Friday, June 10, 2016

The Fireheart of a Striped Bass

Random, Massachusetts for 3 days in June. My friend Phil organizes a Striped Bass fishing trip in the spring of every year to somewhere in the Northeast USA. Sometimes even Bluefish and Shad show up. I had let my alleged life get in the way too many years in row and had not gone on this since 2006. So I decided it was high time to go. 

The Rental House. Sleeps 12 and there were 9 of us - various fishing ability levels and wake up times. We all snored apparently. 

Happy Sad Mud Flat Boat Ramp Fun Times USA.  Our secret boat ramp for the 3 days. We had to kinda beg for access to us this semi private ramp. The one hitch about fishing this area of Massachusetts was the limited access to water. 

Phil and I have similar fishing styles in that we both prefer artificial lures, light tackle and shallow water. So we teamed up and explored the shallow bay right by the rental house in the canoe. 

I brought a surf and jetty selection of lures as well - but ended up just flats fishing.
Just using the weedless lures in the right half of the tackle box here.  

We explored the islands in the bay searching for Stripers. Through some luck the Stripers crossed our path in about 15 minutes in on day one.  The bass were definitely more aggressive on the falling tide. But we slowed our retrieves down and got into serious fish on the flood tide as well.  On this first day we had the Stripers as well as the biting insects feeding at a fever pitch - the "no see ums" were all over us. Not a place where your girlfriend or wife could just read a book in the canoe.

Phil connects with a Striper on day one.  Most of these grassy banks dropped off steeply into 4 feet of water. 
This is a Striper that we had accidentally walked right up to and spooked out of a tiny bay. The fish turned and did a 180 and came back and killed his lure. 

We passed this island many times on many water levels. It was here that we first really got into fish. 

Are you happy now bitch. You are into fish. 

Calling in to let the rest of the group know we had found fish. 

When Stripers enter shallow water they come with a single purpose in mind - to eat aggressively.  We had them pulling lures off the surface with explosive and loud strikes right in front of us and peeling line off the reel in several long runs before being landed. 

Entrepreneur and Inventor Alex Chatham finds a mongo lobster claw. 

I think about the life this armored warrior had. 

Hiking north along the beach to find an inlet. 

Strangest place to hook a Striper. A large salt bay drained out really fast over clean sand and gravel looking like a martian chilean river  and Warren connects with his first Striper of the trip. 

A great spot we found in a back bay.  The fish were whipped into a frenzy off this point on a falling tide.  No other fisherpeople in sight. I cannot believe the locals were not all over these spots. We saw very few other people over the course of the 3 days. Perhaps the locals don't think you can catch large bass on these essentially mud flats.....

I'm unfortunately really good at catching Sea Robins on artificial. Someone always yells about how good they are to eat shortly after you land one. 

Jon Piaseki - in red shirt -  avid fisher and stone mason - is scared for the first time in his life as he stares at a broken coffee maker. 

The Group - Social Critics Fishing Club. We split up into groups of 2 to 4 to fish for the day - Depending on the specific type of fishing we were doing. 


Assisting Walter in landing his first Bluefish ever of all time. 

Due to the teeth and general mean attitude - handling large Blues is not for beginners.  An amazing open water fish that often graces shore anglers with "Blitzes" - where schools of frenzied Bluefish attack bait at the surface of the water close to shore. 

Phil hooks into a really really big Striper and a boring old sandy beach !! photo credit:Warren
Lipping the fish and helping hm land it. 

As bad ass as fish get in only 4' of water. 

Happy Birthday Phil.  Phil dragged the huge Striper back to the car and filleted it up and then fried it up for all of us. 

A Great trip. One of the best fishing experiences that I have ever had.  I may have landed 75 fish.
And -  Though Jack Crevalle is still my favorite fish - Stripers are now a very close second.  I actually had the airport cab drop me off at a city park near the airport and caught 2 nice Stripers there as well. 

The cool little island on high high tide on our last day there. We had the privilege of fishing a new moon - with really high high tides and really low lows.  Though the fish were rarely if ever hitting in the core of the strong current the new moon seemed to help. 

A hard charging Striper digs in and peels line off the reel with a will that is hard to break.  Nothing you hook in freshwater really prepares you for this. 

Releasing the very last fish on the last day. 
Finally back home to Bri's awesomeness. I could not do any of this without a cool partner. Now - Back to inspecting houses the rest of the summer. 

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