August Striped Bass Patterns Continue

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Not a whole lot has changed in and around the Kennebec since my last fishing update on Aug. 11 (scroll down). Fishing is pretty good and does vary day to day and spot to spot. The fog and cloud cover didn't really jazz everyone up as hoped but there are plenty of stripers around. Timing of the morning low this week was nice, but there just isn't a ton of current with weaker tides and on some flats the fish behavior was weaker too. There are some good sized fish to be caught off the ledges and islands. No sign of the first big flush of young of the year alewives moving down river, but we are due any day now. Biggest change for me personally is I an now fully succumbing to "albie brain". Woke up at 1:57 am this morning thinking about what lies ahead...

I do have a couple of open dates the week of the 19th, but then my calendar is booked right through my departure date for Cape Cod and two months of chasing false albacore and bonito. Let me know if you'd like to get out this coming week. And speaking of albies, if you've never experience this fishery, you owe it to yourself to change that, pronto. You can filter posts by topic here. Select "False Albacore" from the menu on the left margin of the page and you will get an idea of why these fish posses those of us who love to chase them. September dates for albie trips on Cape Cod are filling fast and I'm excited to host a full slate of anglers who've never seen the mayhem, never experienced the challenge, never felt the energy of these incredible fish.

Here's my update from last weekend:

Striper fishing in the Kennebec continues with the same mid-summer pattern we've been seeing for the last couple of weeks. Fish activity varies day to day, but every day they are here. No shortage of fish in the shallows. No Sir. My anglers from this weekend will attest to being amazed at the sight of big pods of bass, including fish we'll over 30 inches cruising in the skinny water on sand flats and mud flats. Sometimes they would eat and sometimes they would give us the finger. Never got a bite from the biggest gals but did pluck out a couple of 30 inch fish, one when we hopped out of the boat to wade up on them they were so shallow, which was such a hoot and really rewarding.

Watching well over a hundred stripers scoot under the boat in three feet of water is a sight and working that group for an hour made up for the lack of waking fish were we were looking for Saturday morning. I admit to having higher hopes for more consistent fishing this past week with the stronger tides and finally some fog, but we were finding a few hours of "meh" with fish that weren't jazzed up and an hour or two of "there it is!" action. I am optimistic looking ahead to the timing of the tides this week. I love working two hours either side of low for fly anglers and am geared up for another busy week sharing this incredible place with some fabulous people.

See the fish. Cast to the fish. Catch the fish.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com


Shallow Water Stripers

Mornings with no wind and good tides have made for some great shallow water fishing charters for Kennebec River striped bass this week. It's nice to be back on the flats, although some mornings have been Florida-hot poling the boat until the breeze comes up. The stripers are eating a variety of bait. The best feeds have been when some current is sweeping young of the year alewives across the edge of the mud or sand flats, but we've also seen them actively chasing little tiny bait fish (no ID, but under 2 inches and somewhat slender) and of course they are still picking off crabs and shrimp. 

Maine shallow water striped bass
Maine striped bass fishing

The water has cleared up but upriver flats well above Popham and around Bath are still somewhat stained. It looks like the weather pattern changes for the long weekend and sighting conditions won't be as good but I would expect that there will be some active surface feeds wherever the stripers and juvie alewives intersect. There should be a fair amount of boat traffic during the day, so an early start will give you the best shot at undisturbed fish. 

I've been tying up a bunch of peanut bunker flies for false albacore season and have tested some on these striped bass. They are a good imitation of the little alewives that are dropping out of the lakes and ponds here in Maine on their way to the ocean. I've been having a lot of fun at the vise the last couple of weeks, using some new materials and furiously working to finish up false albacore and bonito flies. I fall asleep at night thinking about the pattern I'll tie when I have my first cup of coffee in the morning. 

