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EASTERN TIDES - FLY FISHING THE STRIPER SURF
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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #16  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:23 AM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

What is wrong with Fly Fishing the Striper Surf that it gets so little attention and has even been reviewed unfavorably in the Providence Journal? Why can't this book garner enough sales to get out of its advance? One reason is that an important part of the book was lost in production.

In any book the front matter -- also by, Forword, Introduction, acknowledgements, preface -- tells the reader something about the author, where the book is going, generally what the reader can expect. The reader doesn't really know it but that section establishes a bond with the reader that contributes to his over all feeling while enjoying the text. Without that front matter, the book is reduced to a collection of treatments which become facts without substance. So what did the editor of my fly fishing do? He lost it on the production floor (or maybe it blew out the window) and now people are buying and reading an incomplete treatise. Then I wonder why my sales are in the tank!
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  #17  
Old 06-22-2012, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Many of the equipment decisions fly fishers make are based upon the kind of water they fish and they are best equipped to decide that. Keeping in mind that my fly book was from shore -- here that (?) from shore! I recommended floating fly lines because how deep is the water you are going to be fishing? Most of our spots you can't reach water deeper than six feet. So the fish are going to see your fly all the time with a floating line. Now, Lou Tabory wrote a fine book about "Inshore" fly fishing and he recommended an intermediate fly line. Well that sink rate of fly line flew off the shelves of fly shops all over the striper coast. On fly shop guy told me at the time that he couldn't keep an intermediate in his shop. I have an intermediate and I can't tell the difference in its performance from that of a floating line. Both -- it and a floater -- work fine. But if lyou tell the lemmings in the fly world what they want to hear they love you. If you already have their confidence, they would tattoo their toes if you told them to.
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  #18  
Old 06-22-2012, 03:00 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

I use both but prefer the intermediate in the surf except in flat calm situations. With a bumpy wave light-medium surf situation the floater is almost impossible to keep taut while the intermediate is not affected by it.
BillH
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  #19  
Old 06-22-2012, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Frank,

You are right and true to your word with respect to shore fishing, and you define the context in your book.

One point in this thread is that you are absolutely correct with respect to needing a "name" to make it in the flyfishing publishing world.

Not being "in" that world and trying to get published is as difficult as being a scientist and not espousing traditional evolutionary concepts. Deviate from the accepted norm and you are ostracized. Be perceived as a "bait fisher" and you are doomed.

Heck, for a while, admitted you fished for trout with woolly buggers was tantamount to admitting to murder.
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  #20  
Old 06-22-2012, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

How much effort and expense did the Publisher give to promote the book in the fly fishing market?

On the other hand, let's be candid, saltwater striped bass fishing is a small niche market, we only think it's big but it's small across the whole country.

Striped bass fly fishing in the surf has got to be an even smaller niche.
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  #21  
Old 06-23-2012, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob D'Amico View Post
How much effort and expense did the Publisher give to promote the book in the fly fishing market?

On the other hand, let's be candid, saltwater striped bass fishing is a small niche market, we only think it's big but it's small across the whole country.

Striped bass fly fishing in the surf has got to be an even smaller niche.
True. That might be one reason why the publishers try so hard to make all things to all things, to broaden the appeal. My position of offering a specialty may work within some limitations. Even surfcasting for stripers is a niche subject. But keep in mind that broadening a book's subject is not something that I really can do becaue I am not qualified to leave striped bass. These years of fishing a lifetime have qualified me eminently for stripers but I know nothing about tunoids, wrasse and all the whacko species that they catch in Jersey. I'm all stripahs .
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  #22  
Old 06-28-2012, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Acquainted with many fly fishers, I cannot understand why more of them don't leave their coveted trout waters and fish for stripers. Even a schoolie will go into their backing which is a thing fly fishers live for. But most important is the effectiveness of using a fly as a lure choice. So often flies are the keys to the castle. The dawn that we found them on Race Bar in p-town some of the best surfcasters on the planet, representing hundreds of years of experience, stood there aghast as 30 pound up, with at least one to 43 pounds, foraged and rumaged for sandeels. Riggies, AToms, pikies did nothing. But a few tufts of white saddle hackle passing where they dug were duck soup.

A thing I like to do occasionally is to reread my books and last night I sat under a lamp and read 30 pages. Its a good book. (Even if I say so myself.)
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  #23  
Old 06-28-2012, 04:02 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

I never could figure that out either, Frank. I belonged to a TU chapter in New Hampshire. We had some really good saltwater fly fishermen but, we had many more who didn't do it and wouldn't learn. One of the guys I fished Atlantic Salmon with was like that. For three or four years I took him striper fishing in my boat. First time he came, he had a brand new Orvis saltwater outfit except for one thing - a double-taper floating line.

The first day we went, I caught over 30 schoolies in a morning and he caught two. I tried to get him to take one of my reels with a sink-tip or weight forward intermediate line and he wouldn't. His line was in the air more than in the water.

