September 21, 2002 - The Central Massachusetts Chapter successfully defended the 2nd Bay State Challenge Cup, an annual C&R tournament hosted by the Coastal Conservation Association on Saturday, September 14th. With over 40 participants to contended with, chapter vice president, Bob Thunberg took fist honors again this year with a relatively modest striper of 29 " while being hosted by Chatham reg, Mark Kralian. This is the second consecutive year the duo hooked up to apprehend the coveted trophy. Also of note was the outstanding tourney Central Mass Chapter activists Ted Purcell and Mike Peluso enjoyed. The twosome boated a number of ample bluefish and albies while toiling along the Monument Beach area. The activities were capped off with a festive New England clambake, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all the day's participants.

"Are you ready for some footbaaaaall?" The frenzy that has been created by the arrival of bluefin tuna within Massachusetts's coastal waters rivals anything we have ever encountered in our 15-year history. It reminds me of the "good OLE days" when legendary salts pursued these sea creatures from 14-foot tin skiffs. While most of the success to date (and it has been stunning at times) has been achieved with conventional tuna gear, it will not be long before the fly guys begin to take advantage of this burgeoning fishery. The fly tackle requirements are quite extraordinary when in pursuit of these one-man subs. Your 9, 10 and even 11 weight striper rig (or tarpon outfit) will be out of place if you intend to get serious about pursuing these fish due to their ability to sound in over 100' of water. We suggest you turn your attention to stout tackle somewhere in the 8'6," 14-15 weight category. Combine this with a quality reel capable of handling 400 to 600 yds. of backing and you should be good to go.

Our bluefish fishery has certainly been on the rebound in recent years. Virtually every fly angler we have interviewed in the previous few weeks has reported encounters with these aggressive gladiators with many specimens falling into the 30-36" category. Look for consistent action to continue for at least another 3-4 weeks before the fall migration begins to wane. Unlike spring fish, which can show remarkable selectivity at times, the fish of late summer display no reluctance to pursue flies of varied configuration. Find the population and you will catch fish.

I call them the forgotten fish of the fall. With bonito, false albacore and BFT's to target linesiders are taking forth billing. For hardcore striper enthusiasts there remains a generous population of stripers from the New Hampshire border to Swansea and angling remains good to excellent. The Chatham flats continue to harbor groups of selectively feeding bass and I would expect wading fly rodders still have another 2 or 3 weeks of reasonable opportunity. During the month of October look for the surf to become more consistent particularly during low light situations or cloudy, rainy days.

Good fishing and safe wading,


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