Saturday, June 23, 2018

06.23.18 My last shot....


     So during dinner Joe and I had delusions that this morning in the same spot we ended up with would be good, real good. We were up at 3 am and on the beach soon after in the dark. As light arrived the shad fest, with a few porgies mixed in, was on. Joe had two small bass and as the tide ebbed and the wind kicked up and the mung moved in we called it a morning. Back at 6 and cup of coffee and we were ready for a nap.

     It was a great trip. Great guys. Better weather than past years although the wind kept us dancing around the island. Tough tide times, real tough. But with fishing it is what it is. If it was perfect every time it would be boring. Till next year MV.

06.22.18 Wind changed the plans as did fish in a different spot.....


       After a few hour nap I was up and ready to give it a go. With the wind too steady from the SE coupled with an incoming tide I knew it would be too tough to sight fish. I decided to go just as the tide started to flood hoping that I could catch an early traveler across the bar. That never happened so I relocated to another flat that is harder to spot fish but seems to have had more fish on it earlier in the tide. I stood on that ladder for a few hours and just before the muscles in calves locked up Gerry called......."Steve found fish". 


     It was the 3/4 incoming tide when I got there and had the place to myself. Quickly I spotted two fish than three patrolling the outside of the grass. I threw the crab fly but it was more in desperation that a true sight fish lead and set up. A few bass came in close feeding in the clouds of sand eels but they were dialed in to that snack.

     As the tide came higher Joe and Gerry, now nicknamed 'The Porgy Master" joined me and we each had a point to fish. I used a white bunny strip fly and had a handful of bass and a few shad.


 Every time I looked up I saw Gerry hooked up to either one of his dozen porgies, his dozen shad, or his dozen small bass. As the sun started to go deeper west I dreamed of sight fishing one more time in the pond. With the guys set with a ride out I looked at my watch and it was 415 pm.....maybe just enough time to see one more. I took the ride and when I got there I saw the water way, way up and I knew my shots were going to be just about till. I set up the ladder and the shallows looked like the deep end of a pool. I did see three fish but had no shots so the The Average Crab will have to wait till next year to be tested and proven or tested and failed.


     While I was on my mission Gerry found a nice fish taking a sand eel fly. It was the last supper night and Joe cooked up some nice steaks and it was a meal filled with fish stories and reflections from the week. Gerry had the numbers, I had the big fish, and Dave, well, he was spin fishing so it doesn't count.....


06.21-22 (early).18 "The Average Crab" is born...


     With having dealt with a ton of refusals of various crab and crabby type flies the past few days I thought maybe more realistic may be better than not. I remembered a few years ago while at The Fly Fishing show I was walking the back row and someone was selling plastic crab bodies with a shell sticker for the top. I hadn't touched it since then and found them when I was digging through my stuff while the guys sat around tying at dinner. 


     Here's what I came up with. I tied them several different ways and with different weights. They look great in the water. I gave each one of the guys one and an early critique was that it spins on a faster retrieve. Steve suggested putting the tungsten on the bottom into a teardrop, kind of a keel that would keep the fly flat. Also, I wonder if the combo of weight on the bottom with the barbel eyes adds to the negative action. 


     This trip starts with a daily strategy and tactics meeting at the table with all the guys surrounding the MV map. Where's the wind? Is there sun? What's the tide? Where are the fish? So I decided that early Friday morning, 230 am, I would hit the pond hoping to see the big fish exploding in the dark on the same flats I see them on during the day. Same tide, different time.


     I went into the pond and walked up to the flat. No wind, flat, dead calm...the hour or so I was there. I decided around 430 am to hit Lobsterville and see if anything was popping. Soon the light arrived and so did the shad. I fished for about two more hours before I headed into town, well three 



towns to find a cup of coffee and a bite . The below pic is Lobsterville as I let it. You can imagine what it might look like if bass were on sand eels or some either bait.





Thursday, June 21, 2018

06.21.18 Tough day with quality over quantity....


     My early plan was to hit a new spot but I found out a resident parking pass is required. With the rental we are good for one pass....and we have four cars. So I had Gerry drop me off and I took a walk out onto the flats. It was mid incoming tide and it took about another hour until the fish came up onto the flat. The fish were there in good numbers but I couldn't get them to eat. As the water became too high to sight fish I pulled out and headed down beach to where I thought I'd see more fish in the shallows but no one was home.



