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Fly Fishing the Outlets
by Joe Laniewski

aine, what a State. Fantastic shoreline, deep forests and plenty of shopping. Well that was the laid plan. With all the surf fishing and saltwater fly fishing I do, it was now time for a little payback for the wife. I was going - "Outlet shopping." In the planning stage I suggested we go up to the lower Maine coast. There are a few greatKittery Trading Post Outlets up that way and also, Kittery Trading Post and L.L. Bean. I figured well, if I had to shop, it might as well be worth it.

If any of you folks get roped in to shopping, I suggest this area. Kittery Trading Post has such an expansive fishing department, you could actually spend the day there. We hit this on our trip up and I guess I spent too much time there, why, heard about it all the way up to our motel in the touristy town of Old Orchard Beach.

I chose this motel due to it being right on the beach. Old Orchard Beach is a long shallow beach which is great for swimming but, in my opinion, not the best for fishing. Now at this point I should mention that fishing was not on our agenda Old Orchard Beachand I was asked to leave the tackle home. Well, I'm a fisherman and I figured, just the fly fishing tackle. My fly tackle is kind of easy to hide, my rods are in short tubes, and my reels and flies are in a mid size travel bag which, to the non fishing eye, is sightless.

Our plans after checking in on Sunday afternoon were to relax and enjoy the area and on Monday get up early and beat the crowds at L.L. Bean and the surrounding outlets. Sounded like a good plan and my wife was all excited about our morning visit.

Monday am, I woke early, went out before my wife woke up and came back with her coffee which she really enjoys. Before we decided to head north to L.L. Bean's, we figured a short walk on the beach would be nice.

Oh' Boy, for some reason when I walk the beach it's a bit different than when my wife walks the beach. Now, it was in my opinion, too early up in Maine for any decent fishing. As we were walking the beach I kind of paid attention to the surf line and noticed what lousy structure Old Orchard Beach had, or should I say NO structure. Although one thing I noticed was a lot of broken up crabs along the surf line.

Then it happened, walking along I noticed some gulls picking at something, it got the best of me and we wandered up that way, low and behold a 27 to 28 inch striper on the beach. My pulse quickened along with the grip my wife had on my hand. WOW, she's strong when she wants to be. After a bit of examination she kind of pushed me along about another 100 feet down the shore mixed in with a bit of sea weed, another beached striper.

Ok, now the grip on my hand grew stronger and my wife new something was wrong when my feet started the little dance they do when something on the beach gets me excited. When the grip on my hand released as my wife scanned the beach for the bikini babe that she thought must of had me going and after as she turned to say something to me. She said that all she saw of me was the soles of my feet as I was running as fast as my larger body lets me back toward the motel. Yes, I could hear her voice in the back ground as I was leaping the four foot beach fence in front of our motel heading for the truck.

You would be surprised how fast I've learned to set up a fly rod when its necessary. At the time it seemed like it was. Over the noise of the breakers I thought I heard a bit of some type of profanity but really wasn't sure. After about an hour of casting and what I thought was cheering due to the outstanding distance I was getting out of my fly line, I called it quits, not even a single hit on my fly.

I really didn't even know my wife could make so many expressions on her beautiful face as I saw that day.

We did finally get up to L.L. Beans but, my friends it cost me. I realize that my wife did have a good point, and while she really wasn't that mad no matter what I portray here, it was her weekend, our weekend. I have a great wife who never complains when I head south fishing but, I still feel I let her down a bit even though it was just for a short time.

L.L. Bean

Up a L.L. Bean's I did get a chance to talk stripers with one of the fly fishing guides and he mentioned it is hit or miss here this time of year and the broken crabs are a good sign. I do believe if I had the time, even though Old Orchard's beach is such a shallow beach, with the right tide and time, it is a place that should score. The L.L. Bean guide did mention a few good places in that area for me to head out and try but, not this time. This was a shopping weekend and a weekend to spend with the wife.

The next morning before our scheduled return home, we did walk the beach again but, this time it was just as a loving couple, hand in hand. Even though my wife must have been working out a bit, what a grip! And for a moment, just a moment I was sure in the shallow surf I saw a swirl, but I'm sure it was nothing more than my imagination,
   or was it.....?

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