heck, and I immediately went back to the original spot where they just pulled anchor come where I was. They finally got the hint.

Per the crib, I was astounded at the crowd of people who had waded as deep as they could to blind cast yesterday. I stood (ironically) 100-200 yards away and waited to see if the fish would recover from seeing that conga line and come back on the flat - I stood there without making a single cast for a solid 30 minutes in a prime tide phase straining my eyes in the lousy light and chop - and didn't see a single fish. Finally Bill waded over as if to say "give it up" and we waded far away. The whole structure was hosed by their actions.

BTW - the folks over at had their Monomoy Conclave and there were a lot of extra anglers in attendance over the weekend. Of course everyone's got the right and we were all new to the flats at one point but of the people we met, Bill and I were the only two who had fished the area before and Bill learned the ropes from YOU so you know he's cool. ;) (BTW - some great guys from R/T were out there this weekend).

Sorry to ramble but to summarize - I like the idea of a general sense of courtesy among anglers on an area as sensitive as a sight fishing flat, but I am not sure the 100 yard rule is the way to go. It's not a distance thing so much as a knowledge thing. Of course they could hire you or I and we'll get them squared away in a hurry ;)

06-10-2002, 07:50 PM
I especially like when Mr Bagadonutz wades way out just upstream to blind cast into the deep abyss...lots of line slapping the water in front and behind...
My cousin graduated tops in his Army Ranger sniper class...I'll see if he has any leave planned...

06-10-2002, 08:03 PM
As a relative newcomer to the Flats Game, I find your comments very informative. I always try to stay as far away as possible, I was thinking more in the neighborhood of 200 yds, especially if I can tell the person is stalking fish, not just wailing away.

I hope that I don't piss people off when I'm there. I don't think I do, but if any of you out there see a guy with a red backpack and I'm in the hot lane, lemme know!

I learned a great deal about the underwater highways this weekend. Sean and I stood at two places where others went fishless less than 100 yds away, while we spotted fish after fish come right along a depression for a solid 45 mins.

Randy, keep up the great reports. I hope to meet you in person out there sometime. I'll try and make sure that it happens on dry land away from the fishes.


06-10-2002, 10:54 PM

Without being a total WA are you for real? A hundred yds. of free space, yeah maybe in outer space. Hello McFly...

Don't offer your sports some shore isolated striper FF Nirvana that you can't deliver. Even if you owned your own private beach there's still a water mark law on the books for fishing & fowling.

As for your comment,"When some see's you hook a fish on a flat and then decides to pick your pocket, What do you do"? Excuse me but guess what those aren't your's or your sports fish exculsively OK! Those guys paid the same fare to get there. Maybe they're rookies, morons or pigs get used to it. Or don't go there yourself! Or say I'm already in your prime time drop dead spot are you gonna give me a 100 yards? You don't have to and because I don't care.

"When there used to be an area that you could walk out too and be the only one there, and now there are 50 people casting to spooked stripers running for cover. What do you do"? Seriously how much are you charging sports for this shore trip? I've never paid for one, I usually figure it out on my own. That's part of the challenge.

Backing off I've heard nothing but good things about you and your service. That your a good guy and a helluva guide but PLEASE don't whine about fishing pressure as it belittles your reputation.

A Veteran Close Combat Fisherman.

06-10-2002, 11:25 PM
Spoken like a true PI guy :devil:

J/K - I am always amused by your political incorrectness especially when I am in a rowdy mood myself. For what it's worth, my personal belief is that there is something between 100 yards and DILLIGAF that is good for all parties involved. This topic comes up a lot on salmon rivers and steelhead streams, frankly the only times I care about getting "low-holed" is when that person is an exceptional fisherman and I haven't got a prayer following them, the person wades so far out and the fish are tight to the bank, or the person doesn't move fast enough. These rarely happen, but they do happen - and it is worthy of some common sense of ettiquette to be discussed or established on these rivers.

But back to SWFF in the NE... Ssully's right 100 yards is quite a lot and it's only as good as the majority rule. We aren't the ones you have to convince, it's everyone else who couldn't care less.

