Another day in paradise - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 09-24-2000, 11:03 PM
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juro juro is offline
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Another day in paradise

Josko was right; living this far from good fishing is dumb. I left the house in the wee hours with sleep burning in my eyes, looking for inspiration as I bumbled around looking for things I needed until I was ready to embark on the two-hour O'dark-thirty run. The South Monomoy Point Rip Clave (rip trip) had been cancelled by Rip Ryder due to weather and the band broke up for impromptu sessions in various venues around the Bay state. I was having a hard time getting excited about any "normal" fishery, but not one to waste a fishing day so there I was, counting mile markers and trying to stay motivated (and awake) as I worked my way toward Chatham.

Chatham has been selected by the class of '2000 student body with stripes to be "THE" place this year. My theory is the way the currents acted this year, putting the sand eels into an incredible population level with water temps in the "ideal" range whether inside the North Monomoy / South Beach inlet or at the flushing point of Nantucket Sound and the atlantic at the tip rip or at the outgoing current at the extraordinary sand spit at Chatham light this year. Never have I seen such a constant stream of sand eels being eaten by birds. I've seen birds work their little butt feathers off for an occasional sand eel, but here there are so many they come flying out of the sand several feet from the waterline. They shower out like olive brown electrical sparks as you walk. Even gulls are catching them (not just terns). I'm surprised there aren't crows picking them up out of the water. Most importantly cow bass are swimming around with distended bellies full of them.

As the miles unfolded I thought about the three deep eels I had tied at a kids' playschool table over at my sister's house after dinner (much to my wife's chagrin). With the one left over from the Boneclave I had a total of four flies that I had confidence in for this fishery. As long as I kept the fly away from the blues, I was all set. Coming into Chatham, the first order of the day was a stop by the causeway to make sure no Rip Trip strays missed the post. Clear. I walked down just as Bigcat, Roop, BrianZ and FredA were leaving to grab some breakfast. The foggy, drizzly morning looked soooooooo fishy. I was finally getting excited about the day so I declined breakfast and started to work the fly in the incoming current solo. I'm glad I did...

The tide really rips near the light, as anyone who's fished it knows. On the incoming a rip sets up anywhere theres a high bar, narrowing of the channel, etc. I started fishing one of these when it occurred to me that the flat above it was just like the point rip.... sort of. Up current I waded. It wasn't long before I found a spot where the fly would swing nicely into the teeth of the rip from upcurrent. Then I met Moby Dick. Doing the Point Rip retrieve, the line took a hard jolt so I set... and all hell broke loose. The fish made a huge runs, taking somewhere in the order of 100 yards of backing in the first run. It went real close to a bouy on it's run, then turned down current. I ended up clearing out some bait fishermen as the fish rode the currents against me, until I finally started to win. I fought that cow right up to the bank and it spit the hook in the surfline, which was unusually high inside the inlet on the incoming. I was seriously reconsidering my barbless policy on my flies after that. A few folks witnessed the battle at close range, so we comiserated for a while. That was a close one, but the day was not over.

After a breather, it was back to work with much renewed faith. The tide started to settle down. Schoolies started to grab the fly but more interestingly, familiar splashes began to erupt sporadically in the area. I thought I saw a sickle tail in the fray, then out they came. Emerald green footballs spraying sand eels as they strafed. Knowing that a tunoid eating sand eels is much easier to catch than one eating pea bunker, I got excited about the prospect.

I got a few really good shots when they came within 1/2 cast from shore. I made the fatal error of not switching to the clear intermediate and long flouro leader, staying with the short leader on the black sinking head. I'm sure I put a fly in their sight but none would succumb. Another spin guy hooked one on a needle eel, but lost it after a screaming run.

