Things change awfully quickly in the world of striped bass fishing. As soon as you think you have them figured out, the fish throw you a curve ball and leave you scratching your head.
Earlier this week we found boat loads of bass in relatively shallow water, less than 30 feet. These areas were for the most part, pretty close to shore. When the bass are in shallow water they are easier to find and catch, simply because there is less water for them to be in.
When the biomass of striped bass heads further offshore things often become more challenging. Especially if there are no birds or breaking bass to show you the way to the action. With no visible signs of life the only fall back plan is relying on past experience and sonar.
Wednesday evening I had another father son duo, this time Eric and his father Bob. Both these guys are experienced outdoorsmen who don’t mind getting rained out – which was good because there was plenty of rain in the forecast!
We worked the shallows where we had been finding good action for the past 7 days or so, however things were pretty quiet for the most part. We did find a big school of bass in 32 feet of water, and luckily were able to pull a few nice ones from the school before they scattered and disappeared into the abyss.
If you haven’t already checked it out, you can view a video about locating striped bass using your sonar by clicking here.
After losing track of that nice school of fish we worked our way into deeper water where we eventually (after close to an hour of searching!) once again found the mother load.
Fortunately these bass were aggressive and had no trouble sucking down the eels as soon as they touched the water. I was concerned that the action might die as the sunset, but it did not.
We managed to land 12 nice fish all in the low to high 20 pound range before I noticed some serious weather coming in from the west. We immediately reeled in the lines and made our way back to the dock. Good thing we did because a pretty serious lightning storm rolled through a little while after we were on land. Good timing!
Yesterday I had another fun trip, this time with my uncle Johnny and cousins Erin and Kelsey. Last time I had my uncle on the boat I was 15 so I was really looking forward to this trip. Both Kelsey and Erin were looking forward to catching their first ever striped bass.
Much like the day before the shallows were vacant so we headed for deeper water. We eventually marked just a couple of fish but I decided it was worth our while to chuck the baits out. Good thing we stopped because there ended up being a whole bunch more bass in the area.
Almost immediately my uncle and two cousins were all hooked up with nice bass. A triple header to start the trip!
After that solid start it was back into search mode. We spent maybe another 25 minutes searching around before we found another patch of bass. Unfortunately no takes, so we continued searching.
As the sun was setting we finally found the school we were looking for. This was a massive amount of fish!
The red arrows below indicate bass markings on the side scan sonar. Little tough to see because of the glare, but we were surrounded to say the least.
I think my uncle and my cousins were pretty impressed by how hard these bass fought. Little different than battling the largemouth bass that they were accustomed to catching. I think they enjoyed the change of pace.
We fished for a while longer before heading back to the dock around 9pm. Final tally was 10 keepers up to the low 30 pound range. Not a bad trip at all considering how scattered and difficult the schools of bass were to find, compared to earlier in the week.[slideshow id = 25]
All in all it was another fun and productive trip.
Click here for more information on this trip, the techniques used and areas fished.
Good luck if you head out this weekend, I hope you are able to find some good action.