The best reward for getting up early is savoring the beach sunrise. It’s a visual splendor that shakes off grogginess. The sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean also eases the sting of slow fishing. As you contemplate getting skunked (or only landing a few tiny schoolie stripers up to 20″), the walk back to the cottage is easier after experiencing a superb sunrise.
I’ve been fishing Southern Maine for striped bass and bluefish for twenty years. This year was the slowest that I’ve experienced. While it should be noted that I fished less than usual, conditions weren’t ideal. I barely managed any time sight fishing on sandy flats. It’s still easy to get up early and locate schoolie stripers. I’ll still do that if I feel the need to pull on a few fish. Yet, my preference is to catch them in shallow water, after spotting them. The last few years, I’ve graduated from blind casting on dropping/incoming tides, to sight fishing. It’s a wonderful challenge to spot a large fish (30″ or better), interpret their path, make the presentation and convince them to eat. My slugging percentage is low, especially during bright sun. Still, I manage just enough hook ups to keep me going. This year, it was windy, foggy, overcast with low light, the tide was off, it was rainy (6.5″ in one day) or we were hosting family/friends and I couldn’t fish. Go figure that the best conditions always coincided when we had guests. Bottom line, I caught schoolies but struck out sight fishing with my crab flies. Now I’ve got an entire year to reflect upon the fly fishing-saltwater potential of Southern Maine. At least I’ve got the memory of those gorgeous sunrises to carry me through to next season.
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