Posts tagged: Fly Fishing For Striped Bass

Top 5 Early Season Striper Flies for Maine

Top 5 Early Season Striper Flies for Maine
Written By: Joe Webster

The time is certainly near and one of our favorite local fish, the striped bass, will soon be returning to the Maine coast in search of abundant bait and preferable water temperatures. Here are 5 flies that we would never leave home without when targeting striped bass in May and early June in our local waters!

For our FULL collection of striped bass flies click HERE

1. Crouser Fly

Crouser Fly Pattern

Designed here in house by our own Joe Webster, and now produced by the fine folks at RIO Products, the Crouser (half crab, half clouser) has become one of the most used flies for targeting early season striped bass here in Maine. This fly excels in rivers, marshes and estuaries where abundance of small bait such as crabs, shrimp and small baitfish are present. And the best part about this fly is it could really imitate any of them being a vague, creature bait style fly. Olive/light olive and brown/olive are Joe's favorite color combinations as they represent green crabs and shrimp well, however tan/white and olive/white have become local favorites, especially those fishing in Casco Bay just north of us. This fly was designed to be dragged directly on sand or mud bottom with a sink tip fly line. However they also work well with an intermediate or floating line when sight fishing or when the bottom has too many obstructions to drag a fly on (mussel beds, rocks, sea weed etc.) Check them out HERE!

2. Bucktail Deciever

Bucktail Deceiver Striped Bass Fly Pattern

A Bob Popovics classic, the Bucktail Deciever is likely the most versatile bait fish patterns out there. These can be tied as small as 3"-4" and in excess of 12" long when utilizing the use of extensions. Simply match the hatch with size and profile with this fly and don't worry about matching exact colors of baitfish. If anything worry about tone vs color, meaning a darker (or black) fly for low light conditions and stained water, and white or pastel colors for clear water and high sun. This fly can be fished on a floating, intermediate, or sink tip fly line. We have a great assortment of these flies HERE!

3. Half and Half

Half and Half Striped Bass Fly

For when you need to get your baitfish pattern a little deeper, or through heavy current and swells, the half and half is a must have when classic unweighted deceivers aren't getting the job done. We are particularly excited about our new Jiggy Half and Half and encourage you to scoop some up before they're gone! Click HERE for link!

4. Hollow Flat Wing Deciever

Hollow Flat Wing Deceiver Striped Bass Fly

Especially for those who are looking to target larger fish, a wide profiled larger baitfish pattern is certainly a requirement, particularly if fishing around outflows and river herring runs. The 6/0 version of this fly hits the mark perfectly and is a great size and profile for this occasion. These flies will also  work very well off of rock/ledges where a wider variety of baitfish such as pollock or mackerel are also present. All sizes and colors of Hollow Flat Wing Deceivers are available here!

5. Little Black Clouser

Black Clouser Striped Bass Fly Pattern

Couldn't make the list with out including this little guy.  A small size 2 matte black 3" long clouser is a not so secret local favorite that has been catching up bass for years. Before the crabs and crousers, there was the little black clouser. Drag directly on sand or mud bottom with a sink tip line for best results. Little Black Clousers found HERE!

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Video: Fly Tying - Articulated Beast Fleye

Video: Fly Tying - Articulated Beast Fleye

In this video, Joe Webster takes you through how to tie the Articulated Beast Fleye. This is a variation on Bob Popovics' Beast Fleye, but uses articulated shanks instead of mono extensions. A large profile pattern with unmatched movement in the water, this fly is traditionally used to target striped bass and other large predator fish.

Materials:

Check out the video below!

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The 7 Striped Bass Essentials For Fly Fishing

The 7 Striped Bass Essentials For Fly Fishing

There are a lot of knick-knacks in fly fishing. Some things you need, others you don't. Specifically with striper fishing here in New England - here are a few absolute essential items that could make up a sort of "if stranded on a (New England) deserted island" kit for striped bass. You got your rod, reel, line, and favorite fly...now...

