Well this has been an eventful few weeks, to say the least. We’re livin’ and breathin’ the fall run over here in Seven Stripes land! Slot stripers, frothing albie feeds, and giant Charlie and his smaller blitzing counterparts have graced our paths in the last stages of this saltwater fishing season. These past few weeks have more or less made up for the relatively disappointing striper season we’ve experienced this season.
Fall Run Stripers
The light tackle mayhem continued in Plymouth and other South Shore locales the past few weeks. Big blitzing bluefish soon gave way to more consistent and tide-long topwater feeds featuring bass up to 26″. That is, until last week, when a push of 28″-32″ stripers moved in and started slurping juvenile sea herring and silversides along with the micros. On one trip, we ended up with close to 70 fish, 6 of which were legit slot-sized bass. They were a bit finicky, so a slow worked Jumpin’ Minnow, White Albie Snax, and a jigged 1oz Hogy Pro Tail did the damage.
I know I complain about the disappointing striper year, and I’m bummed about the lack of larger bass roaming our waters in any numbers, but the fly and light tackle fishing around Browns Bank, inside the Bay, and up the coast of the South Shore has been the best I’ve ever seen. I can only believe that next year, this trend will continue and the bass will be just a little larger.
This stage in the fall run can drive you a bit crazy. We had those larger fish in the same spot for four tide cycles, and on the fifth, they peaced right out of there. This is indicative of the late stage fall run. Fish may stop in your area on the way home or they may not. They may stop for half a tide or for a week. The only way to find out is by putting the time in. We’ve got a few more weeks of migrating bass action, when any size fish could come to us on any tide. After that, it’ll be onesie-twosie big fish and of course the one and two year old fish hanging in the harbors and salt ponds. So let’s make these few weeks count.
Albies have definitely thinned out since the craziness that was mid-September. Prior to the big blows, Albie fishing was pretty insane around the West End, East Falmouth and down the Elizabeths. Funny fishing remained okay for the few days following, but seemed to completely fizzle out in those locations by last weekend.
So, when Greg Cordeiro and I set out to search out the last pods of albies in our waters, we fully expected to find lots of empty water and maybe a few shots at stray fish. And when we found a few sipping schools of albies around Nobska, my expectations were actually met. But when I got a tip from a buddy that “there were albies” 20 miles away (in the fog), we had already made our decision: Send it one last time for Al.
I can’t even put into words what we experienced when we arrived. Huge piles of terns were rafting on the water picking at bay anchovies and silversides. Our friend Albert had all of his friends there, ripping through bait balls and porpoising through the air. We had sustained feeds for close to the entire tide. Albies would stay up for 5 minutes at a time. For most of the blitz, they were slashing on all sides of the boat, their neon green bodies lighting the water under the dreary fog.
These fish were mixed in with blues, so it was important to reel or strip fast. Epoxies skipped across the surface were the best bet. Otherwise, say goodbye to your jig. The fly of choice was an all white albie dart-r.
I have no clue if these albies will stick around after another blow yesterday. I get the sense the albies will be somewhere for the next week or two–you’ll just have to burn some fuel to find them.
First Tuna in the Books
By all accounts (and I’m only echoing what I’ve heard from a other far better tuna anglers than I) this season has been the best in recent memory for all size bluefin tuna. East of Chatham, Stellwagen, and inside the Bay has absolutelty lit up at different times in the past few months.
Last week, team 7S got our first tuna on the deck. The bite happened at quite possibly the last possible second, with the 10-minute warning counting on the clock. After a 90 minute fight, we were officially tuna fishermen. On the way back, we saw footballs crashing through balls of bait.
With a giant in the books, we’re going to try and seek out some smaller tuna willing to hit lure or jigs. Light tackle tuna action should only improve in the next few weeks. We’ll be focusing around Middle Bank, Peaked Hill Bar, and inside the Bay.
Lots of options this month for the fishing obsessed! While the trout streams and largemouth ponds are calling my name, I won’t give up on the salt yet. Let’s stick it out.