Finding a good place to fish is the most challenging and important aspect of any fishing trip. The best gear and most effective baits won’t catch a thing if there are no fish in the area you are fishing. Therefore it’s important to develop a strategy for finding productive waters.
Entire books have been written on how to find striped bass. There’s no doubt that moon phases, tides, weather patterns etc. all have some sort of impact on where striped bass go. Unfortunately, where I fish in Cape Cod Bay, despite my earnest efforts, I’ve never been able to accurately predict where the bass will be based on any sort of variable.
Take what occurred to me this past week as an example. As I write this, it is the middle of September and we’ve had a week of sustained easterly winds. This past Saturday the wind died down to the point that it was flat calm. We headed out on the water, found fish in 20 feet of water off Sandy Neck, and stuck with them as they moved up tight to the beach. It was a great night on the water, as we caught over 30 keepers up to 42 pounds.
Bass on the sonar-what a great sight!
Two days later the same exact weather pattern occurred again. An easterly wind died down as evening approached. The weather was literally exactly the same as during the productive trip of two nights ago. Moon phases and tides were spot on, and I had high hopes for a repeat of the previous trip. We found bass in the same spot in 20 feet of water off Sandy Neck. Unfortunately the fish disappeared, and did not move up shallow. I searched around for 3 hours without marking a thing. We went home having caught one fish-completely puzzled as to where the fish had gone.
My point is that despite the best strategy, log book, and electronics, I am often completely “bam-boozled” by striped bass. As soon as I think I have them figured out, they throw me for a loop and bring me back down to Earth.
Keeping all of this in mind, it is very possible to develop a strategy that will consistently give you a great chance at finding striped bass. With a sound game plan, you may not always find the fish, but you will certainly put yourself in a great position for having a productive trip.