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Aug 20, 2013

 

 

What a great summer it’s been!

We’ve been blessed with some beautiful fishing weather, and most anglers coming through the shop have only had good things to say about the conditions. 

Striper action has been amazing, one of the best years we’ve had in quite a while.  There have been great numbers of fish around in a wide range of sizes, anything from 10” to 50”, but it seems like the most common fish size this year is 25”-32”.  Since the last report, we have seen ridiculous amounts of Juvy Herring close to shore.  Fish have been feeding on them heavily, with a lot of top water action.  Adams Snake Fly has worked well as a herring imitation lately, and I’ve also been playing around with a new pattern called the game changer that has done very well (and oddly enough I’ve caught quite a few flounder on this fly too). 

Fish have also continued to eat a lot of crabs.  I have been fishing from the top of a step ladder lately, sight casting the crab pot to fish cruising skinny water.  I’ve found this to be a really fun and productive way to fish.  My girlfriend Liz had a goal this year of catching a striper over 30” on the fly.  She had caught several fish just under 30” over the past couple years, but couldn’t break that mark.  Jim took us out on his skiff last week and she was finally able to break the 30 inch mark with a fat 33.25” fish caught on a guitar minnow!  It’s been a great season so far, I can’t wait to see what the fall will bring. 

Fresh water fishing has also been excellent.  A few anglers have come through with good reports of bass on some of our ponds and lakes.  Reports from the north country have been mixed, but with the cooler nights we are starting to have, conditions should only start to improve.  We did some fishing in the White Mountains in NH over the past two weeks.  Weather was beautiful and we found some water that was cold enough with plenty of active fish.  We got into a good number of rainbows with some brookies mixed in on one river, and then fished a much smaller river packed full of hungry native brookies.  We fished dries the whole time, with the good old Parachute Adams being our top producer, but we also caught plenty of fish on ants, beetles, and stone flies.  Get out there and have some fun if you can!

James Browne

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein

Jul 09, 2013

High water! That was the continual rant from many of the anglers that came through the shop in June. I heard from too many fishermen that they cancelled trips do to high water. I just don’t get it. I can see cancelling a trip because you broke your leg in several places or had some other crippling injury or catastrophic event happen to you. But high water? While I’ll admit that some of flows on Maines big rivers were huge and made for very tough fishing, I wouldn’t let it stop me from going fishing. Often times when the flow gets high the fish congregate in the slower flows near shore. Finding those fish can be difficult but when you do find them the fishing can be fantastic. And then there are the crowds. At high water, there are no crowds. Several years ago I booked a steelhead trip with a couple of friends. A few days before we left people started warning us about high water. “The water is going to come up when they get that rain that’s coming” they told us, “you guys should wait a week”. Well, we went anyway. As we pulled into a small town that the river flows through it was pouring rain. The river looked a bit high and the angler parking areas were so full there wasn’t enough room to park a moped. The sight of the crowds made us all bitch in unison. We headed downriver to the place we’d rented for the week, assembled our gear and headed back up river. When we arrived back at the parking area there were no vehicles left, not one! The river had come up and chased every home. This river that was said to fish well at 700cfs was now at 8000cfs. It was huge. I saw a full size hardwood tree with the root ball still attached go racing by. By the next day one of the parking lots was under water. We decided to fish anyway and we had a great time. Some of the best fishing spots were inside corners where the current was softer. It was a bit tough fishing a nymph rig while standing in the woods and we didn’t land to many of the steelhead that we hooked but we hooked a lot! When the steelhead got into the fast current it became a matter of deciding how much backing you wanted to reel in before you snapped them off. During five days of fishing we encountered only three other fishermen. It turned out to be a great trip. The next time your fishing trip is threatened with high water don’t cancel the trip. Go and figure the river out at high water because there is a good chance that you will be well rewarded. If you can’t figure it out, there’s always pond fishing.

I spent all of June fishing for trout and landlocks on five different rivers in Maine and had some memorable fishing experiences. The rain kept the water temps from rising to high and the hatches were prolific. All of the reports that I’ve received the last two days are that the trout fishing is still excellent. The Hexes have been hatching in southern Maine for over a week now and are starting to come off good further north. Caddis, golden stones, sulphers, bwo, and yellow & lime sallies are hatching on many rivers. I had a fisherman in today who said he was still seeing some Hendricksons just north of the Rangeley lakes area.

We’ve had many reports of great striper fishing for the past two months. The latest reports from the past few days are that while the numbers a fish around are still good the stripers are getting into their summer mode of being fussy. Crabs patterns are working well but sand eel and baby herring patterns are fooling more fish. I’ve had a few reports of squid showing up in our waters as of two weeks ago. Good luck fishing. 

       

  

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein

May 26, 2013

The striper fishing has definitely started with a bang! Since last Wednesday fishermen have been pouring through the shop with stories of great catches. I-phones are being passed around to show pictures of nice bass and several anglers have proudly defended their catches by displaying their striper thumb. Best count that I’ve heard yet is 30 stripers in an outing. Largest local striper I’ve heard caught was 38”. I’ve asked a few of the successful anglers what the hot fly was. They all replied that it didn’t really matter much because they were eating everything. Mackerel are already thick along the coast as are Atlantic baby herring, alewives and sand eels.  Water temps along the coast as of last Wednesday were 53.7 degrees. 

On the freshwater scene low water woes have turned to high water woes. Anglers who haven’t let either condition bother them have been having some pretty good fishing. No change in hatches since my last report except that the Hendrickson hatches are moving north.  I talked to Carter Davidson of Gray Ghost Productions today. Carter guides both Maine and New Hampshire. He said the fishing and guiding he’s been doing in Maine has been very good to prove it he sent me a picture of “just one” of the nice trout he caught in between guide days this past week. With the rain we’ve just received June is shaping up to be excellent. Good Luck! 

