Flats boat pollin’ with Capt Todd Murphy
Boarded Todd’s flats boat in Oyster Pond, inside Stage Harbor, a little after 5. Dropping tide, heavy fog. I had one modest goal – break the “0 for 2001” streak. Shattered that and had the best day on the water in a looooong time.
Tooled over to South Beach and Monomoy area. I love to wade, but the flats boat gave us access to all the drops I can’t reach from shore. Todd could pick out the structure from his platform and pole us along the inside of the drop. Tossed a blind cast into a deep drop . . . strip, strip, strip . . . thud! First fish of 2001 – a mackerel! Nice looking fish. I took that as a good sign for things to come.
We spotted a slow moving dark cloud 150 feet off the bow, cruised over and set up in its path. “Wait”, said Todd. “OK cast and lead them. Let it sink, sink, sink. OK strip!”. Long medium-fast strips and 7 – 8 shadows broke from the pack and headed for us. I stripped faster – the pack moved faster and slam! First striper of 2001! Worked it in to the boat as a BIGGER shadow followed it in. Released it and Todd took off to find the shadow. Found it moving out with the tide 100 yards away. We motored ahead and set up. Same deal, cast, sink, wait, wait, strip, strip, the whole pack followed, none broke away. 20 feet off the bow the big lead dog slammed it just before the pack spotted the boat! Oh, oh, this one’s BIG! Walked around the gunwale trying to keep the line from hitting the boat, and the big dog moved south in a hurry, going waaaay into the backing. Hadn’t had that feeling in a while. Those underwater clouds moved out with the tide, and Todd diplomatically offered me a couple of casting tips that reduced the big loop in my cast. I asked him to take a few casts. He spotted some shadows fairly far out (I never saw them). Long back cast into the wind with my rod. A few strips and something large took the fly towards Nova Scotia. All I can think is “He’s using my rod – I hope my knots hold!”. Lucky for me they did. We didn’t measure, but I guessed 40”.
No more signs of fish, so we moved to a big flat with beautiful clean skinny water over light sand – almost tropical. The scenery alone was worth the trip.
Forget the scenery – we spotted HUNDREDS of dark shadows moving in short water inside a sand bar. Looked like they were waiting for the rising tide so they could scoot up over the bar. Lots of silver flashes – feeding? Todd moved the boat close enough for me to reach them, but not too close to spook them. They seemed to have one eye on the bait, and the other on the horizon looking for trouble. We had to move quietly around the boat to avoid making them scatter like mice. Tight lines on and off for an hour! At times we just stood still and watched them cruise back and forth like they were waiting for a bus. Learned quite a bit just watching.
The day ended too soon. Had to head back to reality. Thanks, Todd.