I love fishing for stripers at night around docks, bridges, waterfront restaurants — anywhere there is light and shade. The reason is simple: the light attracts baitfish, and the baitfish attract stripers. I’m especially stoked about fishing areas where there is a stark demarcation of light and shadow. Those are magical places.
Late Sunday/early Monday found me at such a place. It’s a mark that offers what I call “the aquarium effect.” The overhead lights enable you to see clearly what’s in the water, whatever its place on the food chain. On this particular night, I could see bass cruising along the bottom, solo or in small hunting packs, rousting baitfish (spotted: silversides, peanut bunker, mullet), then smashing them on the surface. Some of this took place in the well-lit areas, but most of it was going down at or just past the shadow line.
Rigged with a three-fly dropper team, I had at it. No love. I tried dead drifts; greased line swings; short, pulsing strips; rapid, long strips; and what could hardly be called a strip at all, more like an almost imperceptible gathering of line. Frustrated, I vowed to come back after the tide turned, and headed to another mark a short drive away.
This was a flat in near total darkness. I could see worried bait in the faint ambient light. An hour and four bass later, I left with a smile on my face.
Funny thing about droppers: the fish will always tell you what they want. On this night, at the second mark, they wanted the top dropper, an Orange Ruthless clam worm (lower right), even though there were no clam worms to be found anywhere near I was fishing.
And then back to the original mark. The tide had shifted but the bass and bait were still there, and the former remained unimpressed by my offerings. As with any such puzzle, you’ve got to try different pieces until you find one that fits. In this case it was as simple as switching to a Gurgling Sand Eel on point to make it a suspension rig. A couple mended swings into the shadows, and whack! Then, on the dangle, ker-pow! That called for a celebration cigar. So I did.
Great news for Ken Abrames fans! Ken recently posted on Facebook that the Striper Moon — A Legacy film will be available soon on Amazon Prime. I don’t know if this means a DVD or if it’s something that’s in a streaming format. Either way, you now know as much as I do. I’ll post details as I get them.
All we needed last night was a red carpet to welcome all the fly fishing dignitaries at the Avon Cinema. Nah, it wasn’t anything like that: low key, relaxed, everyone welcome — just like Tuesday Nights with Ken. I enjoyed seeing some old and new friends, and reconnecting with people from fishing days past.
It’s the world premier of Striper Moon — A Legacy.
The film? Nice job, Lorri Shankar. It’s not all about fishing — it’s about Ken the artist, the sculptor, the writer, the fly and rod designer, the angler, the man. Roughly an hour long, just the right length where it leaves you wanting a little more. The story is told through Ken’s self-narrative, and via interviews with an eclectic mix of characters from family members to old fishing buddies.
I do not know of any future distribution or DVD plans. If you have inquiries, please reach out to Lorri Shankar, director. You can find her on Facebook.
We talk just about every week, but I hadn’t seen Ken in a few years. He has a look and a style that simply commands your attention. Thanks, old friend, for teaching me about sparse flies and flatwings and floating lines and greased line swings and sticky sharp hooks and setting the hook and fighting fish and…
“Striper Moon — A Legacy — J. Kenney Abrames” will premier 8:00pm August 20 at the Avon Cinema in Providence, RI. The film is the project of Lorri Shankar. Here’s a link to Ken’s Stripermoon Blog Facebook page. Hope to see you there!