Cinder Worm Hatch #5

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Cinder Worm Hatches #5 & #6, (5/3/21)

Today we only had a half-day of sun, so I thought that would be enough to keep the water temperature at 64˚. So I showed up at 5 p.m. with my kayak in tow to find a massive hatch already in progress. There were only a few small pods of stripers scattered here and there, instead of swirling on worms, they were just lazily patrolling around on the surface like finicky trout during a midge hatch. They were not interested in hitting today, but I managed to paddle ahead of one pod and cast just in front of the direction that they were headed in, and luckily got my one and only hookup. It was a 25-inch striper that put up a heck of a fight, so I was content with that today. I had an hour of day light left, so I thought that I should check another salt pond nearby that was a new location, so I could get some intel for the future. So I loaded up the yak, and headed a short distance down the road, parked and put on my knee boots for an easier walk in to the pond. The water temps ranged from 63 at the north end, to 62 in the middle and 61 at the south end. I found a few worms all along the western shoreline, but there were no fish present at all. The leisurely walk back to the car through this conservation area went along a sandy road covered with pine needles, very peaceful here strolling under the pines, with no houses in site, and no one else around. A successful outing for an early season worm hatch, and I was sure glad that the long winter was behind me, and that the fishing season was now in full swing. I felt lucky to be healthy, fully vaccinated, and alive.
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Cinder Worm Hatch #1 & #2, (4/20 & 4/21)

Since we had a mild winter and spring this season, I started my worm hatch checks a week sooner this year in April, because I had missed these early hatches in 2015 and again in 2018. I had 3 locations on my list, and found worms at 64˚, at my last stop. This turned out to be the earliest hatch that I had found to date, so if nothing else, I was at least on the ball this season. The same thing happened two days in a row, worms but still no fish present yet. Things were ready to start happening, then we had a cold night that dropped water temperatures 6˚, so that helped to put an end to the early hatches, along with 3 cool, cloudy, and rainy days. It was just as well, so to give the stripers more time to migrate in.

Cinder Worm Hatch #3, (5/1/21)

Found my 3rd hatch yesterday, Saturday May 1. I arrived late after checking two other locations first, and while taking a water temp, witnessed a guy doing surgery on a schoolie to retrieve his treble hook. The fish was mangled. I asked him if there were any worms, and he said no. I asked another guy the same question and he also said no. I could clearly see swirling fish and the tiny wakes of worms further out. So I wadered up and headed out to a peninsula and was able to catch and release 3 schoolies easily on my worm fly with a single hook and a crushed barb.

Cinder Worm Hatch #4, (5/2/21)

Yesterday, Sunday with a half day of sun dropped the water temps 2 degrees at some locations. So I went late again to my third stop where the water temp only had dropped 1 degree, and found a mini hatch and a few stripers. I managed to catch one fish that was several inches larger than Saturdays fish, and fewer fish, maybe 6 or so, but they moved off and further out.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #7, (5/6/21)

Today, after a 2-day cloudy and rainy spell, we had a full day of sun to help heat things up again, so I wasn’t expecting anything to be happening yet. So my wife and I had a picnic dinner at the beach. On the way home, I stopped at 3 locations to take water temperatures to see what the progress was to 64˚, and they were all at 63. At the third location, there were even a few worms, so I quickly headed home, threw on my fishing pants, and jumped into my fishing car that had all my gear rigged and ready to go with the kayak on the trailer. It took me 5 minutes to get to my backwater bay that has a shallow muddy bottom that heats up quickly. I arrived to find the whole shoreline of the large cove full of busting stripers, a school of about 100 stripers, most of them within 5-20 feet from shore. My first fish was the largest one at 26-inches, then as the hour advanced, the fish got progressively smaller. I paddled the kayak over to the far end of the cove that seemed to have the most fish swirling, and pulled up on the beach so I could wade and fish along the shore. There were a number of fish that were swirling not 5 feet from where I was standing. I was able to C&R a dozen stripers in that hour, and even had on a jumping American shad for a while.

