Striper Report: First Cast Fever, or: it’s all about adjustments

I decided to fish the mouth of the Hous for a couple hours simply because I could…and because it seemed like that time of year. I had the place to myself for about 30 minutes, but no love taps were forthcoming. The terminal rig was a Soft-Hackled Flatwing in R.L.S. Easterly colors on an 8-foot leader. It didn’t compute that there were no fish around, so I decided to make an adjustment.

This is the kind of little thing — I know you’ve heard that phrase somewhere before! — that can have huge impact on your fishing. If you know or suspect the fish are there and you’re not catching, do something different. So I swapped out my leader for a 6-foot section of T-11 and a three foot leader. Still nothing. Then, I added a 3/0 shot to the leader just above the fly. Next cast, bang! Then another two casts later. This made me happy.

Sometimes it’s the little adjustments that make the biggest difference. This single shot, clamped on with pliers, resulted in an immediate hookup.

You might think that this is how the story (happily) ends. But no. After those two fish, I went a good half hour without a tap. I have to confess that this kind of fishing holds little interest for me, even less so when the bite is off. But since we’re talking about adjustments, how’s this: go from dredging the bottom to skating on top.

Many years ago old friend Ed Simpson exclaimed, as we fished a spot not too far from where I was wading, “Make ’em come up!” Off came the full sink tip and shotted fly, on went the longer leader and a Gartside Gurgler. First cast, splash, boil, whack! Then another. And another. These fish were sporting the colors of bass not fresh from the sea, but rather those of winter residency. Not very big, but I love any striper that displays that marauding spirit. Many anglers think of fishing surface bugs as an active presentation, with the fly in constant motion, but every one of my hits came on the pause (see this post for more on varying your strip cadence).

My last adjustment came as the action and tide waned. I noticed a far sexier rip, abutted by a slick, 150 feet downriver. So I waded down, made some casts, and caught some more. And that, dear reader, brings us to our happy ending.

6 comments on “Striper Report: First Cast Fever, or: it’s all about adjustments

  1. Brian Labowsky says:

    Congratulations on a successful outing. And some fish were caught too.

    • Steve Culton says:

      You got that right. Not a bad way to spend a few hours at all. What I was most excited about was telling my audience about all the little adjustments that I tried — especially since they worked. πŸ™‚

  2. rich rubin says:

    Time to hit the Rhody beaches, drift a fly in the wave current catch the migration as the fish blitz

    Good health is true wealth

    • Steve Culton says:

      Rich, I’m getting the idea that you really want me down there! I am pleased no end that RI finally had a great fall. I did make it down for a couple night missions, and had fun. Maybe if next year’s good you can show me where you like to fish.

  3. Frank Zima says:

    Good plan! …but be careful: You’ve mentioned that you’re not a Clouser guy, and there’s a very fine line between putting a 3/0 shot that close to the eye, and using a Clouser. I’m just looking out for your soul here: Don’t sell it! πŸ˜„


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