Chatham South Beach 5-10-03
Started as a Schoolie Show:
Second day out scouting for the season, grabby little schoolies moving about pretty much everywhere. If you don't get a grab move around and look for the tiniest sign - a flipping silverside or an interested tern, and there will be a pack of aggressive bright sea-liced schoolies there. Capt.Tom (Rip Ryder) saw a massive school of smaller bass on the flats of South Monomoy during the seal watch tour today.
The schoolies I encountered were moving along the outside of the drop-off, they did not seem interested in advancing up onto the flats. In fact only 3 fish were seen up on the flats out of which I got one of them by sight casting. Felt good despite being a small fish, got the first sight fish out of the way. Wasn't so sure I would see another up on the flats for the rest of the day at that point.
The schoolies came to the top busting silversides on occasion and stripping through the busting fish or blindly casting into good looking spots resulted in schoolie hookups too numerous to bother counting. Other guys out there hooking them steadily all day - but I only counted three other anglers on the shore and two or three boats! Crazy how empty the place was.
After about 90 minutes of that I decided to walk to a place where I could test a pet theory with migrant behavior for big fish in the early season.... BINGO!
Hogs in the hinterlands:
It was a painful walk to the hinterlands. Last weekend Nick and I walked about 8 miles round trip from the lighthouse to J bouy (just a guess) and today felt like that again even after a shuttle ride from Rip Ryder. I no sooner settled in when a big pod came over the flat 50 strong with not one fish under 30" and some pushing 40"!
I cast my new unweighted "purist" silverside pattern to lead the pod, paused and pulled the trigger... >THWONK!!!< Man did it feel good to get something un-twinkielike on the rod as the flyline and backing shot out thru the guides.
I ended up hooking five, landing three of these fish between 33" and 38", and all very heavy. The other two were lost because of a few nuances of this new fly design I need to debug. The deep eel would not have let them off the hook so easily Not one of these fish were racers, which was surprising seeing as there are plenty of racers in June never mind the leading edge of decent water temps. I have to assume they were feeding on herring or the tinker mackeral that have been seen in the area resently to be so healthy. Two of the three were photographed, and all were released.
I would NOT say at this point that finding larger fish will be easy or consistent just yet - but the migration is definitely on and getting stronger with each tide so everyday there is a growing possibility of an encounter with big migrating fish pods. Liveliners are getting large fish on the west end of the canal. Southside beaches are getting intermittent big fish appearances. Fish are reaching the usual Cape haunts and the numbers will be increasing steadily over the next several days and weeks!
It's gonna be good to have 'em back!
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