Labor Day is often bittersweet for saltwater anglers in Maine. An extra day, or sometimes two, in the weekend allows for more time on the water. The stripers are often cooperative as we transition from summer to fall conditions. But...the decrease in day length is really noticeable and for many people, September brings a different pace to work expectations and schedules, and the letter from New Meadows Marina about winterization, shrink wrapping, and boat storage stares you in the face. We also recognize that there are already fewer fish here in Maine than we had on July 4th and each passing day will bring us closer to the end of this striper fishing season. 

While I contemplate all of the above, it doesn't consume me, yet. That's because I have albies on the brain. My transition from striper charters to guiding false albacore trips, from Kennebec flats to Vineyard Sound shorelines, from stalking to attacking, has me fired right up. If you'd like to experience this fishery, be prepared to become consumed. Give me a call or send me an email to talk about a charter trip on Cape Cod during September. It will change you outlook on the fall.

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Fish more,

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com

Mainestripers.com

 


Saltwater Fly Fishing Skills - Clearing The Line

Recently I've been helping a number of anglers with their fly rod hook setting and fish fighting skills. We've talked about stripping and ripping and the virtues of a strong set. On Friday I was guiding two novice fly anglers for smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River and we worked on keeping a bend in the rod to provide shock absorption for a light tippet. Of course we weren't using anything close to a delicate leader, but it was good practice for their upcoming trout pursuits. 

I just stumbled upon this video while combing through albie season photos.

You'll notice that right after the hook set I have slack line on the deck that is going to scream out as the false albacore takes off. You can see me separate my two hands in an effort to prevent the line from wrapping around the rod butt and the reel then at about 0:19 you'll see me briefly rotate the rod 180 degrees as I notice a small tangle in the line approaching the stripping guide. Sometimes turning the rod upside down helps a cluster-knot exit cleanly. Thankfully in this case it came undone on its own.

I see a lot of people intentionally "put fish on the reel" by trying to reel in slack after the hook set and thus see a lot of fish spit the hook. If the fish isn't taking out the slack line itself, I recommend stripping it by hand - either all the way to landing or until the fish takes off and clears the line itself. You'll do a better job of keeping tight to the fish. Remember, SLACK IS YOUR ENEMY.

It's funny fish season. Bonito are here in good numbers and albies are soon to follow. These fish will give you an opportunity to practice your line management skills. Things happen FAST after an albie eats your fly. If you'd like to get out to chase these amazing fish I've got some open charter dates in September and October, fishing the Southside of Cape Cod.

Fish more,

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com


Change

If you fished the lower Kennebec this weekend and didn’t see 200 diving birds over an acre of bass busting bait...you aren’t alone. The single greatest constant in saltwater fishing is change and we saw proof of that concept. The good news is that it isn’t late October. There are plenty of fish around. There is an unbelievable amount of bait yet to descend into this portion of the Kennebec river and there are lots of days left to get out on the water. The mayhem we saw this past week will happen again, and again, before we put our gear away for the winter.

In the interim, there are plenty of stripers happy to eat what you toss at them. Days are getting noticeably shorter, so fishing prime time is getting easier on the non-fishing part of life. Best fishing Saturday for us was clearly during the early morning until about 9:30. Saturday evening’s conditions were tough with a slack tide and a stout northeasterly breeze but by focusing on the flats we eventually found big groups of fish up against the marsh banks and they we’re very cooperative. Our approach on this full day fishing charter was to split the day up, focusing on the most productive times to chase the striped bass.

I’m off to Boston for bass charter trips around the Haba and Cape Cod Bay this week then on the Androscoggin River Friday for a smallmouth driftboat trip so I won’t have any Kennebec updates until after next weekend.

Fish more,

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com

mainestripers.com


Breaking News on Breaking Fish

Over the last two days we’ve seen more breaking fish than we have in the last two weeks combined. The Kennebec really turned on when small blueback herring and alewives started their exodus to the sea. Wow. Did it change the fishing. There’s been no shortage of bait this entire summer, but when huge schools of bait this size flush through with the tide, the striped bass really go bananas.

