Cape Cod's Monomoy Island Fly Fishing
I think “God” was a fly fisher. And that’s why he created this Truly World Class Destination Fishery! If ever there was an ideal fly fishing location – this is the place.
Miles and miles of hard bottom Caribbean style flats, light colored sand, crystal clear water all summer long with a cold water influence directly off the Atlantic ocean make this a paradise for some “hot” fly rod action and summer fun. The only thing missing are palm trees and girls in grass skirts!
The habitat is comprised of surf, sand flats, fast water channels, bays, coves, rips and marsh. All easily accessible and fished with a fly rod. There are no roads, homes in this area, just lots of wildlife consisting of coyotes, deer, fox, skunks, seals and lots of birds from around the world.
This area has an incredible ecological system, which is a nursery and habitat for micro – organisms that the bait fish eat, which keep’s them here all summer. Conversely, if there is a lot of bait then Stripers and Blues will be here too. 10 or so different types of bait call this area home for the summer. At times it’s hard to take a step with out noticing one or another type of bait hiding in the sand or floating by you in the current. This is the bait you would want to imitate with your flies.
Lots of bait is one of the reasons why Cape Cod continually maintains the highest number of resident striped bass through out the summer of any other area on the East coast. Another reason is its cold water influence, which continually cycles the warmer water out and replenishes it with cool invigorating crystal clear water. This twice a day cycle maintains a perfect temperature for Striped Bass.
Monomoy Striped Bass
Here on the Cape, with miles and miles of sand flats, it makes sight casting to 5-25 pound stripers the order of the day. This is probably the most exciting type of fly-fishing you will ever do. They’re cruising the flats eating crabs, shrimp, silversides and sand lances, and just waiting for your perfectly cast fly. Sometimes you need to burn up the water with a fast retrieve and at other times using a dead drift with the current is all that is needed. All methods will require distance, speed and accuracy in your casting skills. You have some of the finest destination flats fishing in the world right here on Cape Cod. Seeing 100s or more fish in a tide is the norm. Test your skills and work your way along the path to hooking up in paradise.
Flats- A large expanse of shallows, consisting of mud, eelgrass or sand.
Stripers and blues come to this area in search of food. As the sand flat becomes covered with water the baitfish move up onto the flat through troughs, sluiceways and channels to escape the predators. Approximately 2 hours before the high the predators come up onto the flat following these same troughs (like roads) in search of food. This would be a good place to stand and sight cast to them. Sun and no wind make for optimal sight fishing conditions as they cruise the flat.
At high tide many times you will find them in 6 inch’s of water tight to the shore, again, this is were there next meal is hiding. So this would be an additional area to prospect during that stage of the tide. As the water starts to recede, the larger fish will leave that area and depart off the flat using similar channels and sluiceways that they came up on. This is another prime spot to fish. Normally they will hold, waiting in ambush in the deeper water for the baitfish to get flushed off the flat. My next move would be to stand close to the edge of the flat and cast my fly into the creek that is flowing off the flat. I’d allow my fly to swing and sink, imitating a baitfish being washed off the flat. This is one of many basic feeding patterns that never changes and consistently repeats itself, tide after tide.
No matter what the tide you can always find a flat to sight fish. There have numerous flats that fish at their optimum at the high, mid or low. Whether it’s an incoming or dropping tide.
Sight fishing the surf or flats is always an option on a sunny day. Over cast days allow you to blind cast into the surf, fast water channels, eelgrass flats and rips. The 2 most important and widely used fly lines are a fast sinking line and a clear intermediate line.
This area is accessible by using the Outermost Harbor Marina public shuttle boat. The first boat out is at 8 AM. With 3 shuttle boats they run the rest of the day whenever you are ready to go. Your pick-up time is at your request; Last pick-up is at 4:30 PM.
Outermost Harbor Marina Adventures brings you seal watching tours and public shuttle boats to South Beach and Monomoy Island. Fish to your hearts content, take your spouse on a long walk on a deserted beach or just kick back and read a good book. It’s an incredible beautiful, scenic world on the outer Cape. It’s only accessible by boat and away from all the hustle of the main land. Kick-off your shoes and take a walk on the wild side of the national wildlife refuge beach’s. On site parking and rest rooms.
Directions: Travel East on Cape Highway 6. Take Exit 11. Turn left onto Rt. 137 and follow all the way to end where it intersects with Rt. 28. (Approx. 5 miles) Take a left and stay on Rt. 28. (Approx. 5 miles) You will come to the Chatham Rotary, continue straight through rotary. You are now on Chatham Main St. Continue straight through town until road ends. Take a right and continue past Chatham Lighthouse. Immediately after lighthouse bare to the left and follow signs to marina and park in back, towards water.
A 9-weight fast action (stiff) rod. Disk drag reels with interchangeable spools. Spare spools should have weight forward wonder floating line, clear intermediate and 300 grain line. This prepares you for all conditions. For May Through August, set yourself up with a 9 foot tapered 15 lb. test leader.
May-June: A heavier Neoprene Bootfoot. During July and August, switch to a Breathable Lightweight Bootfoot. Waders need to fit comfortably, as sometimes long walks are needed to reach the best flats. Even though it’s summer, many areas fished have a direct influence from the Ocean. Layering with a thin pair of breathable wader pants might be more comfortable.
Other Equipment: Polarized Sunglasses: Amber or yellow is the preferred color lenses. Side shields are a necessity when sight fishing. These are not only needed to sight fish, but more importantly for your safety. Bring a stripping basket, sunscreen, flashlight. Pack a lunch and bring a couple of bottles of water with you. You can easily walk miles so pack light and remember that at times you will be surrounded with water with no place to leave your stuff.
Related: Flats 101 – Safety First While Wading