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Striped BassStriped bass are a dynamic species of fish and I am constantly amazed at the different methods I learn to fly fish for them. In the spring I fish for striped bass in raging rivers where the fish wait in the fastest of current possible waiting for herring to prey upon. Then, the fish move out into the bays and open ocean; often traveling in both small and big pods. During these times the fish will corral up bait and feed with almost reckless abandonment. Then the fish spread out and some stay in packs while other fish stake their claim on rock piles, structures, humps and flats. When the stripers are on the shallow crystal clear flats eating crabs and/or micro bait or in clear shallow water grass flats or boulder fields; they can often be difficult to trick. This past weekend found me in a really cool environment; fly fishing to some of the biggest striped bass I have ever seen. The water was crystal clear and we were fishing in depths ranging from 5 to 10 feet. While standing on the bow I could see solo stripers cruising on the bottom moving across the sand highways. Austin and I watched in Amazement at the fish below. I got on the bow and tied on a big olive and white bunker type fly pattern. I saw a few fish cruising and threw a long cast ahead of them. The fly hit the water and I began to strip a varying speeds. Immediately one of the big fish started tracking the fly and then 2 others joined him in pursuit. I stripped the fly all the way back to the boat. The fish went wild, nipping at the back of the fly but they wouldn’t commit. This happened time and time again and it was so exciting to watch these big fish track the fly and come oh so close to taking it; but turning away at the last minute. It was a total sight fishing experience and a subtle game of trickery between fisherman and fish. I could sense that these fish wanted to take the fly so bad, but their instinct was telling them that something was a not exactly right. This went on for some time and finally I tricked a fish. The line went tight but something was off as any one of these fish would certainly be ripping line off my reel. I stripped the fish in and it was a small bluefish. Then, behind the bluefish I saw what had to be a 50 something inch fish. I said, “Austin grab the camera there is a shark about to eat this bluefish.” Then I realized it wasn’t a shark, it was a monster striper. The striper circled the fish for a few seconds and then lost interest when he saw the boat. I got back in the game. A few casts later I had a big striper on my fly. I switched between short and long strips and pauses. “He’s on it, he’s on it … he ate it!” Finally, I hooked one. The line cleared the deck and my reel began to sing. I landed the fish, took a few pics and it was Austin’s turn. Austin went through the same game of cat and mouse (with me telling him everything he was doing wrong, even though I couldn’t have done any better:). And after some time; Austin tricked a nice fish too. So, this was a day I will never forget. So many fish, tons of action and very little catching. But, the two fish we did catch were beautiful fish and very rewarding due to the nature of the total experience.