Here's a little different spin - with all due respect to all Monomoy visitors, the vast majority are still untangling the intricacies of the area while the few have enough to rely on for consistency. If someone comes close to me it doesn't bother me at all unless they stand in the approach lane or stand close enough to spook fish where they won't get comfy again by the time they reach me.

Randy, as highly respected as you are, you should feel very comfortable about simply introducing yourself and offering advice about what's going on. Only a fool wouldn't listen!

06-11-2002, 07:22 AM
Aw come on ... are you for real? One Hundred yards!!?? The last time I looked this was a free country and I guess that pertains to the flats as well.

If you are fishing the middle of a featureless flat then maybe 100' might be a reasonable cushion. If however you are fishing a cut or dropoff on the flat ... well. That might be the only spot for a long distance that will hold fish. I wouldn't expect other anglers to shun the spot just because I happen to be there. I'd probably even encourage them to move closer to be able to fish the productive spot. Sometimes its more fun watching other catch fish than it is to do it yourself.

If you feel you are being crowded you can say something or move.

Usually if fishermen are using similar methods, they can fish very close together without interferring with one another. Its easy for 5 or 6 FFermen or eelers or pluggers to fish a single ocean bowl. One bait fisherman with a couple of rods can stake out the majority of fishable water in the bowl.

Maybe a couple of years of guiding on the Canal would desensitize you to the crowding issue.

By the way would this 100 yard guideline you propose apply to the salmon/steelhead rivers of upstate NY as well?? :chuckle:

06-11-2002, 07:57 AM
My $.02.

A 100 yards is a lot, especially where all anyone talks about on the internet & on TV & in magazines, radio, newspapers is how great Monomoy is, anybody you talk to about saltwater fly fishing asks you about Monomoy, Monomoy, Monomoy!!!

Think about how the Big Girl bar got ruined. While it is a place people have fished for years, board members here fished it, posted about their success and then the next weekend there's 40 people out there. People have no concept of the number of lurkers who just blow through these web sites looking for info to feed their need to catch stripers.

.I'll say it again for effect: People have no concept of the number of lurkers who just blow through these web sites!!

So what do you do? Not post? Then you aren't helping others and probably won't learn from others yourself. Randy's posts are entertaining & educational but I think they also are going to lead to the demise of the quality of Monomoy - just like all of our posting is.

There's a lot of people out there, it's growing & becoming more crowded. I'm sick of fishing an area & being stalked by boats, have plugs land next to me, have someone hike through a lane fish were travelling through, being cut off by guides who see that I'm working/ wading my way up to a productive spot and then they give me crap for "crowding them" - (not Randy by the way)
How about the other night on the Vineyard, we're fishing an area, I'm turned towards the beach tying on a new fly, I see flashlights heading towards us, the guys keep coming, right at me, to the point that they shine their light right in my face, they were no more that 10 yards away, I say" Hey, hows it going?" - silence, no response, the move up the beach 10 yards & start casting, I move around the corner, 50 yards away, 5 minutes later I look to my right and there they are 20 yards away.

Anyone remember the ass last year out on South Beach who tried to tell the commercial clammer, a guy out there making a living, to move because he was in the way of his casting? I wouldn't have blamed that clammer for giving that guy more than the berbal beating he dished out.

Common courtesy is dead in today's world, I think that's all Randy is looking for.

Personally, I think combat fishing is coming and I'm not looking forward to it.

06-11-2002, 08:25 AM
My personal solution is to just hoof it away to some quieter spot. I love sight fishing the flats but when it gets like Times Square I'd rather cross the dunes and fish the surf.

If you are shore guiding and have paying clients then its a difficult situation and a polite request for some elbow room is about all you have.

From experience of making several death marches this season - some intentional, some not :rolleyes: if you're prepared to walk 60 mins + more often than not you can find yourself alone.

Juro makes some very valid points on the increasing numbers of people coming onto the flats to fish - many of whom rely on seeing someone hook-up or just go where most anglers are - that must be a good spot mustn't it?

