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If you think you are going to bounce the fly on the end of a striper's nose when it's negative, you're probably not going to have anything tugging at the end of your line very often.
I was excited and looking forward to my night out on the flats. The moon was three quarters full with no clouds to speak of and the winds were at ten knots. It was going to be a beautiful night to stalk. It was around seven o'clock in the evening when I started tying my first worm fly, "the ruthless." I tied a few other three feathered flatwings to imitate the 1-1 1/2 inch worms. The flies that I was tying were a guess because I did not know if the worms had been hatching on the flats. What gave me the idea to try them was that two nights ago I spent some time down in Rhode Island with a good friend. We were talking in the parking lot when we were joined by Steve. Steve was fishing down on the flat in the inlet with fish breaking around him and was looking for help in trying to hook them. We followed him down to find small Skip Jacks chasing silversides. Further out in the current though, stripers were feeding, not on the thousands of silversides but on worms.
It was interesting to see how selective they were and that led me to believe the same thing could be happening on the Cape Cod flats. During the day on the flats I have been experiencing the fish to be very negative and not tolerant of my presence for very long. They will give me a chance to cast to them but once the fly hits the water or swings by them they are gone.
Because I spend so much time on the flats I have seen different attitudes in the fish. At times, before the fish get close to me, I can tell if they are going to take a fly or refuse it just by the way they swim. Often they will reject energy that is fast or a fly or presentation that makes a strong physical intrusion or presence.
I think of it this way: You're driving down the road and you see some deer grazing in a field.
You start to pull over to the side, the deer look up and before you come to a complete stop they bolt.
Why do they do that?
But, there are also the deer that will stand in the field for hours and will even let you walk around their area. Those deer can be caught and are easy pickings.
Why is that?
The deer that ran off just as you arrived can be caught but only in stealth mode and on their terms.
If you take the same situation to the water you will have the same scenario with the fish.
If you think you are going to bounce the fly on the end of a striper's nose when it's negative, you're probably not going to have anything tugging at the end of your line very often. Try the stealth mode but on their terms.
There are plenty of silversides around so why are the bass not feeding on them? Or are they? The question makes me wonder if they are being selective and feeding on something I can't see or feeding at a different time of the day or both.
I arrived down at the boat around nine o'clock gathered my gear and started out on the river through the dark. I arrived at the flat where the fish had been holding during the day. The moon was off to the east and was giving off a good amount of light. As I pulled up to the shoreline I could see the bass trying to maneuver around the boat and my excitement rose.
After anchoring the boat I put on my waders and got my flies out. I tied on two flies with "the ruthless" as my dropper and a three feathered flat wing forward. I added a small float about a foot and a half up from the flies so the flies would ride just below the surface. The level of the water was not where I wanted it to be so I worked my way down to some deeper water. I was hoping there was going to be more current. I worked the flies, I had no takers. I was standing just on the edge of an eight foot drop off in knee deep water when I started to hear loud breathing. I looked behind but saw nothing but sand and dunes. The sound went away and I kept fishing the hole in front of me. Again, the loud breathing and then about fifty feet out in front of me there was a loud slap on the water. I stumbled back a few feet and then realized it was a seal showing his power. Laughing to myself I moved to another location where there was more current.
I made my first swing across the current and had a quick tug and missed the fish. I threw again and made a mend to slow the swing and I set into a fish. I was so excited I even looked around to see if anyone was looking to share in my experience. After landing the fish I was back in the water with a double on and I was thinking the night could not have been any better. My next swing I had another double, with the second fish hitting really hard and breaking off the dropper. This went on for the next two hours until I was down to three flies and no "ruthless" flatwings.
As the night went on, I stopped catching fish, at first I thought it was the fly, but thinking back to that night in Rhode Island, we only had an hour window on the worm hatch. I was hoping to see the worms, but I never did. Still, that doesn't mean they were not around. I may have missed them going by with the current moving as fast as it was. They must have been there given the fact that the fish had been showing keen interest in my worm pattern, "the ruthless," for a solid two hours.
I worked my way back to the boat, took off my waders, and sat down to absorb the night. In the distance, I could hear coyotes yelping, possibly over the kill of a tern or gull. I feel that my experience that night has just scratched the surface of unknown possibilities in flats fishing and there is so much more to witness. Some of my questions have been answered but I have a lot more to ask and find answers to.© 2001 (Todd's e-mail is email@example.com)