July on the Fly
Updated: Aug 1, 2021
The month began in a thick of fog as summer hit it's heights. Navigation weary many boaters avoided the water ways and hit the shoreline. Dusting off the surf equipment and hopping back into waders with the nights to day breaks that followed. Revisiting old stomping grounds while witnessing one of my most memorable mornings in a long time. A class of twenty to thirty pound stripers that were gorging on mackerel in a thick morning fog, you couldn't even see your cast land.
The explosions in the distance of large stripped bass. Hands shaking with adrenaline trying to change lures. I switched over to my favorite top water plug. A yellow over white Guppy two and a half ounce pencil a Cape Cod classic. With an eleven foot surf rod a caster can reach distances of almost a football field. So when you connect with a fish you don't feel it at first. Both parties are delayed, your line stiffens, then the rod bends, you set the hook, the drag on your reel gives and you hear a anglers favorite tune.
While I was having a short visit to the shorelines, Captain Georgie was on standby in our local waters. He was able to have a phenomenal first couple of weeks of July. As stated, "The boaters don't like the fog but the fish sure do!" Having great success with top water plugs honing in on new grounds and a high quality class of fish. The mackerel were plentiful along the coastlines and the stripers were on them and fired up. Georgie putting in some fantastic work detailing some new striper grounds for us.
Georgie was also working deeper waters live lining mackerel. At this point in the season fish do become educated. In the dry spells in the midst of the month there is no better presentation other than live bait. Georgie hosting for the week in his home, invited his guest to see what Plymouth has to offer. Jigging up gigantic Atlantic Cod and landing some beautiful bass on live mackerel.
As the fog cleared and the boaters returned so did the chaos of the water ways. Pulled away to assist the boaters in our area Georgie passed the rod back to me. July historically slows down for the inshore fishery, yet the water temps stayed cool with all of the rain and cloudy days. While the fish were still close to home waters my legs start to get itchy this time of year. I love to start running the coastlines. Focusing on structure and the occasional patch of birds. The resident fish like to settle in a certain stretch that is absolutely beautiful for the scenery. Being able to equally target them on both fly and light tackle I gravitate to this area. Although a grind to catch them at times the experience is worth it all. Connecting with the resident mid twenty inch fish always brings a smile to my face and a relaxed ride back home on the water.
For the lady angler of the month featuring Meghan also my sister but it still counts... It was a privilege and honor to have this Veteran aboard the Betty Anne. An entry level fisherman out there for the experience and luckily her first striped bass. The weather was perfect and the water was flat calm. The coastal ride couldn't have been smoother. During exploratory outings I like to focus on points the extend off the coastline, especially with water depth changes. Cliffs are a great indicator for those depth changes. As I set up in the drift along the coastal cliffs and rocky points we casted into the shoreline. As I glaced up to notice a pair of terns fly over her rod bent over. Meghan outlasted the striper in the fight that we got to hand and a great memory for us to share. As the bite slowed down, we trolled the shoreline back home landed a few more fish and enjoyed the sunset on the ride back to the dock.
To put a bow on the gift that the July month has been, our home waters have exploded! For this past week in July the Peanut Bunker have filled the bays. Juvenile striped bass and some heavier fish in the mix, blitzing on each tide with a aerial show of birds above them. Feasting and filling their bellies with one to two inch size peanuts. A balance and partnership of nature that we become apart of. Once again the fly rod regains supremacy. Casting to these finicky fish can be tricky with this size of bait in the water. Yet with the delicate presentation a fly rod offers, a swung fly and some soft strips always does the trick.
With July closing and the fall run revving it's engine the inshore fishery is building it's momentum. It's the mid point of our season. Spools are beginning to run low on line, hooks rusty and dull, maintenance hours running up on the engines, our backs, necks and shoulders feeling those rough weather days. Catching up at any spare moment for some rest and sleep. All in preparation for what is around the corner. It's time to shift gears and locations in search of a rather elusive fish as these exotics push near shore. We turn the page on the calendar as do our target species. Bonitos are pushing into the waters South of us with Spanish Mackerel in the mix. A few short weeks behind them will be our favorite fish to catch False Albacore. The speed demons of the North East's fall run. A favorite for light tackle and fly fishing, a trophy to be had and admired and a fever to follow.
Rocks Pebbles and Sands