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Discussion Starter #1
Well my recent trip to Massachusetts was primarily a family holiday however I did manage 2 ½ days fly fishing on Nantucket and Cape Cod for Striped Bass.

Apart from the waders and occasional rainwear you could almost imagine you were fishing Caribbean flats. Well almost!

Had most success on Nantucket where we were poling the flats – one just under 10 and one of 13lb 4oz on 12lb tippet. Great fun especially as, apart from the first 1 ½ hours when light conditions were poor, it was all sight fishing.

I guess though I saw more big fish on North Monomoy, off Chatham on Cape Cod – fish of 20lb plus. But for the two days I fished there it was always foggy – an unfortunate but fairly regular characteristic of the Cape – making classic sight fishing difficult. Most of the time, I was either blind casting or casting at flashes and surface swirls. Although we always targeted the big fish on the making tide we suffered from poor visibility and most of the shots came when the fish were no more than 30’ away. As such they ended up edgy rather than spooky. And in knee deep water with a strong current you needed to lead them by 20’ with the heavily weighted crab patterns. I only had a couple of half-hearted follows from the ‘biggies’. Still all good fun, and I learned a lot.

With the frustration of the big fish I did discuss bait fishing opportunities with the guide. He said that he’d had great success using sea worms but, surprisingly, had never tried free-lined crabs – something I’ve used with great success for Permit in Florida. I think though there were just no obvious sources of crabs, unless he was going to catch them himself.

Just some further observations.

Guided fishing is never going to be cheap - it cost me 250$US a day wade fishing and 425$US to hire the skiff. But, given limited time, you need to balance likely success against the 'DIY' option.

That said lots of Americans do surf cast from the beaches and headlands with great success for Striped Bass, Bluefish (watch the teeth) and Flounders.

Whilst the Reel Time FORUM is primarily devoted to fly fishing its very active membership will readily offer advice, especially to us Brits, on where best to fish if you find yourself along that North Eastern seaboard.
Kindest regards
Dave
Sportfishing Club of the British Isles
 

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Guided fishing is expensive in the states compared to many other places, but as you say it is the best way to learn the local venues and methods and then gives you a starter next time you come so you can be more independant.
You also have to bear in mind that quite a few of these guides are professionals this is their job and remember there is little or no work out of season and I'm sure they rarely fill a whole week, but then they get to do what they love as a job.
I have found guides on the east coast to be about a third more expensive than the west.
I have fished a few guided days in the Catskill mountains on the East coast and was paying about the same as you $200-250 per day, but the real bargain is guiding up in Oregon where my Dad lives last Christmas was paying $175 a day for drift boat fishing on the North Umpqua this included my license and tag, the guy picked me up from my Dads drove the best part of 100 miles to the part of the river that was fishing, we drifted all day, him working the oars and anchor all the time, during which time he fed me (mainly salmon he had previously caught and smoked.).
Then he hitched back twelve miles up the road to pick up the truck and trailer came back and picked me up and drove me home.We only had one Steelhead that time but the guy knew the river like the back of his had. he would say things like right as soona s we get round this bend, you need to be ready to cast straight under the middle tree into the hole under the bank.
thers no substitute for a lifetimes worth of knowledge like that and it gives the angler the best chance of catching fish when on a limited excursion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Couldn't resist posting these images from one of the guides I fished with last year on Monomoy Island, a large sand spit off the 'elbow' of Cape Code (Massachusetts). You catch a ferry out to the island - a sea bird reserve - from the port of Chatham.

Randy Jones, the guide I fished with, specialises in fly fishing but he also enjoys fishing with artificial lures or bait. Above all his and the angler's 'kick' comes from sight fishing.

Hopefully you'll be able to view these images from the links I've created on Photoshop. They show the 'extreme' lengths Randy goes to in fish spotting.

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j275/PanamaJack/randy-play-fish-3_web.jpg

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j275/PanamaJack/randy-on-ladder-1_web.jpg

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j275/PanamaJack/randy-land-fish-1HR_web.jpg

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j275/PanamaJack/randy-fish-cs-cu-rt-1_web.jpg

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j275/PanamaJack/group-thru-water-2-web.jpg

Whilst most of the time his clients fish with the 8 and 9 weight, 9' single handed fly rods he provides Randy himself likes fishing with a double handed Spey rod.
Dave
 
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