Sunday, May 12, 2013

First Striper on the Fly

-- First Stripah on the Fly --
Four times a charm, or something like that. Last weekend, a good buddy, Mark, took me to his "spot" in Rhode Island to chase some pre-dawn schoolies on the fly. This was my 4th outing ever to chase stripers.

We went to this same spot last year with no luck, but this time the tides were right and the week leading up to our outing had ideal temps and weather conditions.

The "spot" is about a 1 1/2 hour drive for me, but did require an alarm at 1:45 AM. Driving early Sunday morning had it's share of interesting road companions. A guy pulled over expelling his excessive imbibing from Saturday evening. A couple of drivers having a hard time staying in their lanes as some of the bars were just closing. And a minor, accidental detour through East Providence by taking the wrong exit, but we met up for Dunks' coffee and breakfast and got on the water at 4:30.

The tides were still coming in but the plan was to fish the tidal change and outgoing tide which flushes the warmer water from the mudflats upstream. We were both using a small #2 baitfish pattern simply tied with wrapped white, cross-cut zonker, a dark olive zonker strip on top and a little flash on each side to look like lateral lines.
-- Sunrise over the Bay --
-- First Striper -- 

Just as the sun was coming up, the tide became slack and I was the first to feel a tug. I strip set the hook and stripped the little schoolie in.

This was the first tug and fish ever for me in the salt with a fly rod. Three other times out and zilch. Even for the small size and no real fight, I was feeling mighty fine. I told Mark that if this was the only action I saw for the day, I would be completely satisfied.

-- Baby Schoolie on Baby Sand Eel --
The morning continued with some action. I hooked up with three more and landed a baby schoolie. Mark had about 1/2 dozen hook-ups landing 3 -- two over 20 inches.

Around 9:30, we headed further south to catch the outgoing tide of a river where it meets the ocean. Both of us fished the tidal current in the river and the surf with no luck.

After a quick lunch, I headed home around 2:30. Beat, but completely happy and grateful for a great friend to get me into my first salt fish.

Looking forward to more adventures chasing stripers on the fly.
-- Mark with One On --

-- Mark's 20" Schoolie --

-- Catch and Release --

-- Some Surf Casting --