It is a Cheeky tradition to spend July 4th weekend chasing striped bass in coastal New England waters. We know we are not alone in this activity. The American tradition of striped bass fishing dates back to the first mention of the fish in 1607, when John Smith noted the unbelievable abundance of stripers in his journal upon arrival at Jamestown. The first Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth featured striped bass. By the 1880's, stripers where introduced in California, and at that point, striper fishing became popular on both coasts! We have come a long way since then...
Recently, our friend Jenny landed her personal best using the Limitless 475. While this is a fish of a lifetime, we wanted to share a few thoughts on targeting big fish like this as the summer heats up.
Sling the Streamers
It's time to break out the biggest flies in your box. You will reliably find the biggest fish feeding on large forage baitfish like mackerel, menhaden, and herring at this point. Beast flies, big hollow flies, kinky muddler minnows, and E.P. minnows are some of the flies always carry in the box.
When there is no visible surface action, look for pockets of deep, flowing water around structure and ambush points. Stripers ambush big baitfish in these areas, and a big streamer swung into the pocket can produce arm-wrenching takes. Depending on conditions, an 8-10 wt sink tip shooting head line will do the trick delivering your fly down the water column.
When Fish are Blitzing Big Bait, Bait and Switch Them
Have your partner cast a big hookless topwater plug to the fish, and then tease a fish into casting range. Set up your cast to intercept the path of the plug. When the plug is about to catch up with your fly, have your partner jerk the plug away so the fish's attention turns to your fly. Then strip, strip, strip!
Fish the Limitless Series
Armed with a fully sealed Gasket Drag System (GDS) that is impenetrable by the elements, your Limitless reel is ready for battle, whether you are wading the surf, throwing from rocks, or heading off in the boat! The Limitless 425 is our all-around go-to striper reel. Perfect for 7-10 wt applications, the 425 has an oversized arbor, yet is extremely light weight. Casting big flies on heavy lines is a breeze when fishing the Limitless 425.