Monday, September 5, 2011

Five things I learned on my first fly fishing trip to the Ocean

-- A Taste for the Salt --
The idea of chasing stripers off the shores of New England got under my skin last winter so I started tying Clouser Minnows and Lefty Deceivers in anticipation for this trip.

I even found a kind soul, Mainiac on the Maine Fly Fishing Forum, that takes salt water newbies out every year in the early summer and teaches them how to chase stripers.

Well, work got in the way and I never made the trip to Maine. With the last days of striper season in New England on our doorstep, we decided to go to the shore and try our luck.

We packed a picnic dinner with the plan of fishing the falling tide from 5 PM to sunset at the southern tip of Plum Island in the Sandy Point State Reservation.

It was fun and the whole family joined us, including non-anglers, but the four of us throwing our lines into the salt saw zero action (which met my expectations for the first outing). Here are the 5 things I learned while fishing the salt on the fly for the first time:

1) The Atlantic Ocean is really big and occasionally throws some really big waves at you, even if you are only ankle deep on the shoreline (I've heard that the Pacific Ocean is actually bigger and has bigger waves).

2) A 20 knot wind in your face makes it really tricky to throw a fly line. Double-hauling does help, but only if you execute it flawlessly and are facing in the right direction (see lesson 3).

3) Having a 2/0 Clouser Minnow hit you on the back of the head 3 times on your final cast physically hurts. Having it hit you in the head a 4th time mentally hurts when you finally realize that if you turn around and cast with your back to the wind the fly stays away from you during casting.

4) Just because you find big fish on the beach, doesn't mean they are going to swim up and take your little fly.
-- A "baby" Ocean Sunfish washed up on the beach --
5) The waves washing around you have a tendency of tangling your fly line around your ankles. Bringing a stripping basket next time would be a good idea.

Needless to say, I will do this again in a heartbeat.  We have some great ocean fishing spots in New England and it is an obsession of many fly anglers. There is always a first time, and in my case, not the last.

I still have a bunch of great stuff from our Colorado trip and will get this up soon. 

As always, thanks for listening.