While standing on a dock in a local estuary around 8pm last Tuesday, my trout addiction took a major blow as a large school of 6 inch herring swirled at my feet with several stripers hot on their tails. I’d just launched my skiff for the first time this year and put it out on my assigned float. It was a record late launch for me. It blew my previous late launch record to hell. I was actually feeling a bit ridiculous as old friends were coming by in their boats saying stuff like “where the hell have you been”, “we thought you were done with stripers”, “you aint gonna catch no trout down heyah”. Standing alone on the dock a while later, watching the stripers feed, I decided that I might give the trout a rest for a bit. A little bit.
I fished the salt for two days this past week. I decided to concentrate mostly on sight fishing for a couple of days. The tides were awesome for that and the sun was good but the wind did blow, as it always seems to blow. My friend Florian was down from Quebec and he fished the first day with me. He had six good shots and hooked up on one of them. Although it was the smallest fish we saw it gave him a good line burn on its first run. Day two was with my friend John and he had many shots at skinny water stripers. I do believe that we encountered the fussiest bass that I’ve ever witnessed. It didn’t help that I was still getting the rust off of my poling skills and John was getting the rust off his backcast presentations, but we still had some great presentations with old favorite, well proven flats patterns but the stripers just refused to be fooled. We fished some deep water spots just to get the skunk out of the boat and John landed two slot size stripers and one just over 30 inches on guitar minnows. It was great to be back on the salt with its wonderful aromas, sounds and beautiful scenery. I hope all of you trout bums out there get a chance to cast to a few stripers this season. It might just turn out to be casting practice for you but it might also turn out to be the best fishing story of your life.
Local striper reports have been very encouraging. I’ve had endless reports from boat fisherman getting into huge schools of big stripers feeding on herring and mackerel. Most of the feeds are out of reach for the shore bound fly fishers but a few that I’ve heard about were within fly casting distance. The rest were from just off shore to several miles offshore. The amount of bait around our area is fantastic. We have 2” to 9” long herring, Mackerel, silver sides, sandeels and squid. The squid reports are like I’ve never heard. There are huge numbers of them from Marthas Vineyard to north of our area. My friend DJ has been doing very well on squid flies. He tyes beautiful squid flys and has been gracious enough to tye some for our shop. Other flies that have been working well are Guitar Minnows, Emu Bucktails, Eyed Snakes, Punky Meadows, standard Deceivers and Clousers.