Striped Bass Catching Weather Inbound
Storm and overcast conditions are perfect for surf fishing for larger striped bass
Unless you live under a shell, the striped bass run has been underway for a while now. One thing that annoys Delaware surf anglers. The striped bass rarely run our beaches in blitz conditions like Jersey. We rarely see a blitz, mostly because no one is there to see a blitz. Yet they happen on occasion. Plenty of striped bass run our coast line, but you have to be there, they don’t hang around. Today’s conditions (picture below) and this incoming nor’easter weather is perfect for that too. Don’t sit around waiting to hear about a hot bite, you will miss it.. Dave Moore landed four migratory striped bass with four casts this morning at Assateague.
Striped bass have incredibly sensitive eyes. Big eyeballs with dense rod receptors collect light to the point they can almost see in the dark. The larger bass don’t like bright light and avoid shallow water in brighter conditions it seems.
At night they can see the bait fish and the bait fish can’t see them, a huge advantage for feeding. There has been an ample amount of research done by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science .. “A recent study (2007) from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (1) has shown that stripers are sensitive to a large part of the color spectrum and their retina is sensitive to very rapid movements. The middle of their spectrum sensitivity is yellow and yellow green. This means their peak response was to the color yellow. Is it any wonder that chartreuse colored lures work well? According to VIMS researcher Andrij Horodysky, “Nothing in the wild is ever chartreuse, but the color is right smack dab in the middle of a striper’s visual range. They can see it really well.” … Dr. NEKF (New England Kayak Fishing Site)
When we get this foggy, overcast weather it is time to fish for larger striped bass during the entire day. They really like the rough water to hunt for food.
Granted fish are caught during the day, but much more are caught in these sloppy conditions. Also your migratory bass come closer to shore at night and predawn to hunt and feed, that is a normal “pattern” for most predatory fish.
There have been some quality bass caught before the sun rises. The Delaware state striped bass record was broken in these same temperatures and conditions it was just fall, not spring.
Would I fish this nor’easter? Absolutely, and I will, but you have to be careful of the surf conditions. Big waves, wide wash and rip currents on the beach. Be careful along the edges of the surf where the beach starts to drop or slopes. That tends to get eroded away quick. If you are standing there the sand can wash right out from under you. That happened during a tournament years ago. Chris had the entire section of beach wash out from under him and drag him into a rip current. His waders became a drift sock. I thought I was going to have to call my buddy’s wife. To tell her that her husband drowned, while surf fishing.
I don’t know if parks will close the drive on beaches, but I would not drive out in this storm. Water tends to push to the dune lines. Best to walk the beach and cast. These fish are moving in these conditions, they will not sit still. Now what should you use to catch?
There are many options. Bait is sand fleas, clam, and bunker chunks obviously. Peeler crab is working well for surf anglers too it and clam are tough to keep on a hook in rough water.
Holding bottom will be a nightmare to impossible. Use storm sinkers or sputnik sinkers, the latter being preferred. A surf rig with or without a float is fine your gear is going for a ride. Don’t use a fish finder use a fixed rig. The finder will just tangle like mad in the rough surf. I usually skip the sand spike, it is one less thing to carry, and I like to throw lures. Hold your rod, because in these conditions you have to reset your line constantly.
Surf casting is preferred in this slop, but that can be tricky with a 40 mph cross wind. Heavy spoons, a six ounce Hopkins are good to use. Larger heavy plugs as well. Hard part is working a plug or spoon in the slop but they produce fish on the hunt.
The surf wash will be very wide, shallow, loaded with stirred up bait, and striped bass and bluefish hunting. Putting some fleas on a hook, and a heavy enough weight to control the “drift” of the gear. By letting the fleas Tumble and drag around in the wash, it can produce a catch. You are definitely holding the rod now. If you pay attention you will see fish streak through twelve inches of water. These are usually the schoolies but a big girl or gator bluefish might roll through too.
Big bluefish follow migrating striped bass. There have been some nice sized bluefish caught randomly as well.
Good luck, be careful, fish smart. Best to go with a friend or crew in case of any issues. Skip the pictures, those fish are going to be tough to get back into that slop too.