Obsession unleashed - Fly Fishing Forum
Stripers and Coastal Gamefish Stripers, Blues, Inshore tuna!

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  #1  
Old 08-14-2000, 12:06 AM
i'm so outta here
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Obsession unleashed

<font size="4"><b>Or Captain Ahab goes striper fishing</b></font><!--4-->

Call me stubborn.

After the abortive attempts on Saturday to feel a tug on the end of my line, I set out Sunday to find striper nirvana. What I found was something less than that, but sweet nonetheless.

My journey started in downtown Plymouth, right near the big ugly rock and semi functional herring run across from what used to be Café Naninas. I figured the juvies would be in thick and that the bass couldn't be too far behind despite the snotty weather. Wrong! The East wind was wrecking havoc on anything swimming today. Lots of weed. Lots of debris. Too many tourons (tourist+moron) gawking from above. I decided to head for something else.

Ten minutes later I'm staring at the 3 foot rollers off Plymouth State beach thinking just how stupid I had been to think I'd find good fishing at an Easterly facing location with a 30 mile an hour breeze blowing East. In a desperate attempt to find some quarter from the wind, I explored White Horse and Priscilla beaches before bagging the idea of fishing the salt all together and heading off for some large mouth action on popping bugs.

This actually went pretty well. The 7 wt. floating line is so much easier to cast than the 9, and the pond I stumbled on was well protected from the wind. The bass, although a bit on the small side, were eager to attack my poppers, and, in short, it was like being a kid again catching fish after fish and wishing the sun didn't have to go down.

Stopping at a road side cafe for a meal and a hot beverage, I thought back on the day and was happy I had changed directions and found a little slice of angling bliss to take home with me.

Maybe it was the success I had had on the pond that afternoon that made me stop at my favorite honey hole on the way home. Maybe it was the abortive attempts of the last few days that had me so on edge to catch salty fish. Whatever it was that propelled to me to that spot, it had a firm hold on my psyche and it was not going to let me leave until some resolution came of it.

As I walked down to the water's edge, I was met with the sound of stripers plowing silversides in the current. I know this sound very well. I've heard it for the past week or so. It is the sound of extraordinarily finicky bass who refuse to take any damn fly I own no matter how well presented, no matter how precisely matched in motion and color to the real thing. These bass want one thing and one thing only. Silversides - real ones -- on the surface.

I had tried for several hours on Friday to hook one these little devils. I had tried a few nights before with everything in my possession to no avail. I had watched a spin guy up on the rocks throw every piece of metal he owned at them with the same results. I had stared into the briny blackness of night and whispered pleas of revelation to an unresponsive God, to someone, anyone to grant me the wit or wisdom to crack this seemingly unsolvable puzzle. But my prayers went unanswered but for the incessant kirsplash of these most petulant stripers.

The sound of these bass upending the surface of this deep channel had kept me up at night. It was to the point where the sound of these bass had come to symbolize pure defiance in my mind -- the irrational perception that everything in the world beyond my control had convalesced into a handful of living creatures who shook their eyes and wagged their tails at me in the dark. Silently, tonight, as I walked up to the same stretch of fast moving current, I screamed at them in the inner most recesses of my mind and soul, "TONIGHT I MUST CATCH YOU!!!"

Back at the car, as I started to put together the 9 wt. and unpack my reel, the thought occurred to me that maybe the intermediate line was the source of all my woes with these fish. I quickly put the rod back in its case and grabbed the 7 wt. that was already strung up from the previous trip to the largemouth pond. The floating line would be difficult to manage in the current, but I figured it was worth a shot.

I chose a sparse yellow and white number I had tied up earlier in the day. It was in the Ray's Fly style, but it had lots of flash. I recently made the move to Tiemcos giving up on the economy of the Mustad 34007s. "This could work," I thought as I made my way back down to the water, barely noticing that the rain had picked up a notch or two.

On my very first cast, I felt a hard fast tug and my heart leapt up with the realization that I was on to something. I missed the hook set but quickly set up for another drift. Bang! Again, a definite take but no hookup. Third cast, same thing. Fourth, fifth….tenth cast…..same thing.

"DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!" as the great white striper looked on.

Soaking wet, my glasses fogged, miserable with the prospect of coming up empty once again, I took a break and pondered my situation. The fish were doing a hit and run on the fly, but the point was razor sharp so that wasn't the problem. They weren't twinkies so it couldn't be that the fly was too big. What was it?

Suddenly, I remembered an article I had read in Fly Fishing America about trout fishermen who sometimes use what's called a shotgun cast -- a series of rapid fire casts that are meant to seek out and entice fish that are otherwise not feeding aggressively. It goes on the principle that a largely dispersed pattern of presentations will more likely end up in the strike zone than any sigle finesse cast. I was getting hits, but they were tentative at best. Maybe a rapid fire presentation would cull out the less aggressive strikes.

I tried it. I picked up and put down four casts in about 20 seconds. On the fifth, I felt the familiar tug, but this time the tug turned into a line peeling run that had me wondering if using the 7 wt. was such a good idea after all.

The fish wasn't huge, but it was in the current and my 8 lb. tippet material had not been changed since early spring. I cautiously applied pressure and worked her up through the current and into the stiller waters.

It was over. I had won the battle. Lipping this nice fat 26 inches of relief, I suddenly realized it was close to midnight and I had to work the next day. Coming to my senses, I quickly reeled in and made my way back to the car, glad to have shaken off this mantle of obsession. On the ride home, I looked forward to a good night's sleep and basked in the warmth afforded by accomplishment in the face of adversity.
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2000, 10:46 AM
juro's Avatar
juro juro is offline
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RE:Obsession unleashed

<b>Awesome story</b>, thought provoking too.

I've had many nights like that, when the fish are eating clouds of silversides and ignoring anything less than a cluster of bait thick enough to block out the moonlight. Usually I take a few casts and move on... but I'll have to try a floating line and play a little 'pepper' next time.

Juro
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  #3  
Old 08-14-2000, 06:22 PM
Roop Roop is offline
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RE:Obsession unleashed

Al,

You did a great job recreating your day - congrats on finally nailing your finickuy striper.

As a reminder, next time your in the neighborhood - call me. I was tied up with the kids Sunday but maybe next time I can take you to my favorite smallmouth pond.

Roop
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