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I enjoyed a wonderful day on Monday with a father and son charter. Tom and Tyler, who have a boat of their own over in Southport, wanted to learn more about how to catch striped bass around the Kennebec River, where to fish and why, what gear to use, and fly tactics that work. We started with some fly casting lessons and tune ups on the grass at the Phippsburg boat launch ramp as the sun was rising before launching the Maverick flats boat.

Of course we talked about structure - rocks, edges, bars, drop offs, troughs, current lines - and how important understanding structure is to finding stripers. Well, for an hour or more yesterday morning there were 200 birds over a hell of a lot more bass right out in open water pounding bait in a section of the channel where I haven’t seen surface feeds in years. 

If you’ve followed news about work to restore runs of anadromous fish to Maine’s river systems, you would have been joyed to take in the scene yesterday morning. The Maine DMR and DIFW along with other partners have placed tremendous emphasis and devoted significant resources to improving fish passage throughout the Kennebec River drainage. Their efforts are paying off. While most of the rest of New England struggles with ever declining runs of river herring and alewives, here in Maine we’re blessed with expanding populations. 

GrFfhx5zREmbe08XA0FMKgTides are good and strong right now but they are starting to subside. The strong current flow coupled with a lot of water from upcountry rains is contributing to mayhem that we are seeing. Now through when ever the striper fishing ends for the season there will be surges of these baitfish traveling downriver and the surface feeds will pick up and drop off with the fluctuation in the abundance of bait. It may only be mid-August, but what I witnessed Tuesday and Wednesday tells me that the fishing season is changing.

Fish more,

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com

 


Kennebec Striper Fishing Still Going Strong

Here's a very brief, and long overdue, update on striper fishing in Maine's Kennebec River. The River is still loaded with bait of all sizes and holding bass throughout the typical summer spots. Fishing on the flats has been mixed, more often a result of less than optimal weather conditions when it has been tough. I can't believe how often my trips have coincided with an early morning breeze and/or foggy mid-days. It's been a while since we've been able to spend a couple hours of a charter chasing waking fish early AM.

This morning was more of the same. We checked a couple of flats on the run down river from Bath, but the rippled surface had the fish cruising at a depth that gave us no signs. You can wish the fish were feeding in a particular way or place, but it doesn't make it happen, so we changed up plans and tactics and focused on moving water around shoreline structure where the herring have been abundant. After the third "one-and-done" slap/swirl on the Lonely Angler Zipster we traded out the spook for the Albie Snax (great call Fritz!) and started catching. Next change was from amber to white and first cast Fritz was tight to a nice 30 inch striper. Not being able to watch the fish react to the bait makes establishing cause and effect challenging, but you can bet we kept that white Albie Snax on the hook for the next cast.

The 30 incher was the largest fish of the short morning charter, but there were plenty more bass in the 22 inch to 25 inch range willing to eat. Despite a dropping tide, cloudy skies, and a south wind, we saw only isolated surface boils. The fish we were on were looking up but hanging down and many of the takes were pretty subtle until we were in some really fast moving water.

There are plenty of little schoolies around that can be great entertainment for kids or people new to striper fishing. They can also be a blast on your six or seven weight fly rod when the wind isn't too bad. Herring are all over the place and there are lots of small sand eels on the flats. Shrimp and crabs aren't so visible but there are a lot of striped bass that eat both.

If you're looking for a striped bass charter here in midcoast Maine, I love to show off this fishery. 

I've got lot's of thoughts, observations, and some questions to share from the last couple of weeks on the water but need to get ready to grill some littlenecks for supper. Maybe tomorrow...

