Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stripers Should Be Big In 2012

Ok, time to do some serious striped bass fishing during June and early July. Yes, fishing for striped bass still exists in Maine. There has been much written about the declining striped bass stock along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Maine. I am probably more guilty of rattling that drum beat than most. But, I am also, maybe more passionate about striped bass fishing than most. I just want great fishing for linesiders all the time. With 43 fishing and 22 years guiding for them in Maine and on Cape Cod, I have seen some fantastic fishing.
But, what is fantastic striped bass fishing? Everyone has their own perception. For some it is catching 15 or more fish each time out. For others it is catching one monster fish for the entire season. Yet for others, a few 28 to 35 inch fish per week is a personal measure of fantastic fishing. Many people along the Atlantic coast consider great striper fishing as killing a limit each day out, no matter what the limit might be. A limit could be one fish over 28 inches or like in Maine one fish between 20 and 26 inches or one over 40 inches. The limit varies state by state which means different year classes are targeted state by state. When you catch a monster striped bass, you may consider that one fish for the season the measure of a great year, regardless of what the rest of the season was like for you. An example, one of my customers caught a 53 pound striped bass on a fly last year. Not only was that a fish of the year, but likely a fish of a life time for him and me alike. In contrast, I have had people catch a 26 or 28 inch fish and declare it as the biggest striper they ever caught. To them, that was a trophy fish creating a life time memory. This is the year to contact with a trophy fish over 30 to36 inches. That’s the size coming from the dominant 2003 year class which has been sustaining our Atlantic coast for the past six years. Stripers available in the 20 to 26 inch slot limit in Maine will be difficult to come by. Then there’s the big lie! As a guide, you are going to have an absolutely, terrible day of fishing when a customer comments, “it’s just great being out here in the beauty of Maine’s great outdoors”. They didn’t dish out hard cash to go fishing and catch nothing. It happens! Striped bass fishing is always better at night or first and last light of the day. When the biomass of fish is high, mid day fishing can be out of sight good. With the diminished biomass and limited, available year classes of striped bass expected this summer, I would recommend concentrating on low light times when the tides are running in or out. Be stealthfull, cast soft and accurately and be patient. Some good, trophy fish will end up on your hook this summer. Using flies, lures, plugs or bait; think big. Flies in the 12 inch range. Soft plastics with heavy headed hooks, up to four or five ounces in depths with a clean bottom. Surface and subsurface plugs in the eight to nine inch range will catch the bigger fish. Don’t forget that Maine law requires no more than two treble hooks on lures and you can’t use treble hooks while using bait. Tube and worm rigs in oil green and orange or red are productive. Don’t forget that big striped bass like a slow moving bait. They are lazy.

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