Since my ritual early spring trip to the PNW, I am back in black for the striper's arrival to my home waters. It goes without saying that you are too... after another winter.
To prepare for the onslaught of linesiders, I've finally been able to crank out a few flies for the spring. Looking back at past years experiences, the exhuberance of the spring arrivals makes fly pattern choices not a big deal when the fish are feeding actively and openly on Nantucket Sound. Spots where I have had great luck finding fish this time of year run from Nobska all the way to Hardings on the sound side, and big fish aren't far behind the herring runs on both sides of the cape.
I always tie and use large herring patterns in spring around the runs and this tactic has payed off over the years. These are big flies (Jay Horton dubbed one of these flies "the chicken fly" due to the amount of materials on the tie during the outer beaches clave). Two-handed rods are a definite advantage for fishing such large flies.
Soon thereafter the arrival of sand eels on the scene co-incides in large part with the arrival of larger fish on the flats, and there is a pre-Father's Day bonanza of big fish on small flies on the flats before they warm up and the big bass move off to Billingsgate.
In conclusion, my tying patterns co-incide with this sequence:
- easy, good fish grabber flies in April for schoolies
- large alewife and blueback patterns for April / May
- sand eel patterns in June
Then as mid-summer progresses the crab flies come to the vise and finally the YOY pogies and YOLY (last year) forage species which I imagine we will see a lot of - will be the ticket through autumn.
What are your thoughts?