Holiday fishing report
For the number of hours spent fishing, about 6 hours over the whole weekend, it was good fishing - just not enough of it! Also, a number of fiasco's kept any serious excursions out of the question so the venue was always a quickie here or a few casts there. Had hoped to stop by Smitty's, meet up with Josko, hook up with Nate, catch up with Sean, meet Fred and scope the group site at Nickerson. Ended up doing NONE of that!
The good news is, my son and I fished together on each of these off-hour sorties and he hooked a fair number of fish including one w/ afterburners that churned up the water, spit the hook and left him stunned. My brother-in-law landed his first striper on a fly rod ever Sunday morning, first time trying too.
Made it on Cape Saturday afternoon. Fished alone after dinner for 90 minutes near West Dennis beach. Local report: several keepers caught Sat morning on the beach, surface plugs. Lots of keeper bass caught along the Nantucket sound shore from Hyannisport to Chatham livelining herring, lots of herring still in certain rivers. I landed a dozen schoolies up to 26", wind hard from the south.
Got back to the family gathering, got brother-in-law and son interested in a morning run. Headed out at 5:30 (late), it was already light before 4:30. West Dennis beach was alive with busting fish, although visible on the flat calm water they were beyond even the biggest atom popper's reach. Wind picked up so we hit a few schoolies up inside Bass River and headed to Herring River before he went back to join the families for breakfast.
Herring River had balls of sand eels and last years herring outside the river, and herring still entering the river. My son hooked up a sizeable fish that kicked his butt, churned up the surface, ripped the line out of the basket and spit the hook. He was fishing a sand eel pattern on the subtle shoal and trenches. Lots of locals were live-lining herring, and there were a few filleted keepers and NON-KEEPERS laying along the stretch we waded. Time to alert the officers of the problem. A huge fish took two swipes at a discarded live-line herring right in front of my son and I. The swirl was the size of my kitchen table, and I chopped the sand eel off and threw on a big herring fly. Yeah I know he just swallowed a foot long herring but something about seeing that - you just gotta cast. And cast and cast. We were back at the cottage before 8am.
This morning my son and I made a very brief run at the big fish near Herring river. There were 5 more carcasses filleted in a certain spot from the night before - and one fish was probably 24" at best. Really got me pissed. I have seen guys who resembled the Gloucester fisherman filleting shorts along this stretch before, obviously feeding himself and family but there are better ways to do that.
Anyway, the fish were blasting small herring from 4:30 to 5:30 and shut down when the sun got strong. Never say the big fish (other than the carcasses) we saw the day before and the locals were not livelining today. We scooted into an estuary area looking for warm water (boy the water temps really dropped in the sound) and where we felt the warm water on the light waders we found fish. Nothing big, we spent 45 minutes battling schoolies from 18-25" and got back in time for breakfast with the relatives.
a) When young herring get the attention of the bass, they focus on these schools and are less apt to eat every sand eel fly in sight. Time to tie more juvies.
b) The onshore wind brought the fish in Saturday morning, offshore wind pushed them out of everyone's reach Sunday
c) Cooling water turned the fishing off and warmer inside estuaries saved the day again
d) Carry a persuasive pattern for any surprise cow encounter
e) As brood size bass arrive from spawning grounds in May, the availability of large bass from shore is high on Nantucket Sound
f) hordes of herring in (some rivers) still arriving, now is the time to fish the big flies near the mouths of these rivers