Check out the new 'Salmo Saxtilis' fly rods designed by Ken Abrames in the stripermoon store.
Little water can educate you quite quickly in fly selection and presentation techniques that work.
I like to fish in little tiny places. I like Cuttyhunk, Martha's Vineyard, the big rips and the surf wherever it is; and I like culverts under roads. Those little outlets that are unnoticeable except to kids and old men who remember the bass they used to catch in those places are golden. Little water holds lots of unfished for fish.
This past weekend I visited a lot of little water spots and caught fish and saw fish at every one of them. They are easy to figure out and not so easy, sometimes. They are a barometer of the whole ecosystem. One little saltpond that gurgles out under a tiny bridge in a seaside town right next to a trendy restaurant, held a school of very contented stripers feeding heavily right underneath the feet of dockside diners. Some of those fish were quite large and they will be there for another month or so fattening up. Just up the street and around a corner is another little bridge and there were fish there too. There are six different small bridges in this town and every one of them held fish. It's amazing how much excellent fishing water there is in these towns that grew up around estuaries and channeled the flows to pass under and around the roads and buildings that hide these little waterways and the fish they hold from casual observers. I have never found a seaside town that did not have these hidden waterways.
To fish these little places you don't need much equipment, a car, a parking space, a box of flies, a fly rod or two and a spirit of adventure. You can buy a cup of coffee at a restaurant that overlooks some little flow and sit contentedly and watch. If you do this in the evening when the tide is dropping so much the better. Soon enough you will see the little signs of life, a spray of baitfish or a swirl here and there. Then the feeding activity will build and at that point, your fisherman energy will take hold and you will become a little kid again. It is an interesting transformation that takes place. The twelve weights are replaced by six's and sevens. The shooting heads are replaced by leaders with three feet of line off the tip, waders by sneakers and you can always grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich as you move from one spot to the next. Don't forget to bring coins for the parking meters. Some towns fish better on the incoming tide and some are definite ebb tide hotspots. The higher the population in an area the more of these hidden treasures you will find. The Connecticut shoreline is full of them. Put a coin in the parking meter and you are in for a treat. Striper fishing without any trespassing signs right in the middle of public access for everybody. It's a welcome relief to the access hassle and it is easy to do. Just be careful not to hook anybody on your backcast, roll casts are much safer. Use barbless hooks.
If the idea of this bonanza is to your liking don't overlook the larger cities like Boston, New York or any of the others that grew up around salt water. They are wonderful fisheries with tremendous amounts of wild fish and good access. Fish don't know about man's culture; they just go where the food is and these areas have vast amounts of rich habitat for shrimp and clam worms, silversides and herring and all the common organisms that are found in estuaries wherever they are located.
I often go to certain places in these cities and towns and look into the water to see what is going on in the big picture. There is one small salt pond that drains through a culvert in a town that I go to see if the clamworms are hatching. All I have to do to find out is stop my car by the side of the road and look in the water and I know right away if there will be clam worms in several places that are similar but a bit more pristine. The shoreline in between these towns is usually less developed and often there are marshes and small rivers that are similar in terms of the timing of the forage that is present. By using these towns as a place to stop and observe you can get some idea of what may be happening in the area you may wish to fish. It's a common sense approach for gathering real time information that can make or break an outing.
Little water can educate you quite quickly in fly selection and presentation techniques that work. The fish are close and easily reached. They either respond or don't respond without any hesitation. The closeness of the fish gives you a reduced set of problems to deal with so their behavior is easily discerned. Casting and drag are minimized as forces that may be acting against your success so the fundamentals of fly selection and how you deliver that fly are heightened in this approach. You learn a great deal in a short amount of time because of the intensity of focus. There is not much room for conjecture. When the fly is off even slightly you don't catch fish. That is pretty simple methodology and enlightening to boot.
Little water is a microcosm of the way the ocean works. The lessons and the discoveries you find there are valuable insights that can be applied in every situation you meet throughout your whole angling career. Fish are opportunists; they feed as they can in the most efficient manner. When they are in small water they feed with an economy of effort that is easily seen. This same efficiency of effort is at the root of their being able to survive in the dynamic world that they live in. Their routines are not as easily noticed in big water but the same routines with modifications to suit the circumstances are operational wherever stripers are found feeding. Fishing in little water to bass that are close at hand can open the door to understanding how this relationship between stripers and their prey operates on a fundamental level.
One nice thing about becoming familiar with little water is you will always have some good spots to fish no matter what the weather and you will probably catch more fish per hour and casts made than any other way you fish. It is fairly easy to catch ten or more fish before you ever suit up and join those serious fishermen who will be waiting for you in all those popular high profile places. You may even be able to mystify them by your knowledge of the exact size and type of baitfish that the fish are actually feeding on.© 2001