I never thought much about leverage as it applies to casting a fly line until last week at the Somerset show. Joel and I had decided to check out a couple of the new rods being offered by Sage and Scott. While Joel, and several other people were casting, I was talking with Bert Darrow, the TGA president who is also a certified casting instructor. He was pointing out to me the way several of the casts we were watching (not Joel’s of course) were dying at the end of the cast. You know what I mean. The cast would roll out very nicely until the very end, and then the end of the line and leader would collapse in a bundle instead of splaying out fully and dropping gently to the floor.
The simple answer to this question is “Location, Location, Location”. The fish can move freely about the water depths and wading anglers can not. Anyone experienced with fishing from the surf can probably recall many times when distance in the cast often made a big difference in the quantity and quality of fish caught. Though techniques in distance casting taught by some of the masters like Lefty Kreh and Lou Tabory can help the average angler to send a few extra yards of shooting line through their guides, there are still often situations where being able to chase the fish down into some deeper water (or more rapidly down the shoreline) can translate into more fish caught and released.
Taking the game to the fish opens more opportunity for the angler, but also has its compromises. Beginners at fly casting should probably hone their skills on terra firma before taking their first paddle. Seasoned casters will still need to make adjustments in their casting technique, but will find that all the same principles of casting apply on the kayak as they do on the shoreline. One dramatic change will be the requirements of often making long casts. The unique advantage of fishing from a kayak is that the angler can literally sneak up on the fish undetected. Of course, this won’t automatically translate to an immediate catch, but it increases the angler’s opportunity at fish.
By Joel B. Filner
Catching is what it is all about. Not fishing. Right? The purpose of this essay is to illustrate what we, as experienced fisherman, all expect from a day out on a boat. Big fish in constant action for reasonable numbers throughout the day. Or half day. Most of my fishing is from shore as I do not have permission to buy a boat and my jeep was a good compromise through my three sons’ college years. The winning of a charter in the CCA raffle was a real treat to my fishing season.
The trip with Tom Cornicelli of Back Bay Charters was scheduled to fit his time and the fish tides in Moritches Bay. We met Saturday morning at first light as that coincided with the incoming tide and slack period expected about 7:30 AM. The boat, a new 22ft Parker was laid out simply and efficiently for fly casting from either bow or stern, with a high freeboard that will really be comfortable (and dry) out at Montauk in the fall.
I like to use my own equipment when fishing but felt comfortable using Tom’s Scott rods, Tibor reels and the Teeny 350 for fishing in the deeper holes in the bay. This was my second venture into Moritches Bay this summer as I waded at outgoing tide by the Coast Guard Station one Sunday morning in the beginning of June. That trip was a bust as we didn’t even get a hit on fish working under birds for 4 hours.
Tom took the boat out in to the outside channel off the Coast Guard Station looking for any sign of action. The wind was up to 15 – 18 knots and steady out of the west/ southwest testing my skills as a backcaster, wind caster and pin cushion with the intermediate lines. I started with a medium fly with flash and big red eyes tied by Tom with olive over white. No fish. We then went to a “hole” on the inside of the inlet to the east, switching to the Teeney and a fly that was flash all the way with eyes on the sides and no weight. We made 4 drifts and then moved on to where we saw birds working and switched flies once again to a “wool” fly that looked like a cross between a sand eel on steroids and muddler minnow in olive and white. Our first hits and fish. This is after almost two hours of searching, drifting, and changing flies. Tom is very particular as to how the fly looks and acts in the water and prefers flies that look right and have the right action in the water. Hard body flies are not his preference and larger sizes for larger fish. He will change a fly if, after tying it on, it doesn’t act or look right in the water.
We now move to the inside of the inlet on the west shore fishing the tidal drifts and small channels. Again with the Teeney and a squid pattern enticing one more small bass. Back to the Coast Guard Station and a drift with the wool fly and a blue fish and another one and then no fly. We move again to the rip with fish in theory feeding as the bait goes by, stripping in long fast strips that don’t seem to work.
Lunch time at 1030 AM and a first for me … lunch supplied by the guide. The saga goes on for three more hours moving, watching, casting, and drifting, always with the boat in position to allow my casting and drifting to be where we think the fish are sitting. The boats around are not have much more success in catching but they are not getting a terrain lesson or a technique lesson at the same time.
The day ended with five fish and a lot of casting and respect for the effort put forth for a donated trip in a good cause. I learned that there is nothing like experience to gain as much knowledge of the bay as Tom evidenced in the trip. I also learned that a boat is useful but not the guarantee of success that I assumed was there. And I think that a boat is a constant learning tool and it would take me years to learn the water and the nooks and crannies of the bays that Tom handles with ease and confidence even in the tough spots.
I also learned more about the fish and the flies and water in that day with the lack of activity than if we were in a blitz for two hours.
Thanks again CCA and Tom Cornicelli.
By Alan J Evelyn, Conservation Chair
DEC Directs Hudson River Estuary Commission to Examine Striped Bass Question
On July 13, the first in a series of Hudson River Estuary Commission meetings was held, to determine whether a commercial striped bass fishery should be permitted on the Hudson.
The three scheduled meetings are being convened at the request of Governor Pataki, as relayed through Gerald Barnhart, the DEC’s director of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. Meeting attendees are asked to consider a number of questions, the first of which is “Should a commercial striped bass fishery be opened on the Hudson River?” Participants are then asked whether the fishery should be a “bycatch” fishery attached to the shad gill net fishery, or a directed fishery with a shad bycatch. Other questions include who should be eligible to participate in the fishery, whether gear other than gill nets should be allowed, what measures will be needed to avoid overharvest, whether allocations should be given to individuals or a quota set for the overall fishery and what other measures are necessary.
In answering the questions, participants in the meetings are asked two assume to “givens”:
- That PCB levels will be low enough to permit safe consumption of striped bass and
- that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will permit the commercial fishery.
Some recreational fishermen who participated in the July 13 meeting felt that they were playing against a stacked deck. The presentation made by the DEC minimized the affect of the commercial fishery on the Hudson River stock of striped bass, and avoided specific discussion of possible future expansion in harvest, the affects on anglers if overall harvest must be reduced, etc. Discussion of the PCB problem was specifically discounted, even though current health advisories state that women of childbearing age and children age 15 and younger should not eat Hudson stripers, and others should only eat one meal per month, making the sale of such fish without clear health warnings ethically questionable.
The bottom line is that people at the highest level of the Executive branch want to see this fishery opened, and it will be difficult–but NOT impossible–to foil their plans. We Salty Flyrodders need to be ready to voice our opposition and fight to keep the fishery closed to commercial fishing.
Remember, if you want other conservation issues brought to the Salty Flyrodders attention, please talk to me at the monthly meeting or contact me at: home (516) 256-0726, work: (718) 951 6522, work fax: (718) 951-4744 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jack Denny
April has come and gone and the fishing should only get better as the water warms up. Tactics will change to meet the conditions, the fish will be moving around and become more active. What they will eat will be changing too. Small crabs and shrimp will be part of the food chain and should be carried in your selection. Bunker will be around if they have not already been spotted in your local haunts. Big flies will take big fish but will be hard to throw with an 8 weight, so rod sizes will have to be adjusted to a heavier weight like a 9 or 10 weight. There will be many decisions to make in the coming month and no matter which way you go, fish with your head at all times.