SUMMERTIME BLUES

July 22, 1999 - I would consider it almost a right of passage into mid-summer. Every year around the middle of July, without fail, my urge to abandoned my pursuit of the noble striper and take up an adversarial role with the bluefish is evident. I simply must get it out of my system.

The beach at Sunken Meadow in Eastham and Silver Spring Brook Marshes in Wellfleet provide the venue for what has to be considered some of the most consistent mid-summer bluefish action on the east coast. Both areas are easily wadable and should be approached at high tide and fished during the entire drop by gradually pursuing the receding water. It can be quite fun to employ a surface popper, in the vein of a Garthside Gurgler or Bob’s Banger, and prospect the shallow water with repeated casts in anticipation of the vicious strike of an attacking bluefish. It is not uncommon to encounter specimens of 30-38" in length in water no deeper than three or four feet, that, once hooked, can provide a lengthy battle rivaling many game fish in the tuna family.

If given the choice, both areas are best fished by boat for obvious reasons. In some cases it’s actually possible to sight cruising groups of fish, a task that becomes somewhat easier from the elevated position a boat offers and, secondly, a boat provides better mobility should a particular piece of water be barren of fish, so you can simply cover more water.

Just got off the phone with noted Wellfleet guide, Kevin Coakley who specializes in fishing these areas, and his sports have been achieving success employing a variety of surface poppers with fish averaging about 8 pounds. When you think about it, this fishery, in itself, can make for an entertaining day. One can skim the Jeremy Point flats in pursuit of linesiders in the AM and zip over to Sunken Meadow for an afternoon of popping for blues. If this type of fishing appeals to you, I would recommend that you contact Kevin and schedule a trip. His rates are a bargain and his equipment first class. He can be reached in Wellfleet at (508) 249-1031.

A word about flyfishing tackle when in pursuit of bluefish. Most angler’s should be in possession of a 9’, 9 or 10 weight, med-fast to fast action graphite rod, complimented by a machined disc drag reel capable of storing 150-200 yards of 20 pound backing. I personally overline every rod I own in excess of a 7 weight with the next line size. This enables me to LOAD the rod quicker with a MINIMUM of false casts (2 tops), and will provide the extra grains in the head of the line necessary to support larger poppers and flies under windy conditions. I strongly recommend the use of intermediate flylines even when employing surface poppers. They simply don’t have the mass of floating lines, will support the weight of larger flies and are not as easily influenced by the wind. Should you prefer a floater, simply treat your intermediate with a silicone base cleaner and "viola" it becomes one.

American Fishing Wire has remedied the shock tippet problem with a product called Surflon Micro Ultra. It is a 1X19 nylon coated stainless steel wire that can actually be knotted in a similar fashion as typical nonofilament. Simply albright a 5 or 6 inch section to the end of your striper leader and attach your fly to the business end using a duncan loop or uni knot and your good to go. It comes in 16.4 foot rolls and retails for $7.95. After literally testing every possible pound test of this material, I’ve deduced that their 26.4lb (.018 Diameter) is the most bluefish effective.

Good fishing and safe wading

JB


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