RE:What up with Boston Harbor?
Even though at times they seem too easy, it's funny how stripers get finicky often enough to keep things interesting!
Sometimes it's the retrieve...
I find that on moving tides over shoals and flat when large bass are flashing and tailing to get sand eel breakfasts, it is imperative to put the fly on the sand beneath the fish in order to get consistent hookups. They follow and occasionally hook up using standard retrieves but the drag retrieve on the bottom gets profoundly more results.
The crazy thing off the rocks at wacky was a mind-bender, the best thing there was to 'dap' the fly into the current coming through the rocks.
Methods of retrieve out on Billingsgate Shoals are a critical part of hooking fish, especially mid-summer.
Other times it's the trigger...
Meaning that the fly needs to suggest certain elements of profile, color, or behavior that triggers takes with abandon. I believe that (combined with retrieve) is why some guys catch 10 fish to other angler's one in a crowd.
We have all experienced times when a popper is the hands-down winner in a which-fly contest; the leaf-like profile of young pogies is a trigger to hunting fish too.
Gregg Estey's innovative pattern proves a point... when pogies are filter feeding, their gills are flared out to the degree that their heads look grossly enlarged. This is true of anchovies as well, and herring too. His fly pattern uses a fabric to accent the flared gill appearance and that fly seemed to get hits when others were only getting ho hum attention in a raging Rhody blitz.
What I am trying to say is that I don't think what we do is a constant with the variable being on the fish's side. I think we need to be responsive to what the fish is 'thinking' in order to solve the puzzles that mother nature throws our way... which to me is the treasure of fishing.