June 21, 2002 - Tons-o-fish, few takers. Anybody notice that when not laboring in current tongues, surf, moonlight, drop-offs, rips, creases and depressions the tail end of June usually signifies the arrival of lockjaw disease among our linesided friends? We have never received this many reports from seasoned salters regarding frustration in their attempts to match wits with the stripers that inhabit the shallow geography of Cape Cod.

We have entered a time when fly selection begins to move up the latter of importance. No longer can we merely jettison a 1/0 Chartreuse Super Clouser and expect every fish within a 1-mile radius to accept its authenticity. Our tackle along with our tactics must become more refined if we are to achieve any modicum of shallow water success.

May we make a few recommendations on the terminal side of the ledger that may lead to a more fortuitous day afield. Leaders: The jury may still be out on fluorocarbon, however I am totally convinced of its effectiveness. While I don't find it necessary to construct the entire leader out of this material, your refusal rate will certainly decline when high quality (and there's a lot of junk out there) fluoro is utilized as tippet. This being said, I have also not experienced any noticeable variation in acceptance rate pertaining to the diameter of the material itself. An example of a well constructed leader: 3'-33lb RIO Saltwater (butt), 3'-22lb RIO Saltwater (mid), 4'-20lb Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon (tip) that is similar in diameter to RIO 13.2Lb Saltwater. Flies: Anyone who has viewed my inventory of summer sight-fishing flies would be hard pressed to detect a size 2 hook. That's due to the fact that all are tied on size 4 and smaller. In almost every case the bait that is found in shallow water flats habitat is juvenile or immature and generally seeking the protection that only inches of water can provide. We would encourage you to consider constructing baitfish patterns sand eels, shrimp and crustaceans sparsely and on size 4's and 6's. If you are skeptical about the effectiveness of these diminutive offerings in regards to their acceptance by larger proportioned fish, you are mistaken. While it may seem a bit ineffectual tossing a size 6 shrimp pattern to a meandering striper on a 3-mile square flat, I will assure you they are effective.

Sometimes things go right. We had the pleasure of making some south Cape area recommendations to saltwater novice, Sean Beausoleil, and he forwarded his comments…

"Last nights conditions were ideal, with no wind, and an over abundance of fish. From about 7:30 to 11:00 one could hear fish breaking everywhere. Although my final tallies were not great, 6 fish total, I finally got a good taste for fast fishing in the salt. As I reflect my biggest problem was that the bluefish destroyed many of my good flies… secondly, I am not sure my presentation was ideal… I wish I was still out there because tonight will be even better with a high tide of 8PM and the weather likely ideal…"

You did just fine Sean. Oh, by the way, the area was Popponesset Gut.

Good fishing and safe wading,


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