He came again the next year and I insisted he try my reel with an intermediate line. After an hour, I had caught 6-7 fish and he had caught one. He insisted in false-casting a long line and it collapsed every time right next to the boat. At the end of that hour he took my reel off and went back to his.

He said he just didn't feel he was really fishing if he couldn't false cast the line more than. He finally stopped coming out with me.
BillH
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  #24  
Old 06-28-2012, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

With the exception of summer brown trout..fly fishermen live in the daylight.
Stripers are a night time thingy. Good striped bass fishing can be had during the day in the surf during the spring and fall. But most of the time there are no bass in the surf in the day unless there is white water..which means wind. Fly fishing and wind is not a good combo.
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  #25  
Old 06-29-2012, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

I have only rarely been deterred fly fishing by wind. What shuts me down is rough water and surf. When a striping basket is needed, I am repulsed -- as I have said many times I dislike placing the stripping in a container. I am much more likely to fly fish in an estuary where it feels like a lake with movement so I can just drop the stripping in my forfront. There is a lot of that kind of water in the places Joyce and I frequent. Wind but no storms or waves. We also choose places where the bass are right at your feet and we fish right to the leader knot.
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  #26  
Old 06-29-2012, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Here is the front material of the book that was lost in production:


Introduction




The purpose of this book is to teach fly-fishing for striped bass from shore. Species specific, we are limited to striped bass with only an occasional digression in order to examine the striper?s relationship with bluefish or with those species incidental to normal striper fishing. Our methods are limited to surfcasting with the fly and do not include any treatment of fishing from boats; we leave that for someone with suitable qualifications who seeks to be more things to more people in a similar effort. Material here will be useful wherever stripers can be caught. Because of the limitations of that range, we are by default engaged in a regional examination, that of the eastern Striper Coast roughly from the Carolinas to the Maritimes along with adaptations to west-coast striper fishing shores.
Recent developments in striped bass overall, and in fly fishing in particular, have accelerated interest in fly fishing the striper surf. Previously, this activity was limited to an insignificant, esoteric group of hard cores. However, influences have come into play to change that. The cost of fly fishing equipment has lowered to the point where what is needed is comparable in price to traditional surf tackle. Acceptability of the activity has been enhanced by Hollywood movies. Popular ethics in fly-fishing over catch and release make it more acceptable to fly fish. Also, striped bass populations are at historically high levels with an excellent prognosis. Let?s define the craft of fly fishing the striper surf.
For the last 25 years I have appeared in front of fishing audiences with any number of illustrated seminars intended to teach surf fishing. Among the variety of subjects has been an offer ? popular only with a few groups such as certain chapters of Trout Unlimited and United Fly Tyers ? called ?Fly Fishing the Striper Surf.? Sound familiar? In my analysis of audience needs, a recurrent theme became apparent in the examination of the activity requiring an understanding of two interrelated disciplines: fly fishing itself and the behavioral characteristics of striped bass.
Naturally, these audiences knew as much as they needed to know about fly fishing to function in any angling environment. Nonetheless, when it came to understanding stripers, the species was a mystery to them. Some felt that stripers preferred a chunk of bait on the bottom, that bass were not a species which could be taken with any regularity with artificials. Others were certain that serious fishing for linesides was best carried on from a boat. The notion that many of the limits imposed on angling could be overcome by fishing at night was probably the most abhorrent for them, inspiring the greatest resistance.
The reverse ? understanding stripers and wanting to learn fly fishing so as to fish stripers this way ? has always been as rare as fly fishing the salt chuck itself. The apparent reason for this is that the technique has had little use when compared to the other activities related to the striper surf. Indeed, many, but not all, would as soon merrily carry on casting their plugs and chunk baits into the striper surf for their remaining years and would not miss fly fishing for a minute. To me, mastery of all the choices in surfcasting is an enviable application of surfcasting?s crafts, but that door swings both ways.
There is artistry in being able to do everything that works in the striper surf. Dedication to fly-fishing without suitable regard for one?s other choices can be a fatal error. Just as there are times when the fly is the best way to fish, there will be others when a live bait, a fresh chunk of that bait, or a plug, tin, or jig are the ticket. Only with a thorough understanding of all the methods that can be applied in surfcasting is it possible to make clear choices. It is therefore incumbent upon anglers to appreciate that a more utilitarian approach to surfcasting, embracing all the angling choices, is both productive and pleasurable. I think more of those who do it all.


ABOUT PICTURES

Of the numerous photographs within this publication there is a forceful, representative mix of fishing pictures that span over 50 years. This was done to effectively illustrate the winding road of angling I have experienced in that period of time. In addition to illustrating fly-fishing in the striper surf, these photos are used to authenticate my claims as a shore fisherman over that period. Examination of these pictures yields some interesting, historical issues that contribute to the book?s message. They record my start as a kid fishing and my fly adventures in the surf as a young man some years later. They also provide validation of my best striper on the fly along with night illustration of surfcasting that is rarely, if ever, done in media treatment of striper fishing. Further, in recognition of the passage of time, maturing of the author is evident; it is the way of things in our world, and photos that document that here are doing what they are supposed to do.



