Sharks? What Sharks?

A bit delayed in posting my Striperheads trip report but I’ve been trying to catch up on stuff at home after spending nearly all summer working away. During the weeks before the trip I had heard that the Great White Shark numbers were up this year with some anglers losing fish on the line to them. The Sunday before I was due to travel I heard on the news that a second attack this year had sadly resulted in a death. This issue seemed to prompt the appearance of new signs.

shark sign

I have one issue with this sign, I want the schools of fish to catch them!

My actual trip to Cape Cod USA started on the 19th September when I left old Blighty and arrived sometime later in the day, in the dark at the yurt (a nice park ranger gave me a lift to the yurt from the entrance to the park a mile away) and the for the first time found myself the first to arrive with Splinta arriving very late. As always the trip itself had began a few months before with the booking of flights, etc followed nearer the time with the tying of flies and last minute packing, all part of the adventure.

The first full day was spent getting the living quarters and kitchen area set up and grills, etc cleaned. The afternoon involved a road trip to the store and a visit to one or two of the old haunts. Herring river seemed to have changed with the channel slightly diverted. Brewser flats had once again changed with the main channel although deeper and still in place was noticeably deeper (still a long walk) with new channels seen to be running across the flats diagonally before the main channel was reached. A new parking area was found mid way between Saints Landing and the other place I cann’t remember the name of. We also paid a visit to the Goose Hammock for information on the fishing but this proved not very helpful but they did say the bay side flats where good (Brewser Flats among them).

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The following day saw Bill arrive and a trip to Herring river to fish, this saw my first Striped Bass of the trip on a clouser from one of the low water pools. The trick here is to treat the location as river and fish the features. The most productive areas being where the river dropped from the shallows in to deeper water where the fish were waiting for food. The general rule of thumb seemed to stay each time I visited this location although as the days went by fewer fish could be found here as well as else where. The start of the Autumn run had started. Also the same day a trip to Chatham habour for a look see with some fishing from the causeway to Morris Island had produced nothing, possibly due to pesky seal swimming about.

The next place was Hardings beach, I was dropped off to fish and as usual walking to the outlet. I spoke to another fisher on the way to the end and told that the a few Albies? had been seen feeding beyond casting range but no Stripers. Once at the end I saw one fish, a large Striper close to the edge but too quick to cast to. Someone reported that a couple of schools of Albie had swam past them on the ocean side of the outlet close in but each time his lure had been to far out.

This was followed by a couple trips to Forest beach with Wayne (Ron and Bill joining us at times). One day in particular proving frustrating as the bluefish were seen to be feeding but uncatchable. Wayne, however found he could get them by trolling but due to the wind he had to row in and beach the fish otherwise he would have drifted off into the distance.

After the first fish on a clouser was more or less down to just fishing a white beastmasterhas this seemed to be the fly that the fish wanted. One fly week?

Early morning raids on Brewser Flats with Wayne also seemed to be a key to getting fish from the far channel, despite the long walk out in knee deep water. The first morning at this location was the most successful with fish swirling behind us but the catchable ones being within the main channel itself. The first morning had also been eventful with large numbers of Turns feeding on bait, sandeels? Fish had been seen feeding underneath which had not been the case a couple of days before when we entered the area from a parking area a little further to the west. The bait was seen on during the last visit to this location, sandeels. The last time I fished the channel I managed to get my biggest fish of the trip.

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The last couple of days that were fishable proved to be a bit windy and wet but we still got out, only fishing where there was shelter.

This trip was not just about the fishing (I lost count of the fish), it was about seeing my friends, the food and chilling out. Mostly the company though, its always good to see the rest of the Striperhead crew.

Where to next?

Suggestions ranged during this trip of  a trip to Montana, a June trip to the Catskills and an Autumn Striperheads.

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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

Night Time Stripers

The second week of my trip was centred on the Striperheads Clave on Cape Cod. Monday saw us travel from the mountains were there was a chill in the air to Nickelson Cape site where the yurt waited for us. Weather here was different to the last few days and was sunny and hot. I had a suspicion that this may mean that the water had not cooled to encourage the autumn migration of the stripers. But there may be a bright side, the False Albacore may be about. Apparently this was a good year for them. I was not to be disappointed on the first morning of fishing. We went to Forest Beach, know to be in what we called ‘Albie Alley’ and not much was seen along the beach apart from some visible baitfish which increased in number as we made our way along the beach. At the end where the beach reaches the entrance to the mill pond/salt marsh is a stone jetty with deep water. It was here that I saw the full extent of the baitfish, absolutely tons but where were the predators? All I saw were Bluefish of the really little kind.

