This past weekend, I left campus and drove through the foggy, creepy and winding roads of the White Mountains to meet up with Postfly’s very own Dan Zazworsky and get a shot at catching my very first striped bass. Even though I grew up in Jersey my whole life, I had never once fished for striped bass and Dan assured me I was in for a ride. Even though we are now nearing the middle of October, I was still able to catch the end of the striper’s annual migration back down south and I learned a lot about fishing for these beasts of the Atlantic. Just in case you’re planning on gearing up for your trip this Fall or are interested in trying your luck at catching a striper in the Spring, here are the five key things I learned on my first striper trip.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled:
Yes, this goes for all of fishing, but there are a lot of factors to look for while fishing for stripers and you have to make sure you aren’t caught sleeping. Look for birds, blitzes, bait balls, current, dark water next to flats, fish roaming, channels, key structures while in low tide and most importantly, don’t get caught stranded on a sandbar as the tide comes in. Stay attentive and make sure you’ve got a good pair of polarized glasses to help enhance your fish scanning abilities.
Always be ready to make a cast and don’t get caught with your waders down because a blitz can go off in an instant or a group of fish can roam right by you. It’s tiring to throw an 8wt+ all day for sure, but you’ll be thanking yourself for plugging away and not giving up when you’ve got that fish in your grasp and you’re cheesin’ hard for the camera.
Be Patient (and Grab a Buddy):
Patience is a huge part of any fisherman’s mental tackle box, but you spend a lot of time waiting, watching, scanning, and thinking for the right moment. You can’t catch a fish unless your fly is in the water and your fly isn’t in the water if you aren’t casting. It’s also helpful to have a buddy around to chat while you wait for the tide to come in or throw out what seems to be your 10,000th cast.
The worst thing is to be uncomfortable while you fish and especially standing in the ocean I learned that there is no such thing as too many layers. Even though it was a sunny day, I made sure to bundle up layers, poof-ball hat and all. The real key to staying warm is a rain jacket—even if you think that you’re only going to wade up to your knees, the ocean doesn’t care, it will spray you with water anyway. Oh and also make sure your waders don’t have holes in them from some barbed wire you tripped on while trout fishing the other day… that doesn’t make for a pleasant surprise.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of These Fish:
As a former conventional tackle tournament bass fisherman, I figured I knew a decent amount about how any bass could fight. For me, smallmouth were always the kings of fighting, but these bass…these bass are smallmouth on steroids. Do not underestimate these fish, they will dog you no matter their size especially if you’re throwing some striper candy at them—as soon as you think you can bring them close and lip or tail them, they’re back out there halfway across the Atlantic.
Now that you experienced your first striper trip vicariously through me, pick up a Saltwater Box subscription from Postfly and use these tips to catch your own striped rockets.