     I grabbed my ladder and made a position change one of about a dozen I did this afternoon. Saw a few more fish but with the clouds dancing in and out I couldn't see them in enough time to set up. After an hour balancing on the second to the top rung of the ladder I followed Gerry out and we headed down beach. Here's where the fish story starts. I was ahead of Gerry and my fly line had grabbed a horseshoe crab shell and empties out of my basket. I walked back and just threw it in figuring I'd take a minute to gather myself when we got to our spot.

     Gerry was carrying my cooler and I the ladder which I wanted to set in my spot where the day before I had seen good numbers. As I planted the legs I look into the water and a good fish is moving left to right. I got up on the first rung, made a 15 foot cast, saw him eat, and then take off......until the line stopped.



     When I "threw" it in the basket it found its way into a know and stopped two eyes short of my fly tip. Gerry had just turned to walk to another spot and I called him back. I headlined the fish while Gerry undid the know and handed me the rod back. I was lucky he was there and glad he was able to get a few shots of me and the fish as single fish pics get boring.


     The water was still coming in, even after the tide charts said it shouldn't and between the wind, clouds and fog front seeing the fish was hard, but they were there. We had an east wind that picked up as the day went on and it dumped all kinds of eelgrass and stuff right at our feet. Gerry went to work the channel as the tide ebbed and I walked waist high along the spit as the tide ebbed planting the ladder to see the picking fish. In total I probably saw 50 fish today, had a bunch of looks and refusals



and two eats both on this below fly I tied up on day one after catching the first few fish on a Leif Peterson crab fly. It just feels better when you get them on your own fly....not that much better but a little. The second and last fish was really cool because he was a long cast and a long follow and he finally ate after I stop retrieving. There's nothing like sight fishing for striped bass. I'm hearing from the guys that back in the day Dogfish and Lobsterville would give up 15-20 pound bass during the day while sight fishing. I hope one day to see that.



06.20.18 Day 4 A long and tough day.....



     I'll start from the midday 12-5 shift. Joe and Gerry dropped me off at the pond and I went in 3/4 of the way on the incoming. I set up my ladder where there were a plethora of fish passing by the day before and waited, and waited, and waited, and then waited. In between waiting I ate lunch and took a nap waiting for the drop of the tide. When I woke up the water was even higher. I can't figure out how high the tides are, and low, being one week off the full moon. 
     When it did finally drop I moved my ladder to where the bottom is sandy hoping to see some fish. In the end I saw about two dozen fish that were passing by, some stopped on my fly, one ate it, but didn't hook. 



     In the morning I joined Joe and Gerry for the crosstown ride to fish were the tide was better. Wind was up and I only saw two fish when I first walked in. Gerry had a few micros from the sedge bank. I went fishes and couldn't wait to get back to slay them in the afternoon, which you have already read I didn't. 

     So at 6 pm, dead tired, I contemplating taking a shower and joining the boys for dinner but I had visions of those bass rising on the outgoing tide. So I loaded up and headed for the long ride east. When I got there it looked different, no pretty sunrise, lots of wind, and waves coming into me. It was


a bust. I packed it in and took a ride to the drawbridge in Tisbury and it was well into the outgoing. I fish the pilings and then the wall leading out without a tap. Frustrated and tired I was done. As I way my way across the Big Bridge I looked back and saw a beautiful evening sunrise that I just had to 


take a photo of. I stopped by Lobsterville, for my last time, and didn't find any life. There's just no bait around, nor fish, at least there. Looks like it's rain and clouds in the morning, and of course some wind, so we'll see how it goes. 






06.19.18 Day 3 evening- one and done


     Took a lone ride across the island to try the outgoing. One thing we've learned is that we are here for tough tides. Dead low has been 7- 9 am and high 2-4'ish and then night tides high after midnight. The last few days we've had more wind and less sun. To sight fish you need both or at best just one. 

     So on Day 3 night I waded into the pond to see if I could see anything popping. Nothing. The bugs started getting the best of me as the wind died so I decided to back out. Once in the truck I approached a packed Big Bridge and saw the back-up lights light up as someone was pulling out. I pulled in and sat looking out as the sun set. Most of the anglers were on the jettys on the outside of the pond and no one was inside.

     Just when I thought I was done I saw fished started to rise in the moving water in the channel which was in casting range. Funny thing was they looked like trout rises, and I saw heads. I jumped out, threw my waders on, and loaded a black floating sand eel fly. As I stood waist deep I still didn't know what kind of fish I was throwing too, then I saw the dorsal fins.....bass!

     First cast was dead on and let it float from right to left without a tap. The fish were still up and the second cast was just as good but this time I twitched and BAM! Explosive strike and the fish went straight out from me in a line and had me quickly into my backing. With the current I thought it was a 20 pound fish. 