Acknowledgments

An old and persistent rumor about me is that I hold the lantern while my high school sweetheart chops the wood. Just because I retired eight years sooner from teaching than she, some think that I was very fortunate to have been married to someone willing to dress for work while her husband went out the door in the dark to hunt and fish.
Just because she rides home with me in the dull glow of an impending dawn, while sagging in the passenger?s seat after a night of fishing at the shore, many fishers view me as a lucky person. Doesn?t anybody care that a life of taking her fishing deprived me of that memorable cultural experience of fishing with the boys? Is it a big deal that I always had competent photographic support for my writing ventures? Should I be grateful for her editorial skills, when it is I who paid for her education? Do I have to be reminded, every time the subject of fishing and hunting with one?s wife comes up, how lucky I am to have her along for those mid-watch hunts for stripers? All the wives I?ve ever had did those things. Doesn?t everyone?s wife do those things? And don?t all husbands drag their wives? deer out of the woods, making for a symbiotic relationship?
I have been lucky. It is a big deal. It is the boys who missed something. What awful books I would write without her. If I had to hunt and fish alone, I would not go. After being married to Joyce for 47 years, I cannot imagine going anywhere without her.
To Joyce Daignault, mother of our four, grandmother of four, great grandmother of one. Get the gaff, lock and load, wood on wood, smile for the camera, swing deep.

Frank Daignault
Massachusetts Striper Coast
September, 2003




About the Author

Frank Daignault?s articles have appeared in national and regional outdoor publications since 1970. This is his sixth book ? all of which remain in print ? on striper fishing. He has also contributed sections to seven additional books by other authors on surfcasting. While primarily a striper writer, he has published widely on fly-fishing for trout and salmon as well as upland hunting and shooting. Administering a message board, ?Ask Frank Daignault,? on stripersurf.com, he is known for his wit and wisdom among dyed-in-the-wool surfcasters. He has lectured on fishing and hunting for outdoor exhibitions and sportsmen?s clubs since 1979. He has been honored by the Daiwa Corporation for his work in youth fishing and was named ?Contributor of the Month? July of 2003 by Salt Water Sportsman Magazine.
Daignault has picked blueberries, collected night crawlers, trapped for furs, worked as a floor boy in a woolen mill, and was a Navy yeoman at sea when he was 17 years old. Serving his apprenticeship at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, he has been employed as an aircraft machinist and also as a marine mechanic in the Polaris Missile Program. He earned his Master?s Degree in Industrial Education at age 41 from Rhode Island College. A former teacher of Technical Education in Johnston, R.I., he retired in 1989 after 23 years.
Warning



If you are afraid of the dark, either you are reading the wrong book, or I wrote it for the wrong person.
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  #27  
Old 06-30-2012, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Frank, your words about Joyce under "Acknowledgements", and at the bottom of that same post about fear of the dark, are EXACTLY why I wish you would...somehow...put into print...what you haven't...as of yet. Your writing isn't just good...it's original and different...
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  #28  
Old 06-30-2012, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Thanks, Meister, I never tire of compliments (maybe if I had more). I think the books failure has been covered at length here and simply was a conceptual failure from the very beginning. It is not enough to be first with an idea. Appeal is probably more important and, like Bob D'Amico said, it is just too small, too broken up a market. Not about good writing or breathtaking pictures. The basic concept of a book is the most important consideration. I think I have used up all my good ideas and better just stick to small jobs for small markets.
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  #29  
Old 07-18-2012, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Frank, I too wish that those words had made it into the final product!

As an aside, was reading a Ken Abrams article (I have no idea when he wrote this) and he had the following comments, among others, regarding fly fishermen approaching the striper surf:

" To overlook the obvious truths about striped bass behavior that have been known to striper fishermen for generations is peculiar to fly fishing alone but interestingly it is in fact singularly true. It seems that fly fishermen focus on equipment and trying to catch fish through a methodology that justifies and enhances the correctness of the equipment over whether it may or may not be appropriate for the situation. They overlook the obvious behavior of the bass in order to use what equipment is popular and disregard their personal results when those results are abysmal when compared to other methods of angling in the same situations. This is understandable as it is not pleasant to experience this but most fly-fishermen do not try to change their methods after having had this experience but blame their casting or their flies or their lack of skill with the equipment they are using as the cause of the event. They are in an equipment trance and do not seem to know it. This trance is obvious to everyone who striper fishes except to those fly-fishermen who choose to overlook it."
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Fly Fishing the Striper Surf

Great post, Rob. Few fly fishing writers say critical things about fly fishermen the way Abrams has. As a group I think fly fishermen are embarrassing. They commonly exhibit equipophile tendencies and rush to acquire every do-dad the industry offers. Fine, if something has a suitable function. For a while there was a lot of over-priced stuff in rods and reels but that seems to have quieted down. Though the notion of turned aircraft aluminum reels is still a joke for anyone who has ever been involved in manufacturing.

I wish we knew more about Kenny Abrams. He seems to have his own drummer which is something that I like. Too many writers are cookie cutter.
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