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"Stripah" Time

Posted by BConk on Sunday, October 14, 2007

Last night, just before sunset, I was out doing a little fishing for striped bass/ bluefish down in Niantic and Waterford, CT - the next towns south from me.  I poked into three places, cast my lure for a while, then I'd move on and drive a few miles to see what was at the next good fishing spot.

My last stop was in Niantic where I walked under the railroad bridge to access the west bank beach where the entire Niantic River empties into the ocean through a narrow channel of very fast moving water. If you have Google Earth, and care to, go to

41°19'21.12"N, 72°10'38.60W 

and you'll see the spot I'm talking about. Notice that North of this spot is a large, protected and shallow body of water - Niantic River - and that is the perfect spot for massive schools of bait fish (menhaden..locally known as "bunker" silverside minnows, bay anchovies and, for the bigger predators, loads of hickory shad) The bait gather up in there, somewhat safe from the predators and with the big stretches of eel grass in the shallows of the river, there's plenty of small minnows and plankton for them to eat.

As the tide goes out, these bait fish are drawn out into Niantic Bay by the powerful currents and, there in the mouth, hungry bluefish and stripers lie in wait for the schools.

I got there and there were two younger fishermen just standing there waiting, talking and looking out at the water now and then. Since I wanted to fish right in front of them, I asked whether they were fishing and one told me that they were waiting for the bait.

So I cast and moved along the beach a little with no strikes..and after about 1/2 an hour I made my way back to the two guys. I started talking to them and in the last bit of daylight I saw, in the middle of the channel behind them, what looked to me to be hickory shad flapping around on the surface in the current. I asked, "Is that what you're waiting for?" and they turned and said "Oh yeah!" Then they both cast weighted treble snag hooks into the school of bait and started reeling in and jerking their rods to snag a fish.

Within a few moments, one of the guys had a baitfish snagged and he released the spool on his spinning reel, feathering the line with his finger, and let the snagged hickory shad swim out a little further into the rip. POW! I could literally see the splash as a fish took the snagged shad. Soon he was fighting a fish. He landed it a few moments later - a fat, healthy "keepah stripah" of about 38 inches length. I held his fishing rod for him and loaned him my pliers as he unhooked the bass - bait swallowed whole...just to give you an idea of how big the mouth on a striper is, the bait was a hickory shad of probably 10" length and broad, maybe 3 inches or more from top to bottom.

Often, when these fish take a live bait fish, they swallow the hook so deeply that you can't get it out of them without killing them in the process. ...more on that later. But this one was hooked perfectly, and since the fisherman knew there'd probably be more, he released this one relatively unharmed because he could and it would in all likelihood survive.

No sooner had he landed his when the other fisherman snagging bait connected with his own striper, this one only and inch or so less in length. As luck would have it, this one too was also hooked in the lips, so he released his catch as well.

So - in less than 5 minutes, I watched two guys throw $1.59 weighted snag hooks into a a school of hickory shad and catch the live bait that would land them two very respectable stripers. The two guys told me that one night earlier that week they caught 12 and 14 "keeper" stripers respectively.

I've seen this type of fishing before and I've done it myself years back - but I've always had problems with it ..and with fi



7 comments on “"Stripah" Time”

fisher Says:
Sunday, October 14, 2007 @12:48:04 PM

I still prefer a live eel, and a gamagtsu circle hook. Sounds like a sweet spot you have there }:~))

BConk Says:
Sunday, October 14, 2007 @3:14:22 PM

I like them Gamakatsu circle hooks myself - I used to tie anchovy flies on the black ones for catching False Albacore and Bonito

HoosierGal Says:
Wednesday, October 17, 2007 @11:08:46 PM

I don't know nuttn about fishin's.. but boy what I wouldn't give to be on your beach.

BConk Says:
Thursday, October 18, 2007 @7:49:57 AM

I dew declare Hoosie! If this blog hadn't been all about snaggin' fish and slinging eels I might construe your comment as being mildly flirtacious. (insert winky face here)

 Of course it would be just like me to assume a pretty lady meant something she didn't...and that's one of the reasons I took up fishing in the first place: it's harder to get into trouble out there  ;-)

But - taking a different tack - it is a very nice beach and the town has built a mile long public boardwalk that allows people of all ages access to take in the sights and go fishing along the beach. It's nice to see so many people walking along it - as long as they know not to sneak up behind a fisherman when he's about to cast....unless they were actually looking for a free nostril piercing that is  :-O

HoosierGal Says:
Saturday, October 20, 2007 @1:44:08 AM

LOL.. you're a hoot.. and you're still standing on that rock, just a'waitin' to be pushed off. LOL Free nostril piercing.. lol.. ouch. Reminds me of the time my youngest niece stuck a fork tine through her mother's nose. lol.. still funny, but a painful thought.

Everybody knows how much I love the beach.. I've got dry land fever in a bad way.. I've got a weekend off in November.. maybe I'll hit the Gulf coast and curb my hankerin'. Life is just too short.... and yes.. i'm jealous of your beach.. right there.. so close.. sheesh.. luckyduck.

BConk Says:
Saturday, October 20, 2007 @8:42:09 AM

See? I knew I was probbly misconstrooin' things. I gotta brush up on my anti-misconstroo-ational abilities. 

By the way Hoosie - if I'm ever invited to eat with your family, I'll provide the plastic flatware :^O

HoosierGal Says:
Sunday, October 21, 2007 @4:11:04 PM

There should be an advertisement for plastic flatware... something along the lines of, 'use plastic, save a nostril.'

You worried I might poke you er sumthin? LOL

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