I am lucky to live in a striper paradise, surrounded by water, with Vineyard Sound to the south, the Atlantic ocean to the east, on the north and west, Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay, and even a canal at the shoulder, with numerous estuaries in between.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #8, (5/7/21)

Today I was hoping for size instead of numbers. I had checked this location 6 times since April 20th, waiting for worms to show. On the fifth check I was sitting on a rock along the edge of the salt pond, and watched a 30-inch striper cruise by me just 10-feet out, what a tease. I didn’t want to miss the first day because these big smart fish are easier to catch then. So on May 6th, I missed the first day, because I didn’t pay attention thinking that it wouldn’t happen with just one day of sun, and ended up going to another location at the last minute. So today I found about 8 big fish blitzing on worms in a small cove right close to shore. It was exciting just approaching this spectacle. This was on the windy side of the pond and I was casting into the wind with no back casting room, so I had to sneak past all these fish to get to the opposite shore where I could wade out on a sandbar, and cast with the wind. I spent an hour casting into to this melee with no luck kicking myself for not being here yesterday. Then finally I got a solid hookup and landed a 30” fish, took a quick photo and released it. OK, then fifteen minutes later after a couple of missed hits, hooked up with a 27-inch fish. But no luck with the really big fish that were making some massive swirls. I was happy with that and started heading out. Upon approaching the lee side of the pond I noticed more fish coming in and starting to swirl, so I waded out and gave it another try. I caught my last fish which was 26 inches, and called it a very good day.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #9 & #10, (5/8/21)

I went back to yesterday’s location to try for some more big fish. As soon as I saw the first splash, I headed straight over to the cove. On this cloudy day, the hatch started off slowly with just a few worms and an occasional swirling fish. For the first fish, I hooked up with a 24-incher. The next two fish were big fish, probably in the high 30-inch range, a guesstimate because I never did get to see either one of them. The worm fly I was using had a number 2 hook, and I kept saying to myself that I should put on the fly with the larger hook that I tied especially for this pond with the bigger fish. I was thrilled to have both of these fish hit my fly, and fight them for a short time until the hook pulled out. This had happened to me a number of times before at this location. By the time I got around to tying on the fly with the #1 hook, the numbers of worms had increased to the point where I knew that I was not going to get any more hookups. This all took place within 45 minutes. I will look forward to trying again for those big smart fish next year, with a sharp hook that will stick into their big bony jaw and hold them. I had planned to start at this location, and then head to another spot where my buddy Gary would be in his kayak. We both had radios, so when I got to the parking lot, I called him to see if anything worthwhile was going on before I hiked in through the woods. He said the hatch started at 5:30, so I hoofed it in on the trail, huffing and puffing the whole way. Within 15 minutes I had caught and released 5 schoolies, then the same thing happened, the numbers of worms had increased, and the fish stopped hitting. Even though these were small fish, the side benefit or bonus comes when I close my eyes to meditate, or go to sleep, I still see the hypnotic calm waters and the ever expanding rise-form-rings of swirling stripers.

Cinder Worm Hatch #11 & #12, (5/9/21)

Today it was really windy, and after first searching two other spots, I ended up finding a mini-hatch at a third location at a protected lee shore cove. It was unusual in that it took place during a low tide. The hatch began at 4 p.m., and there were only a few worms, and about 20 stripers present. It was enjoyable being out of the wind, so after catching 10 fish, I sat down on a log at the edge of the marsh and had a picnic dinner, before walking back out in knee boots on a trail through the woods. Gary was in his kayak, and had a long and difficult paddle against the wind and tide heading back to the launch site. On the way home, I decided to stop at a completely different estuary where I had always seen hatches before, but there was never any fish present. This was also a lee shore cove, and I was surprised to find another mini-hatch going on with a few stripers swirling, so I was able to easily catch another 4 fish there. This was a day of “two-firsts,” finding hatches at low tides and actually seeing fish present at the second location.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #13 & #14 (5/10 & 11/21)

Today, one day before the new moon, at medium outgoing tide, the worms got started just before 4 pm. The stripers were further out, and out of fly casting range from the salt marsh bank. Most of the worms were coming out of a small cove with the tide, and passing close to the tip of a peninsula, so I headed over there. After several days of gorging themselves with worms, these fish were not interested in hitting at all. I even tried a two-fly rig to no avail. Eventually I was able to catch just one, and then headed home early for a steak dinner. I had worked up a good appetite because I had walked my legs off checking different spots today. #14 was a repeat of #13 and windy.
 
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ed from bama

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Good morning to all-

Brother, you are sho-nuff flinging a cravin' on me with your accounts of the worm hatches and the stripers feeding on them.

