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Thread: What up with Boston Harbor? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-22-2000 08:47 AM
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

JeffG -

While giving a presentation on FF at MSBA last night, I met CaptTom who has been out to Stellwagon recently. He said there were huge bass and blues on the ledge and boats 6 miles apart reporting the same results. His feeling is that once the tuna arrive they will come inshore within the harbor, to your point. He also said they are known to come to Race Pt. I'm sure those who have tagging knowledge of Kennebec River fish are also correct, and many of them will come onto Billingsgate.

06-21-2000 06:40 AM
Jay C.
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

Juro, you are definitely right and taking the discussion to a deeper level in terms of what variables are at play when big fish are involved. The emphasis on getting the fly to the bottom has helped in past situations, sometimes the intermediate line approach takes a lot of fish, but often not the brutes that you see flash every once in a while. I'll have to try Gregg's pogie pattern-I remember it at the clave as being distinctively different. The challenge with every fishing situation is to solve the riddle in front of you and frequently that means innovation. For me sometimes the excitement makes me forget to think through a completely different approach 'cause they're breaking right now !

Back to the tying bench......

06-20-2000 09:31 PM
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

Jay -

Even though at times they seem too easy, it's funny how stripers get finicky often enough to keep things interesting!

Sometimes it's the retrieve...

I find that on moving tides over shoals and flat when large bass are flashing and tailing to get sand eel breakfasts, it is imperative to put the fly on the sand beneath the fish in order to get consistent hookups. They follow and occasionally hook up using standard retrieves but the drag retrieve on the bottom gets profoundly more results.

The crazy thing off the rocks at wacky was a mind-bender, the best thing there was to 'dap' the fly into the current coming through the rocks.

Methods of retrieve out on Billingsgate Shoals are a critical part of hooking fish, especially mid-summer.

Other times it's the trigger...

Meaning that the fly needs to suggest certain elements of profile, color, or behavior that triggers takes with abandon. I believe that (combined with retrieve) is why some guys catch 10 fish to other angler's one in a crowd.

We have all experienced times when a popper is the hands-down winner in a which-fly contest; the leaf-like profile of young pogies is a trigger to hunting fish too.

Gregg Estey's innovative pattern proves a point... when pogies are filter feeding, their gills are flared out to the degree that their heads look grossly enlarged. This is true of anchovies as well, and herring too. His fly pattern uses a fabric to accent the flared gill appearance and that fly seemed to get hits when others were only getting ho hum attention in a raging Rhody blitz.

What I am trying to say is that I don't think what we do is a constant with the variable being on the fish's side. I think we need to be responsive to what the fish is 'thinking' in order to solve the puzzles that mother nature throws our way... which to me is the treasure of fishing.
06-20-2000 09:00 AM
Jay C.
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

... a curious tale.

I was fishing in Boston Harbor over the weekend and I had several occasions of a situation I have not seen often with larger fish. Fishing white clousers on an intermediate line from a boat I would see a good sized fish follow the fly in near the boat. The fish would swirl, moving the fly or the bait around in the top few inches of water and not strike or take the fly. Seconds later there would be another swirl a few feet away and, after casting and stripping again, frequently the fish would take. It appeared that the fish was playing with the fly or bait and this went on for the better part of an hour. It is difficult to believe the fish
was toying with the bait, but the feeding was not focused and there seemed to be more bait than I remember in previous years.

Could it be that the conditions of more bait than usual really exists? How could we determine that? Could cooler temperatures means feeding is not as intense yet, similar to early spring feeding conditions? Does anyone keep a journal for temperature comparisons? Usually things are pretty predictable from year to year once the facts come out, but maybe we have an odd year....

I wonder if a few degrees in temps make a big difference.
It certainly can with other species.


06-20-2000 08:12 AM
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

If I knew the actual migratory patterns, I would be a MUCH better fisherman!

Interestingly, I used to do much better at the North River mouth when the water was cloudy than when it was gin clear--I always figured that the fish had a little more confidence in sneaking up on my big chartreuse flies.

As for the "offshore" stripers--the amount of bait out there is just incredible, and I have always suspected that the larger fish that migrate around the tip of the Cape (as opposed to inshore and through the canal) hang out on the Bank because it has all this bait and frequently warms up faster than inshore--don't ask me why, I would have figured the opposite.

As for where they go when the big schools of blues and bft show up, I'm sure many come due east inshore to where there is plenty of food, and I'm sure many head up to Maine as well depending on factors such as water temps, traditional migratory routes, food sources etc.

