727 Monomoy Island, flats, fly, wade, South Beach, Chatham
727 Monomoy Island, flats, fly, wade, South Beach, Chatham
Correction: Martin won a free $40,000.00 Volvo on the Orvis web site. Not a Subaru that I had previously posted. Not bad for entering a free contest while visiting their site!
Fred LeBrun is a featured sports writer for the Albany Times Union newspaper. You may enjoy reading his take on a day on the flats with me. Educational, exciting, humorous are all words I would use to describe Fred's article. The hard copy came with some nice photos. Not included. Readers beware-- This article does include advertisement.
Ladder, 2 handed fly rod, few crabs, 1 spool of tippet and a long walk to an area Ive only looked at from a boat. Lobsterman pulling traps, few terns diving for bait against the crisp morning blue bird sky and a lone clammer digging for next months rent. (No girls in grass skirts surrounding me in this one-ha) The water was retreating off the flat as I the walked out to another part of the Island that few, if any anglers frequent. This was not a day about fishing, but more of a day to study and learn a new area on foot to hopefully include in my staple of spots. Trying to unlock the secrets of currents, depressions and channels that create a rod map for fish on the incoming tide.
On the walk out I passed by areas that Ive studied and fished before and was thinking of a way to more easily describe to someone where the routes, roads of the fish are. To learn the routes where most fish travel is actually incredibly simple. Instead of looking at it at the low, which will also help. Simply look at where the water meets the sand, bars, and beach at 4 hours before the high. This is the route that most fish will take in 2-4 hours. Notice the bars, humps, which are not covered? These areas will give you a height advantage to better see them. In addition it will funnel most of the fish by you. This is a key ingredient as being 20 feet off can spell water void of fish, or more likely you will be standing directly where they live and travel. Ha. Look for a shallow channel (s) that have a small amount of water in them, connecting to deeper water. As the tide rise's they will use this area to search for food or transition through it. Look for small shallow coves. These coves are often left untouched as most anglers wade past them with out a second glance. I have stood in ankle deep water at the head of these coves and sight fished many a fish while others were stationed well out beyond their normal routes.
I find that by this determination it simplifies the whole process of how, where they will travel.
These are the same trails that never change through out the course of the summer. There is a lot of water out there that is empty of fish. Once these routes are learned, then one of the keys to fishing the flats more consistently is unlocked.
It was Ernie's first time saltwater fly-fishing. Wanted to learn a bit about it to use on his home waters in New Jersey. Walked 1-½ miles to an area I rarely see others. I knew the area was loaded with fish because I had scouted this area earlier. To my surprise 8 other anglers had the same idea. Did they follow someone? Ha
Yup, it was loaded with fish. Some anglers were not taking advantage of the crystal clear water, light sand and perfect angle of sunlight to stand back and sight fish. They waded out chest deep and began flailing about. Not one fish was hooked as all the fish I saw were moving faster than normal. Spooked is the reality of this vision. ALL were given PERFECT presentations by Ernie (You can pay me later for that one Ernie-ha) but not a single fish was hooked.
What I would like to share with you are some of my thoughts on sight fishing the many Monomoy Island flats.
We were all new once. (I don't know if I can remember back that far) So it is understandable when you walk out waist, chest deep onto a flat, on an incoming tide, light breeze, sun behind you and start to blind cast.
Several things happen when this style of fishing is implemented under these conditions:
First and most important is:
You are standing where the fish are living, eating and traveling. So you are really only hurting your own odds. Would you feel comfortable with a giant standing in your path? This same oddity happens on the Salmon River, N.Y. in certain areas. On this river it sometimes halts the run of King Salmon, Steelhead and forces them backwards. Again, not only hurting your chances of hooking into a fish of a lifetime but also others above you.
Secondly, Once these fish are spooked by the noise you generate by blind casting and moving about only decreases the odds of your fellow anglers hooking up. These fish will not eat consistently on any flat if spooked.
Standing waist deep or deeper on most flats will normally cut down on the size of your visual cone. This normally is a major disadvantage to yourself as the object is to see the fish as far away as possible, determine its project path and lead the fish with your fly. Thereby, achieving one of the most crucial keys to success on the flats, which is to allow your fly to sink to eye level of the fish. Anytime, any species of fish (that I know of), anywhere in the world that you can make it easier for a fish to feed you will increase you catch rate. Waist deep is normally to deep-you are standing where they travel.
