We always look forward to the middle of June, specifically June 15th as this is the date when stripers typically start coming into their full glory. Well goodness me, these fish have outperformed so far this year and are here and are active. The island is now officially surrounded with fish being caught off the south shore and east side as well as the harbor and the north shore. If you take a boat around the island you will find piles of birds every couple of miles and under those birds are sand eels and squid and stripers and some blues chasing them around.
If you are not here and love stripers, find a way to get here and if you are here and are working too hard, take the time off!
As for where to go: If you are in a boat, just drive around the island. The western edges have fish, miacomet rip has fish, old man has fish, sankaty has fish and great point has fish. Great point is not as consistent as the southern edges, but there are fish there. And likely, on your way anywhere, you will see piles of birds on bait…Fish these as well. If you are fishing in an edge, you are going to want to fish something with a higher profile, a Squid fly pattern, 9-10 inch Hogy or Albie Snax or Sluggo. Try and leave the treble hooks at home as the single hooks work and are way better for the fish. if you are fishing birds, go for a low profile lure such as a small hogy paddletail or a deadly dick, something that mimics the sand eels. ***Remember, the reason the bass are so active in the rips this time of year is because they are chasing the squid, but in the open water, they can not catch the squid so they are after the sand eels.
If you are a beach fishermen, you are in luck as daily we are hearing people catch multiple fish in an outing. Again, the south shore has been hot. Cisco/Nobadeer and Sconset are the two access points we would push you too. As for what people are using, its is a mixed bag, but small weighted soft plastics have been key. Bombers work as well, but can cause some serious damage. Also, don’t be afraid to throw something on the surface such as an Atom Popper.
As for size of these fish, we are hearing of some fish in the mid to high 30’s being caught, which is awesome, but most of the fish people are catching are schoolies. As many of you have heard, this winter striped bass were deemed to be “overfished” which is a technical term meaning that fish are not reproducing at a fast enough rate to replace the amount of fish being extracted from the fishery. The simple explanation is that for years we have been over-harvesting the breeding fish To the naked eye, it seems that the Striper population is incredibly healthy, but the problem is that we do not have enough big fish to reproduce. We have heard from regulators that they plan on adjusting regulation in the Fall, until then, it is up to anglers to fish in a way that reduces mortality and to be thoughtful about keeping fish.
None of the above is meant to discourage fishing, more to be mindful while doing so. We have an incredibly special fishery that it is up to us to maintain. Keep fishing and tell us the stories.