Greetings from Capt. Dave & BAYMEN!
On board today, Birthday Charter for Lt. Colonel Richard “The Machine” Comstock, Fly or Die striped bass!
At first light, a few fish popping in the moorings. A few more out in the bay. Some really big schools of fish up on the flats on the dropping tide which is always a challenge and little risky! We got into a decent school of fish in about 3 fow that eventually went to 2 fow and less. I cautiously got us out of there. In 31 years of guiding, I have never grounded a boat and had to wait for the tide to return. But I have come very, very close many, many times over the years!
Onward to the next spot and fish they were stacked! The only problem? They were up on the flats in less than a foot of water! Crazy, but thats where the fish were. We switched up to floating lines and poppers and got a couple before I decided to move on. We were tight up at the edge of a channel and the bass were literally 25 yards out of range and they would not come toward us. Frustrating to find fish and then have to sit there and just look at them LOL…
On to the third spot of the morning. A few fish popping but nothing to get us excited enough to chase them. Then, I looked across the bay – WAY across the bay and saw what looked like a cloud of gulls working fish! We ran two miles or more until we arrived where they were… Gone! But we sat tight and figured that many birds and fish had to be somewhere in the area. A few minutes later, we saw fish breaking – guess where? – Yep, up on the flats in shallow water. The low tide was almost all the way out and today was a + 1.3 at low. That means we had 15″ inches of water on top of the flats that would normally be solid mud. So, we raised the engine up and ventured up onto the flats, knowing the tide would be turning in our favor shortly… And boy, was it worth the work!
Fish were stacked up in tight schools roaming the flats and chasing bait non-stop for two solid hours. We are talking 12″-24″ inches of water max! We rubbed bottom many times but the incoming tide brought us some much needed water to reach the fish. We got right into them and set drift after drift and hooked up on a lot of fish.
The Colonel landed himself a fine Birthday Keeper we quickly photographed and released. And then, another keeper! And more and more fish until we had reached a whopping 18 striped bass caught and released, with four of them fat keepers, all on the fly. As the morning went on, the bass got VERY finicky and would chase and follow our flies but not take. Groups of fish would chase, swipe or just hover behind the patterns but not touch them. I saw one fish that had to be 38″ inches at least, in less than two feet of water. So exciting to see. We went through a bunch of patters but today’s top fish catcher was a Mike Rice Olive/White Bob Clouser fly. Hands down, this fly got the most fish, including the keepers.
Well, we finally called it a great morning and headed for the barn, but not before stopping by a big school of large bluefish busting bait on topwater. Big Blues. We did not have wire tied on but gave it a shot anyway. That was wishful thinking as these were big blues and they cut our lines in short order.
Total catch and release today was 18 striped bass with 4 fine keepers, all on the fly. 9 wt and 8 wts. Floating lines and Intermediate lines, 20lb leaders, and olive/white clousers….
WHAM! FISH ON!
Back at it. Stay Posted. 11 Charters left for the 2023 season.
Capt. David Bitters, BAYMEN, baymenlife.com 31 Years Guiding The Bay. Still In Love
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
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