People don't necessary think of striped bass when you say "sight fishing". When we hear those words our imaginations generally shift to the shallow warm waters of the keys, remote island flats or the low country of the south east. We think of bonefish, tarpon, redfish and permit. Lucky for us, in New England, we have plenty of ocean front flats, estuary flats and transitional flats surrounding our river mouths.
Stripers are so cool because they feed in such a wide variety of elements. They slide into 16" of water to chomp on shrimp and crabs and larger stripers feed voraciously in pounding surf along the oceanfront rocks. My favorite way to stalk a striped bass is on the flats... hands down!
There is something special about poling a skiff in on your quarry in a shallow water setting or walking the beaches for fish cruising in 12 - 24" of water. This is a rewarding element to fish in but it can be very technical. Not only do you have to find the right flat that offers conditions acceptable for a feeding striper but then you have to present your fly, get the fish's attention, fool the fish and make a good hook set. We will talk a lot about sight fishing on this blog and we will give a lot of tips along the way.
This fish above was caught by slowly walking the beach in the early morning hours. When the sun is low in the sky sighting fish may be tough BUT these fish do plenty of other things that give away their position. This fish left a v-wake behind it. I could tell the direction the fish was moving, and at what speed. This was enough information for me to drop a fly in front of the fish and bring the bug to life. This striper pounced on the fly.
When hooking a fish on the flats you can expect a fight. This 30" fish immediately took me into my backing. Stripers feel vulnerable in shallow water so when they are hooked they exit stage left, stat!
Enjoy your sight fishing quests! Book a day on the flats with Soul Fly and hone your game.