I do believe I could get used to chasing after these fish. Now, if we could just convince the stripers to relocate to coastal Alabama and bring the worms with them, things would be just fine.

Please keep up with your accounts- most enjoyable reading.

you all keep well and be safe- Ed
 

falconer57

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Reading your posts with interest. I have seen these "hatches" on the seaside of Virginia's Eastern Shore but have never seen any fish feeding on this resource. There are some Rockfish(stripers) here through the spring and summer. I just wonder why our local Speckled Trout and redfish don't take advantage of an easily eaten protein resource. Any other folks here see this happening in the mid-atlantic?
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #15, (5/12/21)

I almost didn’t go to the same location as the previous two days, but I knew that it was one of my best and most consistent spots for worm spawns. I arrived there late, because I had walked in and checked two other locations without finding anything. So I trudged in on my trail to the third location, and as soon as I got to the marsh, I saw splashes in the channel, 200 yards in the distance. A big school of stripers must have come in with today’s tide, and unlike the last 2 days, they wanted to eat. I was able to catch, and quickly, and carefully release 12 fish in a little over an hour’s time. By then, it was 7 pm, and there was an ominous looking cloud front approaching, so I headed out to avoid getting soaked, and on the way home it did start to rain.
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Cinder Worm Hatch #16 & 17, (5/13/21)

My kayak buddy Gary and I were planning to fish a tidal river, the whole length of which was private, so we had to use yaks to access it. The water temperature was 62˚ at the landing, so it was a simple matter to paddle upriver to find a cove where it was 63 to 64˚, and there you would find the worms and stripers. The hatch was just starting at 3:30, so I pulled my yak up on the salt marsh bank, so I could fly cast and strip in my line from solid ground. At this early stage, the worms were close to shore and the fish were within casting range. I could tell after a few casts that these fish were not in an eating mood, and it would be difficult to get many hookups. I managed to get 5 fish within an hours-time, and then there were worms everywhere, so we packed up and left early. After that I had time to check a salt pond to see what was happening there. So I hoofed it in there with knee boots, and I was looking for fish instead of watching where I was stepping, and both boots landed in a salt marsh mud hole. Immediately I lurched forward and lifted my boots in the air so that no water would go down inside, and so only got mud stains on my pants at the knees. Yes, I have been there and done this before, but this was the first time with no wet socks for the rest of the evening! There were worms everywhere around the whole pond, but not a sign of fish anywhere. Yikes, this was usually a good spot and I had never seen it dead before, although it did happen a week sooner than previous years. A week could make a big difference in the arrival of more fish. With all this sunny weather, the rest of the hatches might all start sooner or all at once, and throw me off my schedule, so I will be trying to find as many as possible before it is over.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #18, #19, & #20, (5/14/21)

The first two locations turned out pretty much exactly the same as yesterdays. Although the salt pond had a few fish today, but they were way out amongst millions of worms and most likely uncatchable even if you could reach them. Number 20 was a backup location that had saved the day a few times in the past. On the way home, I pulled up to a landing with a shallow muddy cove, and right in front was a worm hatch going on. There were only a few worms present, so these fish were hitting readily, and I was able to catch another 12 fish from 6:30 to 7:30. I think that I will hang out there this evening, and take it easy, no paddling, and no forced marches involved.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #21, (5/15/21)

Today’s outing was one of the most enjoyable and relaxing worm events that I’ve ever had. I was able to just drive right up to two different landings with muddy coves. I arrived early at 4 pm, so I could find out what time the hatch actually starts at this location, and the first swirls started at 5 pm. I caught 4 fish at the first spot, and then drove a short distance to the next landing where the fish were a bit bigger. There, I added 5 more stripers and one American shad. The second spot after many years of checking it, I had finally found it, and now with some intel, I can add it to my list for next season.
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Cinder Worm Hatch #22, (5/16/21)