On Salmon rivers, at least back across the pond, the rule of etiquette is make a cast, fish it out then take three paces downstream. The hight of bad manners is "taking root" immediately above a prime holding spot ":tsk_tsk:

Down in the Bahamas the guides literally guard "their" flats and woe betide if they catch you out there with a fly rod. Forget your constitutional or civil rights and due process - chances are they will offer to re-arange a sensitive part of your anatomy with a rusty knife :whoa:

[Edit: Roop got here just ahead of me]

I hate to be the one to say this but its almost innevitable that as time progresses, the areas being refered to will decline just like they have everywhere else where the pressure gets to be too much.

Then as Yogi Beara would say ....
"Monomoy? Nobody goes there any more, it's too crowded!"

06-11-2002, 08:53 AM
100 yards is for beach hogs.
But there is plenty of water. You should see the unfished rocky No. Shore. You can have plenty of spots to yourself. Fishing is tougher though. You have to learn to appreciate deep empty water and smaller fish. Then there's the few rivers and estuaries. Lots of boat traffic.
Increasingly, much of the discourse here has been about Cape Cod flats by a small group of semi professionals. There's little to pick up about cliff fishing rocky shorelines for instance.
The Cape is superior for fishing in so many ways, but the White Mts. are closer to me than Cape Cod. It's just not reasonable. The costs of staying there are very high too. So basically my twist (whine) to this is I'm sick of hearing about flats fishing by 6 guys who live on or near the Cape. Let's collectively develop more variety of shore structure elswhere in New England. I could use some help up heah.


06-11-2002, 09:05 AM

I think a hundred yards is a not a bad request but its also subjective to the current conditions. I think the burden of what distance another angler should keep from you should be determined by both parties( yourself and the other angler ). How do you deal with the beer swilling yokels up on the Salmon who think because they live in the area they have every right to stomp through the hole and wade out as far as they can all the while sneering and snickering and muttering insults? This is a common occurance up there, how do you deal with them?

In my experience if I see another guy hooking up in close proximity or there is a good pod working regularly in front of the angler, I politely ask if I could squeeze in? Believe it or not 7 out of 10 times most don't have a problem if I get a little closer. But if the angler feels I will spook the fish or push them farther out and he voices his concern I certainly stay put and mind my P's & Q's. I may not like it but one does need to be respectful of anothers space and good fortune. Perhaps a better approach would be if the angler does not ask if he can "push" in, tell him ahead of time where he can / should wade by giving a little positive reinforcement ( most guys would certainly listen to a well respected guide like yourself ). A good example would be if you see a guy plundering towards "the honey hole" tell him politelely that the fish are close and if he wades any further he may chase them off and make "his" chances a little more difficult. Note that I said "his" chances, not yours. Honestly most people could give a hoot about you, all they care about is themselves. By wording your warning in a way that they think that if they go any further it will cause "them" to go fishless, most guys would stop dead in their tracks especially if its coming from a Top Guide in the area.

All in all 100 yards is not a crazy request but 50-70 should be appropriate barring the instance that the wader is not charging through the water like a crazed Water Buffalo inwich some friendly advice and instruction could really help the situation. Not only for your paying client but to the other angler who will now have some valuable knowledge that he could apply to future situations. The best part of it is that he learned something from one the best and did not have to pay for the tip.

06-11-2002, 02:07 PM
It gives me some perspective in that it's happening to all flyfishermen - EVERYWHERE (except for those that fish for Carp or other non-mainstream sportsfish).

This same argument has raged on the PNW rivers for the last several years and, as Juro pointed out, there are definitely similarities.

Some people like crowds and seem to view fishing as a "social" sport. The just LOVE :D to come up and talk to you -fish beside you- ask you what you're using. If you enjoy it as well, fine and dandy. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this - in fact, it's probably the most adaptive attitude to have these days. :)

But if that's not your speed ??? :rolleyes:

Others (myself included) view fishing as an essentially solitary activity - myself, nature, and the fish. Not that I don't enjoy company (some of my best friends are my fishing buds), it's just that it's not a necessary part of my fishing. I can have a fabulous day on an isolated river or beach catching fish after fish with nobody in sight!

