The End on a High!

Today presented a last chance to pester some Browns before the season closes on Thursday. I went to the hospital to get my shoulder looked at and fixed (possibly), just by chance its on the way to the chalkstreams that I fish. I have recently seen the changes in the seasons and the river was beautiful, even the fish were rising. With the change in the leaves comes the change in the trout and Grayling feeding patterns and a change in their colour as well.

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I noticed not that much hatching but there were olives, midges and a few small dark sedges about, along with terrestrials. I thought I would try a new greenfly pattern that I tied the night before but it was quickly apparent the it was just a little to early in the autumn to use these. For some reason I thought I’d put a small (size 18) klinkhamer on the line. The Grayling thought this was good and I had few until the fly mysteriously left the end of the line. I tried a few other flies but these didn’t so popular with the fish. Apart from the Snowshoe emerger in the light yellow-olive shade.

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So it was time to try a size 20 klinkhamer of the same colour. The first victim was a nice looking Brown that I seen just under the surface and was seen taking the odd small mayfly/olive of the surface at the point that it left the shuck. Now, the klinks that I had are tied with a thorax of claret peacock dubbing to imitate the emerger. The fish took on the third cast with this fly. Straight away it felt good and tried running, after a few minutes I netted what appeared to be my best wild brown (not a stockie) of the season. What a way to finish. The caught me a few more Grayling (possibly the smallest brown of the season) my day ended on stream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAshley

 

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Caped Crusader Returns Part 2

Sunday marked the start of week two of the trip and I was still hopeful. I knew the fish had to be out there somewhere but where. One thing about this trip was that with the fishing as it was and the usual places not producing it encouraged the exploration of new places. The trouble is that each time I checked a new place out I could see some where else to try. Well, it is a nice problem because it just means that I have to go back. But how many times can I do this before the fish population dive make it no fish weeks?

Sunday morning was missed due to illness but during the afternoon Hardings beach was paid a visit. No fish activity was seen on the way to the cut but the dead ray was still laying on the beach and not looking or smelling good! As I approached the cut or inlet I really slowed the walk and searched the water close in. From experience I know that fish hunt here. This area has flats by the side of the channel and I have seen fish here, on occasion, good ones and today I wasn’t disappointed. About a hundred yards from the entrance I saw the shape of a good fish (30-35 inches) moving along the floating weed line. A few casts proved it wasn’t in the mood for my fly. A little further along and two more shapes were seen. A couple of casts produced a follow. Actually, two follows because two Striper’s could be seen chasing the fly, both 20-35″ fish but all I got was an adrenalin rush!
After this excitement, I moved on round to behind the beach area to start the search for fish. The process was simple, cast, step, cast, step a bit more and so on. Just before I got to the pile of laid out timber I had a fish (my first Striper for a long time), Beastmaster again! This spot produced two more Striper’s before I saw some surface activity 50 yards or so along the beach.

StriperAt about this time a couple were having their evening stroll and called me over. I had a chat with them and found he was a fisher himself. He told me the opposite of what the guy at Saints Landing had told me in that the population was still on the down. So what is the real situation in regarding the Striper population? The evening from this point proved excellent with many fish, with the action I forgot to count but who cares? I sent a message up to my friend Mark to come on down and joined in and also caught fish, a couple of times he had two on the same cast. These fish were all schoolies to 20″ but fun.

Tuesday started slightly cool but much the same as previous days and it was an early start with Wayne dropping me off at Forest Beach at 7ish. A walk along the beach produced nothing but at the end it looked really fishy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again I caught nothing although I later learn’t I should have gone further up the creek. After a while Wayne came down in his kayak and said that he had a few fish in the salt pond and that there were two shoals of Herring there and he could get really close before they spooked. He thought they might be mating but we later found that they did this during the spring, so what were they doing?

Wednesday saw me playing safe with the urge to explore the creek some more so returned to Forest Beach. Again nothing along the beach, a few casts from the rocky jetty produced nothing. I went up the creek a bit and started catching where some current was on a corner and running into deeper water. I had several fish before low tide stopped play or the fish had all run out to open water. Wayne came down a fish for a while and said that the Herring were still there so I had to go and have a look. A first, I have never been in this style of kayak before, much joy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe afternoon was spent at Morris Island, much of the time was spent exploring as I couldn’t really remember much from before but ended up at the point opposite the inlet of Harding Beach. I was told that from the point and long for several hundred yards often held fish but today was not the case. On the way back I noticed a school of fish busting then realised not busting but trying to escape an attack by 2 or 3 seals. For over a hour I watched as the school was decimated. Just wished that a Great White had come along and did something about those seals!

Thursday, we returned to the same place but the fish were fewer, I also broke my fly line so after 8 years or so of use I realised it was time to replace it. Wayne fished the outlet with me and had a few schoolies from the other side of the creek. During the afternoon it was time to find Fishing the Cape has they had moved. Found a Orvis wonder line, I had not heard good things about this line but thought I would check it any way. It was found to be a new generation (or mk3 if you must), so fished without coils but it felt thinker than my old line so may well get replaced for a SA Stripped Bass clear intermediate. Checked out a new place but can’t remember the name although it was further south/west of Forest and Hardings beaches.

