Got out to one of my favorite spots for schoolie striped bass on the last day of the striped bass season in NY waters. The conditions were perfect–about 10mph winds out of they were breaking onshore during a rising tide under very overcast skies. Several times I thought I could see rain across the sound towards Port Washington. I could see that on one side of the jetty the water was deep blue and clear, the other, stained with sand. It was one of those amazing views looking back toward the beach where you could see the water was higher on one side than another due to wave action and tide, despite being connected to the Sound. Water is an incredible element.
I worked both sides of the jetty methodically with a white and red clouser minnow on a sink tip. I would let the clouser sink for 3 – 4 sec about 8 – 10 ft and then strip it back in with long and short pauses. I had hits immediately, but I knew there would be big bass coming in close to feed on disoriented baitfish. I could also see several waves rolling (over sandbars) within casting distance, and knew there’d be bass lurking in the ditches waiting to ambush.
My first fish was a chunk, about 17″ and a fat belly.
Later on I was fishing on a particular little flat rock I like because I know there’s a nice hole in the bottom about 5 yards out. I was stripping back in when I hit a ton of bricks. My rod bent double and I saw one flash. I knew this would be the biggest striper I every caught if I could land it. There was a flash and then it ran…line stripped off and held the rod high. Then disaster struck. While I was pulling in the slack line I could feel the fish seize the moment to turn around and run back at me. I knew I had made a critical mistake. A moment later the fly “popped” out of the water. The cow bass was gone… Thank god I was on a jetty by myself, because the expletives were flying fast and furious. I even jumped up and down a few times.
I regained my patience and started fishing the stained water and was surprised to catch another 15″ bass on the tip of the jetty–probably prowling the outside edges.
I made my way back down the jetty and noticed the tide was high now and decided to make my way back down the jetty. I realized that waiting for the big waves to come in produced a better bite. Sure enough, out on the sound, a tug was pulling a barge and about 10 min. later the waves came in and hit the jetty. That’s when I connected with a really good fish. I kept mumbling to myself, keep the line taut, don’t give it any slack, play the fish, wear him out, don’t rush. I even game him an extra set just to make sure he wasn’t going anywhere. Finally, I landed my biggest striper so far this season.
In taking several 15 – 20″ bass, I keep wondering to myself…what’s it going to feel like to have a keeper striper on the end of the line, a 28″+ fish on an 8wt flyrod? I can’t wait to find out…time to make the visit to CT waters. I hear there are even a few blues still around!