The other by product of standing to deep is your visual cone is so small by the time you sight you quarry, its already seen you and spooked or you do not have enough time to get on'em.
One of the funnier things I see on the flats is when several anglers are waist deep or deeper, standing 20 feet apart, sight fishing or blind casting away for all they are worth. Knowing very well that all the fish are swimming behind them. I used to do it.
There have been times due to the angle of the sun where we have actually waded out 50 feet from the flats shoreline in knee-deep water and faced the beach. Casting into 1 foot of water as school after school passes us by. Its also interesting to watch the reaction of other anglers when they stop, look and scratch their heads. Trying to figure out why there is a guy standing on a ladder, who is excitedly pointing and speaking (politely) about fish at 11 o'clock, 30 feet, moving right, get it out there! And then 2 anglers casting their fly into what looks like dry sand. Ha
I normally will stand no deeper than thigh deep. I've been guilty of setting up to deep, then realizing my mistake as I see fish swimming behind me or right at me. By standing thigh deep (on most flats) I guarantee that you will see them traveling 20-80 feet out. I will also guarantee that you will at times see them swimming behind you. Remember that if the sun allows you to look 360 degrees, then do it.
Left with Ernie again today. 20 knot winds and at times torrential rains made it a day to remember. All other anglers left the island early due to their concerns about the weather. I told Ernie I had a spot where he could cast with the wind and pick-up fish. No lightning or thunder accompanied the darkest storm clouds I have seen in a while, so we decided to stick it out
Ernie has never cast so far before! He maybe in for a big surprise when he does not have a 20 knot wind at his back to help him throw it 90 feet. Ha We didn't spank'em but had an enjoyable day catching the occasional fish in-between admiring the incredible strength of the many storms that passed us by.
I did manage to fish Sunday, and had a great morning. Conditions were much easier and the fish more eager. I fished off the point were we started Sat. and I had a hookup every third or forth cast. The fish were not big, but lots of them. The narrow profile greenish clouser was working well, too well in fact in that I did not want to stop and retie after a few of the fish took it a little deep. So of course I broke it off, then several casts later managed to hook the buoy line and break the other one too. There are no fly shops on the island. I did trim a wide profile fly that the shop sold me, and caught a few more fish, but the colors were not right, and the fly of course, was not really representative of the baitfish.
Anyway, thanks again, and have a good season Ernie
Warren is a spin fisherman, Lake Ontario charter Capt. who has had enormous success with all species of fish. Catching Stripers on spin gear had lost its challenge. He wanted a new one; so fly-fishing was the ticket. I find a large percent of new fly anglers are coming from the expert spin-fishing group for the same reasons as Warren.
Numerous fish were released by casting a clear Intermediate line, long leader and small fly into an area with some of the smartest resident fish around. Then off to a deep water spot where a 300-Grain Orvis depth charge line was the ticket. Warren left me with a new, challenging style of fishing he will enjoy for the rest of his life. Go get'um!
Salmon River, Pulaski N.Y. News: The Log Cabin Restaurant burned down. What will we all do for King cut prime rib now?
Fishing Forecast for Salmon River, N.Y.:
Both reservoirs are full, with good rainfall all summer. This should mean an adequate supply of water to the river. During Salmon season the pulsing of water levels remains a promising hope. Good amount of bait in Lake Ontario should produce King Salmon again in the 30-40 lb. range and a hopefully similar Steelhead season as last year.
Monomoy Island Fishing Forecast:
Look for fresh and larger #'s of fish to arrive during the exaggerated tides we are experiencing now.
We should all try to remember that we are stewards of our environment. If it were not for conservation minded people 20 years ago, we would not be enjoying the fruits of their labor today. Please remember that a fish is too valuable a resource to only be caught once. (Lee Wulff)
RE:727 Monomoy Island, flats, fly, wade, South Beach, Chatham
Thanks once again for your generous insights. I don't always admit where I get my 'stuff' but truth be known I've gained a lot of information from your posts over the season.
See you on the flats,
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