Saturday, May 24, 2008

Patience Pays Off


Tom’s boat is much nicer and better than mine, but he still wanted to hop onto the mud barge and do some early season striper fishing with me. Along with Tom was Martin, his friend and business associate. We met at the dock just a hair later than originally planned but still early enough to hit the first bite. The weather was a mixed bag: a bit breezy out of the SW which carried periodic squalls that would soak us over five minute intervals. But this was nothing to complain about.

The tide was just more than half out so our first series of stops were some rips that were often good bets for large fish. At the first one we immediately witnessed a brief, but awesome blitz of stripers. These fish were coming clear out of the water and this warmed Martin’s cockles quite a bit. The fly rods were out as we took several drifts through the rip. But nothing materialized. The frustration was augmented by the sight of anglers on another boat who were pulling up fish on each drift with spinning gear. It was decided that a few casts on spinning gear would be necessary to break the curse. Martin obliged and soon hooked a nice one on a rubber shad. Our enthusiasm was rekindled.

But this was short-lived because the action suddenly dropped to nil and the weather began to deteriorate. We moved about the bay, drifting over several flats, seeing a fish here and there, but no luck on the flies. Tom and Martin did get lots of casting practice (which likely staved off hypothermia) and several stories were told over the course of perhaps an hour and a half. Martin, originally from Wales, shared tales of fishing trout and salmon in Wales and in other parts of the world. This was his first outing in Duxbury and I really wanted him to experience one of the typical good spring blitz days here. Telling him of how good the fishing here usually is does no good. I had to shut up and find them.

The tide eventually slacked and I knew that there would be a brief break between bites so we killed a little time by exploring some areas of the bay that Tom had not been to yet.

Then the tide began its flood and at the same moment the wind died and the sun began to break through. It felt very fishy. After a few attempts along the margin of a vast eelgrass flat and deep channel (where terns were voraciously feeding on small baits) I felt the urge to move towards the island. This we did and this was fortunate because I soon spotted a cloud of birds working hard in the distance. As we got closer is became obvious that fish were there. Smiles returned and Martin, who was aching to bend his fly rod, immediately bubbled up into a foam of excitement. We found them.

The flies were flung and on almost every cast a fish was attached to the retrieve. Tom decided to try a small white popper and was rewarded with multiple surface hits. Like the weather, the school of stripers was a mixed bag. Their sized ranged from 10 to 24 inches. Tom landed a (the) 24 incher on a small silverside fly but rather than attempt to compete for the largest fish, the men decided that the smallest measured fish would be a more appropriate prize to attain. Tom won this category at 10.5 inches among many chuckles. But overall the fish averaged in the low 20s and were good sized for fly fishing. The guys had to get in a bit early. So after about an hour of action we ran back to the harbor, stopping to cast a couple of times along notorious holds without luck.

Over the course of the morning I was a bit concerned that the trip would be a dud until that surface school was found. However, you know things are going well when one guy says to the other: “I don’t know how many fish I’ve landed – I’ve lost count!”

So there you have it. I’m expecting better things with this change in the weather over the weekend. Watch out for fast-moving Grady’s out there.

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