Saturday, August 6, 2016

It Only Took Three Years

I finally did it. After three years of frustrating near misses or total misses, I caught my first REAL striper on the fly this morning. But let's start from the beginning.

Dave Goodson has been wanting to get into some larger fish. I suggested a full day on the Farmington. That was before the flow was dropped to 58 CFS. I'm not about that life... I like fishing in places that actually have water. I've fished the Farmington in flows like that before, and I was not impressed. I wanted Dave to have a better than likely shot at getting some nice fish, so I posed him with two options: Housatonic for smallmouth or LIS for stripers and blues. The choice was pretty easily made. So we left East Hampton at 3:45 or there about and headed South. When we got to the first spot there was a tiny bit of light coming over the horizon, but not nearly enough for it to be considered anything but nighttime. Under a starry sky we rigged up and walked to the water, where we could here bait scattering and stripers popping. Finally I was in the right place at the right time.

After about half an hour of casting to wakes with gurglers and clousers it became abundantly obvious that we needed to find static fish, not cruising fish, so we moved down the shoreling to a section where a drop off and rocky bottom with sandy holes creates a riffle with a nice currant seem as the tide is going out. It took Dave only a few moments to hook into the first fish of the morning...

...surprise, it was a flatty! Not at all what either of us expected. And it was truly a fluke fluke. We were targeting them later in the day and couldn't buy a single one. 

I saw a few strong boils over what I knew was a soft sandy spot where the water slowed, the perfect spot for a predator to sit in ambush. I made one cast into that pocket and felt a strong pull. I stripped and lifted the rod. I knew I was into a striper. It fought like nothing I'd ever hooked before. Pulling on it was met with a resistance like that of being snagged on the bottom, and it was followed by violent head shakes. It wasn't a huge fish though so it didn't take very long before the battle was won. But to be fair: in a way this battle lasted three years. Three years of crappy timing, missed opportunities, and lack of skills or knowledge finally ended with a sweet fish. It may not be an impressive striper, but it's not a fish I'll forget. I'm still shaking just thinking about it. 

And there was more where that came from, although none were even close to the size of the first. There were some huge boils, but neither Dave nor I ever connected with one of the big fish. 

When the tide began to come back in the only action was from snapper blues, which were fun but not what we were looking for. It was crazy to see and hear them tearing up the silversides though!

So we went looking for a good section of beach with bait and big fish chewing them up. And that's what we found! It was ridiculous, there were hundreds of thousands of peanut bunker and blues and stripers were tearing them up. Sometimes a 10-15 lb blue would go somersaulting into the air, throwing spray and baitfish everywhere. It was incredible though completely useless fishing. We got there about half an hour too late, so the action was sporadic and it was difficult to get flies in front of the fast moving fish. 

After the action died down completely we went to a good fluke and sea robin spot. I wanted to test out some ideas Nunzio had given me for catching robins on the fly. Dave and I switched rods, he is thinking about buying an 8 wt. and wanted to give mine a try. Of course that was when I hooked into a large fish. What it was, I have no clue, but Dave's 5 wt was not nearly heavy enough to cope with it. I'm guessing a huge fluke based on the battles I had with sea robin on that rod later on. It got me hung up and I had to brake it. That was a shame, I would have loved to have seen that fish! Of course the many creepy crawly fish I caught after that made up for the loss! 

Well that pretty much sums up my best salt water fly fishing experience so far. I'll be back out tomorrow hunting for a bigger striper. Fingers crossed it'll happen. 


  1. That was great!!! Way-to-go on the striper. They do bend a rod. Dave looks like a happy fisherman. Beautiful photos of a memorable day!!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

    1. Thanks,
      They are definitely powerful for their size. I'm looking forward to hooking a bigger one. That'll be interesting.

  2. if youre ever in old lyme let me know. Im heading down tonight. I havent fished for trout since the first week of june. stripers are the way to go! -weightforward

    1. I will, just shoot me an email next time you're going. If I can I'll go.