Friday, much the same as before with a trip to Forest Beach and the Creek, more fish than the day before with the tide being an hour later than the previous day but still on the out going. Once again I caught on the Beastmaster and the Madeel. Unfortunately fishing at this point had to stop, my arm injury problem had finally got the better of me and I was surprised that it had lasted this long during the trip.

So, the end of a great trip although the fishing was somewhat patchy, time spent with friends is precious and all the more when you haven’t seen them for years. I would like to thank Howard, Mark, Mel, Mike and Wayne for allowing me to tag along and dropping me off at places and to Splinta for great food and more transport. Has well as Ron and Bill for great food and company. Sorry if I have forgotten anyone, let me know.

See you guys next year!

Ashley

Caped Crusader Returns Part 1.

I returned from trip a few days ago and now is the time to report. The trip was the first time in 6 years or so that I have been to Cape Cod fishing the salt with Striped Bass as the primary target although Bluefish are also welcome for their strength. As the report will show, the fishing was a little patchy. The weather was generally good with a few days of slightly stronger wind. This was more than a mere fishing trip it was to attend the Striperheads clave and to see friends that I hadn’t seen for a few years.

The trip began on Tuesday17th September when I took a BA flight direct to Boston where I caught the bus down to Hyannis with a further bus connection or two direct to Nickersons campsite. No fishing was done when I arrived as it was late afternoon.
On the Wednesday I hooked up with another clave attendee Howard, we took a trip to the Sandwich Harbour  close to the Cape Cod canal and fished the last hour or 2 of the incoming and a little of the out going but left as no fish had been seen. I had fished the mouth of the inlet but nothing. Despite looking interesting I didn’t fish the open beach, just has we were leaving we spoke to someone else and they told us that the inlet and the inside of the harbour area were the most productive areas with very little fishing taking place on the outer beach. Don’t know why as it really does look fishy. From here we moved on to a beach on the ocean side, all we found was pesky Seals which apparently are very friendly towards fisherman when they hook a fish which we didn’t!

Thursday dawned the same as the day before, warm and little wind…mocking the clave Meister who was without boat. Todays was the turn for Pamet Harbour, again no fish visible and blind casting produced nothing, so a trip to Ballston Beach was made. Again, no fish but seals were again present.

Friday, similar conditions, it was time to fish south beach, I have had good fishing here before but today was no the case. Seals, again! I had heard of the Striper population crash but the Bluefish as well? The beach was reach by parking on the road to Morris Island and walking around what is know as the Bowl. I was kind of hoping that the fishing would have improved with the opening of the new cut last February due a storm. Again, I saw no fish but another friend who was kayaking did see a few fish.
Another old favourite, Brewster Flats, was fished in the evening. I was dropped of by friends Mel and Mike so they could go of and deal with a breakage or something. While I was waiting I got talking (I seemed to do alot of that this trip but I learnt a few new bits of info). Interestingly I was told that I had timed the trip just right as this year was the one when the Striper population would begin improving (I was told a couple of days that it was still declining). Anyway, I was told the new lay out which proved useful and was also given 4 flies to try. Actually, I kept them to copy and they looked good. I may cover these in more detail when I do tie some of my own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce the water had dropped with the tide I made myself out on to the flat, fishing as I went. I have to admit that I finally saw fish. Bluefish, but they were only snappers. Once I got out to the outer channel I saw someone hook into a what appeared to be a Striper. Later, the Snapper blue struck and I actually had a few myself. Mostly on a Madeel. Roughly an hour before low tide and not long before sunset, a few fish were seen busting bait but this didn’t seem to last very long. This activity resulted in the fishers suddenly springing to life for a short burst but nothing result apart from another striper in the other channel. It was shortly after this that I packed up due to my shoulder injury.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaturday dawned much the same as the previous days although the wind was found to have changed to a north, north-easterly and somewhat stronger, again I was able to team up with Mel and Mike. First port of call was Forest Beach. The wind was found to be blowing directly onto the beach. It was decided that to benefit the less strong casters to move to a location on the Bay side. It did however, remind me of a day a few years ago when I visited Hardy’s beach with Sponge Bob  (the main difference was that it was bad rain) and found the Blues hitting baitfish up onto the beach. Today I should have looked closer. We later learnt from Bill that the Blues were at it again, although he had his success at Hardings. We made our way to Sesuit harbour. Plenty of bait was seen but no Stripers or Blues were in evidence. Apart from the titchy Snappers further along the beach. I thought that I would go exploring and found the beach further along  rocky and very fishy looking. I pinned this place into my mind for later exploration.

Towards Pains Creek

The view towards Pains Creek looked even better with plenty of gulls awaiting around for something to happen by the looks of things. The fishing stopped about 2 ish as we had to get back for the pot luck meal/get togeather. As is the tradition, we all went of fishing after. Most seemed to favour going to Hardings thanks to Bill’s earlier success but nothing was caught..

Thus ended week one, to be continued..

Ashley