Saturday, January 22, 2005

Martha's Vineyard - fly rods, reels and lines

Although I use the same rod and reel for all of my striper and bluefish fishing, having the appropriate fly lines to address the varying conditions and locations on the Vineyard is critical.

For the record, I absolutely love my Orvis T3, 9-weight, two piece rod. It casts smoothly, has a nice touch and I'm an Orvis addict. Tangentially, I read and hear so many people recommending four+ piece rods. There's too much to go wrong, the guides getting mis-aligned, the ferrules becoming loose, etc. I simply don't get it. My reel of choice is Redington's Brakewater. The downside of the Brakewater is its upkeep, requiring you to constantly lubricate and grease its parts. But, it handles big fish really well, making it worth the extra effort.

Getting back to fly lines, you need three different lines to fish the Vineyard, a floating, an intermediate and a shooting head. I use floating line for the majority of my sand eel fishing. Floating line with a sand eel is always my preferred setup when fish are breaking the surface. An intermediate line comes in handy when fishing sand eels, too, but I typically tie on a deciever when fishing at an intermediate depth. Shooting head is the perfect line in a rip, with a deceiver or half-and-half. Just for the record, all of my biggest fish have been taken on floating or shooting head lines.

Martha's Vineyard - no boat required

What are some of the reasons that the Vineyard is such a great spot for striper fishing? It has lots of fish and big ones, too. It's not over-crowded with fisherpeople competing for spots. And, for those of us who are boat-less, all you need is some sort of transportation, preferably a car, and your own two feet to get to some awesome fishing spots.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Martha's Vineyard - Lobsterville Beach

Lobsterville beach in late May and into June is an absolutely awesome place to fish for stripers. On clear nights when there's a touch of a moon and the water's calm, the stripers are everywhere from the basin to Dogfish, sipping and/or smashing sand eels on the surface. When you're at Lobsterville at this time of the year, deciding where to cast is easy ... cast anywhere, they're everywhere!

Although not typically recommended, shine your light into the water just for fun. The number of eyes that reflect off light is mind-boggling.

Sand eels on a floating line is the ticket. And, night fishing is a must.

Martha's Vineyard - night fishing

Night fishing is good.

Martha's Vineyard - amnesia

I had just arrived on the Vineyard and was itching to go fishing. I immediately went to my favorite bait and tackle shop to ask the proprietor where the action was? He mentioned a couple spots on my regular route. As I perused the flies in the back of his shop, I overheard him ask one of the locals who was hanging out at the front of the store, why does everyone come in and ask where the best fishing is?

My initial reaction was to get angry. Part of his business is to impart up-to-date fishing reports to the clientele. I may not be a local, but I am a frequent visitor and have laid down a significant amount of "coin" in the shop! I calmed myself down fairly quickly. Over the years I have come to know the proprietor well enough to know that 70% of the time he's very helpful and friendly, 25% of the time he's cranky and 5% of the time he's really cranky. Today he was the latter.

Let's face it, even though the proprietor knows me, I don't expect him to give up his hotspot(s) du jour. Why should he? To be fair, I rarely tell him exactly where I was when we relive my triumphs.

Maybe we're both suffering from a case of amnesia.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Moving beyond just book reviews

All of my posts to this blog so far relate to reviewing books dedicated to fishing. It's time to branch out and what better way to begin then to start a dialog related to one's own personal fly fishing experiences.

Growing up outside Boston, I spincasted for bass and other fish in my local pond all the time. I joined Bassmasters when I was in grammer school and, although most of the stories and articles in the magazine relate to subjects that were foreign to me, i.e., fishing in Florida, Georgia, Texas and other Southern and mid-Western states, it instilled the importance of catch-and-release. They drill it into your head (similar to the likes of Trout Unlimited) and for good reason, fishing resources need to be conserved and managed to ensure that we and the people after us can enjoy the sport.

Eventually, spincasting in ponds and in the ocean became a little too boring or maybe too methodical. I picked up a fly rod, switched my allegiance and have never really looked back. And, I'm far from alone in this transformation.

Trout, stripers and blues are my favorite targets. If I had my druthers, I'd fish mostly for trout. Being on a stream in the woods with the sound of the water flowing through the riffles is incredibly relaxing. Put the stream in the middle of the mountains with trout aplenty and a couple of your fishing buddies and it's simply nirvana. And, trout are harder to catch than stripers or blues, with many more variables coming into play to actually catch one. Fly presentation, drift, etc. are all factors that rarely or never come into play with stripers or blues.

The reality is that the majority of my fly fishing is for stripers and blues. And, most of it happens on Martha's Vineyard. Not a bad compromise :-)!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Striper Chronicles, Leo N. Orsi, Jr.

As I've mentioned in other posts, my guage for deciding if a non-fiction book is a worthwhile read is, did I learn something? Of course, "something" implies that it's something that affects or resonates with me. This book does not pass my litmus test. It's an entertaining read, barely. And, as an avid fisherperson (either first hand or vicariously), the stories it contains do not inspire me to want to make a trip to Jamestown or Block Island.

In movie critic lingo, I give this two thumbs down!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

On the Run, An Angler's Journey Down the Striper Coast, David DiBenedetto

Another interesting and worthwhile read.

Fly fishing for stripers accounts for the majority of my fishing exploits. And, being mainly an east coast and New England fisherperson, I've fished many of the spots identified in this book. My first striper was taken at the mouth of the Kennebeck and I've met the Kennebeck guides mentioned in the book. The book includes stories from the Vineyard, where the majority of my striper fishing and by far my favorite place to fish for stripers is. As is well known and documented in the book, the number of stripers and keepers is on the rise. This fall (mid October) on the Vineyard, I caught a keeper every time I fished!

My guage for the value of any non-fiction book is, did I learn something? On The Run passes my litmus test ... it identifies a couple of new spots to try. I have my personal favorites on the Vineyard, but am always on the hunt for new ones.

My tip for the Vineyard: Orvis half-and-halfs (must be white or mostly white), with a deceiver as a backup (Larry's has the best) and sand eels (Coop's hand-tied are the best).

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Gone Fishin', William G. Tapply

Interesting and worthwhile read!

I wish I read this book before my last year's trip to the Catskills/Delaware River. I remember finding a feeding trout in the middle of the day, just as he describes, hugged against the bank. I tried casting to it from the side, wading in the water. Based on his recommendation and the "you have one shot" theory, I wish I had used his technique and stocked the fish from behind, guaging the fish's feeding cadence. I must have made twenty casts to the fish from the side and, unknown to me because I didn't continue to see the fish feeding, the fish most likely was spooked just from my walk to get to the side of it. C'est la vie. Live and learn.

I also never thought to use a Stimulator as a hopper imitation...Good tip. I don't completely agree with his top-10 list, but am determined to give the foam beetle a try.

Tapply's description of Roscoe and the Beaverkill brought back great memories. Painter's Pool is always loaded with big browns. But, if you want to truely guage your trout fishing abilities, the Delaware is the true test. The trout of the Delaware are native and all are experienced, unlike the heavily stocked Beaverkill.

Still trying to figure out his secret stream near his house. At one point, he must have lived in Concord, MA because he mentions Waldon Pond and Whites Pond. I'm guessing it's the little stream in Weston, but it's just a guess.