A bad day of fishing beats a great day at work!
So, true to the forecast, the weather has significantly improved. In fact, we woke up to blue skies and sunshine today, at 4am no less, and quickly dressed and headed for the boat ramp in Chatham, Massachusetts. Nestled in a little inlet surrounded by multi-million dollar houses, we took off for our next fishing adventure at 6:30am (there was a period in my life when I thought 6:30 only came once a day, and certainly not in the morning!).
After three days of mostly rain drenched fishing and high winds, we were excited about the possibility of real Striped Bass fishing as we headed out for Monomoy Island. After a half hour we arrived, to find no birds, no baitfish and no stripers. The guides find the large schools of Stiped Bass that feed on squid and bait fish by searching for flocks of seagulls milling around a spot where the fish are feeding.
No luck. However, our guide heard about another guide who found fish off the south coast of Nantucket Island, 30 miles away across open water. So, playing a hunch, we head south at full speed. An hour and a half later we arrived to find gulls and terns by the hundreds feeding on schools of squid. And the striped bass were just underneath the surface in a feeding frenzy. Squid were jumping out of the water to avoid the attacks from the schools of Striped Bass. Bass were jumping out of the water as they roared upwards from the bottom to attack the squid. And I was jumping out of my skin with excitement!
While most fishermen use spinning gear for the big bass, we were using flyrods and the trick is to cast a big “squid-like” fly, hopefully with the wind at your back, let the current take the fly out into the area where the fish are, then strip the line back quickly, imitating a fleeing squid. Not as easy as it sounds, as for the first half hour I had extra line tangled around my feet, the wind in my face, more line caught on the cleats of the boat, and several of my heavy flies hitting me in the back of the head as I tried to cast forward with enough leverage to get the fly out. But, with practice and patience, the rhythm started to emerge and I was making solid casts, and hooking some big fish!
We fished 4 solid hours in the tidal rips and must have landed 30 fish each. And these are not small, between 15 and 24 pounds! I know you won’t feel sorry for me, but my arm was aching all evening. And I think I have a permanent grin.
Stay tuned for more fishing from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Lots of lessons learned on this trip and hopefully they will be lessons for you as well.
I have laid aside business, and gone a’fishing. -Izaak Walton
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress