It’s April again. You know what that means, right? Freezing cold fishing trips, numb fingers, leaky waders, and fishless days, all in the name of trying to get a head start on the striper season. Doesn’t that sound like fun!? I think it does. But there are other options for us this month if you don’t want to play the low percentage pre-migration holdover game for one or two 12″ stripers.
I’ve been trying to hone my early spring Largemouth Bass game since early March, and let me tell ya, folks. It’s not working. From what I’ve gathered, ice out and pre-spawn bass fishing can be challenging. I have had success finessing soft baits and dropping jigs down into deeper pockets and around ledges. Another method that seems to work well for others but I can’t buy a bite with is using crank baits or jerk baits around said ledges. Once this little April freeze passes through, the bass should begin staging a little shallower and get a little easier to target. Herring runs are starting to fill up, so you’ll know where the big bass are hanging. Until then, there are plenty of pickerel, crappie and bluegill who will happily eat those ugly flies you’ve been tying.
I’ll be honest. I’ve only fished for stocked trout once this Spring so far. And I got skunked. I’m not usually one to complain about crowds but man, there are a lot of people hammering these stocked ponds. I like trout fishing the kettleponds because it’s relatively low stakes, simple, and calming. It’s tough to be any of those things when the shoreline looks like the Area 51 during the June new moon.
Your normal holdover haunts will begin to fish real well starting right around now (although these cold temps may shutter the bite for a bit.) If you don’t know any holdover locations, you haven’t been paying attention. Look in river, estuary and back bay system with deeper pockets, close to a herring run with mud flats, blah blah blah. You know the drill. It’s about finding the right depth. Some of the rivers run super shallow, so they only fish well on on either side of high tide. If the system you’re targeting is deeper (15′-20′ in pockets at the lower tide stages) the low tide may fish better as it will congregate the fish into easy to sort through locations.
In my local system, I saw a big school of either grass shrimp, chubs, or silversides hanging out in the shallow sandy areas. This time of year, it’s small bait city. Plan accordingly. Throw a Hogy 1oz Pro Tail.
Be wary of claims of fresh fish in the next few weeks. The market on graphic designers who can add Photoshopped sealice to striper flanks is growing by the day. You can’t trust anything you see on the internet. Don’t wait for the “THEY’RE HERE!@!!!!!” posts on the forums. Get out and make your own report.
Haddock and a bonus cod season is open right now, but I haven’t heard of anyone catching any inshore yet. Last year, the haddock moved in middle of the month, so I’d expect it to happen around the same time this year. But who knows, maybe they’re out there right now! Go check it out. Let me know what you find. The Mal de Mer is about a week away from being ready to splash.
Here’s what I’m pumped about for 2021: downsizing. New for this year, we’ll have an Oldtown Sportsman PDL in the fleet, in addition to the restored Hobie Power Skiff, ready to comb the backwaters and flats for stripers. Where my yak gang at!? I’m hoping to spend a lot more time exploring new areas from the kayak this season. Some of these areas include: Southside bays, Chatham rivers, Barnstable, Bayside flats, and the Westport River.
If you haven’t subscribed to the 7S Pod, I don’t really know what you’re doing with your life. Listen to it anywhere you get your podcasts! Got some big guests lined up for release soon. Stay tuned.