     So now the question is....where's the picture. Well I got the fish to hand, thumbed it with my left as I used my right hand to pop the fly from his thick and big upper law. As it popped the fish bit down and wriggled in a way that turned my wrist. My thumb is raw and some pain sensor, coupled with then twisting action, made me release the fish. It was as big as my 33 inch from Day 1 on maybe even a touch bigger. I wish I had a picture but the memory is just as good. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

06.19.18 Had to see over 100 bass....



     Just about perfect day on the Vineyard. The water was flat but did pick u[p which made sighting them hard in the big water with a ripply top. Out early on the start of the incoming but it didn't get going till the end of the flood tide when the fish, a lot of them, started to come on the flats looking to eat. Problem is.....what did they want. I saw clouds of micro sand eels and the occasional crab swim 


by but that was it. I threw the bag at them and was lucky enough to land 5, dropped a big that I had one on a for a bit, and the prize of the day was setting up open a sea robin in the shallows that ate. 
     Today I saw more fish than I have probably combined in the last six years, and there were some bruisers mixed in. I had more refusals then I can count. I tried sand eels flies, bunny flies in black and white, micro Semper Fi's, crab flies in various assortments, and then a few just plain old ugly flies. 



     One of the coolest things I saw today was watching big fish follow the hooked schoolies in, every time. Hopefully tomorrow is more of the same....just don't know what fly I'll tie up tonight for tomorrow. 



Monday, June 18, 2018

06.17-18.18 Happy Father's Day from the Vineyard


     Happy Father's Day! Kinda bittersweet since this is the first since Ryan's passing but my other children make me proud and give me the strength to carry on. I met a father and son fishing Dogfish Bar last night and it stopped me for a minute and gave me a chance a reflect. I sure do miss that kid.


     This year it was tough leaving my family on Father's Day. It just works out that thesis the week each year. I don't know if I'll make it back next year, but I say that now. I left Titusville just after midnight on Saturday and by mid-Connecticut I was falling asleep around 230. I set my alarm for 3am and woke up at 4. I missed my 7am ferry from Wood's Hole but was able to catch the 815 and that put me on a flat Sengekontacket Pond. I saw a few fish as the tide flipped from low to incoming. 

     Sunday was beautiful so I new I had to fish as much as possible. I met Steve and Dick at the house after helping them offload I made my way out. The sun was still high and there was minimal wind. I found fish, casted to fish, pricked fish, spooked fish, and landed fish. The biggest was 33 inches and there we're two more keepers. It was the best day in sizable fish in my six years. 






     I ended the evening at Dogfish where I stayed on the incoming to just after dark. I spent a lot of time on my back enjoying the sunset and the clouds as they passed by. The bass never came in while I was there but the hickory shad were eating sand eels inches from the shoreline.



     Day 2. Woke up snd it was blowing pretty good and the sun was in and out of the clouds. I brought  my ladder and spent hours perched on it only seeing three fish. The end of the tide was late afternoon and the sun came out and even thought I had already been picked up I loaded up and headed back. I walked the flat without the ladder and blind casted a crab fly into the darker water and picked up two, one keeper and one under. Tonight the heavens are supposed to open up so we'll see what tomorrow brings.





Tuesday, June 12, 2018

06.12.18 Spring is holding on.....


     This morning it was in the high 40's which seems a little chilly for this time of year. Coupled with the 6 feet of rain we've had it seems spring doesn't want to leave. I got out early this morning and joined Joe and Leif throwing flies into the bigger end of the incoming tide. Both connected but I did not. Mostly small fish less than 25 inches which has been the usual take the last few springs. We need the fish to stop running by and settle in for summer when the fall baits and crabs are the offerings to keep them around. Yesterday, Joe used a crab fly to grab this nice fish in the incoming slop.



     Leif continues to be the pool winner catching most on the flies below. While they may not make a fly tying book they are the biggest producers we've seen. You may say that a chartreuse over white Clouser (tied perfectly) would do the trick....forget it. I don't know if it's the big eyes are whatever but it kills them. I used one today.....and got nothing. Maybe Leif is just a good stick.


     On Sunday I'll join the boys, well almost all of them, up for a week on Martha's Vineyard hoping to stand in a spot for hours looking to sight fish for striped bass. It's my favorite way to fish for them. This is my, I think, 6th year and we haven't have a banner year yet. Usually bad weather and small fish, hopefully this year will be different. Either way it'll be a much needed mental health break from a tough year spent with some great guys. Looking below the weather doesn't look bad, just hope the wind lays down to nothing.