Slack tide stilled the area and I got a call that the crew headed north to the Race. GregO checked in with an up-cape report, which Al reflects below as I was enjoying a killer bagel sandwich and espresso at the Monomoy Cafe. GregD called at lunchtime from the road with his boat in tow, making an attractive proposition to go fish the bayside out of the wind but the gang was on the beach and I was casting, and it didn't take long before I was hooked up again. The first afternoon fish was about 26", which fought with spunk in the current. I was getting thumped a lot like the rip, and things started looking good. A few casts later the rod went down hard and line jumped from the basket like it was electrified, nearly wrapping around the rod like silly string until the tension snapped it into a searing run, dunk-dunk-dunk there goes the end of the fly line, zZEEEEEZZZZzzzzzEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeee! 20 yards, 30 yards, 50 and more yards of backing flew into the misty rip. I placed the butt on my chest pack for leverage and cranked as I followed the fish, keeping a big bend in the rod any way I could to cushion the weight and speed of the fish's run with the current. The fish took me all the way to the end of the spit, and luckily began to tire after what seemed to be a 15 minute fight. Bigcat gave up his position on the rip to assist me and take action photos (just in case). I was glad he was given the record of flubbing big bass on the line lately, including the one earlier in the morning. It's always good to have Bigcat help you, he has a way of psyching people into landing their fish. Thanks John!

When I got hold of her she did not struggle. It was clear that she was spent and since I had not kept a striper since the early 80's, this was the right one to keep. At 36 inches, it was not a monster - but very thick, fat, heavy. She was a load! Another big fish done in by the deep eel, tied in natural colors in medium tones.

I sat down on the sand to relax for a while. I only took a couple dozen casts but I was pretty much done for the day.

A flyguy up current caught on to our gig and soon he was yeeehah'ing with a deep bend in the rod. Before his 35-ish inch fish was even landed Roop followed with a 35 incher, and with Bigcat's assistance the fish came in after burning up all it's fuel on afterburner runs in the rip. The two girls sure looked pretty together, I can't wait for photos.

We left before the rain started. The sky hung heavy in the sky, so thick it hid half the lighthouse from view until we got close to it. It hung like that all afternoon, providing a perfect cover for a the big fish to lose their shyness and come to sip sand eels in the rip. There was a subtle warmth to the soggy day that was comfortable, yet we all knew it was just a tease. The crisp fall air is coming, and after that a flash-frozen striperless void. There was plenty of fishing left in this day, but we had definitely put in a hard day and there were many things gained beyond just the fish. As we peeled back the layers of gear that mark the end of our sacred ritual and re-enter into the world of climate-controlled buildings, phones and postit notes as we do each Sunday night, it was good; real good to have logged another unforgettable day in paradise.
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Old 09-25-2000, 08:55 AM
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ssully ssully is offline
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RE:Another day in paradise

Juro great post!

I had a similar experience this year with a large fish. It made me reconsider crushing the barbs. But I still do out of habit.
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Old 09-25-2000, 11:54 AM
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juro juro is offline
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RE:Another day in paradise

Yesterday's tides were:

2000-09-24 4:49 EDT -0.14 feet Low Tide
2000-09-24 6:29 EDT Sunrise
2000-09-24 10:39 EDT 3.60 feet High Tide
2000-09-24 17:07 EDT 0.11 feet Low Tide
2000-09-24 18:32 EDT Sunset
2000-09-24 22:58 EDT 4.07 feet High Tide

(Chatham, inside) <!--http--><a href="" target="_blank">LINK</a><!--url-->

Wind: SW 10-15, gusts to 25?
Pressure: low
Skies: thick, gray, drizzle
temps: 65-70, temperate
water temp: anyone?
bait: sand eels, minor presence of others
birds: all over the place
fishing pressure: medium
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Old 09-25-2000, 06:21 PM
Roop Roop is offline
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RE:Another day in paradise

Thanks again to Juro, Bigcat, Brian & Fred for ANOTHER memorable day!

I too hooked into a BIG fish in the early AM. The kind that makes your line kick up spray as it runs AGAINST the current full tilt. Trying to clear my line & get it on the reel, it was gone in a mannner of moments.

