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Copyright © 1998 - 2014 Captain Jim Freda A Quick Lesson for a Little Night Flying
by Capt. Jim Freda
Shore Catch Guide Service

ugust poses some interesting fly fishing strategies for the surf fly fisher as we are in the heart of what many call the summer doldrums. We see limited action during the day as several environmental factors quickly change the feeding habits of the striped bass. Surf temperatures in the upper sixties and low seventies, predominant west winds that producing little or no wave action, and a sun at a high angle in the sky all factor in to move the majority of striped bass offshore to deeper and cooler waters during the day. Couple this with increased boat traffic along the beach and the action virtually shuts down.

One can choose to wait to fly fish for several weeks when our fall blitzes should begin with our mullet run in September but that seems far away when you need a bend in your rod right now. So what is a fly fisher to do? One option is to fish at night. Striped bass are nocturnal in nature and will move inshore to feed under the cover of darkness.

If you have never fly fished at night it is definitely going to be a challenge. There are many factors that complicate things and a number of considerations that you will want to put on your mental checklist before you venture out. Let's take a look at a few of these.

Your first consideration will be safety. It is best to venture out with a partner for safety reasons. If you are alone it is safer to stick to the beach than to venture out on a jetty. But if you do go out alone make sure you leave an itinerary with someone so that they know where you will be and at what time. Most importantly leave a time that you expect to return home and remain faithful to it. Also bring a cell phone with you so you can contact help if needed.

Another important consideration for safety will be to have a good head, neck lamp, or flashlight with you. I like to carry a small mini-light also a back-up just in case my regular light breaks, drops and is lost, or just doesn't work properly.

If you are a beginner, fly casting in the dark will be much more of a challenge than during the day. Getting your timing down while double hauling and learning what it feels like to have your rod load will be of utmost importance. You will cast by feel rather than by sight.

If you are fishing along the beach you should also give special consideration to your backcast. Be cognizant of where it is going. Many times in the dark fly fishers will have a tendency to drop their tip on their backcast. This will result in beating your flies against an upwardly sloping berm or jetty rocks that are behind you. Keep your tip up. Remember where your tip is pointed is where your line and fly will go. Also, make sure that you have no more line in your stripping basket than you can cast. This will cut down on tangles as your line shoots out of the basket.

As far as what flies at night I like to use those that will push a lot of water. The lateral line of the striped bass is extremely sensitive to these vibrations and this will help it to better zero in on your fly.  End

Copyright © 1998 - 2014 Jim Freda, All Rights Reserved

Articles by Captain Jim Freda

Capt. Jim FREDAEmail Captain Jim Freda

Jim Freda is a highly respected charter captain, author, outdoor writer, seminar speaker, and photographer. His first book Fishing the New Jersey Coast, has been a best seller and received the “New Jersey Center for the Book Award” as one of the most notable NJ books. He co-authored a second book Saltwater Fishing a Tactical Approach, A Guide for Northeast Beach and Boat Fishermen, with his Shore Catch associates Capt Gene Quigley and Shell E. Caris.

Jim has weekly fishing columns that appear in the Bergen Record, NJ's second largest newspaper and the Coast Star and Ocean Star newspapers of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Nationally, Jim is a contributing editor for Fly Fishing in Saltwaters magazine and also writes for Fly Fisherman magazine, Saltwater Sportsman, Eastern Fly Fishing, Big Game Journal, and Regionally he writes for On the Water magazine where he has is own monthly column, The Fisherman magazine and the NJ Federation of Sportsman Clubs newspaper.

As a seminar speaker Jim is featured as one of the celebrities on the Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series, as one of the “Stars of the Show” at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ, the Northeast’s largest fly fishing show and is on the National Pro Seminar slate at the Toyota Saltwater Expo also in Somerset. He is also regularly featured each year at many of the local fishing clubs in the surrounding area including the State’s two largest clubs the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association and the Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County. Capt Jim has also been a guest speaker at all the Trout Unlimited Clubs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jim has also been a special guest speaker at the Bloomberg Network in New York City.

He is a member of the National Factory Pro Team for St. Croix Rods and pro staff for Fins Fishing Line, AVET Reels, Spro, Gamakatsu, Hogy, Korkers, Costa Del Mar, Columbia Sportswear and Aquaskinz.

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Saltwater Fishing A Tactical Approach Fishing the NJ Coast