Notes From The Field

July 25, 2020.

Friendship, Maine

The fog was barely lifting as we pushed away from the wharf. Doug knows where the Stripers are likely to be, so we cruise through the gut between Long and Garrison islands, past a pair of juvenile bald eagles to where the river spills into the bay. The early morning silence is broken by the beautiful sound of the Loon’s call and by the shushing sound of a seal pushing bait up from the deep. The birds are starting to work, we’re in the right place. I start peeling line off my trusty 9wt Nautilus NV-G reel and begin casting. We’re on the edge of a weed bed so I don’t let the sink tip drop too long before I start stripping in the line. A few casts in and my line goes tight. I feel the heavy pull that saltwater Stripes are known for and smile as the screaming sound of my reel and the deep bend in my rod tell me that this is a nice fish. Jokingly, I tell Doug, “you’re turn” to which he replies, “I’ve got one on!” A double header before the sun is even fully up, It’s going to be a great day. The birds are really working now, dive bombing the surface for baitfish from above while the Stripers attack from below. Nearly every cast produces a follow, bump or tight line and before long, we’ve both landed several fish. As is often the case, this frenzy of activity ends as quickly as it began and we’re back to watching for signs to lead us to the next spot. The tide is retreating quickly so we follow the birds to a deep shelf that is becoming more and more shallow by the moment and begin to cast. Nothing. The sun has burned off the last of the fog now and it’s become a beautiful morning. Besides the occasional bald eagle, shore birds and a few seals, we are alone. Behind us, a group of birds begin pounding the water, so we motor over to an island where the current pushes the baitfish to waiting predators. Doug hooks up on his first cast and we’re back in the game. He challenges me to get a fish on before he gets his fish to the boat. I do and issue the same challenge to him as he releases his fish. One cast and his line went tight again! Laughing at our good luck we continue to reel in big Stripes until they eventually turn off again. By now the tide is nearly completely out and we know that we’re probably finished for the day. A few more hopeful casts at different spots confirm that our incredible morning is over. Motoring back towards the wharf we talk about how fortunate we are to be in such an amazing spot doing what we love. About how much we appreciate a great fly rod and reel and the memories we’ve created with them in varied and exotic locations. Now we count the seconds until we get to do it again. I hope you don’t have to wait too long. Get out there.


-Scott Thompson