Greetings from Capt. Dave & BAYMEN!
On board today, Rusty Pool: Day 2 fly fishing for striped bass.
Yesterday, Rusty and his daughter, Katie, and her husband Evan, fished with me on the bay. Evan landed a nice dinner fish and Katie landed a trophy striped bass on light tackle (See yesterdays’ Baymen Report for photos)!
At first light today, the bay was dead-calm with not a wisp on of wind. A dense fog was working it’s way inside and the tide was near high rising. Water temps were mid sixties. Perfect conditions for sight fishing striped bass on the fly.
A little rip had formed on the incoming tide and I set a perfect drift on glassy water above the line. Rusty made his first cast of the morning…WHAM! Fish on – and it was a keepah! That fish hit a Mike Rice bunny strip half/half in olive and yellow. Rusty fought it perfectly on a Bob Clouser 9 wt rod and ORVIS Intermediate line. After two nice runs, Rusty brought it to the boat. What a beautiful fish!
Next, we began to fish some flats that drain out through a cut, or in today’s case, come up through the cut and flood the flats at high tide. We saw a nice fish break and went right to it. Right as the flat dumped into a channel, we had a good hit but unfortunately that fish threw the hook.
From there we motored way up into some more flats and cuts where I spotted several fish on the surface over a weed bed. We almost bumped into them on our first drift and they spooked. Another drift was just right and Rusty hooked into his second keeper of the morning – a nice slot fish on the fly!
I would love to say this was how the whole morning continued. The rest of the day was very slow. We covered water from Duxbury to Plymouth. We had a few more hook-ups and spits, and a couple follows. In one channel, I marked a school of eight fish – and two of them were absolute GIANTS! MONSTER FISH. We drifted over them without a hit. Then we re-drifted over them several more times and they vanished into thin air… These fish were so big, I was shaking. I wondered if we could land one on a 9 wt fly rod with 20lb tippet. I was thinking a 10 WT with 30-50lb tipped might of been better for these brutes!
Well, we worked structure, flats, rocks, weed beds, and channel edges without another hook-up and called it a great morning on the bay with two keepers on the fly. There are just no fish inside the bay at the moment other than what Rusty hooked into today. Perhaps they are all offshore on schools of mack or pogy or squid? Or perhaps they “stopped short” when they found tons of bait at the mouth of the Canal? Or perhaps they zipped right past our three bays, (twenty-five square miles of water at high tide) and kept moving north into other waters… Or perhaps the slight wisp of a SE breeze that brought in the fog today was enough to keep the fish offshore in cooler waters? Of perhaps there was a big school of fish in our bay that I could not find… (doubtful).
These are the things that keep guides awake at night and keep us coming back all our lives, in search of big striped bass and schools so large they stretch for miles into the horizon.
Capt. David Bitters, BAYMEN, baymenlife.com 31 Years Guiding The Bay. Still In Love.
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