Report: The Migration is here

I’m just happy it’s striper season again.

This was a long winter, although I feel like we collectively say that about every winter that passes. But this one felt especially long and cold. Let me tell you, to pull up to that school of crashing stripers, kill the engines, and hear the cacophony of screeching terns was an out of body experience. You forget what that sound does to you.

We started the weekend from shore in a few backwater areas and found signs of life but only one fish to show for our efforts. This is pretty common for this time of year. We get smaller schools that move in to the warmer water and feed with the resident fish. It can be real spotty fishing. Until the real migration starts…

The full vanguard of the migration reached Buzzards Bay late last week. And by Sunday afternoon, it was still raging. Acres of terns were diving on very small bait. Stripers hung just below the schools. We started with topwater, and got a few follows, but quickly switched to jigs and small swimbaits. Bingo. We worked Hogy Protails relatively slowly right off the bottom, sometimes employing a rod lift and reel retrieve.The bites were subtle, as if these fish were just swimming through the schools of bait with their mouths open. most fish were in the 20″ range but we did get a few up to 26″. While the bites were subtle, the fights were decidedly not. This class of fish is fat and strong, fresh off their coastal journey.

Tips on finding the migration? Look and listen for the terns. It’s that easy. In the next few days, these fish should start to move into the rivers and estuaries. Or they could completely skip them and move right through the Canal. Who knows what’s going to happen! if you like catching stripers, which you most likely do, I’d try and get out the next few days. It’s about to get really good.

Billy Mitchell

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