Great day, great tide - but my guess is that the refuge was in between major waves of migrating fish and the residents are far from settled in. I did not find them where expected although my guest on the refuge did get some classic shots at pods of big fish and singles and landed three nudging the legal mark and had some real cows on the fly that did not eat. He was an athletic / hiker type so we did the circuit around SB tip. The outside was a dud.
The Simms clan quotes George Ryan as saying that a couple of days prior (Thursday) had the most fish on the flats in all his years of guiding on Monomoy; and Sean Ransom had a special guest on the outside beaches with ridiculous numbers as well. Paul Cheever, the Simms, Fishhawk were all there and saw many thousands of fish. Yet it was slow on the weekend as that phase of the migratory population moved on to terrorize the north shore or Maine. Mike Doogue - they are coming!
I've also experienced days where the fish were pulled into a gathering by bait and thus stayed off the flats, and that's also a distinct possibility based on that 2 hour long sand eel / whirling tern display on the middle shoal. There was a tremendous amount of bait out on that isolated shoal, but since that new cut behind the old J bouy bar got serious we could not explore that fracas on the flood although Quentin was real close before crossing back to the mainland just in time. On the refuge an infusion of bait will draw a huge percentage of the bass to it, so much so that they seem missing from adjacent areas.
But I stand firm on the migratory phase lapse opinion, with 40 pound fish coming through the canal and the fishing hot in Jersey we still have a long way to go before the migration is over.
The wind shifted north / northeast for the day but is back on the SW track again. I hope it brings the summer fish up.
Outside structure on south beach is boring at best. The bar everyone thought was gone is still there about 1.5 miles south of the crossing, and the section north of the crossing is more interesting that south.
Nauset on the other hand is as good as I have seen it. The sand structure I was amazed by a week ago is largely gone, but it might be back tomorrow - this is probably one of the most unstable shoals on the entire east coast. However I still maintain the opinion that in the dog days it will be a sand eel mecca.
South beach flats are quite interesting with the biggest feature being the separation of the old J bouy bar from the mainland c/o a significant cut to the main channel adjoining a deepened backwater in a reverse L shape.
The problem this introduces is isolation from the mainland for waders. I suspect one could still hang out on the middle shoal through the whole flood but the bad news is he/she would HAVE to as there is no crossing until the drop. This could also be a problem in the event of an unusually high tide so not advisable without some form of flotation.
I was pleased to see that the amount of flow on the incoming was not trivial, nothing like two years ago but still enough to get any fish in the area excited. There was a lot of flood pushing against those first few shoals and that old boater's beach hole has grown huge.
The vegetation seems to have increased overall as the flow diminishes, although it's still too early to tell. I suspect that the dog days will be very doggy like last year.
The blue hole up near the K-L stretch seems to have grown into a very large basin behind the flat. I will bet that fish will play in that on peak flood before the temps get too warm for good oxygenation and that could be a lot of fun.
Schoolies everywhere on the dropoff as usual. Oh yeah and that large mass of fish out on the moorings in the AM was big pogies. You know what that means.
IFFF Certified THCI @ 2005
Capeflyfisher Guide Service
Island Hopper, Guitarist, Incurable Dreamer
and Founder, Worldwide Flyfishing Forum