After a while bigger splashes appeared, here for a minute or so then somewhere else but slowly moving towards the jetty. I started to suspect Albies, then when they got close I saw one side on and one head on, bingo, they were Albies but unfortunately they wouldn’t take (lock jaw).

I tried the sandeel pattern that I had come up with the week before and got a lot of interest from the Snapper Blues and maybe a take or two from bigger fish but no real connection. The same happened again on Wednesday but fished on to dark and while we were on our way in splashes and swirls appeared up the creek itself. I stopped and fished and Wayne missed one on plug. At the inlet for the millpond (lower), we stopped and got out the fly rods. We wet waded, and by this time it was actually dark but we could hear the fish. Casting towards the far bank we started getting takes and the fish fought hard, possibly due to the shallow water. I took all mine on a size one chartreuse and white beastmaster (should have tried a black one). At the turn of the tide the takes stopped and we returned back to base.

Brewster Flats

                Brewster Flats

Thursday morning saw a trip to an old haunt, Brewster flats, Oh, boy had this place changed. The channel was now left to right and appeared to be further out and no channel by the orange buoy. I only saw one fish taken and not much bait. I did see quite a few big crabs though. The evening saw a return to the mill pond fished a couple of nights before but although we could hear fish, we had nothing although alot of bait was observed. I lie, I did get a fish about 10 inches long with black bars on olive sides and back, and I have no idea what it was!

Friday was spent packing and chilling before the long flight back. Until next year!

Ashley

Trying for American Trout in a Drought

I have just returned home from a two week trip to the USA, the trip was actually centred around the Striperheads Clave but I kind of messed up the flights and ended up going a week early. Not a problem, a friend kindly offered to put me up at his house for a week (read put up with me) and fish the streams around his home in the Adriondack Mountains. Once I arrived (delayed plane meant the travel took me via NewYork itself by Amtrack train), I was greeted with the news that the area was in the middle of a drought. I saw rivers that I should have been fishing very low, down to minimum water levels with no sign of fishy life. However, a little driving around provided the news that the west branch of the Au Sable River had water.This meant a trip over to the river to check it out, and an opportunity to visit a fly store (actually two, The Mountineer and the Hungry Trout). I picked up some leader material from the first and a few bits from the second but no Snowshoe rabbit feet which I was really hoping for.

The following day I actually got to go fishing! First stop was the Saranac, near Clayburg. After yesterdays visit to the Hungry Trout I fished the suggested method of a large dry with a small nymph tied to the eye via a short length of leader. I am really going to have to apply this to the Usk when I fish it in the future. The river itself was tinged with an Iron colour which reminded me of the Usk at times (close to being peat stained). Because the river was slightly similar to the UK in Wales (rocky) I felt at ease but failed to catch. I must also point out that this river was twice as wide as the Usk. The visible bugs here were a few BWO’s and sedges but no fish were to be seen.

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Saranac River, Clayburg

After a break for lunch we moved on to the West Au Sable, A little more rocky but still felt at ease due to its appearance, reminiscent of a rocky western stream in the wilds of Wales. The bit I fished was the Shadow rock pool. Unlike the Saranac, I saw more fly life but mostly of the cricket/hopper kind, I mean these hoppers were huge but mostly in the size 8 to 12 range. My friend actually suggested that I try use smaller hoppers. I used the same set up as before but changed to a size 12 Adams parachute (nothing bigger, size 10 was suggested). I actually managed to get a hit… all 3 inches of tiny bait fish and lost a decent trout. The very odd fish was also seen to rise. What made this section of river special was seeing my first Bald Eagle, getting up close to a dirty great Heron and an Osprey.

Upstream of the Shadow Rock

Upstream of the Shadow Rock

The Shadow Rock

The Shadow Rock

Ashley

Should Have Paid Attention!

About a month ago Striperheads clave dates were announced,  16th September through to the 19th although many stay for a little longer.  Now, I really wanted to go but I have something else gojng on that month so dates were limited. I carefullly checked dates to make sure that I didn’t mess up and miss the other thing going on.  oh boy,  did that go wrong, I ended up booking the flight that would mean that I would get there a week early. Anyway,  it hasturned out for the best because it looks like a trip that was suggested a few years back is going ahead. For the week before Striperheads I will be exploring the Catskill rivers and Adriondack mountains depending on where the fishing will be best. I  am currently looking for guide books for these areas to try and get some back ground information before I go. So from a stupid mistake comes the opportunity to explore new water.

Ashley