Striped Bass Kill on Cape Breton Island

Striped Bass Kill on Cape Breton Island

A little over a week ago, a large number of stripers were found dead on Dingwall Beach on Cape Breton Island. Biologist are working to find the cause of this striped bass kill. It could be a toxic agent in the water. It could be a virus or a bacteria.  The most likely cause, however, is a two fold shock – a sudden drop in temperature coupled with a sudden drop in salinity courtesy of heavy rains.

This type of environmental one-two punch is a known killer of fish in winter. For example, here in southern New England, it has caused die-off’s of menhaden.  Typically this occurs where fish are wintering over in the lower end of a coastal river. Fish holding over in the warm water release of a powerplant are also vulnerable. If the plant temporarily shuts, say for maintenance, those fish are exposed to a rapid change in temperature. This very scenario happened in Nova Scotia four or five years ago. The Trenton powerplant in Pictou Harbor shut down killing a small number of bass.

 

Posted in Environment, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment

The Mop Fly is a Murderer

The Mop Fly is a Murderer

Lately my friend Phil has been hard at work tying flies to use over at his club pond. And he has been catching some mighty good looking rainbows.  Nice going. What are the fish taking? Mop flies.

Phil’s Tying Bench

Mop flies are cheap to make, easy to whip up, and murder trout. A lot to like. Okay, okay, there is one downside. They’re controversial. Why? Well like the Squirmy Wormy fly some folks don’t think the Mop fly is real fly-fishing.  They claim it makes catching fish too damn easy. (It has been banned in some competitions) Why is “easy” a problem? Well fly-fishing has always been seen as a challenging sport, demanding both skill and  experience. Now I’ll agree, the Mop requires no mountain of finesse.  But how much skill does it take to fish a Woolly Bugger? No one is complaining about that fly? The other argument you’re apt to hear is that the Mop fly isn’t “matching the hatch”. (This same controversy surrounded the San Juan worm years ago.) Lets  be clear, the Mop fly resembles a grub, or a maggot, or a large caddis worm. So there is no problem.

In terms of popularity, the Mop fly has been hot for five years or so. Digging deeper, I learned it was actually created over 20 years ago by North Carolina angler Jim Estes. Apparently Jim came across the mop material in a Dollar Store in Bryson City. Bingo the Mop fly was born. Want to make some? Tying instructions are plentiful on the internet.

Posted in Flies and Fly Tying | Leave a comment

You are Made of Stardust

First off, happy New Year. Lets all hope for a fun, safe, and rewarding 2022. Man, we really need it.

You are Made of Stardust

Got out of the house this morning. Very foggy and warm. Just down the street, where a small backwater flows to the Connecticut River, I saw this message scrawled on the bridge. Ummm. Hit the brakes. Climbed out of the truck to get a closer look. Not a big fan of graffiti, but this seemed to resonate with the New Year. It was a reminder of where we came from and where we are all headed. Puts our lived into perspective. I believe Carl Sagan coined the phase. Is there any truth in it? Was Carl right? Are we stardust? Well the earth was formed inside of stars. So there is no avoiding it. In fact scientists now figure humans are 97 percent stardust. Wow. Face it, you’re a star.

 

Posted in On the Road, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

New Motor takes Dave to a New Redfish

My friend Dave has been on a roll lately. For one thing the red tide has dialed back on the Gulf side of Florida. Which is great news. Red tide has been a persistent problem for several years from Tampa south to Naples. Between that and the blue-green algae, water quality has sucked. But Dave has been hanging there and fishing as always.

Recently he got himself a brand new motor – a Suzuki 25. Yeah he got a lot of hours out of the old mill, but it was ready to retire. This new one is much more fuel efficient and dependable, allowing him to travel farther in his search for reds. And that new motor just took him to a new redfish. Its a honker.  Great going Dave!

 

Posted in Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment

Redfish on the Sandbar

Redfish on the Sandbar

Redfish feed around sandbars, but they are not often on the bar itself. More likely you’ll find reds cruising the outside edge on the ebb, or along the inside edge during the first two hours of the flood. In both cases this puts them in prime feeding territory.

A couple of day ago, my friend Dave, down Florida way, sent me this picture of a nice redfish he caught. He saw it sitting up on a sandbar. So he pitched it a crab fly on his Scott Meridian 8wt. Bingo hookup. I asked Dave why he felt redfish sometimes sit up on the bar. Dave feels the sandbar’s shallow water provide a safe place to hangout, offering shelter from predators such as sharks.  Sounds reasonable.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment