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Old 08-10-2005, 06:53 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
Jamie -

You'll be glad to know the dog days are essentially over with the arrival of mind-boggling biomass of bunker to the area and appearances of cold water surges like the 51 degree chill that took the area down over the weekend. We don't want that to linger but it shuffles the deck.

The constriction at the southway had reduced the flushing in and out of fish from the area but I am confident that the seasonal advance will make things very interesting and quite different from your last visit in terms of behavior.

Most years in Aug I see a mix of fish clinging onto their habits while others lose all inhibitions for the streaming schools of premium protein 'pogies'. Sometimes you see bass working shrimp while huge schools of bunker pass by unmolested, other gangs of striped marauders have shifted gears and bust wide open in the middle of the day.

A good durable deceiver pattern like Page's bigeye baitfish or a variation is good to have but when busting they are either not picky or picky beyond belief. In either case the fly is not as important as the presentation, etc.

You might have the same trouble many do when there are masses of tiny bunker - the fish target clouds of bait and not individuals so they ignore your fly. The key in this instance is to find the behavior patterns that the fish are keying on and fish into the patterns, not necessarily the bait.

For instance fish may be busting on and off with 30 second intervals. What are they doing while off? I observed them making a large circle, then busting into the school from one side. My ability to hook these big bass depended on where in their circle I presented the fly. At one point in their loop the take was automatic regardless of the fly and it was NOT while they were busting. I could not buy a hit while they were busting, only at other points in their pattern. Just something to keep in mind.

Sand eels

... are thick, acres of them on the oceanside now. They are also thick in the sand on the bayside which is free of mung and active with stripers in August. Sand eel flies like the deep eel double as silverside imitations and have good flats "trap-setting" characteristics because they don't snag. I could probably fish out the rest of my life with this one pattern, but of course I won't live without poppers and big bunkers and crabs etc. Keep them handy.

If you see bunker in the 2-4" range, get ready for some serious action as the fish chasing those will be large and looking for individual baits to eat. A baitfish pattern offers the perfect allure in these situations.

Don't forget to use a fast sinking line and scrape the sandy humps in the bottom of rips this time of year. I usually catch the fattest, strongest, most gorgeous ocean stripers from Aug-Oct by this method.

Hopefully we can hook up out there.
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