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900


Low Water Upcountry Makes for Clear Water Downriver

Skinny water bassBy focusing on shallow water in and around the lower Kennebec, we were able to avoid any kind of a summer slow down in our striper fishing. No dog days here, just lot's of solid outings with good water visibility on the sand and mud flats and along the beaches. While the low levels of water coming down the river have given us great fish sighting condition, the limited fog and rare drizzly day have cut down on the visible surface activity that we expect in late August. There have been days when the weather, tide and bait supply all align and the bass are going bananas, but usually conditions dictate stalking fish in the skinny water, which is more than ok with me.

On three charters this month that stand out in my memory we experienced an overnight weather shift from a hot, humid, southwest flow to a much cooler, drier pattern with a breeze out of the north or northwest. The change in the fish behavior was dramatic and unmistakable. Flats that were filled with waking and slurping striped bass the morning prior were much quieter, with fish revealing themselves only briefly. The noseeums were almost non-existent at dawn. Strikes were often halfhearted or a single tail slap or chase-chase-chase-ok-nevermind. Our best results on those days came late morning, when the sun was high enough to be able to spot the fish and cast to individual bass or small pods of stripers up on the flats.

If you've never chased striped bass in clear, shallow water, you owe it to yourself to experience this side of the fishery. It is demanding at times but oh so rewarding.

We are seeing more young of the year alewives dropping down river on their way to the ocean, and a strong outgoing tide can produce some good surface feeds when the bait and bass intersect. On one of those challenging weather morning, we tracked down a dispersed group of stripers on a flat that had decent current washing across it at the end of the out tide. The north wind had robbed us of much of our visibility into the water but the bass were popping these little alewives as they were swept across the flat. It was a fun way to finish the trip as the stripers put all fear aside and demolished anything that we threw near them.

I've been getting good reports from other guides about the fishing along the beaches from Popham to Small Point, which is in keeping with trends of past years. Our nights have been noticeably cooler recently and it is clear that we have one foot in summer and one in fall here in Maine. This is a fabulous time to fish and with the clock ticking on the season, there's no time to put off a trip. Get out.

I'm furiously rerigging lines, restocking fly boxes, reordering jigs, as I prepare to head to the Cape for albie season. I have the fever...in a bad way.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC.


Maine Saltwater Fishing: Hurry Up and Wait

That's what we're doing around mid-coast Maine, waiting for the saltwater fishing to turn back on as the days get shorter and the waters get cooler. Our striper fishing is slow right now. Even though it feels like fall this morning the fish are in an August mood.

On some trips we're finding the fish in the shallows and just having to make shot after shot and endure refusals, follows and indifferent reactions until we get one to eat. The windy days are tough as the bass aren't usually giving us many clues as to their whereabouts. We've encountered a couple of short lived frenzied blow ups in very shallow water on either side of low water, but not enough to count on for a fish finding technique. Most early mornings and evenings have been disappointing. We find a few wakes, see a couple of swirls but generally don't get the number of opportunities that we had just three weeks ago.

Guides bouncing eels or drifting live bait are reporting similar findings, both in the faster, deeper waters and along the edges of the flats. After an unbelievably warm summer, this stretch of more normal weather has many of us thinking "Fall". We take turns reminding each other that it is still August, and there is usually a slow down at this point in the season and that September will bring better days and better moods for us all.

Part of our challenge may be the amount of bait available to the stripers. Not very hungry fish surrounded by hoards of feed makes for limited windows of successful catching. There are acres and acres of tiny spike mackerel just offshore. Running from Cundy's Harbor to Pott's Point the other morning we went scooting over bait-ball after bait-ball. The guides filling their livewells don't have to travel far off the beach at Popham or Reid. The flats closer to the ocean have good numbers of sand eels about 2 inches long and silversides just a bit bigger. We've foul hooked a couple of itty-bitty bluefish that have been tearing into this bait along the marsh banks and ledges in a couple feet of water. The young of the year alewives are dropping out of the ponds and lakes, making their way out to sea. Idling up to the edges of the flats, the fishfinder screen reveals clouds of bait hanging in 25 to 15 feet of water.

