48 hours ago Cape Cod got smacked by a serious winter blizzard. Some areas got a foot of heavy wet snow, and experienced wind gusts of more than 50mph.
The blizzard was the second serious storm to hit the Cape this month and quite a few folks are still without power. There are trees down all over the place and serious erosion in many coastal areas.
Yet the striped bass survive, hunkered down in their wintertime "holes" hidden in some of the Cape's numerous back bays, harbors and estuaries. For the holdover striped bass, it is business as usual.
When my wife Lauren and I woke up yesterday morning, we were greeted by a true winter wonderland, as you can see in the photo below of our backyard.
In moments like this it can be hard to believe the official start to spring is less than one week away. It can also be hard to believe that the famed striped bass migration will reach Cape Cod in just 45 more days.
Yet despite the foot of heavy, cold snow, life goes on. As I already mentioned, this is "business as usual" for the small population of holdover striped bass which choose to winter on Cape Cod.
This is also "business as usual" for the cardinals and bluejays in our backyard, as well as for the seagulls and other seabirds I saw yesterday at the Cape Cod Canal.
The wind was howling yesterday afternoon at the East End of the Cape Cod Canal. If you look closely in the photo above, you will also notice the turquoise/brown coloration of the canal's water, which is typical of this time of year, and is much different than the coloration often seen during summer.
After visiting the canal, Lauren and I drove to Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable, where we encountered snowcapped dunes for as far as the eye could see.
Despite the cold winter landscape which has descended onto the Cape, I could not shake an urge to wet a line. Sure I could of gone trout fishing in one of the Cape's many kettle ponds, but for me personally, there is nothing cooler than catching stripers in the snow.
Introducing The Penn "Greenie"
For this Cape Cod holdover striper trip I would use a "new" weapon - the Penn Spinfisher 700 - also known as a "Greenie."
I picked up this reel from My Fishing Cape Cod member and rod and reel expert, David Morton of Beavertail Rod & Reel. A couple weeks ago I contacted David about an idea I had, to utilize classic and vintage fishing equipment from the 1960's.
With so many high tech gadgets at my disposal, I figured it would be cool to take a step back into striper fishing history, and fish with a reel that is probably more than 50 years old.
As I prepared by tackle and equipment for last night's holdover striper trip, I could not help but notice similarities between the vintage Penn Greenie and the high tech Van Staal VR150 which I used when I caught my first striper of 2018 back on March 1st.
Both reels feel rock solid, and appear to be made mostly of metal. There are very few plastic pieces on each reel. The overall design has not changed much in the last 50 years either.
Plus David did such a nice job cleaning and refurbishing the Penn Greenie, that it was nearly as smooth as the Van Staal. Check out the video below for more details about the famous Penn Spinfisher 700 "Greenie."
One major difference worth mentioning was that I had requested David load the Penn Greenie with 17 pound Ande monofilament-instead of the 30 pound braided line I accustomed to using with my Van Staal VR150.
For this holdover striped bas trip I wanted to experience what it was like for guys who surfcast the beaches 50 years ago. Using the same reel was not enough-I needed to use the same monofilament line as well.
With my tackle and equipment ready, I gave Lauren and smooch goodbye and began the drive to my #1 favorite holdover striped bass spot on Cape Cod, and as the sun sank low in the sky, I could not help but get excited about the possibility of catching stripers in the snow.
I’m fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I’ve been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!