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Stripers on the fly rod @ Weldon, 5-6-10

Started by Al, May 07, 2010, 15:40:49 PM

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On Thursday 5-6-10, my buddy "E-Bay Steve" and I took advantage of the extremely popular Striped Bass fishery on the Roanoke River in Weldon NC. Steve had been several times before and was bragging about "triple digit catches" but the time he dragged me along about ten days ago was one of those "ya should have been here yesterday' sort of days ::) . 

We didn't hit triple digits yesterday either, but we did catch about half of that which makes for a pretty good day of fishing when your rod of choice is an 8 weight fly rod ;D.

Steve has a wooden boat which we have named "The Flowerpot" because that is what it was being used for when he went to look at it after answering an ad he found on E-Bay. It is actually an old pram which you could find along the coast 30-40 years ago.  A good cleaning, two coats of paint and a 10 hp outboard engine which sits in a boxed-in hole near the stern and it makes an economical but nice fishing boat.

We were on the water at 1:00 pm hoping to catch the afternoon and evening bite. It looked like a repeat of my previous trip and we had discussions of my bringing bad luck to the boat. After about an hour and hundreds of casts later Steve brought one to the boat. He proceeded to follow that pattern of a fish an hour while I went fishless. You folks who have not cast an 8 weight rod with a 350-400 grain sinking line really need to try it. It will give you a good workout.

I caught my first fish at 5:00 pm. Not a big one, but they all come upriver from the ocean and really put a bend in your rod as you battle them and a pretty swift current. We got lucky and found the seam which they appeared to be following because we boated 15-20 more in fairly quick order. We had doubles on several times which made for some pretty interesting moments in "The Flowerpot"

Heard a shout of "Is that you Al?" and looked over to see well known fly tier and fellow volunteer at the NCWRC Pechmann Center, Anthony Hipps tied into a nice fish. Anthony and his partner were drifting which is the a popular way to fish the Roanoke. Others, including Steve and I prefer to anchor and let the fish come to us. The key to the anchor method is to find the seam the fish are following which can change from day to day.

Because we were anchored our technique was to lob a good cast downstream which got most of our sinking line on the water. We then quickly stripped off the remaining sinking line and most of our running line and tossed it in the current.  This method gets the fly, a 3-4 inch Clouser down to where the fish are. Several times I got all the way down to my backing before starting a rapid stripping retrieve.  Strip it back in and if you don't have a hit, do it all over again. Like I said, it will give you a work out. But when they do hit you forget about how tired you are.

I will readily admit that Steve out fished me about 3 to 1. He has the fast strip pretty well down pat and caught several  fish on consecutive casts. Three or four were what we would call "nice ones" - Of course any fish fooled by  thread, hair and feathers and caught on a fly rod is a nice one!

We lost the "seam of fish" or more likely they just moved on by us so we decided to call it a day. We had caught about 25 at that point and considering how the day had started were pretty pleased. We moved up near the ramp and decided to give that area one last try. This turned out to be a good decision because we hit the "mother lode". We doubled our count with several "doubles". We had such a hot spot that several other boats motored upstream of us and drifted by - most of the time they were rewarded with a hook up. One boat just stood by waiting for us to tire of the fun so they could take our spot.

Last fish of the day was caught by yours truly (Steve said his arms were sore and graciously gave me his side of the boat) This fish was  a surprise. I didn't think it felt right as it came in and it turned out to be a big American Shad.  I thought they had all made their spawning run a couple months ago and had gone back to the ocean. It gave a good account of itself but was sure slimy to handle. We were loading the boat by 7:30 pm  - Could have held our spot for another half hour or so but wanted to give the boater which was patiently standing by a shot at the fish.

That likely ends the 2010 Striper / Shad fishing for us this year. The run is just about over. Get on up there before it is too late. My guess it there will be fish to catch in the Weldon area for about another week. If you go, don't forget it is "catch and release" only and the barbs on your hooks must be pushed down.  They have a new and much improved ramp at Weldon. Kudos to the NCWRC folks for that much needed improvement.


great report al. glad to see yall found 'em, cause you are definately right about casting an 8wt with a heavy sinking line all day  :'( . i like the regs that they have down there, sounds like the ncwrc are doing a good job of preserving that fishery.  thanks for sharing  0--0
"The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration."
-Claude Monet

blue ridge angler

looks like a good time al.. 0--0
thanks for the report..


Quote from: flynhokies on May 07, 2010, 17:46:51 PM
i like the regs that they have down there, sounds like the ncwrc are doing a good job of preserving that fishery.  0--0

Perfect example of what a science based slot limit and good enforcement can do.

This fishery was dead 20-30 years ago thanks to overfishing and laws on the books which allowed folks to sell their catch. Lots of controversy by locals and a few outsiders who ran to the river each spring to rape it when they tried to change that. What we have today would not be possible if NCWRC had not had the backbone to buck those folks and their influential friends

Trout Chaser

Looks like a good time Al.  I may just try to sneak out this weekend and try my luck for them up here on the Rapp.



Looks like it turned out to be a great day 0--0
Stalk softly and carry a green stick.


Damn good report and good photography.  Excellent day on the river,my man  0--0

Damn good shad as a bonus  :)



Good stuff Al, glad you got some before the fish are gone.  I didn't fair as well looking for stripers on the Potomac this morning.


I am glad you got out, and I am glad you caught some fish, too. ;hb

Woolly Bugger

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!


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