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Striped Bass

The 2006 Striper fly fishing season in New England is off to a great start. As always, tons of fish. Actually two at a time, in many instances. But, better than that, the Striper Season always brings plenty of laughs. A recent fly fishing trip to Rhode Island produced plenty of fish and twice as many of laughs. A few good fish but mostly schoolies and we had to work hard to find them but when we did it was non stop action. Already this season, I have fly fished in the marshes, on the beaches, on the flats, in tidal rivers and in multiple New England states. That is one of the things I love most about fly fishing for Stripers. The challenges and adventures are in finding and catching them in all sorts of different environments. And, each environment typically involves a different set of techniques. Fly fishing on the flats is much different than fly fishing off the ledges or off the beach. And, fly fishing in the marshes and tidal rivers is another ball game. Of course, I missed the fabled worm hatch, because Keith and I decided to leave Rhode Island early. Mike and Frank, decided to stay and their decision paid off. Mike told me that it was unbelievable. All of a sudden the salt pond exploded with Striped Bass feeding on the cynder worms that were hatching from the sand. The worms emerge from the sand and surface to the top of the water. Thousands upon tens of thousands of these worms are squirming around on the surface making themselves easy prey for the fish. And, the Stripers go wild. They key in on the worms and feed on the surface, gorging themselves on these easy and tasty snacks. Mike and Frank fortunately had a few cynder worm fly patterns in their boxes, and the fish ate them up like candy. Another great thing that happens here in Maine is the spring run of Alewives. Baitfish run up the tidal rivers in huge masses. They are so thick that I can literally catch them with my hands (see video). Anyway, the Stripers love these tasty little critters too. And a good rule of thumb is, find the Alewives and you’re bound to find Stripers. Fly fishing for Stripers in the tidal rivers is a very cool experience. Many sections of these rivers are fast, Atlantic Salmon waters. Big Gorges and steep banks meet fast raging currents. I like to swing big Grocery flies and watch as the Stripers come from the bottom or from an undercut and attack my fly. The battle is of course magnified because the heavy current adds another dynamic to the fly fishing experience. So, as I write this, I am getting the urge to head out for a couple casts at the mouth of a tidal river down the road from my house. Actually, I got an hour or so before dinner. Plenty of time for a few casts.