Northeastern Waters

by Fly Fisherman

In Northeastern waters, the striped bass is probably the choice of fly rod possibilities. Hard hitting, slashing and rambunctious, he moves into the shallows of coastal areas all the way from New England to northern Florida, and cruises the shores in three to four feet of water, an ideal target for flies.
Salt water fishermen who’ve fished for striped bass know that they are rough and tumble hitters and ready feeders, They are famous for their gluttonous orgies in schools of bait. But go for those same stripers in shallow bays and see what happens. Approach them when a school is breaking the surface after bait fish. A few casts, a few fish caught, and down go the works. You can hang around hopefully watching the gulls and waiting for them to come up again. Sometimes they do, but more often than not it’s curtains for the day. Like all their salty brothers, striped bass take some fancy fishing when they arc within reach of light tackle lures.
Once while I was fishing at Fox Island on the Chesapeake with , I found the right timing on that score. Fishing off the southeast corner of the island, we each took a couple of four-pounders with popping bugs, and then the water went flat. No action at all, where 20 minutes before fish had been all over the place. I strolled across die four hundred feet to the other side of the island. The tide was running good and there was a 2-foot-deep channel just 20 feet out. My first cast brought a hit and I landed a six-pounder. Howard came hurrying over then, and we took two more fish before that batch went down like a fallen cake in an oven, and for the same reason—too much noise.
We went back to the other side, This time we each took one fish. We sashayed back again to the other side. One fish there, this time, and the next two treks were barren. Those resident fish didn’t like strangers any more, so they had taken off for more peaceful waters.

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