Jim

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein

May 12, 2013

Its official, the stripers are here! Striper reports started rolling in several days ago. It’s the same every year. First the report comes in then the debate starts. Hold over or fresh fish? Usually the person who caught the bass in question insists it is a fresh fish and who can blame them. If it’s fresh, that means the migration of bass into our waters has begun and we’ve been waiting all winter for this day.  Others say that if the bass has sea lice on it that means it is a migratory fish. However, sea lice can live in our estuaries and it is thought that sea lice survive through the winter by attaching to a host that remains in the estuary during that time.  It’s my opinion that the deciding factor is water temperatures. We usually start to see some fresh stripers when the water temps reach 48 degrees. But as most striper anglers know, 50 degrees is magic number. And all the reports I’ve had lately are saying we’ve been at 50 degrees for at least a week. I had a report this morning that bass have been seen busting on bait in two estuaries close to our shop.  

I talked to my buddy Kent today and he told me of an incredible day of striper and blue fishing he had yesterday on the south side of the cape. His day started fishing off shore for bluefish. He was into big blues between 15 & 17 pounds and getting a lot of them when he got a call from a friend who said to get in shore ASAP because the clam worms were coming off thick. His friend said that he had just released a striper about 40” long. When Kent got inside the bass were everywhere gorging on the worms. He and his buddy caught a lot of stripers between “cigar size to almost 40 inches” throughout the incoming tide. One interesting observation Kent made was that were worms were many different colors and from 1 ½ “ to 5” long. Their colors were opaque with a greenish hue, light pink, orange, and red.
Good luck fishing!

Jim 

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein

May 04, 2013

It’s time again to start our fishing reports. Who am I kidding, it’s way past time for a fishing report and I’ve been dragging my feet about getting started. Actually, I’m mostly dragging my left knee which I blew out while skiing in February. The doctor who put my knee back together told me I can’t fish until June at the earliest so until then all of my reports will be from second hand sources.

This past spring was pretty good trout fishing in the rivers that the state left open through the winter. Lately is gotten better. Waters are beginning to warm up to good trout temperatures and I’ve had some good reports from both pond and stream fisherman. There have been many reports about good hatches of chironomids, cinnamon caddis, and small black stones. Yesterday I received my first report of a Hendrickson hatch. The state has been making the rounds with their stocking trucks so most of the easy access places along the local streams should now be filled with eager trout.

The salt is starting to warm up. Today the buoy at the Western Maine Shelf reported surface water temps at 50.2 degrees. I don’t have a solid inshore water temp report yet. Schoolie stripers were being caught yesterday in a river a little south of our shop. They were probably holdovers following the alewives up river. About a week ago I had call from a friend who was catching shad down by the border of Mass and NH. He said the run was really good compared to years past and they were catching some really nice acrobatic hens. If the water keeps warming up like it has we should hopefully have fresh shad in our Maine rivers within a week with stripers right behind them. Good luck fishing!

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein

Oct 06, 2012

I just saw that my last report was back in early September. It seems impossible to me that it was that long ago. As I sit here trying to recall all of the fishing that I’ve done since then, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a very fortunate person. I’m feeling blessed to have done so much fishing in the last month that I am having difficulty remembering it all. The memory failure could be the result of a well worn 50 year old brain, but I like to think it is the result of too much fishing, as if that is possible. I’ve looked back through my pictures to help with my recall only to realize I haven’t been taking enough pictures. What I do know is that all of the fishing I’ve done in the past month has been for striped bass and most of the days that I’ve spent on the water have been taking friends who rarely get a chance to fish. Many of them are novice fishers and all get as excited about fishing as any old salt I’ve fished with. On those trips I rarely ever throw a cast. It’s so enjoyable to watch them catch fish that I find myself working harder to get them a bite than I do when I fish alone.
I’ve also had a few experienced fly fishers on my skiff this past month. Three weeks ago I had Jax McKay and his dad Kevin out for two days. This is Jax birthday striper trip and he is the only one who fishes because that is his birthday gift. At nines years old, Jax is one of the most intensely focused fishermen that I’ve shared a day on the water with. When he’s not wielding his bubble wand or using a critter catcher to scoop up any sort of life form that floats past, he is all business with the fly rod in his hands. While site fishing, Kevin and I were straining our eyes to find a bass for him to cast to when Jax yelled, “Hey, there’s one right there”! Without any prompting from kevin or me, he quickly cast a Crab Pot fly perfectly ahead of the striper, let it sink to bottom, and then started an ever so slow retrieve. That bass scrutinized the fly for several seconds and then sucked it in. Jax hooked and landed it like a pro. It was a beautiful thing to watch. In one day Jax landed 9 stripers and his first bluefish, all on flies that he tied for this special trip. I can’t tell you how many little critters he scooped up but I know he went through a whole bottle of bubble juice.
This past Wednesday I fished from “can’t see to can’t see” with my friend Bryant. We had a great day of striper fishing. We were into stripers right from the get go and after landing a bunch of small to slot size bass we left breaking fish to hunt for cows. Four bass from 32” to 35” were landed and Bryant lost one striper, that might have been 40” long, after a lengthy battle.

Local striper reports have been very good for the past two weeks. We actually have some small schools of baby bunker around too. Old Tom’s been driving the coast on his way to work each morning and he’s seeing surface activity almost every day . Most of the stripers being caught are from small schoolies to slot size with the occasional 30”+. Some fishermen are reporting that they are catching 30 to 50 stripers or more on each outing.

I have one more week of striper fishing to do before I head north to celebrate Eldredge Bros. Fly Shop’s 20th Anniversary with five days of trout fishing. Hopefully, I will have something worthwhile to report.

Jim

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein