Final days to help striped bass! Comment on Draft Addendum IV!

ASMFC has been holding hearings this month on the future of east coast striped bass management. If you were unable to attend a hearing, as I was, they will accept email comments until tomorrow, September 30. Here’s what I sent them.

Section 2.5.1 and Section 2.5.2 – I am in favor Option B. We should be referencing the best available, most recent science (as set out in the 2013 Benchmark Assessment) when determining courses of action.

Section 2.6Option A. Clearly, a problem exists, and it needs to be addressed immediately.

Section 3.0Option B. Further, I am strongly opposed to any option that stretches out harvest reductions over three years.

Size and bag limits – I am in favor of Option B3 (a one-fish bag limit and a 32” size limit on the coast) and Option B15 (hard quota) in the Chesapeake.

I am an active (averaging 20-30 outings per year) catch-and-release striped bass angler; my method is fly fishing from the shore. Since 2010 I have experienced a steady decline in striped bass numbers. In some cases the fall has been precipitous.

I’d like to use Block Island as a test example. We vacation there every year, and I fish all week. In the years leading up to 2011, I was catching between fifty and ninety striped bass over the course of seven nights. In 2011, I caught nine. In 2012, I caught five. On the 2012 trip, I went three consecutive nights without a striper; the last time that happened was before I ever started fly fishing for striped bass. Yep. There’s a problem, folks. So, things were better for Block Island anglers this year, especially if you had a boat. Better is, of course, relative. I was horrified by the wanton, wasteful, wholesale slaughter of so many striped bass in their prime breeding years by both charter and private boats.

Striped bass are a precious, finite resource. Please enact regulations that will better protect these magnificent fish and the waters they live in.

Comments should be sent to mwaine at asmfc dot org, subject line Draft Addendum IV.

A little help, here?


Farmington River Report 9/24/14: Move it

If you’ve seen my “Wet Flies 101” presentation or fished with me, you know I’m a proponent of moving along until you find fish. Yesterday was a perfect example of why.

I swung wets for two hours in three locations. My team was a size 12 Squirrel and Ginger on top, a size 10 Hackled March Brown in the middle, and a size 10 soft-hackled bead head Pheasant Tail on point. The first place I fished continues to vex me. It screams wet fly. I know there are trout that live there. And I still haven’t gotten a touch in three trips. Moving right along…the second place was a lot of walking for a single JV Atlantic salmon, Salar the Leaper Jr. though he was. Finally, the last spot — ding-ding-ding. A nice assortment of wild browns from the sub-foot to mid-teens class. They were all attractively colored up for fall. Such impressive fins and tails on these stream-born fish. The hands-down favorite fly was the SHBHPT, and every take came on the dead drift phase of the presentation.

This brown attacked from his ambush position between two boulders in a slick-surfaced run.

9:14 Brown

First stripers of (by the calendar) fall

My calendar is a little different from the rest of the world’s. For me, fall starts in early August, around the time of the Dog Days (another widely misunderstood meteorological phrase, but that’s for another post).

I have been getting my butt kicked on the striper front for the last several weeks, with not even a bump to show for the hours I’ve been putting in. It looked like more of the same last night. Spot  A was the outside of a jetty with the two-hander and an 8″ September Night variant. Bupkiss. I turned to the inside of the jetty, where I performed some greased line swings on the incoming tide that were utterly poetic in execution, if not result.

Got into my truck and drove to Spot B, a bottleneck on the inside. Pods of worried mullet, but nothing I could find that would cause them any kind of neurosis. (See “Spot A/Inside” above for summation of activity and results.)

I was getting a little bummed at this point.

Off to Spot C, a location on a different inside that was perfect for the five-weight. And there I found them. Scads of silversides and a several marauders willing to jump on. Sure, they were all south of 20″, but they hit with fierce conviction — and any striper is unequivocally joyous on the five-weight. I fished a three fly team of a small, sparse PB bucktail on the top dropper, a sparse Eelie on the the middle dropper, and a small September Night on point. I took fish on all three. I savored the romance of wet fly fishing for stripers with a five-weight rod on a lovely fall night with a JR Cuban Alternate Cohiba Esplendido.

Si. Muy bueno.

How sparse is sparse? If you can read a newspaper through the fly, it’s sparse. One of last night’s winning flies.

Sparse PB Bucktail

200 Followers on This calls for a celebration!

Yippee! Currentseams now has over 200 followers. Thanks so much for your interest in the site. As always, I’ll do my best to provide you with more of what you like about currentseams.

Speaking of which, we’re going to celebrate with a little giveaway. The prize will be a selection of wet flies — or steelhead flies — or striper flies tied by yours truly. Winner gets to choose. Here are the rules:

1) No purchase necessary.

2) You must be a follower of currentseams to enter.

3) To enter, leave a comment on this thread saying you wish to enter AND tell me a little about what you like about the site, or would like to see more of. One entry per person. Deadline for entering is 11:59pm September 30, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be notified in the comments section of this thread, and will be responsible for sending me their address so I can ship the flies out.

4) All decisions by me are final.

Thanks again for reading.

Thanks to TU Croton Watershed for hosting me last night

All I can say is that the bar has been raised. It wasn’t just the great turnout — the room was packed with attentive members who came armed with dozens of good questions. It wasn’t just the welcoming, friendly spirit of the group. No, it was both of those things and the cheeseburger and beer they took me out for before the presentation. A well-fed presenter is a happy presenter.

Last night’s talk was Wet Flies 101. I brought along a selection of a dozen wet flies for their raffle, and left with a Croton Trout Unlimited hat in the bargain. Thanks so much, everyone, for your kindness and hospitality.

Black Caddis Spider

Next up: Eastern Brook Trout at the TU Naugatuck/Pomperaug Chapter on Wednesday, October 1. See you there.

New article in the current issue of MAFFG: “Salmon Fishing for Striped Bass”

“Salmon Fishing for Striped Bass” is a primer on greased line fishing for stripers. I’ve been wanting to write this article for a long time, since the greased line technique is one of my favorite ways to fish. If you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a treat. It is an elegant, effective, and just plain fun way to catch stripers. The greased line swing is tailor-made for presentation flies like flatwings and soft-hackles. You can read all about it in the Steelhead — Salmon — Saltwater issue (October 2014) of the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. MAFFG is available free in fly shops from Connecticut to North Carolina.


In any given year, my largest stripers come on big flatwings presented on a greased line swing — like this thirty-pound beauty taken on a 10-inch long Razzle Dazzle.


Many thanks to the Hammonasset Chapter of TU

Last night I presented The Eastern Brook Trout: New England’s Wild Native to the Hammonasset Chapter of TU. The group really came though in the clutch, locating an extension cord and power strip (must get those for future gigs) for me, and then — this is where it gets good — serving up some delicious pulled pork sandwiches. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and talking fishing and fly tying.

That reminds me: Time for a wild brook trout outing.

UDS Brookie2

Farmington River Mini-Report 9/10/14: Getting there

The DEEP did their broodstock gathering/census on Tuesday, and this morning the flows were nearly back to normal. I fished four spots from 9am-1pm with varying degrees of success: a) one JV Atlantic Salmon, b) a nice assortment of wild browns in the 12″-14″ class, c) blank, d) a brown trout LDR. I stuck with the indicator nymphing thing, and I learned after my fifth (I was a little slow today) weight tag break off that one BB shot played nicer than two. The water was lower than it has been, albeit cool for early September, and it had a light stain. A bit of a funky pond smell in the air. All the takes today were nearly imperceptible; a subtle stall or shudder of the indicator, rather than its wholesale disappearance. Lift your rod, hook point finds insertion, and the dance begins. They liked the size 12 BH Squirrel and Ginger. Forgot my camera, so no photos. Sorry, Ansel.

I hope I enjoyed it, because tomorrow I shall be chained to a desk.

A Drop-Shot Tandem Nymph Rig

I can be as stuck in my ways as the next angler. But from time to time, the curious, adventurous, what if? side comes out to play, and I’ll try something new. I first saw a two-fly drop-shot rigging system on Kelly Galloup’s site. Hmm. Intriguing. After storing it in the back of my brain for several months (and not being entirely satisfied with my regular two-nymph rig with the weight above the top fly) I thought I’d give the drop-shot a try.

There’s much I like about the drop-shot design theory. The weight is at the bottom end of the rig, and, consequently, along the bottom of the river. Because the weight tag is made of weakest link leader material, it should break off on a weight snag before anything else. Six inches above the weight is a nymph-style fly, strategically placed to be at the eye level of bottom-hugging trout. Twelve to sixteen inches above the nymph is a soft-hackle, emerger, or pupa-style fly on a dropper tag. You know from my writing and reports that I am a huge fan of droppers — give the fish a choice — and droppers that can swim freely on a dedicated tag. I especially like the idea of using a soft-hackled wet in this position. I wasn’t crazy about the bottom fly having the weight leader tag attached to its eye — I worried that it might make the fly difficult to eat — but it certainly was a better solution than attaching the weight tag to the bend of the hook. Only one way to find out, and that was to fish it.

There are probably dozens if not hundreds of variations of drop-shot riggings; so here’s one more. I altered the specifics to suit my preferences in leader materials (and also to use what I had on hand). Suffice to say, this thing works.

A simple two-fly drop shot nymph rig.

Drop-Shot Nymph Rig

Here’s a pdf of the diagram:

Drop-Shot Nymph Rig

Construction notes: Construction should be fairly intuitive. I’m an indicator-kind of guy, so I’ve dispensed with the sighter butt section. I’ve been using a six-foot length of Maxima Chameleon 12-pound. You could surely go with ten-pound, or any other butt material you like. If you were going to build in a sighter, you’d still keep the top section six-feet long. I added an SPRO size 10 power swivel because of the disparity in the diameter between the twelve and four-pound material. Maxima is still hands-down the best material I’ve used for dropper tags for trout. I tie an overhand knot four times at the end of the weight tag — I haven’t had any issues with shot coming undone — and I’ve been using one or two BB shot, depending on depth and current speed.  

Yup. Drop-shot nymph systems fished under an indicator work.

Big Rainbow 9-14

 Of course, check your local/state regulations to make sure you can fish two flies, and/or place weight below the flies. I am not responsible for any rules violations.  

Save Satan’s Kingdom: Sign this petition!

It ain’t over yet. Earlier this year, New Hartford spit the bit and approved the industrial park. Now it’s Canton’s turn to show it’s colors (Green — as in greed? Or green, as in we don’t need no stinking industrial park on the banks of our beautiful river). Here’s a link to the story in this morning’s Courant…,1134432.story

In the meantime, please sign this petition:

If you’re on Facebook, please like this page:

I thank you. The dog walkers and hikers and tubers and kayakers and canoeists thank you. And of course, the fish thank you.

You know what’s missing from this picture? Leaked motor oil, transmission fluid, and other petroleum-based products. Maybe a little antifreeze? The roar of heavy truck engines. And acres of impervious surface runoff. Yeah. Just what the river needs.