Striperheads Watch Out For Sharks

This time three weeks ago I was on my way back from my now annual trip to Cape Cod for the Striperheads clave. It’s more than a clave but a group of friends having an annual get together to catch up but it’s clave atmosphere is still there because new comers are always welcome. There was one new comer this year for me although she had actually been last year but the day after I left. The fishing itself seems to have been more consistent with fish being caught in several places and seemingly slightly higher numbers. I also noticed more bigger fish.

The first full days fishing for myself and Bill took place in an tidal area near Wellfleet, the area seemed very flat with a semi soft bottom with Bill deciding to try his Kayak later in the week. The best spot was the inlet type location with a sluice type thing running under the road. I managed a few fish from here on the a white beastermaster.

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On the Tuesday I fished from Morris Island because we had heard that it had been good fishing over the previous few weeks but a chance encounter on the way down to the ocean and a chat found that the pogies had left the area. I managed to find a small feeding frenzy about a mile along the beach but no takers. I fished up and down looking for fish but nothing. I was later picked up and we went back to the camp site for debriefing. Wayne informed us, once he appeared, that the mill pond was very productive.

Thursday found Bill and myself back at Wellfleet , on the way we had seen a mill pond, salt marsh area that looked promising. We even noticed a large fish swirl when we drove past. Bill visited the spot the following day and manged a few good Stripers. What we found when we got to Wellfleet was that the tide was coming in and pretty high already so we spent some time doing a recon of the area. Wish I had seen it a couple of days before when I was wading.

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Oh well, at least we found a new beach to fish near by. We gave the beach a couple of hours but nothing took or showed it self so we went back to the camp site.

Friday was spent doing alot of recon for new places to fish including the Bass river which looked really good but that was going to have to wait. The reason for this was that the weather had turned with heavy over night ran fall. The cooking area didn’t look to good but we still managed to get a coffee.

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Saturday morning actually found myself and Bill at Herring river where we found fish. While the tide was coming in we managed to pick up several fish but once the water was pretty high the bites tailed off. We put this down to the fish being dispersed and not so tightly packed. Saturday also marked the annual Striperheads clave diner in the evening. I missed last years but this year it was just nice to sit, eat and spend time with friends.

Sunday was the last full day of fishing. Today I joined Ron on a trip to Morris Island. We walked from the car park and made our way along the beach towards the entrance to the harbour with Harding beach opposite but we didn’t quite get there because I show fish about half way along. A few casts and I took a nice Striper of about 17 inches. Then nothing, I continued walking and looking for fish but had to turn around due to time constraints. On the way back I noticed a couple of bow waves in the shallows and saw not two Stripers but half a dozen at least. I spooked the lot. After this I spotted a couple more fish which Ron went for but didn’t get them. These were big fish of at least 40 inches.

Monday was go home day. On the way myself and Splinta stopped at Brewsers Flats, I am still in denial that fish were feeding. But they were, we spotted a very good fish swirl along with several others. Oh, Well theres’ still next year.

Ashley

Is It Really That Close

Its not very often I don’t keep track of time but just recently I’ve been really busy and suddenly today it hit me. Its less than 3 weeks before I make my annual trip to Cape Cod USA for Striperheads. I have done so little for this trip I cann’t believe it. Sure I got the flight booked, the passport and other documents checked but flies? Nope, so Sunday saw the first of this years Striper flies done. One thing that has come from the trip from last year was the searching of new waters was that a rethink re flies and tactics was needed. While I was fishing one spot last year I really wished that I had a flat wing because the situation was perfect, possibly I could use these in other locations but where the water flows they apparently work well. So I tied a razzle dazzle, well a variation off one because a couple of hackle colours were missing so near enough colours were used and crystal flash used instead.

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Anyway, I have mentioned Striperheads before, I really cann’t wait, friends, fishing and a break from work!

