Last evening I found myself casting a fly rod in the Eisenhower park with my buddy Vin who is trying to teach me. Two middle aged dudes playing with sissy sticks on grass surrounded by dozens soccer playing also way-past-their-prime players. 🙂

This is going to be much harder then I thought. My mind wants to let the rod cast the line but my body wanted to put some oomph in to start somewhere. Although catching a striper on a fly must be a very rewarding experience it really does not interest me that much. I would like to get myself to the point where I could sight cast to the fish on the flats in Florida or off the boat. Maybe even freshwater.

For some reason surfcasters don’t like the world change. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “you are the metal lip guy” or “you fish Montauk a lot”…I’d have quite a few dollars. The truth is that I went to Montauk twice last year and never made a cast. Few shots with camera and I was back home. And metal lip swimmers I use today are totally different then ones I used when I wrote my fist book. Montauk is a wonderful place to fish I just wasn’t into it last year.

What is my point ?

I’ve meet many of surfcasters who refuse to change at all. Yeah, they got better reels and plugs and waders over the years but in their hearts, things are still always the same. They fish the same spots in spring, you know the inlets you’ll find them in summer and you can tell which rock in Montauk they will be standing on the last of incoming in the fall. And that is cool. I am just not one of those guys.

I am sure my current rigged eel kick will be replaced by another soon. Will I think that rigged eels are less effective when I move on to other things? Not any more then eel skins which were my favorite few years ago. Who knows what the future holds, only one thing is certain, don’t let this feel like a chore. Or a job ….oh wait, for some us it is.:-) although for how long is a big question.

Hopefully soon I will have something written for you guys that will make you look much differently on certain people in this sport, what are they doing to try to shut down SJ . I can see you purging lures of your surf bags for life……but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

 Hope you guys have a nice weekend. I am looking forward to Easter break and spending some time with kids . Somewhere warmer then here would be nice although the weather looks to be improving.

I remember April 15th of the past, catching 30 pound stripers in Manhasset bay on chunks at will. So much it was actually boring. For those of you that are new to the sport and are looking for  big fish this early don’t fish up front with bait or in the back with plugs. The one way to big fish (and they are there, you’ll have to trust me on this one) is with a live, snagged or chunked bunker in the back.

However, this will change in a hurry so don’t expect the bite to last for weeks. This time of the season, change progresses quickly. I would say in two weeks time we should be inundated with bluefish. Which would be cool, I missed those little devils.

15 comments on “Changes

  1. Janet Messineo

    Good luck Zeno, If I can do it, you can do it! It is hard for SURFCASTERS because we are so trained to Whip that rod and punch it forward, our bodies are trained to do exactly what you don’t do with a flyrod. Your right about fishing for stripers being “not very exciting” but fishing for other species is. I would love to get a bonito or albi on my flyrod but I have not hung in with the damn thing. It is a struggle for me and I have been playing with the fly rod for longer than I care to admit. AND, Unfortunately, I have not seen an adult Bunker on Martha’s Vinyard since 1986. Forget concentrating our efforts on making Striped Bass a game fish, Let’s get together to shut down the factory trawlers and all those that take the river herring by the ton. (Probably opening a can of worms) Tight Lines

  2. Nick

    I dabbled with the fly rod Z, fund it fun but finding the right conditions was another story, now its for trout only. Shut down Surfcasters Journal, I can only guess who the people or the group are, you have a couple thousand readers Z and more on the way I’m sure. keep doing what you and the boys do, you put out a great product and are not scared to tell it/right it like it is with the comms and the future of the striped bass. You have plenty of support from your readers….

