Weekend Warrior: Fear of missing out on stripers

My FOMO runs strong this time of year. Every second I’m not fishing is spent thinking about fishing. Every scroll through my Instagram feeds brings me pictures of fresh caught stripers by all of you guys, and I find myself swearing under my breath and locking my phone, only to pick it back up in thirty seconds to look at more pictures of bright, lice-laden fish. I dream of tides, wind direction and barometric pressure.

Each night I skip the night tide makes me crazy. What if the big push of bass came through? What if the southwest wind brought the first massive feeding frenzy of the year? What if the cows came up the herring run? To sacrifice these what-ifs for a few hours of sleep? This is what drives me crazy.

The full arrival of the stripers, the two to three weeks where the migration is at its peak is the most exciting, chaotic, and unpredictable window of time in our striper season. Each new tide brings possibility. Here’s my recommendation. Get out and fish right now. The Spring run began around seven to ten days early for us along the Cape this year. And the migration is about to blow wide open. Don’t miss it.

Keith found the bass this week around Buzzards Bay

Fishing Plan: All stripers

In case you didn’t notice, I’ve got a one-track mind right now. And all I’m thinking about is stripers. We’ll get into the other saltwater species next week (tog, seabass, haddock). Here’s how I’ve been planning and categorizing my striper trips lately. I plan to hit each one of these tactics this weekend.

River and estuary

Fishing the rivers and estuaries around the Cape is probably your surest bet at finding stripers right now. I hit on some of the tactics in last weeks Weekend Warrior, but the biggest thing you need to remember is moving water. During the day, the bass will be hanging in deeper holes, so use your Google Earth or Navionics app to scout these out pre-trip. Dawn, dusk and nighttime will give you better shots at bigger fish and fish on top. This is a great time to get that fly rod going.

Both outgoing and incoming tides can be effective this time of year. But specific rivers definitely have a better tide. And the only way to figure this out will be to put your time in. I’ve found the outgoing to be the most productive in my recent trips to the rivers around the Cape.

Hot lures have been the Heddon Zara Spook Jr (fished slow), the Storm GT 360 Searchbait, 3″ Storm Wildeye Shad, and Rapala XRap. Anglers are also doing on smaller bucktails with porkrind or curly tail jig trailers.

Here’s a quick tip for fishing rivers: Keep moving and keep switching up baits. I’ve found that my action has been in spurts. I’ll go an hour without a bite, but after moving locations or changing a bait, quickly catch four or five bass. Stay mobile.

Open ocean and beachfront

Ocean blitzes have popped up the past few days in Buzzards Bay, the Sounds and Plymouth Bay. Most fish have been smaller, but there have been fish up to keeper size mixed in. The biggest blitz I’ve seen happened in Buzzards Bay, as loads of bait and bass moved in during the afternoon tide. These blitzes will continue for the next few weeks. And you never know when the really big girls will move in (a certain 60-something pounder comes to mind from a few years back).

Chasing ocean blitzes is best achieved from a boat, but surf and jetty anglers can still get in on the action as the bass and bait get thick. From shore, I’ve always found it’s best to create a driving route, where you can hit 5 or 6 spots in a row to check for birds. This way, you can stay mobile. Make sure to bring your binoculars.

Most of the bass are feeding on bay anchovies, silversides and squid, so match your baits accordingly.

Herring Run

I won’t say much about this, but I scouted a herring run with a herring run expert/fly fishing master (who I will reveal at a later date) this morning and we found some really promising signs. I’m going to figure out how to fish these herring runs. Stay tuned. Report to follow. Hopefully this report includes pictures of massive stripers. I have high hopes.

That’ll do it for this fishing forecast. What are we thinking? 36″ fish in the Bay this weekend? I think so. Go out and get ’em.

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