Later in the day, as we ventured from spot to spot, Bigcat shared his wisdom with me on how he would suggest I react next time - many thanks
to him for his well-earned knowledge.

Later in the day we had returned to catch the falling tide. I was perplexed that my big sand eel pattern that had performed so well and gotten me the hook up in the AM was not performing. After Juro landed his big fish he "LOANED" me a smaller version of his eel. A few casts later I'm getting the crap beat out of my left hand as I palm the reel on a drag setting that had always been sufficient.

Mine didn't fight as long as Juro's but after an initiial scorching run (where I used the knowledged gleamed from Bigcat) she just sat there in the current, just below the surface making small powerful pulls.

I too killed my fish. My first one ever. She was absolutely delicous last night grilled after a little marinating in fresh lemon juice. My kids loved seeing her and my 4 year old now understands that there is more to fly rodding than large mouth & panfish.

Sincere thanks to Juro & all the crew for a memorable year. I hope I squeek out a few more trips. If not, what a way to finish.

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Old 09-25-2000, 06:25 PM
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striblue striblue is offline
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RE:Another day in paradise

Juro, once again I missed a great day at my home turf and that was a great post. I thought I say that I have crushed barbs in May and June, but come July and the big fish I usually don't. I feel that it's the small schollies that sustain damage with a barb but I really think those big July ,August and Sept fish with mouths that could swallow a softball do not damage if the barbed hook is removed carfully. Anyway I have lost some big ones last year with the crushed barb and I believe my sucess rate in landing is increased with the barb not crushed. Any slack in the line and your dead.I also feel that when the fish is racing against the drag the hook is in a precarious position and can slip out with ease by a sudden change in direction. I know there are many that do not agree and maybe it's my abil;ity.. oh well.
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Old 09-26-2000, 09:46 AM
TinMan TinMan is offline
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RE:Another day in paradise

I lose more fish as well, but I like keeping my fingers, etc.
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Old 09-26-2000, 07:18 PM
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FredA FredA is offline
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RE:Another day in paradise

The hardcore wannabe got to hang with a great group of hardcore's Sunday. While the catching was dismal for me, I got to take the Chatham Light Livery and Tour Company tour of lower Cape primo fishing locations with owner/operator Jeff Roop and master tour guide Bigcat. I had a sense of deja vue at the last stop on the tour and finally figured out what it was. While up in Maine for an annual family get-together this summer I snuck off to Pine Point in Scarborourgh. Similar lay of the land except the structure at the end of the Scarborough river/marsh seemed a bit more radical. But I saw that at a lower stage of the tide... Sorry - I digress.

On our return to the Light the air was laden with moisture and my glasses immediately fogged. I eventually followed the others out to the spit but the damn glasses continued to fog (any ideas?) and I was essentially blind and stumbling over the mogels. I made my way back to the bowl and fished. While there Juro was making his way out to the spit. The point is, by the time I got back out to the spit Juro’s encounter with Moby II was over – and I’d missed it. Ultimately it was the only disappointment of the day. But I did get to see Jeff’s encounter.

Coup of the day: Juro gave me one of his Deep Sandeels to replace my deep sandeel wannabe (I tie sortalika flies, sortalika Ray’s Fly, sortalika a deep sandeel, and being a knot knitwit,I finish them with a sortalika whip finish. Anyhow, that fly has been retired for future reference.

All in all a very memorable day, concluded by the memorable view of the fog enshrouded lighthouse on the walk in from the spit. Many thanks to Juro, Roop, Brian and Bigcat for letting me tag along.

Fred A.
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Old 09-26-2000, 07:52 PM
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juro juro is offline
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RE:Another day in paradise

Always a pleasure Fred, it's great to have you with us on these adventures. You broke the ice early out on the last rip trip to get us all pumped up. My only frustration with the day was that we all didn't hook up while they were in front of us.

Oh well, my feeling is that three fish over 35 inches on flies from shore mid-day ain't bad no matter who gets 'em. It just happened to be our turn, you're next my friend!
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