Eventually all of this forage will make for some memorable outings, as the striped bass change their attitude and start feeding hard as they begin their migration south. I try to remind myself that I should be thankful for every opportunity to practice my patience, but I'm really ready for "eventually" to be now.

I did get two messages on Monday about False Albacore showing up off Rhode Island and Martha's Vineyard. Yes, that has me excited. I've scheduled a couple of weeks down in Massachusetts to chase the funny fish south of the Cape, the tuna in the Bay and stripers in Boston Harbor. Let me know if you'd like to join me.

Capt. Peter Fallon

www.MaineStripers.com


Maine Saltwater Fishing: Sightcasting for Stripers...Wow

Maine saltwater fly fishing means many different things to different people. In the minds of two hardcore striper anglers from Virginia it now means sightcasting to good sized fish in shallow water.

There was nothing easy about the fishing yesterday and today. Although there are no absolutes in fishing, cool, dry, bright days with a north-northwest wind are universally despised by striper anglers and guides alike. Very strong tides, some recent rains upriver and generally windy days have made the water clarity a bit less ideal than last week. The timing of low water coupled with the -1.4 foot height only gave us a short window of water on the flats at low light before we had to wait for the flood to fill back in enough to get up into shallow water. The forecast for calm winds until 9 AM this morning was a lie and the clear sky that went along with that prediction was filled with too many clouds. And yet, Paul and Sam had a blast and have discovered a whole new world of striper angling that will change they way that they fish at home.

These two guys are amazing angling partners, deep friends and a joy to fish. They have traveled across North America to pursue an incredible variety of gamefish in fresh and salt water. They share two boats, a 23 foot Parker that they keep in Chesapeake Bay and a 16 foot Mitzi Skiff that they recently bought for trips to the Florida Keys and the Everglades. On the bow, each is a true predator. In the "on deck seat" each is a true gentleman, genuinely wanting and helping the other to succeed.

They have caught a lot of striped bass down in Virginia, out in Montauk, here in Maine. They also travel to the Bahamas every May to chase bonefish. Even under challenging circumstances, we were able to experience a variety of shallow water opportunities. They were both stunned and joyed to spend two days casting floating lines and crab and shrimp patterns for stripers.  We spent the first hours of light chasing waking and swirling fish in calm water that was falling off of a large flat. Once the sun got higher in the sky and the tide started filling back in, we worked groups of fish that we could sometime see clearly and other times just catch a belly flash as a clue as to where to cast. We briefly played with one school of laid up bass (yes they do that...but getting them to eat when they are going nowhere is a low return game) on a white sand bottom until they slowly meandered away from us. We were taunted by a couple of very large single fish sloooooowly cruising an inch below the surface under bright sun at slack high water. Thankfully, we were rewarded with the strong runs of a couple of nice fish that just don't like being hooked in 2 feet of water.

There are plenty of times when a big herring grocery fly or half and half Clouser on a 400 grain sinking shooting head will "out fish" the crab fly at the end of a 12 foot 12 lb test leader attached to an 8 weight floating line. (Right now might not be that time.) Catching any fish, any time, any where on a fly is always a blast and worth the effort. Striped bass in strong currents or surf give a great account of themselves. But how does the commercial go...spotting a school of a dozen bass cruising on the sand, making the right cast, watching two fish peel off and follow your shrimp fly, seeing a bigger fish charge past them, then a glimpse of white as the mouth opens, stripping until the line is tight and then listening to zzzzzzzzzzzzz...priceless.

Shaking hands back at the launch ramp this afternoon, I ask Sam and Paul for a favor. I want a report about their first foray out on the flats of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. They have all the tools: the Mitzi Skiff; extensive sightcasting experience; and a ton of fishing time together. Some gray December day or rainy May morning, I'll being checking email in my office at Sunday River and a photo of one of them holding a bass on the bow of their flats skiff will make my week.