  1. (Bugstopper) Sungaiter/Sungloves - Sungaiters/buffs and gloves have become increasingly popular these days and for good reason. They provide not only protection from the sun (in the highest sun-hit areas), but keep stripping fingers less torn up, keep you warm in a cold breeze, and keep insects away. Specifically these Simms Bugstopper Sungaiters + Gloves mix the best of both worlds. Sun protection with added bug shielding. These are the best friend of striper anglers especially fishing the marsh + rivers a lot! (Think mosquitos, green heads...)                                                                                                                                                                                                Simms Bugstopper SungaiterSimms Bugstopper Sunglove
  2. 20 or 25lb Fluorocarbon - Some people argue lighter, others heavier. But 20 or 25lb fluoro can function as good striped bass leader/tippet material for fishing patterns from clousers/deceivers to deep water crabs. It provides plenty of strength for big fish, abrasion resistance for barnacles/rocks/teeth/etc, and is stiff enough to turn over essentially any striper fly. Some 20lb fluorocarbon, connected with good knots, can really be all you need for a season of Maine stripers.                                                        Rio Saltwater Fluoroflex Tippet
  3. 20 or 25lb Monofilament (Tapered) Leaders - When fishing top-water or shallow water, I like to use monofiliament (see our guide on monofilament vs fluorocarbon). So a pack of 20lb mono leaders is always in my bag or jacket. It's enough to turn over those big wind resistant poppers and bring in a heavy bass off the surface.                                                                          Rio Striped Bass Leaders
  4. Wading Boots - A good pair of wading boots can be vastly under appreciated. I see a lot of anglers with very worn out boots that barely give any ankle support and little to no grip on rocks. I have used the Simms Vapor Salt boots not only fishing here in Maine, but also flats fishing in Belize on hard coral flats. They provide great durability + protection, ankle support, and Vibram soles plus the ability to add in metal cleats. The lacing hardware is non corrosive too so they are ideal for long term saltwater use where most, even high end Simms boots, will eventually start to rust.                             Simms Vaportread Salt Boot
  5. Stripping Basket - "You don't need a stripping basket, but after your first time out you will really want one." That's my response when someone is here at the shop asking about the necessity of a stripping basket. After one outing with your line tangling on rocks, in marsh grass, or swept away by waves you will certainly see the convenience of them. Trying to cast flies into New England wind along the ocean is hard enough, give yourself a little advantage...                                                                                        Stripping Basket Fly Fishing
  6. Pliers - A pair of good pliers is on the hip, pack, or in the pocket of every hardcore saltwater fisherman. Finding a pair that are durable, provide good jaws, are corrosion proof/resistant, and have sharp cutters can be tough. I've been using these Dr. Slick Typhoon Pliers for a couple years with good success. They come with replacement jaws and cutters too.                                                                                                          Dr Slick Typhoon Pliers
  7. Waterproof Fly Box - Saltwater damages everything, and needless to say, when your hooks get rusty, well...                                                                                                        All Points Fly Shop + Outfitter Waterproof Fly Box

 There you go! If I were to leave the house and not have one of these items, I might feel "lost." There isn't a lot you can bet on when fly fishing for stripers, but you can bet these are "bare essentials!"

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Redington Dually Review: Using Two Handed Fly Rods For Striped Bass

Redington Dually Review:  Using Two Handed Fly Rods For Striped Bass

The technique of using two handed rods has a long history in fly fishing and has spread from Europe, to the west coast of the U.S., to now seeing it more here on the east coast.  Although the concept of using a two-handed rod in the ocean to achieve longer casts and to better negotiate larger/heavier flies and lines is not a new thing, it is still somewhat of a grey area in New England. Although slowly catching on, single handed rods still rule the flats and seaweed covered rocks here in Maine. But, if you have not considered using a two handed rod in the salt for striped bass, here is a great chance to get started. Especially with the fishing being so good lately!

The Redington Dually was released a few years ago to great reception. It has found a foothold in not only the spey world, but the skagit and also two-handed overhead casting worlds with ease. This review will cover using the Dually specifically for striped bass on the coast here in New England.

Redington Dually Switch Rod Review:  Using Two Handed Fly Rods For Striped Bass

A medium-action rod, which is well suited for most two-handed applications, the Dually is not only a good rod for beginners to learn the "two-handed world" but also those accomplished casters who enjoy a more feel-oriented experience. The idea of a medium-action rod might not initially conjure up thoughts of 100+ft casts, but this can actually be quite on the contrary with the Dually. Specifically when using a spey/skagit rod in the ocean, having a softer rod while specifically overhead casting will allow it to fully load under less weight. This intern equals less need for false casting and provides the rod the ability to load under one or two water-hauls - which is really the preferred style for how we are using it in the salt. This doesn't mean that the Dually is the longest casting two-hander on the market, but it is very well designed for this style.