Ashley

Picky May Trout

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The dun and the husk

Yesterday was the start of my weeks fishing the Mayfly hatch this. I have actually taken the time of work to spend a week just fishing the mayfly hatch with full attention on the fishing and not just grabbing a few hours here and there when I can. The mayflies have been hatching for a couple of weeks now, possibly a bit more because they were early this year. I actually caught a couple of fish at the start of the hatch two weeks ago early on in the beginning of the hatch. Well, all I can say is that the hatch had truly got going because thousands of flies were coming off. The hatch seems better this year, although the conditions yesterday were perfect, cloudy in the morning with warm bright sun in the afternoon and a still evening which was perfect for the spinners (gnat). The day also happened to be a bank holiday which meant loads of people with lots of fishers (they had escaped from family duties and so the river was busy).  What was nice today was that a father was seen to have taken his daughter fishing, I cann’t actually remember the last time I saw a young person fishing, I would like to see more out but alas I have little faith.

With the hatch seeming larger in fly numbers also bought the thought that after the past two or three years when the flies seemed to be smaller they had got big again. This means visits to the vice to tie some bigger flies, thankfully I had a few of the bigger size ten flies in the box, deep in the corners mind you but still there.

I was fishing a stretch of the Avon which can get busy and thanks to the ease of access and parking can get hard hit. This may explain the spooky fish, several people said the fish were coming short or being spooky but didn’t seem to wonder why. They are hard hit after being fished for heavily especially this time of year, I wonder how many grey wulffs and variations there of they have seen. I found a pods of feeding browns but there seemed to be Grayling aplenty in the usual spots, I thought I would check the lower section in wading section but fished from the bank. Several fish were seen rising to the mayfly and one or two seemed rather big including one of about 4 to 5 pounds. It and some of the others came to the fly but didn’t take, some came to have a look or took and didn’t hold. I tried several (about a dozen) different patterns and sizes but no, they weren’t interested. I managed one Grayling of about a pound and that was it. I will return to this stretch later in the season when its all died down. Oh well, tomorrow could only be better.

mayfly-smaler

Ashley

So Good to Be Back On The River

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Well, today saw me back on the river or should that be stream. I had a couple of hours on Bideford brook just like this time last year and there were a few differences. First, it didn’t feel quite so warm, no warming sun but clouds, the water seemed a little cooler and murky. This may have affected the keenest of the trout to rise to the few dark olives and smaller bugs that were hatching. I could have used a little nymph but there was a slight snag…they were back in the car in the their proper box after last night tidy  up of the flies. As for the river itself, there were clearly signs of the winter flooding but not to drastic. In many places there wasn’t much change from last year. About half along this stretch of river which is possibly half a mile from the Severn estuary, I was standing by one of the little pools on a sand bar when I disturbed what looked like a Flounder. Now, I know these things can tolerate fresh water but I didn’t expect one this far from the salt.

Ashley

Blended Congo baitfish

In preparation of any future trip to Cape Cod for the Stripped Bass I felt that some baitfish that I have posted about before needed to be updated both in size and appearance. By that I mean they had something lacking, flash or the way that it was included within the hair itself. The congo flash mixes went some way towards this but many colours that I wanted along with the affect weren’t quite there or missing  this was largely because the colours that I had were solid colours. The answer lay in the baitfish blends, a mix of colours but no flash. I found that this was easy to mix in. This is done in a very similar way to the Farrar blends as well as the dubbing hand mixing technique.

So I started playing around with various ideas and got the results that I was looking for. What I got was a fly with the perfect flash that I like, it can also be varied depending on how much flash that you use. It also occurred to me that out of the Congo blends available, there wasn’t really a tan one that I really liked. So I played some more by blending the Congo mixes myself to get the coloration that I wanted. The whole idea is that you take the colours that you want from the skeins of solid colour, not equal amounts from each but what you want to achieve the final result and while you ‘mix’ the hair you also add a flash material that compliments the colour that you want. The variations are limitless so either go mad and tie lots and lots and be over run with baitfish or concentrate on the colours found in the wild.