When I get crowded, I usually leave. Very simply, I've had too many negative interactions (even when I've gone out of my way to be accomodating) to want to ruin the rest of a potentially enjoyable day on the water arguing with some jerk. I want my flyfishing time to be relaxing (with moments of exhiliration), not frustrating (with moments of violent anger)! :eek:

And the rare times I venture into the Combat Zone, I know what I'm in for and act accordingly!

Guides have the toughest time. Most started fishing these rivers-beaches-flats when the *weren't* crowded. They have an expectation of providing their clients a quality experience, but the crowds (and seemingly inescapable eroding of Fishing Space and competetive tendencies they bring with them) can make this difficult. Of all the guides (and clients) I know, I can't think of one that likes combat situations while doing their guide/client thang.

Randy - my advice is to adapt. The guides I've talked to out here either (1) find new (less popular) places to fish or (2) adapted their times (only fishing on weekdays, etc) to avoid the worst crowds.

The one Bright Light at the end of the Tunnel?? :smokin: Eventually, the hordes make it so unpleasant to fish these spots that large #s will leave. There will then be a window when the guy at the flyshop says, "Oh yeah . . . I remember when I used to fish Monomoy. But I don't go there anymore because of X . Y . Z " Fishing will be good - till the word gets out.

Best of Luck!

Brian aka Doublespey

06-11-2002, 03:00 PM
Yep I am with you Brian, as you state below, that is genereally what I do. Most of my best days have been all by myself with no witnesses.

"Others (myself included) view fishing as an essentially solitary activity - myself, nature, and the fish. Not that I don't enjoy company (some of my best friends are my fishing buds), it's just that it's not a necessary part of my fishing. I can have a fabulous day on an isolated river or beach catching fish after fish with nobody in sight!

When I get crowded, I usually leave. Very simply, I've had too many negative interactions (even when I've gone out of my way to be accomodating) to want to ruin the rest of a potentially enjoyable day on the water arguing with some jerk. I want my flyfishing time to be relaxing (with moments of exhiliration), not frustrating (with moments of violent anger)!

And the rare times I venture into the Combat Zone, I know what I'm in for and act accordingly! "

06-11-2002, 04:27 PM
My thoughts on the 100 yd rule? It really depends on the situation. No crowds? Great! A few people around? Maybe 50yds is enough. Then again, sometimes even 30 ft isn't possible unless people take turns. I prefer to stay far away from other anglers if possible. I think many other fishermen feel the same way. If it's crowded, I either deal with it or go elsewhere. If I "have" to crowd someone I talk to them and make sure I'm not messing them up.

If the influx of fishermen is primarily due to people reading the reports on the internet, then those fishermen will most likely read the messages about having a little courtesy, not wading too deep, standing in travel lanes, etc, etc. If they don't already know these things, then maybe they will learn from the messages and become better fishermen as a result. If I'm screwing things up, I would want someone to tell me! And I'd hope that they would explain what I'm doing wrong and not just tell me to move!

I just had my first adventure on the flats. At first, I was definitely one of those guys who was trying to ruin the fishing for myself and possibly others. I wasn't crowding anybody but I was wading out too far and thrashing the water with my fly line. I quickly discovered that I was too deep (mid thigh) when I started seeing fish behind me, so I backed up. Still, even after I knew that I should stay shallow, I'd head for the deep water if I didn't see any fish for a while. Then they'd appear beside or behind me again. :rolleyes: I've read about it, had people tell me about it, and even seen it for myself, but I still kept thinking "they must be in deeper water". It's a tough habit to break!

As for the thrashing line, well, lets just say that I'm working on it! :hehe:


06-11-2002, 04:46 PM
Q said it all...I suspect the folks who have not sight fished these flats don't have this particular "big picture"...One visit is worth 1000 words...and each return is an ongoing education.
Randy...I feel your pain and it stinks...(next time I won't stand so close)...

06-11-2002, 06:05 PM
I think each situation calls for a different result... Just don't stand in my lane. Common sense should rule and common courtesy.

