On Cape Cod Right Now


Fishing Cape Cod right now. Loving it. Plenty of schoolies, with a few bigger bass mixed in. Enjoying the hell out of it!

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Pandemics make for full Fly Boxes

Okay I’m pulling you leg amigo, but one positive effect of this God awful,  sinking pandemic is this: I spent oodles of time behind the vise. Hours and hours. Snipping, cutting, stacking, gluing, clear coating, whip finishing. Tying, tying, tying.

Dozens of flies got cranked out. Man oh man. Check out the photos, and this isn’t all of them. There are more.

My focus was often on sand eel flies as you have seen in recent posts. They are very important at this time of year. Got to have them. They are in the bottom box of the adjacent photo. I made small one, typically in the 2″ size. Some are a tad longer. This allows me to trim them down to match the bait on a particular shoreline. These are  YOY imitations. And I tied them both in green-over-white for use during the day and in black for night work. Some are unweighted and some weighted. 

Along with the small sand eel flies, I also made a run of larger sand eels flies. Little tough to see but they are in the center row of the photo below. You occasionally find these bigger sand eels along beaches exposed to the open Atlantic.  These babes can be 6 inches long, although the flies I tied are closer to 5″. Good enough, I think.   

Naturally I whipped up some Deceivers and Clousers too. Meat and potatoes. Both of them got tied in a variety of sizes and colors. The smallest green Clousers actually double up as sand eels patterns. My Deceivers are from 4″ to almost double that length. Juvenile sea herring are fairly common right now on Atlantic facing beaches and the smaller Deceivers are a decent imitation. They have worked well in the past. The bigger Deceivers  are excellent searching patterns, and make a passable squid imitation. You can see a few in the right hand row of the photo above. Need those babes too.  

So is this flurry of intense tying going to pay off?  You bet your backside. Why? Because I’m heading to Cape Cod at week’s end. Man, been looking forward to seeing the Cape again since I moved back from Florida.  With any luck at all I should run into plenty of striped bass. And perhaps even some big boys. The kind that can air out your backing.  That would be the icing on the cake. 

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A Few Thoughts to Speed up Your Fly Tying

I’m not a commercial tier, or an exhibition tier. But I’ve been behind the vise for 40 years and have some thoughts for folks just getting their feet wet at the game.

One Sand Eel Fly

Realize it is rarely a good idea to sit down at the vise to tie one lone fly. If you need a particular fly, face it, you likely could use a few of them in your box. Now you might say to me tying more than one takes time. Yup, but tying in bulk saves time in the long run, a monster amount of time. Moreover tying in bulk forces you to learn a pattern in depth. Your flies become more consistent. And what you learn helps you next time you tie that pattern. And last but not least, tying in bulk means your fly boxes are full and better prepared for a day on the water.

Tie a Dozen

The first step is to collect the specific materials required to tie the pattern. Then lay out the materials in the order you going to use them. Hook and thread first and so on down to head cement. Next prepare the materials. Count out the number of hooks you’ll need. Make a pile. Need hackles of a certain size?  Pull them out and make another pile.  Need floss or chenille? Cut pieces to length and make a pile. Get the idea? You’re preparing a production line.

Tying in Stages

Okay, put a hook in the vise. But, do not complete one fly at a time. Make the fly in stages. As you see with these sand eel flies, I did a couple of quick steps and then moved on until I had a dozen ready for completion. Then I came back and finished each fly. (You can see the completed fly in the photo at the top of the post.) Tying in stages is a great time saver and improves the quality of your work. Trust me. Hope all this helps you. If want to get serious about production tying, pick up A.K. Best’s Production Fly Tying.  His last name says it all.

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Tailing Reds in the Twilight

Its the rainy season along the Florida Gulf Coast, but it has been wetter than usual from what I hear and more rain coming. Typically the rain starts around 2:30 pm and tapers off by 5pm. But right now the rain can be all day long. Soggy times.

Tailing Reds in the Twilight

That hasn’t stopped Dave from looking for “tailing” reds. Yeah he has been on the water between the raindrops.  As you can see he is working the twilight shift and its paying off. When warm weather settles in on this coast, rain can actually improve the fishing by lowering the water temperature. Its only a small change but its enough to pick up the fishing. Go Dave!

Notice how different these two fish are? The bottom red has been living in stained water likely  back in the mangroves. The top fish has been living in clear water over sandy bottoms. Yup, reds can quickly change color to suit their habitat.

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Cape Cod Canal Closed to Commercial Striped Bass Fishing

Well this is great news . The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has closed the canal to commercial striper fishing. The canal had become a killing ground. Tip of the hat to the Marine Division for recognizing the problem and taking action.

June 3, 2020
Cape Cod Canal Closed to Commercial Striped Bass Fishing
The Division of Marine Fisheries today announced the closure of the Cape Cod Canal to commercial striped bass fishing. Effective immediately, all striped bass retained from the Cape Cod Canal or possessed within 1,000 feet of the Canal’s shoreline must adhere to the recreational fishing limits of one fish of at least 28” total length but less than 35” total length. An exception is made for the possession of striped bass 35” or greater legally caught elsewhere for commercial purposes and being actively transported through the 1,000-foot buffer area to a primary dealer.
This action is taken to address numerous and worsening public nuisance and safety problems arising from increased fishing activity along the Canal. These problems, including anglers conducting themselves in threatening and unruly manners, parking illegally on adjacent roads, trespassing over private property, and interfering with other recreational activities, have been especially acute on open commercial striped bass fishing days. Although the primary mission of the Canal is navigation, a secondary objective of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ management of the surrounding area is to provide recreational opportunities for the public. Accordingly, it is appropriate for the Division of Marine Fisheries to prohibit commercial striped bass fishing along the Canal in order to return the area to its recreational purposes.
This regulation is also expected to greatly enhance compliance and enforcement with this year’s recreational striped bass conservation rules (i.e., the 28” to less than 35” slot limit, circle hook requirement when fishing with natural bait, and prohibition on gaffs and other injurious removal devices) at one of the most productive fishing locations for large bass. Given the Canal’s great popularity as a shore fishing location for striped bass, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and local police departments rely heavily on public tips of illegal fishing activity; however, these tips have previously been hindered by the virtual indistinguishability of recreational and commercial striped bass fishermen. The closure of the Canal to commercial striped bass fishing (in combination with the new 35” commercial minimum size) will enhance the ability of anglers to see and accurately report illegal striped bass fishing activity. Please report tips to the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 800-632-8075.
For the purpose of this closure, the Cape Cod Canal is defined as all waters and shoreline bounded by the most seaward extent of the state pier at Taylor’s Point (“A”) to the most seaward extent of the northern breakwater jetty at the east end (“B”) to the most seaward extent of the southern breakwater jetty at the east end (“C”) to the northernmost tip of the peninsula at the end of President’s Road in Bourne (“D”). Please see the map below.
This closure of the Cape Cod Canal to commercial striped bass fishing has been adopted as an emergency regulation, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §2, for the preservation of public safety and the general welfare of the community. As such, it shall remain in effect for 90 days, unless adopted as a final regulation. It is anticipated that a public hearing will be scheduled for this summer and a final regulation could be voted on by the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission at its business meeting on August 20, 2020.
 Prohibited areas for commercial striped bass fishing

Posted in Environment, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | 2 Comments