Striper report 10/6/21: Daytime bliss, nighttime suffering

On Wednesday Alex took a striper lesson with me. He did a fantastic job. The point of these short (2 hours) lessons is to give students feel for how to approach multiple situations involving current — and especially for them to discover the expansive fly fishing life beyond cast-and-strip. We do it in the daytime (the better to eyeball things) and while the immediate goal isn’t to catch — that will come later — I have the highest amount of respect for those who want to invest in upping their game. Alex did a tremendous job; he has an intuitive feel for current and presentation. Now all he needs is some bass to play with.

As it turns out, so do I. I drove to Rhode Island that night to fish two different marks and, once again, I was disappointed by the paucity of striped things that swim. The first mark was one of my “guaranteed” spots. You know — a place you go to save a night when you desperately need a fish. No longer. I’ve fished it three times this year, blanked all three times, and it’s the first year in decades that I have not caught a bass there. Fooey. Not to be outdone, the second mark had plenty of bait, and not a single striper. So I casted, mended, and tried to pretend that maybe a bass would show up. Instead, I stayed out way too late. I won’t be going back this year (he said bitterly).

Alex really nailed the greased line swing. What a lovely day to be out fishing.

Beware of the Casting Police

The Casting Police are as vigilant as ever. You’ll find them in breachway parking lots, along beaches, and especially internet forums.

They flash their badges at the first suggestion that you cast differently from the rest of the pack.

It does not matter if you like to cast that way.

It does not matter if you catch hundreds of stripers a year.

What matters is that there is The Way. The way of the double haul. Practice it not, and you shall be — if you’ll pardon the expression — cast out. Banished forever from their imaginary kingdom.

Fortunately, the Casting Police have no real power over you, me, or anyone. You may cast and fish as you like. There are many, many ways, and you are free to explore the wonders of all of them as you see fit.

Ray Bergman wrote, “You may gather from this that I am not particularly interested in perfect form casting, and that is very true…it is best to concentrate on the other points rather than on form, and the casting will usually take care of itself.”

I think I’ll use that Get Out Of Jail Free Card now.

He even looks like a heathen! Fortunately, all casters are equal in the eyes of striped bass.

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2015: A Striper Oddity

I never thought I’d be so excited about catching four school bass. But after this crazy spring, yowzah, woo-hoo, awwwright, yessiree Bob, good golly Miss Molly, I am all fired up.

Ahem.

Now that cooler heads have prevailed, I want to tell you about my funny faux pas today at Ye Olde Striper Spot. The wind was gusting out of the NNW, 10-20 easy, and the cloud structure was breathtaking. When I waded in, I was the fifth guy at the end of the line. We were all pretty evenly (and courteously) spaced. After an hour or so, our ranks had swollen to nearly ten. Some people were catching, others were not.  I turned to look behind me and I noticed that the angler above me had closed the gap to about 30 feet. He hailed me. “Do you mind if I ask you something?” I thought I was going to get a question about the two hander, or the floating line, or what color fly I was using. No. “Can you stand back a bit? You’ve moved quite a ways toward me.”

Well, to clean up Jack Nicholson’s line from “A Few Good Men,” didn’t I feel like a freakin’ butt hole.

Sincere apologies were offered, as was a fly. I appreciated his politeness and understanding. We talked about fishing for a few minutes. Then, fences mended, we returned to our precious avocation on this strange grey-green-blue windy day.

Monday’s implements of destruction, drying for the next session. Water temp was 50 degrees.

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