  3. AP

    Gosh…casting s fly rod is really not all that difficult. If you can hit a softball you can cast a fly rod. It is all about timing, not overpowering a cast. The line and the rod really do most of the work. Once the casting stroke is understood and it “clicks”… is it then like many other things…practice, practice and more practice. And yes, muscle memory helps. What often happens is many folks get frustrated and put the fly rod down for another form of tackle that is more comfortable to them or that they are more familiar with. It is very possible to learn to fly cast and catch fish (in saltwater) in the same session. And as far as striped bass fishing goes…the entire northeast has some amazing shallow water flats where you can sight cast flies, especially crab flies, to cruising and feeding bass. The fishing is every bit as exciting and intense as casting to tailing bonefish or mudding redfish. Picking out your bass and getting them to eat a fly is as good as it gets! And fly rods are not only for bluebird days. One of the best days I ever had fly-fishing for salmon was in Alaska with 30 mph headwinds and gusts higher than that, and torrential rain. I’ve also had plenty nasty evenings with fly rod in hand on Long Island catching bass at my feet. In the end it comes down to trusting your gear and having confidence in it. But that is really no different than with any other form of fishing. For me is is just a very gratifying way to fish.

  4. Raven

    my shoulder is damaged from falling off a truck ramp with both
    hands firmly connected to a wheel barrow so all that back and forth action would make me have to take pain killers….

    i’d rather cast a fly on a float with a spinning reel instead for finicky fish..

    Shutting down the JOURNAL must NEVER HAPPEN !

  5. JohnP

    Remember, with a fly rod, you are casting the line, and it is the line that pulls the lure (fly). We are so used to casting a heavy lure, where the mass of the lure pulls the line.

    It is a lot to take on all at once.

    Fly fishing is an art that combines skills in casting, attention to the equipment, and then honing skills in tying. When you catch a fish, you can be sure it was not the lure that somebody else made, or the live bait, it is all about you, the angler.

    I think what stops many accomplished surfcaters from trying fly fishing is that they do not want to be seen as a newbie or awkward. They are out of their confort zone.
    For such reasons, they avoid something “new.”

    Being able to step outside your area of expertise, and see how the other side lives, thats a special trait that most surfcasters cannot bring themselves to. But it will benefit you, whether you keep with fly fishing or not.

  6. BigFish

    You have freedom of the press on your side “Z” and those tools who are against you and SJ better run and hide!!! If I do not get my SJ fix they are gonna get a swift kick in the ass from yours truly!!! Keep up the great work guys….it is appreciated!!!

  7. Steve Tag


    I went through the samr thing 10 years ago when I was getting into SW fly fishing. The most important thing I realized was that you load the rod with your left hand pulling the line; not with the right arm. As surfcasters used to throwing with a 10′ or 11′ GSB it takes a real adjustment, but once you relax and get it, it’s easy. Real important to let the rod load on the backcast. Start out NOT trying for distance, which again, for us, is a tough adjustment to make. Another interesting thing I discovered was I could cast lefty and righty, which can come in real useful depending on where the wind is coming from. Try it! I found watching a couple of videos really helped ; one was with Joan Wulff, another by Chico Fernandez, I think Lefty Kreh has a good one too. Flyrod stripers are a whole different game, and even a little guy can be a big thrill.


  8. Steve Tag

    One cool thing about flyrod stripers is when you’re stripping the line in, you have the rod tucked under your right arm, tip pointed at the fly, and when the fish hits it’s a real direct connection, almost like a handline.

  9. njplugger

    “The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.” (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche)

    Z, Keep up the good work all us SJers all appreciate your great work, the others be damned.

  10. Ruru Lures

    catching a big striper on a fly rod is a thrill and something most people never experience. I am sure you will think differently when you hook a 25 pound striper from the surf on the sissy stick. It presents many challanges that will get you thinking and enhance the battle. Better than catching the bonita or false albie on the fly, IMO.


  11. Tony Marchisotto

    Hey Z

    Read Lefty Kreh’s “Modern Fly Casting Method” if you want to & can’t find a copy let me know & I’ll get mine to you.


  12. M Mazz

    Catching stripers on the fly is a blast. There is nothing like sight casting to bass on the flats. The fly rod rocks in the spring, I use it in the creeks all the time. There is something magical about strip setting the hook and having a striper peel the line out of your basket. Patience and practice is the key. Keep trying don’t give up, you won’t regret it.


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