Through a confluence of developments having little to do with me, I wound up hosting Tom Rosenbauer and Enrico Puglisi on my boat during part of the 2008 Flies and Fins Rhode Island trip. A hack like me can take away a lot by watching a top technician and tyer work together to catch fish.
We hit a spot where striped bass were popping bait on the surface along the edge of a rip. Rosenbauer decided to switch out to floating line and tie on a gurgler to watch the topwater takes. The fish wouldn’t hit. Puglisi reached into his bag and gave Rosenbauer an EP floating minnow, a baitfish pattern with foam flotation subtly tied into it so you can’t see it without close inspection. The original pattern was too thick, so Puglisi pulled out scissors and trimmed it to match the hatch.
Rosenbauer tied it on, cast it, and, instead of stripping it, gave it one simple twitch and let it float on the rip like a stunned baitfish. Result: Awesome surface takes. Puglisi switched boats and tied on one for himself and started fishing the rip. Result: Awesome surface takes. Rosenbauer gave me a shot on the rod and I cast out and mimicked his presentation. Result: Awesome surface take. The EP Floating Minnow is now taking a spot above the popper, gurgler, and crease fly in my saltwater topwater cluster, pending further investigation.