Capt. Peter Fallon

www.MaineStripers.com


Weather On My Mind


My morning anglers had to return to New York early, so I was left without a charter to start the day. Seemed very odd not to be on the water but it was so dry and cool and different, finally, that I stayed home to mow the grass, clean the shed and attend to a couple of other tasks that I kept putting off when it was just too hot and muggy to motivate.

Headed out with Fritz at 6 PM and found fish right away. We were a bit early in the tide for the spot where we started but there were enough stripers around to keep us there as we waited for the water movement to pick up. As Fritz commented, "it's much better to be early rather than late." Isn't that the truth.

The wind wouldn't quit, so we decided to keep the fly rods in the rack and work the Lonely Angler  Zipster spook along the marsh banks, across the tidal creeks and over the flats. As the tide gained strength the bass became more aggressive, switching from the "one and done"pattern of hits to smacking the top water plug again and again. We saw a few fish breaking the surface to feed for a couple of minutes but never saw their target. From the nature of their splash I'm guessing that it was herring or alewives.

The wind didn't die with the sunset, so we stayed with the spinning gear, knowing that the morning would bring calm conditions on the flats and a more friendly fly casting environment. Once it was fully dark we lost the fish. Hunted across an edge with good moving water then worked a couple of ledges that intersect the outgoing current. Only one swirl to show for our perseverance. Never heard a bass feed after 8:00. Hauled out by 9:30 PM with a plan to meet back at the ramp by 4:30 AM.

It was chilly running up the river to Morse Cove. I need to dig out my wool hat for the morning (I'm not kidding - there are frost warnings tonight up north) and I just might launch the Maverick with my boots on for the first time since early June.

We plan to fish tomorrow morning and evening. The forecast for a bright day and light and variable winds would be ideal for sightcasting through the mid-day hours if the water clarity were better. We'll see what happens tomorrow. We hope to finish up with another outing Saturday morning. Will Danny let us get out? Could be some really good fishing or could be a complete bust, but we won't know until we go.

Capt. Peter Fallon
www.MaineStripers.com

Spousal Therapy

The wind was down and the fish were up. We spent a couple of hours poling around the flats casting to fish only when they showed themselves. The bright morning made a very noticable difference in the fish behavior compared to the prior morning. We noticed far fewer fish cruising in the one to two feet of water after 7:00. The moving water around the ledges still fished well, but even these fish were sometimes reluctant participants.

We were back to the launch ramp, business completed by 10:00 AM. Now what to do? The yard is looking like good pasture but I'd promised Sarah a day in the boat before she starts another very busy stretch of work. Decisions, decisions. Now what to do? Haul boat, fuel up, dash home, pick up Sarah and Hebie, swing by the Center Store, relaunch by 11:00 and run down river to the mouth of the Kennebec. We toured around for a while then ran and swam the dog on the sand flats before anchoring up to read, lounge and nap.

Coming back up river in the evening I noticed that the tide was perfect to check out a spot that was right on the way home. First cast result:IMG_0796 

Third cast result (Sarah commented that I failed to catch a fish on my second cast):IMG_0808 

Now the camera is ready. Here's the sequence of what happened on the fifth cast, starting with the first couple of swirls and swats at the spook followed by the final, dramatic eat:

 

IMG_0813


  Big eat

Sarah and I both smiled the whole way back up river. Hebie just kept looking at us like he couldn't figure out why we weren't catching him more fish.

Capt. Peter Fallon

www.MaineStripers.comIMG_0797


Here's One Pattern That's Producing

Snake Fly.

Very cooperative fish in the shallow water again this morning. Maybe not as many on the flats as last Friday, but still happy to eat what we put in front of them. The north wind was just enough to influence how and where we cast but not so pesky that we were cursing it.