A selection of baitfish

A selection of baitfish

What is missing from the flies is a tail. I may go the extra mile and find a way to do this but these flies look just fine for fishing.

Ashley

I Survived BFFI 2016

Last weekend saw me at the British Fly Fair International at the Shropshire show ground and I wasn’t just looking. A few months ago I was invited to sit on tyers row and it gave me something to look forward to but I was a bit nervous to start. Very quickly I felt at ease and found that it was a lot of fun and soon got into the swing of this. I learnt a lot having never tied at one of these events before, first thing is that I need to improve my display, corks with flies stuck in are out and I need to  find something else. Possibly a nice piece of tree branch that is polished. The flies I had on show were a had alot of interest, I may have to get more done to add variety as well as few more for sale. I also picked up a few ideas from others, the hi float fibre in particular got a lot of interest, including Marc Petitjean who showed me a neat little needle fly when he invited me over to his vice.

Being a new comer to the tyers row scene I was made to feel welcome, particularly by the guys in the hotel whom I met Friday night gathered around their vices in the bar. It wasn’t very hard to find other tyers staying in the same location.

I also picked up some hooks from the partridge stand to try (I was sat opposite and was very tempted), including some really big hooks for the stripers and long shank saltwater hooks to hopefully replace the mustard which  lot seem to be a pain to get in this country. The opportunity to get a decent blue dun cape also presented itself and a variant at that. Jon Strand , a new Norwegian friend also showed me some rabbit feet that are product of food production which have a very similar make up to snow site rabbit, so I bought some.

I did get a chance to have a look around what the other tyers were up to. I noticed that there was a lot of different styles this year with hand held tying, huge pike flies, tiny little midges and a few realistics. A large tarantula caught my eye, something to aspire to. A couple of friends turned up and it was nice to them. Keith Passant was there with Casting for Recovery which I support and most get a few flies to.

After the show, while I was waiting for the bus back to the hotel to get the car I spoke to someone about the Irish fly show and he suggested that if I was interested to email him, done!

Will I be back? To right (and if they have me back).

Ashley

What Happened In 2015?

As I sit here thinking, I feel compelled to give a general round up of the past years fishing and tying. My thoughts on this took root the other day while I was fishing and again on the way home.
Early season saw me fish the river Usk once again this year so that I can fish the March brown hatch. Last year saw the best batch for many years and I have never seen so many in one day. I am really hopeful that the flooding that we currently have won’t cause enough damage to these files. I currently have enough holiday left to get to the Usk again late March. Around this time (March) I received a phone call from an old friend asking if I could tie a few flies for his club. This little order paid for the September trip you the US.
The weather and other factors played weird tricks on the fishing. It was one of those years, just like the year before when it was difficult to guess what was going on. This was when thing my own flies really paid off because I saw able to adapt easily to the conditions. The mayfly batch was a classic example,  a pretty good hatch which normal finishes until about mid to  end of June but come August and they were still around in good numbers so I was having to keep my boxes full of these flies. The weather played a factor in me not hitting the bwo spinner fall right despite a phone call or two,  grrr. And the flies kept going out…
Come mid August I finished the big order and my own for the years big trip. It was also around this time that it dawned on me that my test to see if degreasing the leader when dry fly fishing made a difference. The conclusion is that it  doesn’t. We have been brain washed! However, I still have to make my mind up about when we fish nymphs and whether degreasing the leader matters, I am kind off thinking that it does.
The autumn brought Grayling and mild weather. This meant that I needed small dies as  the Grayling seemed to have very little interest in the nymphs normally used at this time of year. The trout, although out of season didn’t really care but they seemed to be in better condition than normal.

So now its the 2nd January, the weather is still mild but wet, very wet and its an good opportunity to get flies tied. First for the big order to help pay for my fishing, secondly for myself although I am thinking that tying flies for the show will need to take precedence with the order. I have a feeling that this season will be unpredictable so it may be best to tie as I need the flies but get a few basic, so reliables done for the box.