What a way to rock in the season!
After a day and a half of PRIMO striper fishing on the cape with an incredible group of striper hounds, I feel 110% sure that the season has officially and irrevocably arrived! (Well until November anyway) Fat and feisty schoolies were a likely bet in any decent looking channel, riffle or rip - and an occasional good fish (several reported at last years keeper length of 28") kept things interesting. I believe everybody got into fish, and I know the fishing was great even when the fish weren't biting.
I missed the gourmet food on Friday night due to work but joined the gang on a calm, spring Saturday morning. I started at dawn on the mouth of Parkers River where I started the season with a bright 15" schoolie. In the shallow angle of morning sunlight, I noticed things about the striper I had never noticed before - like the robin's egg blue on the ventral fins of these silver bright spring arrivals. I spent nearly a half hour mooching a full sized herring fly in those 10 foot deep trenches in the Parkers peat banks hoping to open the season with a jumbo bass but that went for naught and I drove to meet the gang on Bass River. Jeff Roop and Nate Smith flanked east to Herring River where they did very well - but I'll let them tell their own fish story.
As I arrived at Bass River, it was great to see rods bent for the clavers. Ken Jenkinson a claver from Australia (big time commute [img]http://22.214.171.124/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif" border="0" align="middle">)was walking toward a new spot when I encountered him on the path. He had tangled with a dozen stripers at that point - barely time for breakfast. We decided we'd walk over to Gregg Estey and Terry Weir (honorable clavemeister summa cum laude) to see if they'd care to join us for breakfast.
Nantucket sound had that warm comforting feeling to it, you know the kind that softens the sharp edges of the rocks, brightens the sand and puts that orange glow on the happy faces of anglers with fish on the line. Terry and Gregg were working poppers on a slack tide, trying to stir up some interest from a surfacing fish they spotted. Ken and I stood on the top of the rockpile looking down at the sandy shoal where the two stood casting to glass smooth water. We exchanged greetings, and just as the conversation got to "you should've seen..." a sizeable swirl and a flash swiped at Gregg's popper. Gregg gave it a slide and a pop and kaboom! A beautiful, bright ocean fresh striper pushing 26 inches or so exploded with a thooomp and a slap, screeming the line into the depths of the main channel. From the perspective Ken and I shared, it was an amazing sight. I would kill for that moment on the video camera. In any case, it was the beginning of a great time on the Bass River and it's surrounding waters while the fresh spring stripers invaded the region.
This may sound like a fish story - but in all honesty I took far less photos than usual because my hands were busy! Busy hands are happy hands they say <img src="http://126.96.36.199/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif[/img] The fish that were eager to hit my fly weren't all huge but they were all appreciated, and the larger ones hit with twice the enthusiasm as the small ones! What more could one ask for to kick off the new season.
Look for more detailed reports from clavers and a bunch of great images from moments we captured on film (coming soon!)