The first verse of striper season begins with silence and a subtle, increasing hum. Then, two words whispered through trusted circles of fishing buddies, shared on fishtagram pages and across fishing forums threads: they’re here.
The stripers are here. How long have we waited to hear or utter those two words? How many cold nights have we endured? This is the beginning. I repeat, the stripers are here.
Despite the unseasonably bitter cold, unrelenting wind, and at least one snow storm, the stripers arrived this week in Buzzards Bay–the migration so far a whisper, not a bang. But that’s okay. We’ll trade freezing cold fingers from 49-degree water temps for a few lice-covered schoolies this time of year.
Fish are filtering into Buzzards Bay, and I would think the South Side of the Cape, as we speak. Every tide will begin to bring in new fish. The cold temperatures the past few days hasn’t exactly halted the migration, but it’s sure given some of these fish lockjaw, especially on the morning incoming bite.
We found small schools of fresh fish in the rivers around Buzzards Bay the past few days. These lice-covered southerners were mingling with residents, mostly of the dink-variety. Outgoing tides seem to be producing best, but as long as the waters moving, you’ve got a shot for migrating school to pass through. Most of these fish ave been 18″-24″, but there have been bigger fish around.
After warmer nights or days, when the water temps are above 50-degrees, Jumpin’ Minnows and other small walk-the-dog style plugs have out-produced any other lure. Otherwise, we’ve been throwing soft plastics on jig heads to fish the entire water column. Joebaggs Patriot fish, Hurley Sand Eels, and the smallest size Hogy Paddletails have been the best producers.
The early bite was mostly in the rivers, but the past few days, we’ve seen more fish out front along the beaches. This is the time of year to be mobile. Create a plan where you can hit four or five different spots in a tide. It’s very helpful to have a kayak so you can move down river and out front as the tide runs out.
The ten day forecast looks warm, so I fully expect the bite to get very good in the next few days as more waves of migrating fish enter the bay, and more bait gets active. I’, going to be spending my time hitting the rivers and the mouths of estuaries around dawn and dusk. Especially if they have a herring run.
In the boat or kayak, the open water in Buzzards Bay may light up on one of these warm mornings. We’ve already had reports of short windows of blitzing bass. This will only get better as the water temperatures heat up.
Tomorrow, we’re dropping the Mal de Mer for her shakedown cruise. We may even try and fill the cooler with some haddock. Weather’s looking prime!
Get out there and catch the wave.