These days I just flyfish the salt until june. Then after June, it is a mix of spinning and fly.
Yesterday, on my second outing of the season I landed my first striped bass of the season on a rays fly. The bass was about 35" which was even more special.
This morning I had two slightly smaller models, but they were just as fun. This time I brought my phone to snap a couple pics
One of the fish was pushing/tailing in a foot of water. My second cast converted it. Weird that I saw no evidence of the typical micro schoolies. All three were perfect in their form. healthy fish…
These fish are in the 10-15 lb class. Sill juveniles.
I fish a 9wt. Only one of these fish pulled hard enough to get on the reel, but not into the backing. It is interesting that with these stripers I can more or less can strip in, where a bonefish a quarter the size will put me into backing instantly, and on more than one run.
There is less difference in my mind and in a lot of ways I tend to mentally blur them.
Size is relative and so often, so is the tackle we use. Even my largest striped bass is dwarfed by the 120# Bluefin I caught which was also just comparatively a small to the 1,000# models that roam.
That striped bass pictured above was easily beat by my 9wt. One moderate run, a brief standoff and then I glided it to hand.
The great thing about fishing flies as they say….sometimes elephants eat peanuts. It is not always the case and a special set of conditions need to align but it is what we as fly fisherman are banking on. I see this to be true in both salt and and freshwater. Both places can offer opportunities and both are equally conditional. The larger fish of any species feed differently.
I would not consider the fish I caught a larger fish. It is probably mid sized for the average size in the species biomass. What is interesting, I was fishing with a highly skilled friend who fly fishes too, but he was fishing spinning over the two mornings we were on fish. I was fly fishing smaller profiles but was catching bigger fish. His presentation was faster, mine was slower. Larger fish in general can be lazier and how they feed. Presentation speed can matter. We see this in trout sometimes too. The smaller aggressive fish will sometimes be the first to a presentation. The larger dark shadows seem to just be lumbering around.
I was fortunate to fish a couple times with Tony Stetzko. He did get this 73 # fish on a fly.
Although Tony did flyfish, this fish was on spinning tackle with a fly tandem presentation paired with a live eel. The story goes they were fishing Nauset for cod and he took this fish as by-catch. Awesome!
Tony Stetzko with the 73-pound striper he caught off a Cape Cod beach on November 3, 1981. The author broke that story after he received a call from Stetzko’s longtime fishing partner, Tony C., who owned the BASS RUN tackle shop on the lower Cape, where he tied the Black Beauty dropper fly this specimen ate that was fished ahead of a live eel.