On board today I had Lt. Col. Richard “The Machine” Comstock for Fly Fishing striped bass.
At first light, a flat calm, lovely bay and no sign of fish. We began to run recon all over the bays of Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth. Eel River to Back River to Jones River, to Browns Bank, to Burts. Nothing…
As I slowed down and cruised past Standish Shore, I saw a large flock of gulls sitting on the beach, as they always do. I also saw a half-dozen gulls swooping over a couple of cormorants. We slowed to a crawl and watched… SPLASH! A striped bass broke water! We immediately set up a drift very tight to shore on the rising tide and Lt. Col. Comstock began making his casts… WHAM! Fish on!
This continued for several hundred yards down the shoreline and it was a fish on almost every cast. It took a minute to figure out because the bass did not want to rise to the surface to pick off our fly. They wanted it right on the bottom so they could chase it to the surface. We fished an intermediate line so a ten second count was needed to drop the fly into the strike zone. After that is was lights out until those bass moved on. We had two very long drifts and landed a dozen fish.
Next up, I spotted some gulls working a flock of cormorants deep up in a cove and very tight to shore – right in the beach grass. I slowly motored over to them and shut down and again we just watched. SPLASH! A Striped bass broke water on the edge of the grass, almost on the shore. Then another, and another, and another… 3-4 fow max. We had the technique down and it was just a matter of landing the fly on the target. Many more fish landed and released.
Perhaps the coolest thing of the morning happened next. The bass and cormorants drove the bait up into a little guzzle that went deep back into the marsh and dead-ended. The bait was pinned in there and the bass and birds feasted. We joined with them and became part of this macro ecological system that lasted for about an hour before bait, birds and bass left the cove and went back out into the open bay. Total catch and release today was 21 striped bass. A great way to end the season.
Beam me up, Scotty… Season 27 of chartering is in the books!
Capt. David Bitters, BAYMEN, www.baymenlife.com Covid-19 protocol observed on all Baymen Charters & guide services
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