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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

Sep 03, 2012

I first met James about twenty years ago when his father Matt brought James and his brother Ian into the shop.  James was nine years old at the time. I knew Matt had a reputation as a phenomenal fisherman and years later when I had a chance to fish with him I witnessed something I had never seen. He fished with an effortless nonchalance. It was as if he knew he would catch fish yet he genuinely didn’t really care if he did or not. As the years went on I would often hear stories from Matt about the fishing exploits of James and Ian. The stories seemed fantastic but I knew that they were true. James is now 29 years old and reminds me a lot of his father. When everyone else is crying the blues about how bad the fishing has been, he’ll stop by the shop and in his cheerful mannered way tell us about the fish he’s caught and the flies that have been working for him. It’s been going on for years and has become a great source of amusement for us. A few weeks ago I realized that I had never invited him fishing and decided to do so. We went out on Wednesday and had a great day of fishing! We were into some nice stripers almost from the get go and even had a 4/0 tarpon hook straightened by a fish we never saw. I was fishing my Pollock fly and James was fishing his Lil’ Mule fly.  When I first saw the Lil’ Mule I didn’t expect James to have much luck with it but I was wrong. Stripers love that fly. Late morning the conditions were good for sight fishing so I asked James if he wanted to give it a try. He said that he was up for anything so I told him, “prepare yourself to be frustrated”.  After about 15 minutes on the flats two small schoolies came swimming by and James threw to them. I was thinking to myself “I hope this kid takes rejection well” when one of the bass swam right over and ate the Mule. I couldn’t believe it! A few minutes later the same scenario played out with a bigger bass that ate the Mule. After that James decided to try out a new crab that he tied and almost every bass he presented it to ate it. He landed 7 stripers on his crab fly, the biggest was 30”. Towards the end of the tide he had a shot at a legitimate 45” cow in two feet of water that calmly left the flat after a slow inspection of the crab. Not five minutes later two bass close to 40” did the same thing. James took the rejections with a smile and a laugh, much like his father would do.    

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein

Aug 18, 2012

I decided to give site fishing the flats a rest this past week. Instead I fished for stripers the way I have for years, trying to target larger bass. I fished with my friend Catherine and when I finally convinced her to throw the bananas in her lunch box overboard our luck started to change. We caught many stripers from 12” to 16”, a bunch of slot size bass, and 4 bass over 30”. It was a fantastic day of fly fishing! The next day the big cows were still around but much tougher to feed. I managed to land one cow that ¾” shy of 40”.

Jim

Posted in Fishing Reports By Jim Bernstein