I notice that my box of Snake Flies is almost empty. Yikes! I've been going through them for the past four weeks at a good clip. I fish a lot of smaller (size 2) ones on the flats and will choose tiny (sizes 6 and 4) when the fish are finicky. If the stripers are in the mood to chase I go bigger. Olive is my first choice on the mud flats, but I also tie them in black, in purple and in white. The tiny ones look a lot like a Muddler Minnow.

Check out some of the other pattern instructions that  Capt. Jeff Smith has on his website. He's a great guide and innovative tier who fishes the waters around Cape Cod.

I might have seen bass popping young of the year alwives at the end of the dropping tide this morning. As Homer Simpson would say, "Hmmmmmm...alwives."

Capt. Peter Fallon
www.MaineStripers.com

Coming Back to Earth - Maine Fishing Report

After a fantastic week of striper fishing we're back into the summer pattern over the past two days. On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week we found more surface action than we'd seen in all of July combined. We were able to start the days casting to fish in very skinny water. Swirls, v-wakes, funny water, fins and dimples provided targets. After the water had dropped off of the flats the fish would set up adjacent to structure and in the channels, taking advantage of good moving water. Sustained surface feeds were a treat and we were giddy with excitement. As the week progressed the surface action diminished in duration, partially a function of brighter mornings and prime tidal flow occurring later and later. We also didn't see as much bait later in the week, but that have been due to seeing fewer fish chasing the bait to the surface. We took lots of fish and some nice fish to 36 inches.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week have been tougher days. The passage of the front and arrival of cool, dry, clear weather on Sunday seemed to put the fish down or off. On Monday we worked the flats early in the morning, seeing some small pods of very nice fish cruising inches under the surface. These were happy fish looking to feed, but cloud cover limited our light for sighting and the wind started rippling the surface by 7 AM. As the breeze increased our sight fishing opportunities ended and we stowed the fly rods. We worked the edges of the flats and then the channels as the current picked up. No surface action all morning and much less bait showing up on the sonar. There were fish that would still hit topwater plugs and Sluggos. We ended the trip running jigs over schools of schoolie stripers and blues holding in 15 feet of water. Yesterday we covered a lot of ground for only a few fish. We had little to no wind for most of the trip and poled the flats first thing looking for fish in 4 to 6 feet of water at the top of the tide. We were seeing some slow cruising pods and the usual v-wakes but the stripers were not feeding the way they had been last week. We had a couple of good shots but for much of the early morning it just didn't all come together. Once again, we finished the day picking up stripers holding close to the bottom in 15 feet of water. The 350 grain Rio line and a heavy Clouser variation did the trick.

Capt. Peter Fallon
www.mainestripers.com


Friday, August 4th

We started Friday's charter bouncing jigs and 6 inch Storm Wild Eye Shad while drifting over deep structure, picking up fish on every pass. There were no birds circling above us, no swirls on the water's surface, no bait dimpling against the rock weed but plenty of fish glued to the bottom. As long as we presented our offerings right in front of the stripers, these lazy fish would cooperate.

We found another large school of fish holding in 22' to 36' on the edge of a flat. The images on the fish finder were impressive, but that was the only view of these fish that we got. The current was slack and the fish were not eating anything that we offered. We thought about waiting around for the outgoing tide to pick up, but who wants to wait when there were fish to be caught else where.

A short run brought us to fish chasing small brit herring on the surface and great action on the fly and spin gear. Green and white mushies on a 250 grain line kept the 8 weight bent. A 7 1/2" Sluggo raised the two best fish of the day. The surface action subsided for a while but the fish were still holding tight to the structure. The rain subsided but the cloud cover remained with us for the entire trip, giving us perfect conditions for most of the morning.

Dropping down with the ebbing current we again got into stripers chasing the little herring to the surface. It was great fun to be fishing top water stuff at noon in early August. We ended up leaving with fish coming up all around us. My clients stretched their hall pass as long as they could, but they finally had to call it quits and get to their lunch meeting.

Capt. Peter Fallon
WWW.MAINESTRIPERS.COM