06-11-2002, 07:38 PM
10 yards at PI. And if it's Grego or Sully and they're into fish I'll make it 5 and squeeze in since I know them. Of course the guy upstream tends to usually be a chunker and his line cuts in front of you with the current. Then you got to go over and tell him to quit draggin the fish up into the sand. Nothin wrong with being social.


06-12-2002, 12:55 PM

Great thread - thanks for starting it. I picked up several points reading through the comments.

In my experience the vast majority of people who wade into a fish travel lane or spook fish out of an area just don't realize they're doing it and react very well to a little diplomatic coaching. Keep the posts coming. These discussions help me understand the sport a little better.

My rule of thumb if I'm trying to decide if I'm wading too close to someone? I estimate what distance might bother me, and then multiply that by three.

06-13-2002, 06:42 PM
Good thread...good timing.
I grew up on the north shore and have fished plum island alot. At times there are more fisherman from the Captains Lady to the Jetty than there is from nauset inlet to the chatham breach...100 yards there sounds absolutely pardon ssully for thinking it's crazy...BUT...there is a lot of water on the Cape and at times many fish in many locations over a large area.

as said in posts above the situation and location should rule...

Just this past weekend my dad came down to visit and we were fishing a local flat around here...sightcasting with spinning rods to stripers and blues. next thing we know a guy and his wife (or girlfriend) approach us from the north...they see us hooking up with fish, then proceed to wade out waist deep and make very poor fly-casts, beating the water and sloshing out to the channel~ 100 yds. north of us...right where the fish were coming up on the ruined...they must of gotten tired of getting their lines tangled so they walked back to the stopped then the tide turned and we lost a good hour of fine time to catch nice fish... A strange but funny thing happened soon after they sat on the beach...we continued to look for fish but got distracted when it appeared that he was on all fours and she was spanking him in the rear end...punishment for dragging her out there and not catching fish? did he forget to pack the water bottle? the dom perignon?? who knows...but it gave us a chuckle... and lightened the mood a bit... we went elsewhere and got big deal...but a nice time showing my dad how to site fish ended abruptly.
I don't mean to knock new fishermen...we were all there once...
I guess what i am saying is 100 yards can be reasonable...especially on very flat flats with little structure.

Tod D
06-15-2002, 09:26 AM
rathrbfishing - I'd always suspected fly fishing (well, fishing in general) to be an effort in (self) flagellation, but sounds like that couple took it to a new level!

Seriously, very timely and thought-provoking post. As someone who doesn't fish Monomoy, PI, the CC canal all that often, my first reaction to Randy's 100 yard 'strawman' was, "yeah, that sounds about right"... however, as others have rightfully pointed out such a seemingly arbitrary distance can be irrelevant (not to mention presumptious) given a particular context (Sully - If I'm ever in a FF turf war, I want to be on your team!:hehe: ).

My gut tells me it isn't necessarily a set distance, but there is a 'formula' that I think should be based in equal parts situational context (i.e. am I fishing Nauset or Pip's Rip on the canal) and common sense, with a heaping dose of civility tossed in. Sadly, I think nos. 2 & 3 are often lacking - which leads to silliness in no. 1.

Bill's take on things resonated with me though: 3x my comfort zone. At the risk of sounding like a misanthrope (or some pretentious FF ad) while I social fishing as much as the next guy ultimately I'm out there for some serious communing w/ nature. With apologies to John Rawls, my right to swing my fist ends with your face. So, applying that logic to FF'ing, figure with a 9' rod, 100' of line, 250 yards of backing... well, ok that's probably too much...

However, as I think Juro wrote in another post recently, there is a hell of a lot more water than just MONOMOY. Granted, not all of it may be as prolific, but I've got to figure a few fish have dared to venture elsewhere. Just remember to stay away from a certain bay area in my fish here :devil:

06-16-2002, 11:49 AM
I had no idea so many anglers would respond to my questions- (read between the lines, educational- message) . I'd sincerly like to thank each and everyone of you who responded. Thanks for your continued support of this great site!

