Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stripers, A 6wt, A Grandson Gets Into The Salt And A Freshwater Forecast!

If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong" - John Gierach

I've always felt that kids should be introduced to fishing and not fly fishing. And by "kids" I mean that single digit age group that is fascinated with the mystery of bait and how far they can sling a lure. If they get hooked on the basics it's just a slippery slope to the Nirvana of fly fishing. Besides, kids like to catch fish, lots of fish, just like newbie trout chasing fly tossers and bait gets it done!

Now, some may say "what about the hooking mortality of bait fishing?". Good point but it's easily solved. If you use a traditional J hook you will kill some fish but grandson Ralle learned that if you use a circle hook the problem goes away. We caught a number of schoolies (and flounder) and ALL were hooked in the MOUTH and not in the gut or the gills. The hook was easily removed and the fish released. The bait was clams which this 6 year old found fascinating (boys love guts!!!!).

All said, it was a good day at the beach!!!

Now for the big boys! I got to spend 6 hours patrolling the Merrimack River with long time reader and commenter Bob, AKA Tincup, on Wednesday morning. The last few years this river and the entire stretch from Plum Island to Rockport has been the home of a zillion stripers with most of them being on the small size and by that I mean 16 to 22 inches with some larger and some smaller. My standard gear has always been my trusty 8wt but this year I reduced the rod to a 6wt. which is like leaving the 16 gauge at home and taking the 20 gauge. Still plenty of knock down power for an 18 inch fish. And instead of tossing big, heavy flies I tied up some deceiver types on size 4 3XL FRESHWATER streamer hooks. I started this last March while in Florida and never bothered to rinse the flies off and the nickel plating held up (mostly) and no hooks failed. Dozens of stripers loved them and they put a good bend into that 6wt. I honestly feel that I could of tamed the 32 incher that Bob landed at 5:30 that morning.

That 32 inch Striper - There can be two endings to that tale.

Ending #1 - the fish is boated, a quick photo taken and then it is quickly released to hopefully out swim the seals to double in size!

Ending #2 - the deft hand runs the blade of the filleting knife to create two large, thick, boneless fillets that end up highly seasoned and placed on a hot grill and served with a chilled Chardonnay.

Pick your ending!

The Millers - We have had 6 straight days where the cfs has been between 200 and 300 which is, IMNSHO, perfect!!!!!Places like Orcutt, the Kempfield, Bridge Street and even Erving Center and the Upper Trestle have rounded into shape.  In my 30+ years on this river I can say that these are the conditions that you want.

The EB - Fish this river in the evening or very early in the morning.



Anonymous said...

Stripers on a fly, an absolute joy. Congrats!


Gary Cranson said...

Ken you look like Hemingway on that boat. Nice job. Gary

Millers River Flyfisher said...


That's not me. It's Bob aka Tincup. I'm usually confused with Brad Pitt!

BTW, email me about Cady Lane some Sunday!!


Anonymous said...


Small fish seem to be the case over the last 2 years. Even the bluefish are late this year.


hockey_dad said...

Hi Ken- went out to the main stem of the Westfield yesterday and was on the water @ 6am. Was hoping to do some business withcthe ants like I did the previous week but nothing doing : no slaps on the water and no rises and then it started to rain big time. The only action I had was when I noticed my wading staff which I had justbought a month ago was not attached to my belt and was bobbing ups down and headed towards downtown Westfield. I tried to chase it down but couldn't move too well and quickly it wad out of sight. There goes $75 to the bottom of the Westfield.

Caught some smallmouth bass later on but all in all not a good day.

Stopped by Gardner Park later on and found it all closed up an no parking signs all around. Does anyone know what's going on there? That's a nice stretch of water where I have had some luck before.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


That's a bummer. I believe Dick's Sporting Goods has collapsible staffs for around $30. I've used two over the years.

Gardner Park - that's the one on the way to Knightville, right? I believe it's closed due to budget cuts.


hockey_dad said...

Thanks Ken. I'll give Dick's a shot,$30 sounds like a good price and and I guess a guy over 60 needs a good wading staff and not just a stick found in the woods.
Thanks for the update on Gardner Park and yes it's the one on 112 headed up towards Knightsville Dam. I've got a question though with regard to closing that area off: shouldn't we as fishermen at least be able to park there and walk down to the river and fish ? It's almost like out West where some of the best rivers are considered private property and off limits to guys like us. Unfair in my view.