The following fishing reports will consist of Inshore Saltwater (Fly-Spin) Fishing. It will include Tips, Techniques, Habitat, Presentation, Baitology, Flies-Hooks, Moon Fazes, Flats, and even some highlights from last year’s fishing reports. Some of which are pretty exciting.
Some of the material will come straight from my past experience as chief instructor of the Orvis 2 ½ day saltwater fly fishing schools. Additional material will come from first hand knowledge, gained from my many years of eating, breathing, living and loving the, New England - Cape Cod Inshore Saltwater environment. So, sit back, relax and enjoy this Truly World Class Destination Fishery!
Fish Tails: 1999 on the Flats
While wading one day, we had large bass coming at us from all directions for an hour steady. At one point, we were totally surrounded with bass in one to three feet of water. Martin asked me where he should cast and my response was, anywhere. It just didn’t matter. These same fish continued to repeat this pattern all summer long.
A couple of days later I was treated to a day on Captain ---- -------, 18’ Hewes flatsboat. We had ideal conditions and we counted close to 2,000 bass on the flats in one to four feet of water. There were good #’s in the ten to fifteen pound range. Dave and I both released a fish in the twenty-pound range, plus smaller ones.
Again, ideal wade conditions followed the next day. We enjoyed watching schoolie bass chase bait onto the beach in three inches of water. We knelt on the dry sand forty feet away to keep a low profile. The fly was cast ten feet into the water with fly line never touching it. Two strips of the fly and Bill was hooking up. Felt like we were fishing for trout and not the salt.
We also had fifty or so bass in all sizes stacked up in front of us in a narrow channel feeding on the incoming tide. It reminded me of guiding on the Salmon River in New York for tackle busting twenty to thirty pound King Salmon. Spoiled we were as we could see each fish and pick out the one we wanted to present the fly to and catch. When a smaller fish tried to grab it, we would pull it away. What a hoot!
We decided to play, so I put on a shrimp pattern I designed and drifted it through the bunch on a floating line. We waited until we saw the flash (they often turn sideways when feeding, creating a silvery flash) then immediately set the hook. We never felt the fish hit. Instead we just set by sight! We both laughed and couldn’t help feeling like two little kids in a candy store.
When there is no sun to help you sight fish; read all of mother natures signature clues, signs she gives you and just cast.
The terns can be a great help in locating fish on the flats when overcast and cloudy weather prevails.
Lately, we’ve been spotting tailing bass in the AM. incoming tide on the flats. They’ve been in a foot of water standing on their heads grubbing for breakfast. There tail’s are completely out of the water flopping back and forth for balance, oblivious to us. A quiet approach and stealth like stalking are needed when getting into casting position. Or just let them come to you.
Clouds, Rain, Fog, Major lightning, seals moaning, birds diving, bait spraying, tides running hard and the sweet smell of the salt accompanied us today. No sight fishing today? Actually we sight fished, structure, current, birds, swirls, and fish crashing bait. At one point John Davidson from England was casting into 6 in. of water and letting the current swing his fly over a 1 ft. drop in the sand (rip). We were imitating a baitfish being swept along in the current. The fish were holding tight along the edge of the drop eating heavily and were more than eager to eat Johns fly on numerous occasions. Total for the day was 10 fish in all and the 2nd fish of the A.M. on the 5th cast topped the days tally with a beautiful 36-in. bass. John stated, Ive fished around the world, but this is a day I will never forget! We even had a tea break at 2:00, promptly
This weeks fishing review and forecast:
We had been experiencing very good tides, but they are starting to slow presently. Fast tides mean more baitfish being pushed around and fish feeding more aggressively. Larger numbers and fresher fish are also a by product of these faster tides. Normally when the tide's speed and height increase's, so does the fishing. When they slow, typically, so does the catching. Im noticing a few less fish everyday on the flats as the tides slow up.
All marshes and tidal rivers around the entire Cape are fishing well. Any fly is working. There is also some super action on the surface during slack tides. Small gurglers are the fly of choice.
Fishing has been productive on the South side, off any jetty, at high tide.
Super HOT when you can see. The entire Cape has fish on them presently. Water temperature is perfect in all area's.
Top Fly Profiles:
I have my best luck with Blues if I imitate large bait, 3-5 inch’s tall 5-8 inch’s long. That’s what they want, so give it to’em. (Herring, Mackeral, Schoolies) Striped Bass - The other major profile of bait that is present are Thin (pencil or less in thickness), 4 inch’s long. Adult Sand Lances and Silver sides. White on bottom, Olive on top. Throw in a little gold flash as an attractor.
Count Down Method:
This method is one I always use when fishing deep or fishing in the spring time. Here's why its so productive. A lot of the time ,bait is on the bottom near structure( Rocks, sand bars, eel grass, lobster traps) to blend in and find protection. A major portion of predator fish are also there to feed. So by getting your line down to the bottom , you'll present your fly to the majority of fish. The way to achieve this is to cast and count to 15. Cast and count to 20. Continue to count longer and longer until you pull back eel grass or you feel your fly being pulled through the sand. Now Ill cast and count 5 sec. LESS there by bringing my fly just above the bottom. This technique will catch you 100 more fish then simply casting into deep water and retrieving right away. Having studied bass and watched them set-up around structure. Ive noticed they'll wait to ambush the bait as it searches for cover or is swept along in the current. The times I've been able to see this, Ive cast my fly just above the fish and stripped it towards the structure. The bass have always taken it with pleasure!
Why do I get knots in my leader and how can I straighten it?
Most wind knots (Normally they are actually bad casting knots) are created by improper casting technique. 85% of the time they are created by pushing the rod forward on an even plan during the power stroke. Visualize a paint brush on the end of your rod. You are probably painting a flat ceiling. Now paint the ceiling of an igloo and by george, you've got it! The best way I normally straighten out my leader is with the help of all the monster fish pulling on the other end!
RANDY is it possible to fish Cape Cod flats from a canoe or kayak and where would be a good place to put it in?
Yup, You can fish it from a canoe, kayak. Must be very careful with weather and strong tides in places. Wind and Fog could spell " your dead" if you are not prepared. Compass, Fog horn, Life jackets, and an understanding of boating lanes and tidal movement should be FULLY understood to prepare you for a worse case situation. Don’t mean to scare you but people die out here every year! I see boats and wade anglers going into areas out here that I would never go, due to stage of tide or weather. Some days start out with crystal clear skies, then out of no where – FOG, so thick you can taste it. They either get stuck and sit out the tide, swim back or worse, don’t make it back. Other days the wind is light, you’ve checked several weather stations and in the middle of the day the wind spins and gusts hard out of no where. A canoe would not be very good transportation if wind, chop, strong currents etc… were your company. If you get a map you will see Town Landings (T.L.) these are all public access areas to the water.
Have Fun, BUT you have to have a clear understanding of ALL of the above to be safe!
Remember that Mother Nature makes the rules!
I'm looking for housing next summer here on the Cape. 2003- May, June, July, August - 1 bedroom cottage, apt needed for myself . Chatham, Harwich, Dennisport, Orleans, Brewster area. Anyone have anything? 508-398-9980 or e-mail.