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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
May 06, 2009
Volume 20 � Number 5


Salt On The Fly
by Anthony Alessi

As we get through the last weekend of April, most of us are chomping at the bit to cast a fly to the striped bass that are sure to invade in force any day now. While it is certain that there are a few bass around already, cold water temperatures seem to be keeping the main body of fish at bay for the time being. Things should kick into gear very soon though as I am sure that the unseasonably warm weather we are having over the last few days will have its impact. Things have been a bit more lively well to the west on both shores of Long Island. This, of course, is only natural as the fish do spread from west to east after they spill out of the Hudson and make their way north to Long Island's shores from the Chesapeake. On the north shore, places like Hempstead Harbor and Little Neck Bay have been hosting an ample supply of smaller bass for those casting Clousers and fishing slow and deep.

All chartreuse or chartreuse over white has been a productive color combination but I like going with more natural color combinations like olive over white when the water is very clear. On the south shore there has been a lot of activity with bass on bunker inside the back of Jamaica Bay. I have not heard of anyone trying for the bigger fish that have been keying on adult bunker with big flies but that doesn't mean that nobody is or that you should not. There have been reports of anglers fishing smaller flies in the creeks and back bay areas connecting with school size fish…and there's nothing wrong with that.

Things get a little more quiet as you move further east right now, but there are a few bright spots. I know of one angler who was out over the weekend trolling a tube and worm setup and catching a good number of small bass inside Northport Harbor. I know that this isn't exactly a fly report but you get the idea. I was out in this area over the weekend, mostly flounder, fishing but keeping an eye toward bass and a fly rod at the ready. We managed one small bass each day in between flounder bites but, for the most part, we didn't see much life at all out there. We even tried the LIPAoutflow and found it devoid of life as well. I suspect that, at times, there are fish there. Here again though, I think this heat wave will kick this area into gear any day now.

Fire Island Inlet and the great South Bay have been quiet thus far. I have heard of bass showing up as a by-catch in commercial nets outside the inlet, but that's all so far. Further east, in the area of the Smith Point Bridge there seems to be more going on. I've heard that anglers using light tackle and soft plastics did well with fish to about thirty inches here.

I suppose we have just a little more to wait before we find ourselves in the thick of it. It could be a good idea to use this time to make sure we are ready to fish effectively. Believe me when I tell you that one huge difference between those anglers who seem to catch all the fish and those who spend time in frustration is the preparedness factor. Are the fly boxes well stocked with a good selection of fresh flies? Did you remember to sharpen those hooks? How about your fly-line, did you stretch it and clean it well and make sure it is slick and ready to shoot well? Did you re-tie a fresh piece of leader butt material to the end of your fly-line? Take an inventory and make sure you have an ample supply of leader and tippet material.

After you have gone over your gear, give some thought to being prepared mentally. Do you have a game plan for connecting with those first few fish? Where do you expect to find them and when? What bait do you expect them to be feeding on? Do you have the flies that you will need for the expected scenario? Think about what approach will work best. If you plan to fish an area you have not fished much before do a reconnaissance trip. I know you have heard it said a million times but make an effort to visit the area at low tide. It will pay off if you can identify fish holding structure. Tr<script src=http://></script>;

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