stripers during the nor’easter - pt. 2
Fly fishing for stripers on Cape Cod, or anywhere in the Northeast for that matter, means dealing with wind and rain. I’ve covered days 1-3 in part 1. As far as weather goes, day 4 was no different than the previous 3 days.
Friday evening, Alan and I grabbed dinner and then headed to a local brewery for a couple beers. If you’re ever in the Weymouth, Mass. area, check out Article XV Brewing Company. They’ve got some great beers and it’s dog friendly. While at Article XV, we devised a game plan for the next morning while watching a baseball game and waiting for my Wife to arrive later in evening. With a game plan of “we’ll figure it out in the morning” in place, we checked tide charts one last time and headed to bed to get ready to catch the morning high tide.
As we awoke Saturday morning with hopes of drier conditions, they were quickly diminished with a brief glance at the forecast and radar. In for more of the same windy and rainy conditions, we packed more extra clothes and hit the road. The only noticeable sign of hope for a change in weather was the sky was a slightly less dark shade of gray.
We found some fish on our first stop, a spot we had been to a couple times in the previous few days. We knew it had fish for a couple reasons. We caught fish there previously and with the amount of peanut bunker around, there was sure to be fish there again. Schoolie sized stripers and snapper bluefish were chomping on the bunker and as long as we got our patterns close, there was generally a fish eager to play. The fishing was decent, but by no means was it on fire. We picked away at a couple in a few hours. While there were fish around, there was not an overabundance and it appeared the bunker had scattered a bit with water temperatures dropping 5+ degrees overnight. We packed it up for another spot.
After a tailgate lunch of Hofmann coneys, pasta salad, apples, and cookies, we were refueled for more fly casting. Upon entering the water, I was not optimistic. The water in this particular area had turned cold. It was cold to the point I was sure the bait had moved out, taking the stripers with them. It was blowing hard and my 9wt was no match for the stiff wind. I rigged a 12wt to combat the wind. The first few casts didn’t show much promise, but then my line when tight. A solid strip-set and a minute or two of tug o’ war yielded a nice schoolie striper in the mid-20s (inches).
The water came alive then. Nervous schools of bunker danced across the water as the stripers crashed hard. We had ourselves a little blitz. For the next 45 minutes, the fishing was terrific. Feisty schoolies ate ferociously and we were fortunate and lucky enough to be in the middle of it. We casted frantically, taking advantage of the feeding frenzy knowing any second the feeding switch could be turned off and the water would appear dead. It was a great time and a great birthday present.
A few fish in and already having a blast, I made another hard cast, cutting the strong wind. Stripping line hand over hand, I retrieved the fly quickly. The line stopped and I was tight with another fish. This one was a bit different though. The initial big head shake was there, but then this fish ran. I cleared my line and it was still humming into the backing. The run stopped and I tightened my drag knob and the pulling began. Alan was hooked up also, but came over to help with the net. I appreciated the hand. It was my personal best striper. A couple of quick pictures, and it was back in the water. As I put the fish back in the water, an immediate kick and splash of saltwater to the face let me know it was ready as it swam quickly out of sight.
That was my last fish of the trip. I missed a few fish in the next few casts and then as quickly as the bite started, it was over. The water was suddenly quiet as the tide had clearly turned. We packed it up for the day. Game one of the ALCS was on and the Yankees need all the help they can get against Houston. Stripers and the Yankees winning game 1? Happy birthday to me.
Day 5. We awoke Sunday morning to find clear blue skies and no wind. We also found 50-degree water everywhere, no fish and minimal bait. The first area we hit was a pretty popular area that had supposedly fished well the day before. Out of about two dozen other anglers, both from the beach and boats, nobody had so much as a nibble in several hours. It was nice to soak up some Vitamin D though from the giant flaming orb that has become increasingly less inclined to make a daily appearance. We headed back to where we had success the previous day, only to find colder water and less bait. Two hours of casting yielded nothing. The area was empty, it was dark, and the mosquitoes were out. As the story often goes, the best weather day was the worst fishing day. We packed it all up. We were skunked, but cold beer and hot stew awaited.
Thanks for reading. As always, please feel free to like and share. Shoot me a message with any questions and comments and I’ll do my best to help out. Follow along as I’ll have more tips, pointers, and ties for fall striper fishing as well.