I have only been fishing for stripers (to any large extent) for the past 2 seasons. It is sort of funny as to how I got into fishing for stripers on the fly. I was fishing for trout/steelhead in the Deschutes River in Oregon (camping along side the river near Maupin - a great way to fish that river on the cheap) and I got to talking to an experienced local guide. I was a bright-eyed college graduate that was really impressed with my first foray into Western trout fishing. I commented to this veteran guide (mind you - a sort of quiet type full of hidden wisdom) that I wished that trout fishing in New England was as exciting as trout fishing out west (read: bigger fish on a consistent basis). This sage paused, turned to me and with a glimmer in his eye said, "Son, I would trade in all of this for the striper fishing that you have at your doorstep in New England." At that moment the seed was planted. I’ll be damned if the grass isn’t greener on my side of the country.
I got back from my cross-country trek (which included a cheap trip to Alaska for some salmon fishing - US Forest Service cabins cost $20/night and some are situated in very remote, prime fishing areas) and headed to Black's Creek in Quincy on one August night, one hour before dead low-tide. I had purchased some clousers simply because they were the only fly that I knew of for striper fishing at the time. That night I caught well over 25 stripers, no cows but I was getting schoolies on every cast. That was the moment I became a striper addict.
Since then, I really haven't done much fresh water fishing. I have been learning the ways of the salt (largely thanks to great people such as the people on this board).
Now to the point: I keep a notebook (unorganized, just a repository for ideas) that I use to write down notes and observations about my fishing excursions and interactions with members of this SWFF community. From casting tips, to places to fish, to fishing techniques, fly tying patterns - I keep notes on many helpful tips that come my way via those more knowledgeable than myself.
Now, one thing that I do is write down everything that went wrong, and right, with a fishing outing. For example, there are some frustrated notes concerning my first trip to Joppa (flats in Newburyport, MA). Without a stripping basket I could not cast very far in the strong current (still caught 10-15 schoolies). You can bet that I went out and did some Rubbermaid engineering before my next outing. Lesson learned.
Anyway, I recommend that people who are new to SWFF write down some of their own observations upon their first outings into the salt. If anyone in the Southern NH area would like tips on getting started then I would be glad to talk to you/meet with you. Anyone is also welcome to accompany me on a trip to PI in the spring.
Getting started is not a difficult thing. The rewards are plentiful.
And make sure that you thoroughly wash all of your gear after it has been in salt water. Just saturate a zipper in salt water some time, let it sit for a day or two, and see how hard it is to “unstick” the zipper. That will be an indication that salty gear should be washed after each outing. A garden hose does the washing trick for me.
Waders are a must, but not expensive waders. I own some nice waders but last year (during warmer weather) I defaulted to using some L.L. Bean nylon backpacking waders (non-boot foot - $70) with good sandals over the nylon feet (lots of velcro on these sandals in case your feet ever sink into the sand or even the muck on Joppa - otherwise you might lose a sandal). I found this setup to be very comfortable. On really warm days if I get hot I just ditch the waders and wet wade in the sandals. In the early and late seasons (May and late Septemer through November) I wear neoprenes. It can get cold if you do not insulate well.