This one’s going to be brief, folks, because I have nothing good to report. Well, that’s not entirely true. I got to meet up with old striper partner-in-crime Bob. We each enjoyed a cigar on the walk out. And I got to shake some of the rust off my two-handed casting. Beyond that, it was cold, the wind was blasting out of the east at 15mph (with higher gusts), it rained most of the time we fished, seaweed and grassy detritus was an issue, and neither of us got a single touch. I saw one striper caught by a spin angler. I talked to another fly angler in the parking lot who said he caught two small fish, and that it had been fairly slow thus far. I wish I could tell tales of the Bass-O-Matic, but that will have to wait for another day.
If you fish a two-handed rod, or if you use a modern shooting head integrated line (like Rio Outbound or Airflo 40+) with your single hand setup, you’ve undoubtedly encountered this scenario. You want to change your fly, or check the hook point, so you tuck your rod under your armpit and gather in the line. Problem: while you’re fiddling with the fly, the current grabs the line — those shooting heads have a lot of surface area — and downstream goes your head, taking your running line along with it. Now, you’ve got to re-strip 60, 70, 80 feet of line again — time you could be fishing.
Solution: wrap a couple loops of the running line around your off-hand wrist. I like to gather in the running line till the shooting head is just outside the rod tip. The orange running line below my wrist remains inside my shooting basket. This way I’m ready to cast as soon as I change flies. That’s more time spent fishing, and that means more potential time catching.
The hunt for big bass continues…slowly. I’ll make this brief. I fished last night with Toby Lapinski for about two hours at mark in southeast CT. Toby was on spin gear, I had the big two-hander. Not a touch for me, and Toby managed a single hello tap from a smaller fish. And that’s about all I have to say about that, other than this: the more you put in your time, and the more you learn the particulars of a potential big bass spot, the more big bass you’re going to catch. Looking forward to round three.
The water was a little milky due to surf/sand/wind, but plenty of visibility; certainly enough to see a fly like this. Mmmmmm. Squidcicle.
It’s said that for every problem, there is a solution. The problem: any nighttime session with my two-handed rod quickly produced a wet handle, wet line, and wet hands — not a good combination when you’re relying on a firm grip to operate. Compounding the situation was the thin running line (the one I’m currently using is .042″). You’re holding it against the rod handle when you cast, and with any hookup over 40 feet away, you’re stripping that running line during a fight.
Clearly, needed to get a grip. Enter Buff Eclipse gloves. Partially designed for UV protection (not an issue at 1am), these gloves also feature a combination silicone dot pattern and an abrasion-resistant film on the palm that “maximizes grip while minimizing wear.” I also liked that these have three-quarter length fingers, which leaves your fingertips free. Bonus: if you’re having one of those really good nights, the gloves also minimize the red badge of courage (AKA striper thumb). I used them extensively this summer and I’m happy to report that they performed as expected. I bought my pair from Orvis.
Buff Eclipse gloves keep you grippin’ so you can give stripers a whippin’ (with apologies to Timex watches).