I am often asked, “Why are they so spooky when they are on the flats”

Well, like any fish they all feel most comfortable when they have a safe-quick exit to deeper water, blend in with their surroundings (eel grass) or are in deeper water. None of which most fish feel they have on a sand flat. In addition these fish are continually being educated each day they come in contact with-- to heavy pound test mono, wrong flies, scent of your bug dope or sunscreen on your fly, lining fish, making noise, running your boat over there heads, standing where you should be fishing, etc…
My normal response to this question is to pretend you are walking down main street with nothing on. Wouldn’t you feel a little uncomfortable? I know most of you would. That’s exactly how they feel when running into the shallows in gin clear water, light colored sand searching out their next meal.
Keeping in mind these fish have a brain the size of a pea, you would think they would be pretty easy to catch. But remember we are in their environment. Sight fishing is similar to hunting deer or turkey. The amount of noise generated by you, other anglers or boats means one thing - NO FISH on the flat or at least spooky fish who are less apt to eat. Even the water lapping on the underside of your basket will spook fish. Stand completely still or when walking move slowly. Stay as far away from other anglers and boats that may not be trying to blend in with the sites and sounds of the natural saltwater environments as you are.

What I would like to share with you are some of my thoughts on sight fishing the many Cape Cod Flats.

We were all new once. (I don’t know if I can remember back that far) So it is understandable when you walk out waist, chest deep onto a flat, on an incoming tide, light breeze, sun behind you and start to blind cast.

Several things happen when this style of fishing is implemented under these conditions:

First and most important is:

You are standing where the fish are living, eating and traveling. So you are really only hurting your own odds. Would you feel comfortable with a giant standing in your path? This same oddity happens on the Salmon River, N.Y. in certain areas. On this river it sometimes halts the run of King Salmon, Steelhead and forces them backwards. Again, not only hurting your chances of hooking into a fish of a lifetime but also others above you.

Secondly, Once these fish are spooked by the noise you generate by blind casting and moving about only decreases the odds of your fellow anglers hooking up. These fish will not eat consistently on any flat if spooked.

Standing waist deep or deeper on most flats will normally cut down on the size of your visual cone. This normally is a major disadvantage to yourself as the object is to see the fish as far away as possible, determine its project path and lead the fish with your fly. Thereby, achieving one of the most crucial keys to success on the flats, which is to allow your fly to sink to eye level of the fish. Anytime, any species of fish (that I know of), anywhere in the world that you can make it easier for a fish to feed you will increase you catch rate. Waist deep is normally to deep-you are standing where they travel.

The other by product of standing to deep is your visual cone is so small by the time you sight you quarry, its already seen you and spooked or you do not have enough time to get on’em.

One of the funnier things I see on the flats is when several anglers are waist deep or deeper, standing 20 feet apart, sight fishing or blind casting away for all they are worth. Knowing very well that all the fish are swimming behind them. I used to do it.
There have been times due to the angle of the sun where we have actually waded out 50 feet from the flats shoreline in knee-deep water and faced the beach. Casting into 1 foot of water as school after school passes us by. Its also interesting to watch the reaction of other anglers when they stop, look and scratch their heads. Trying to figure out why there is a guy standing on a ladder, who is excitedly pointing and speaking (politely) about fish at 11 o’clock, 30 feet, moving right! And then 2 anglers casting their fly into what looks like dry sand. He-he

I normally will stand no deeper than thigh deep. I’ve been guilty of setting up to deep, then realizing my mistake as I see fish swimming behind me or right at me. By standing thigh deep (on most flats) I guarantee that you will see them traveling 20-80 feet out. I will also guarantee that you will at times see them swimming behind you. Remember that if the sun allows you to look 360 degrees, then do it.

It's a big Ocean, so where do the fish travel on a flat?
Ladder, 2 handed fly rod, few crabs, 1 spool of tippet and a long walk to an area Ive only looked at from a boat. Lobster man pulling traps, few terns diving for bait against the crisp morning blue bird sky and a lone clammer digging for next months rent. (No girls in grass skirts surrounding me in this one-ha) The water was retreating off the flat as I the walked out to another part of the Island that few, if any anglers frequent. This was not a day about fishing, but more of a day to study and learn a new area on foot to hopefully include in my staple of spots. Trying to unlock the secrets of currents, depressions and channels that create a rod map for fish on the incoming tide.

