Greetings from Capt. Dave & BAYMEN!
On board today, well known bird carver, Bob Mosher, for fly or die striped bass. At first light the bay was flat calm with a gorgeous sunrise, and last hour of low tide. A perfect fall morning. Water temps 58 degrees.
There were fish breaking right in the harbor but there was also millions of peanut bunker. I arrived very early at the docks and made a few casts with my fly rod but hooked peanut bunker on every cast. Best bet might be to use a sinking line and get your fly down to the bottom. The bass may hit it as it comes up into the water column, but before you get into the millions of peanuts on the surface.
We headed out onto the bay and found fish working under birds at a rip. We set a few drifts and had two hook-ups, both throwing the barbless hook. I switched right over to a barbed fly (Baymen Universal) but we had no more hits. I glassed two miles away and saw a huge school of bass under birds outside the bay and asked Bob if he wanted to make the run. He said, “absolutely” so we fired up the engine and a few minutes later found what I was glassing with my binoculars…
Tons of striped bass rolling on the surface under birds and most of them let us pull right into the middle of them. Only one problem: they would take nothing! We had fish all around us on a selective feed. Lots of fish! But we could not see the bait and knew it must be very small. I started to go through the fly box and we fished many patterns to no avail. Then I started to trim fly patterns to try and “match the hatch” of the size I thought they may be feeding on…. Not a bump as Bob stripped his fly through an acre of fish, shoulder to shoulder.
Then, I decided to try tiny shrimp patterns that are typically used for bonefish. We tied one on and Bob began to fish it while I picked up a 9wt rigged with a popper and said, “why not? They wont’ take a thing and the popper is about the only pattern we haven’t tried.” Strip – Strip – Strip… WHAM! Fish On! Well what do you know! They hit the popper fly! I switched rods with Bob and he landed a nice bass. He went back to his shrimp pattern and I cast the popper again… WHAM! Fish on again! We Cracked the code!
Bob said, “why don’t we try a Jack Gartside Gurggler? I love to fish that fly…” I have every fly known to man in my fly boxes and took out a white Jack Gartside Guggler and tide it on… Bob cast… WHAM! Bass on! And that is how it went for the rest of the morning! Bob cast for four hours non-stop and landed a bunch of bass. They loved the white Gurggler today. It makes a nice little wake in the water and it triggered something in the fish that said ATTACK!
No other boats around today and the bay stayed flat all morning. In between fishing, we enjoyed talking about Bob’s travels with rod and gun over the years, and of course, bird carvings, which he is one of the masters of the craft. If you are a collector you probably own a Bob Mosher bird.
After great times, we headed for the dock and called it a great fall morning on the bay. Today was my last scheduled charter of the season and the end of my 30th year guiding on the bay. And one other milestone today: I released my 90,000th striped bass of my career on one of Bob’s fish! A great fall morning, indeed.
Back at it (maybe?) for a few more outings. Bird season has started and I am getting restless to head north or to sit in the duck blind or deer stand. If we have some calm days, however, I may just put the word out and take a few more striped bass charters on the bay until the fish are gone for good until next Spring. STAY POSTED:
Capt. David Bitters, BAYMEN, www.baymenlife.com Fly Fishing & Light Tackle Striped Bass On The Massachusetts Coast. 30 Years Guiding The Bay.
NOW BOOKING : 2023, 2024, and 2025 SEASONS! 2023 is almost booked solid. 2024 is about 35% booked. 2025 is about 10% booked. E-mail for open dates for any month or season and let’s get you on the water and into fish!