Catch date:4/26/2014 2:27:00 AM
Story date:3/24/2015 1:32:00 AM
I spent my off season as I said I would. Reading books and bowling with my Dad. I read A season on the edge, fishing the buck tail by John Skinner, and secrets of surf fishing at night by William A Miller. I read all three twice. I also spent some Christmas money, bonus, and tax money on some new gear. I even started logging my trips. I also picked up the night sport access, Gate way 2x2 permits’. I feel like I am ready for my second striper season now. My first trip out last week ( to my favorite jetty)went hitless and none of the other anglers around me pulled anything in so I blamed the freezing water temps and did not feel like reporting on that...
I decided to visit one of my Dad's regular spot that last season was always ending in no fish or hits. I was drawn to this spot for some reason I can't explain. To me the odds were against me. I felt it was too early in the season, water temps were still very cold, and it was raining hard. I have never fished in the rain before but this was my only chance so I left my house at 3:15AM and got to the spot at 3:45. As I got out my truck I had to block out the fear that was trying to overtake me. I kept asking myself why I came out here now. I quickly dismissed those thoughts and began to suit up and the answer was TO FISH!
I turned towards the beach and over the rain I could hear the surf crashing and thought good I should have plenty of white water. I had already made up my mind that I'd start with my artificial rigged eel because I had a few hours of darkness. The swells were 5-7 feet light sweep going west on incoming. When I got tired of throwing that I switched over to a bottle inspired by a video John Skinner posted. When that went hitless I said let me make a small move. I went east a bit but got discourage by some structure poking out of the surf. I didn't want to deal with getting cut off by that so I wanted to go back to the spot my Dad always fish. I put on a SP Minnow and went to "the spot"
It was just starting to get light enough for me to see the swells that were coming in. I said OK first light this is it I should catch one. On my second cast I had a light hit that I swung at hard. Oh yeah is what came out my mouth. I was not sure of what I had because of how small it felt. I was elated when I saw it was a Bass. It was only about 12-14 inches but all I could shout was they are here! And this is why I came out here to fish in the rain! After that I was too pumped. My next cast another fish on! This one had a bit more fight and I dropped it. By this time it was a bit lighter. I could see well enough to time the waves properly. They were coming in every 9 seconds in sets of three. It took some time to get the timing right to drag the SP Minnow through the white water. I went with a count to five and let it rip. I fought to keep the line tight with the waves pushing the minnow fast. I added pops every few cranks and bam! I’ve got another fish on. That fish and the next one threw the hooks. I figured the cause was one of two things. 1. I should have upgraded the hooks and split rings or 2. I'm not properly setting the hook.
From that point on I said I'm going to set the hook multiple times. (My mind flashed to a few more of John Skinner's videos when he said he sometimes set the hook three times to make sure of a good hook set) Next cast a light bump and a swing and I'm in. I set it three times to make sure this one doesn’t get away. This fish was even better and I didn't realize it until I beached it. I said this might be my first keeper...it only measured out to 25" but I was happy to release her to fight another day. The light hits slowed down as the tide was going back out by this time but not before landing another short. I went to the jetty that was about 100 feet away to try and reach them. I managed to foul hook a short behind the dorsal fin. That fish had a color I never saw. It was pail for a bass sandy in color. It didn't take much to free the fish because I crushed all my barbs. Nothing after that so I threw a diamond jig and a spoon but nothing more.
I was satisfied what 5 landed and 3 dropped this early in the season so I went home. This season should be huge! I now have a few permits and good gear so I'm confident that a keeper is on the horizon. Tight lines every one!