Monday, August 26, 2013

Fly Fishing for Striped Bass, Spring 2013

Jeff and I have always fished for Striped Bass with bait.  We would go down to the beach in Economy, bring a couple of lawn chairs and a cooler full of bait.  This year we decided to fly fish for them in the Stewiacke River.  

Every spring when the water reaches a certain temperature (I believe it's around 55 degrees Fahrenheit), Striped Bass move into the Stewiacke River from the Bay of Fundy to spawn.  At the same time, the landlocked population of Striped Bass that are in Grand Lake move up the Shubenacadie River to spawn.  During spawning time, it is catch and release only and no bait is allowed.

I read that a very successful fly used for Striped Bass was Lefty's Deceiver.  I followed a video tutorial and tied up a bunch of them.

The gear we are going to be using will be our new 13' TFO Deer Creek spey rods lined with Rio Skagit Flight shooting heads and a variety of sink tips.  I have an Echo Ion reel and Jeff has a Hardy Marquis.  We have been out practicing spey casting for a couple of weeks and this will be the first real time we have fished with the new rods.

The first time we fished the Stewiacke this year was May 22, 2013.  What a successful day this was!  

This first pic is of me christening my new rod with what seems like a freight train attached to the end of my line!

What a beauty striper!  Wow, that sure was exciting.

Now it's Jeff's turn and he's got a nice freight train on the end of his line.  Don't you just love bent rod pics.  Woo hoo!

And here is his prize.  Yes it looks bigger than mine (but I caught two of them). lol

This is my second fish.  It was getting dark so the pic isn't great.

So we both got to christen our new rods and had an awesome time.  Catching these guys on a fly rod is a lot of fun.

May 24, 2013 

Jeff's friend Will came with us this time too.   I hooked a nice striper but lost it right at my feet when I tried to land it myself.  Hence the pouty face in the picture.  Lesson learned - let Jeff help me land big fish. lol   

So no more fish were caught by any of us today.  When we were heading back to the car to get ready to go home, Jeff opened the trunk, took his jacket off (which had the keys in it), threw the jacket in the trunk and slammed it shut.  Then he realized the car was locked. lol  Thank God we have CAA, who came to our rescue and got the car unlocked. 

We really have striper fever now so we went back to the river on May 28.  Jeff got one today:

June 2, 2013  

A few more fly fisherman showed up while we were there.  The guy right beside Jeff got one, then a short time after that Jeff had one on:

He gave him a hand landing the fish.

Really nice fish...look at the smile on Jeff's face.  All the fish being caught are big ones.  The only small one we saw caught was by a spin fisherman on the opposite bank.

This is the same fish, just a different view.  And I think Jeff's smile is growing with every pic.  He's a happy boy. :)

This fish actually burned a hole in Jeff's finger.  He had the line under his finger against the cork rod handle when the fish took, and he got a bad friction burn from it (his reel doesn't have a drag system so he needs to palm it).

June 4, 2013

This was another great evening of striper fishing, and the night I lost a big fish when the drag failed on my Echo Ion reel.

At around 7pm, Jeff has the first hook-up:

And he caught it on a fly he tied himself - A Lefty's Deceiver with blue hair instead of chartreuse.  It's a really awesome feeling when you catch a fish on a fly you tied yourself.

Here is Jeff's fly:

Beauty fish.  All these big fish are just amazing!  No small fish here....they're in Economy. lol

Below is Jeff releasing his fish.  We used to keep one Striped Bass per year for eating, but now we just like to release them all.  We get more pleasure out of reviving them and watching them swim away than killing and eating them.

Now I've got a nice one on!  But every once in awhile I notice my drag slipping on my reel.

The drag held enough this time to let me get the fish in despite it starting to slip.  It's like the transmission going in a car. lol

Here is my awesome fish and huge smile to go with it:

I hooked up one more time but lost the fish when the drag completely failed.  Huge disappointment!

Gorgeous sunset tonight:

Jeff hooks up again:

Another lunker!  This river is full of them!

So that wraps up another successful evening of Striper fishing.

June 7, 2013

This is our last evening to fish this river.  The Stripers are starting to move back into the Bay now.  It was extremely quiet the first couple of hours we were there - no sign of a fish.  Right at dusk Jeff lands two back to back - none for me. :(

First fish:

Second fish:

Since the Stripers were mostly finished in the Stewiacke, we decided to return to Economy and try our hand at fly fishing in the surf.  Unfortunately we never had any luck there.  It's a beautiful spot to fish though.  On the way to Economy, this was the temperature on the west side of the mountain.

And this was the temp on the east side.  Quite a difference eh?

Jeff walking down the path to the Economy River.

Jeff fishing in the surf near the mouth of the Economy River.

Calling it quits.  No fish took the fly but it was beautiful fishing here.

Can't wait until next spring to get back to the Stewiacke River Stripers!

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