On the walk out I passed by areas that Ive studied and fished before and was thinking of a way to more easily describe to someone where the routes, roads of the fish are. To learn the routes where most fish travel is actually incredibly simple. Instead of looking at it at the low, which will also help. Simply look at where the water meets the sand, bars, and beach at 4 hours before the high. This is the route that most fish will take in 2-4 hours. Notice the bars, humps, which are not covered? These areas will give you a height advantage to better see them. In addition it will funnel most of the fish by you. This is a key ingredient as being 20 feet off can spell water void of fish, or more likely you will be standing directly where they live and travel. (He-he). Look for a shallow channel (s) that have a small amount of water in them, connecting to deeper water. As the tide rise’s they will use this area to search for food or transition through it. Look for small shallow coves. These coves are often left untouched as most anglers wade past them with out a second glance. I have stood in ankle deep water at the head of these coves and sight fished many a fish while others were stationed well out beyond their normal routes.

I find that by this determination it simplifies the whole process of how, where they will travel.
These are the same trails that never change through out the course of the summer. There is a lot of water out there that is empty of fish. Once these routes are learned, then one of the keys to fishing the flats more consistently is unlocked.

Casting to a sighted fish that is coming behind you:

This happens more than you would think. I normally instruct folks to just pretend your throwing it forward but release it on you back. The two things I see most anglers do is they swing their upper body around when making the cast and then they turn their entire body around. It’s quite common that when you swing your body around you tend to hook your rod tip. This opens up your loop, loosing energy and power. Plus the line will always travel in the direction that you excellerate and stop your rod tip. Normally this is of f to one side and not directly behind you where your target is at.
In addition, the noise generated by you turning your lower body around is all that is needed to blow the one shot you had. I recommend only turning your UPPER body, AFTER the cast is made. Rod tip does not hook and no commotion is generated by you turning your lower body around. The rest is easy! Ha

When walking a flat, sight fishing:
My good friend and very, very best, top rod, World Class Flats wade guide, George Ryan says, if you walk slowly then you are walking to fast.

Why do we use a fly rod?
One of the things I like about fly fishing is that it is an acquired skill. Just to put it out there is an accomplishment. Take it to the next level and you are casting to spooky rainbows with 70 foot casts on 7x tippet. Atlantic Salmon fishing where most of my friends went years before hooking their first one. Or sight fishing any flat around the world. Flats fishing to me is one of the most challenging, rewarding types of fishing I will ever do. All the pieces of the puzzle need to come completely together to be consistently successful. Achieved proficiency, Acquired skill, One of the most challenging types of fly fishing I know off.

We all need to remember that we are the stewards of our environment. If it were not for conservative minded people 20 years ago, we would not be enjoying the
fruits of their labor today. Please remember that: "A fish is to valuable a resource to only be caught once." "The fish you release may be a gift to another fisherman as it may have been a gift to you." Lee Wulff

Best Fish's,
Randy Jones

06-16-2002, 04:26 PM
How about carefully edging your boat up to a surface feeding school of albies and finally getting into casting range with the fish feeding like crazy. Shut off the motor. You figure you should get at least three or four fish out of this school. Suddenly another boat (guided and/or unguided, happens both ways) zooms in with an angler in the bow, they get one cast off before the boat goes over the fish with motor still in gear. The guy in the bow hooks a fish and the guy (guide) in the drivers seat laughs and smiles and even talks to you like he is your buddy and "ain't it great" and "how bout that", "what a great guide I am". Meanwhile the school you were stalking and watching for the past 10 minutes is long gone and you didn't even get a cast into the fish. I hear ya Randy. I could go on with stories like this all day. Thing is I don't really mind when it's a weekend warrior who stomps my fish. I figure I know a lot of tricks and can probably find fish away from the crowd. When the person doing the stomping is somebody that I know should know better and doesn't, then I get peeved. All I can offer to this is that when I get annoyed by other anglers inappropriate behavior, I pull up and head to parts unknown. Good luck.