Ok, I am spoiled now. Two days in a row with a very short walk to the beach with decent numbers of fish, and only a few worms. All along the whole quarter-mile-long beach, there were small pods of stripers here and there. Some of those bass were a decent size for an 8wt rod. Occasionally I would see some bigger swirls further out, and tried to target some of those. I managed to catch 9 fish today without trying too hard, and these were easier to hook up with, especially in the early stages of the worm spawn.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #23, 5/17/21
A repeat of the previous day, but there were a lot more fish present today. I was able to catch 10 fish within an hour and a half. Still no many worms, but the stripers and the schools of minnows were gobbling them up as soon as they appeared.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #24, (5/18/21)
I waited patiently for today’s hatch to start. Today’s high tide was at 5 pm, so it didn’t start until 6:30 during high outgoing, an hour later than the previous day. I was able to catch 8 stripers and 4 American shad, jumpers, one of the shad jumped clear out of the water 5 times. The weather this May has cooperated and so everything has fallen into place for worm hatches, although I did have to make a couple of adjustments to my schedule to keep pace.
 

deceiverbob

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Good morning to all-

Brother, you are sho-nuff flinging a cravin' on me with your accounts of the worm hatches and the stripers feeding on them.

I do believe I could get used to chasing after these fish. Now, if we could just convince the stripers to relocate to coastal Alabama and bring the worms with them, things would be just fine.

Please keep up with your accounts- most enjoyable reading.

you all keep well and be safe- Ed
Ed we have the worms on the Gulf Coast. Not sure of the species, but I have seen them swarming in lights by the thousands in Mississippi Sound and some of its smaller estuaries. I haven't seen evidence of much predation on them however. But once I caught a few reds from a lagoon on one of our barrier islands and their stomachs were packed with polycheate worms.
 

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Yesterday ended a 13-day streak from 5/6 to 5/18 finding hatches. You can't always expect to find something. For example in 2020, from late April to early June, at 6 different locations, I made 57 checks over 31 days, and took 50 water temperatures. I also took 34 hikes through woods and along marshland. I used my kayak 5 times in late May. There were 17 days where I got skunked. For my efforts last year, I found 14 hatches, and caught and released 104 stripers. This evening, I will change locations to look for something to happen.
 

Acheron

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Impressive dedication. Thanks for taking us along on the adventures!

I bet those are so much fun to catch!!
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #25, (5/20/21)

Our first location didn't pan out with kayaks, so heading home we stopped at a backup location, and found a mini hatch going on at sunset. Only a handful of small fish today, a last minute attempt in waders.
 

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Cinder Worm Hatch #26, (5/21/21)

On a day that I thought might be the last chance to find a worm event in the area that I fish, I headed east to explore several different locations. The first bay I came to was full of mung, so I knew that wouldn’t do. At the next landing, I pulled into, the wind was driving down the whole length of the bay, and it was too big of an area to cover in a kayak., so I headed 10 miles west to check out a couple areas where we found the mini-hatch the previous evening. I drove past the first 2 spots, and didn’t see anything, plus they were both exposed to the wind, so I continued on to the last spot on my list. This was an area that I had been checking for years without finding anything. When I arrived, I was greeted by new Dead End signs posted at the entrance to every street. Oh no, I took the 3rd street and went to the end, and found that they had placed boulders at the end of each street, so I turned around, and while doing so, looked over the bluff out of my car window, and saw two other fly fishermen in a cove there, and in front of them I saw a couple of small swirls. Well ok, this could be the start of something? So I found the street that ended with a Town Way to Water, with a small parking lot at the end. I put on my waders and headed a short distance to a sandy point on the north side of the cove. The point sure looked like a good spot to me, where the fish would need to pass by to get into the cove. It was now 7 pm, and there were 2 to 3 fish just starting to swirl. As time passed, more fish kept arriving, until there were almost 30 fish swirling and rising on worms, right close to shore. Forty-five minutes passed until I saw the first and now plentiful worms. By then, I had caught 5 stripers, but had trouble landing a sixth, and lost 2 fish and 3 flies in the process. I had tried using a 2-fly rig, and lost the dropper fly, and so tied on another one, and then lost the whole 2-fly leader to another potential 6th fish. It turned out that the leader loop at the end of the fly line had finally fell apart. Luckily, I had a spare rod rigged and ready to go back in the car, and a short walk took care of that problem, so I was able to get a sixth and a final 7th fish. It was getting dark by then, so I headed to the car. One of the other guys asked how I did? He said they were having trouble getting hookups, but enjoyed the evening anyway. Stripers are sometimes difficult to catch during a hatch because they can spit the hook out in a split second, but I have developed a technique to help prevent that most of the time. If this is to be my last hatch of the season, this one will be a very enjoyable one to end it with.
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