Generally, the main goals when picking up a two-hander and heading out for striped bass are to eliminate the amount of false casting, to cover a lot of water, and to do so efficiently. Most of the fishing we are doing is blind casting. So if we can cut down on the amount of false casts before shooting the line out, we are saving a lot of energy, Advil, and time. Plus, if dialed in, one can achieve longer casts with heavier flies using less energy! 

Redington Dually Switch Rod Review:  Using Two Handed Fly Rods For Striped Bass

Fitted with a full cork handle and reel seat, the Dually is a burgundy/maroon colored rod in a matte finish. Available in either spey or skagit configurations, it ranges from a 10’9” 4wt to a 13’6” 8wt.  So whether it’s swinging streamers for trout or looking to target big steelhead, salmon or striped bass, the Dually has a size/weight for all of these applications. Plus, it has been a popular choice for anglers here in Maine who also venture to upstate New York and Canada yearly for other anadromous fish. The price point puts it well within most anglers budget. In our opinion it gives rods twice the price a run for their money.

Redington Dually Fly Rod Review

The rod that we have been testing here at All Points is the 11’3” 7wt. Matched with shorter head and skinking lines in grain weights 330-375 from Rio, Scientific Anglers, and Airflo work very well. This setup allows an angler to effectively fish bait patterns such as clousers and also crabs flies deep along the bottom. You will find most anglers using two-handed rods here on Maine beaches are doing so with sinking lines. Matching the proper line to the rod is one of the most important aspects in fly fishing. When first getting involved in two-handed technique, this mystery of line matching can be infinitely more confusing. One added note about reels: finding a slightly heavier reel to help (counter) balance the longer rod will aid in casting and help with fatigue. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us!

 

Rod testing + content by: Ben Whitehead + Josh Thelin

Photos: Josh Thelin

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5 Tips For Early Season Striped Bass

5 Tips For Early Season Striped Bass

Finding early season striped bass can be tough.  The fish have just started to arrive and are not spread around in various areas as much as they are later in the summer. Here are some tips for finding those early season stripers when fly fishing along the coast of Maine and New England. 

1. Water Temperature

They say 50 degrees is the magic number. Striped Bass are migrating from southern waters and are doing so based mostly on water temperature. Stick to the rivers and mouths of rivers as the water here will be warmer. Baitfish are also spawning and moving into rivers. This is why estuaries and saltwater rivers are a popular spot when looking for that first bass of the year! On the contrary, beaches will not be as productive as water temps are cooler here and most baitfish are focused in other spots. 

2. Low 'N' Slow

Most fish this time of year are scanning around for their food along the bottom. They are not too concerned with the top of the water column, yet. So getting your fly deeper in the zone can be a big advantage when fishing early in the season. Baitfish patterns stripped slowly along or near the bottom can be very productive.

Fly Fishing Striped Bass Stripers Maine

3. Herring

Early season is when the adult herring are in efforts to spawn and they will be doing so in the rivers. Deceiver patterns about 5-7 inches long, with preferably some blue tied in, will work well.  The smaller juvenile herring ("britt" herring) will also be around. The britts can be easily imitated with a (smaller) deceiver pattern with various darker colors tied in such as dark green and black.

4. Small Sand Eels

Sand eels are a baitfish that are prevalent all season long in Maine. But as the season progresses, logically, they get bigger. So early on, you will see that most of the sand eels are 3-4 inches long on average.  Bob Popovic’s Fleye Foils are probably the best imitating patterns for these (and the “latest and greatest”) - many other basic sand eel patterns that are available commercially are also good. But just make sure they are properly sized and have almost zero movement in the first 50% of the body — that’s important when imitating the profile and movement of a sand eel.   

Fly Fishing Striped Bass Stripers Maine

5. Crabs

Crabs are a food source for stripers all season long.  They eat them in Maryland, Cape Cod, New Hampshire..everywhere all along their travels.  Maine has a big population of crabs and they can be effective if fished properly.  Early season can be really great for crabs because, as mentioned before, most bass are looking downwards this time of year.  This will change later in the season.  But for now, most fish are not looking to the surface for their food.  So a good offering of a meaty crab that’s right in their vision is hard to ignore! Get a sinking line (not just an 10’ Type 3) and pull a crab pattern along the bottom.

HOPE THOSE HELP...NOW GET OUT THERE AND EXPLORE!

 

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