I used to fish Maine at lot in the early 90's, but not enough to say for certain that there was a big push of larger fish later in the season that coincided with the arrival of tuna in MA. I did get my bigger bass in August though up there...

However, I have noticed in MA that once people start laying into good-sized tuna on the Bank in the middle/end of June, depending on the year, I have started to get into bigger groups of big bass closer inshore. Last year it happened right before July Fourth--multiple "big fish" days, all loaded with sea lice. Also coincided with big pushes of medium sized blues too.

It makes sense to me, but i'm sure it is heavily dependent on water temps and the amount of prevelant bait inshore. Last year we had all those pogies and tinker mackerel throughout much of the summer--if we don't have a similar food source this year, then chances are those fish would head up north where big mackerel and pollock can feed them right through September.

I will be interesting to see what happens...

06-19-2000 07:20 PM
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

Jeff -

Great food for thought... to support your tale of big bass off Stellwagon, I've heard similar tales of big bass out there (for the time being). The other points you raise make a lot of sense too. I rarely have good luck in high turbidity but it's often due to my lack of confidence.

This is an interesting observation though, and if we were able to understand the actual migratory patterns of Boston Harbor fish in the context of this year's weather pattern it might provide a lot of insight toward future angling prediction.

I heard from a very reliable source that the fish continue to Maine when the tuna arrive on Stellwagon, with some tagged fish found around the Kennebec River system.

Is there any way we could obtain acutal information on the migration patterns of Boston Harbor fish? Is there such a set pattern - or do fish migrations experience ad hoc variation?

In salmon country out west, the ocean temperature gradients are very tightly coupled with open seas fish migration and behavior. These are closely tracked by biologists for fisheries management, seasons, quotas, etc.

It seems such information would be very interesting in striper country too.

06-19-2000 04:14 PM
Bob Pink
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

another voice heard from
Some of the local highliners that I correspond with attributed this past weekend's on-again off-again fishing to a terrible tide. The June full having a bad history of fishing the week b4 and after. Personally I think the issues might be a bit more complex and would liek to digest jeffg's thoughts about the easterlies and their effect on turbidity. (very thoughtful there jeff!)
The issue that I find curious is that even with cloudy water conditions we should be marking significant concentrations of fish in predictable locations. With brief exceptions the sometimes massive schools that we were so used to over the past few years a nonexistant.
Could it be that there is too much bait and it's reduced the feeding urgency? (can a striper ever be too full?)
If it's the moon phase, then this week should show some major improvements. We'll be keeping you posted.
06-19-2000 10:24 AM
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

For what it's worth, here is my take on the Harbor:
It is definitely slower than this time last year (at least for me). The most noticeable reasons seem to be the lack of concentrated bait, colder water temps, and poor water quality/clarity, due to all those east winds and high tides bringing lots of silt and debris into the water.

Father's day last year my Dad and I got about two dozen fish in a couple hours--nothing huge but the fish were where you expected them to be.

During the one fly tourney, i got four fish in a little over four hours, all through blind casting in fishy looking areas. The water is so cloudy that I couldn't even see my fly until the leader hit my rod tip guide. It was also a pretty bad tide to be fishing.

The fish are there--I raised a lot offish that surged up and turned away as I pulled the fly out of the water, and one fish hit right at the boat. I think they are having a little trouble seeing the flies with the cloudy water, so bright colors, varied retrievs and repeat casts to the same area if you see fish are all going to increase chances.

I have seen very little concenrated bait, and I think they have been scattered by the winds and tides etc. Things will definitely pick up, and the bigger fish will be moving in off Stellwagon shortly to really make things exciting.

My buddy was tuna fishing on Saturday on Stellwagon and took a 45 lb. bass on a squid bar--believe it or not....

06-19-2000 08:07 AM
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

Learned from the boaters during the CCA one-fly tourney that all the usual Boston harbor fly rodders have experienced a significant slow down in the action since that east wind first hit around 2 - 3 weeks ago.

06-18-2000 06:43 PM
RE:What up with Boston Harbor?

BobP Jr. is the guy to ask... but he's been running all over the map lately. I've heard some good reports on the outer fringes (Brewsters, etc) but not the usual crazed reports we hear this time of year.

Last year there were a lot of pogies in Hingham by July... and legal-sized bass chasing them around. Keep our fingers crossed!
06-18-2000 08:04 AM
What up with Boston Harbor?

What up with Boston Harbor? Tried all the usual spots on Sat. the 17th. No birds at all working or to be seen except the usual gulls. It is very slow for this time of year.We did not mark any fish. saw two other flyfishermen and they had similar results.Anyone have the same experience?

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