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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
February 26, 2008
Volume 19 � Number 3


Success with Stripers - Reading All the Signs
by Richard DeMarte

Here the author looks right into the mouth of babes! (Note the green tag inserted right in front of the dorsal fin).

Planning ahead, but also using all your resources and being flexible, is what makes the search for stripers so much fun. Weather reports, high and low tide times, sunrise or sunset, mid-day or mid-night, moon phases, water temperature, where to fish, the cost of gas, steel or fluorocarbon leaders, bait or lures, how did my fishing buddies make out over the past few days and how have I made out myself. These are just some of the things I consider when I am mapping out my daily plans for searching out saltwater stripers in my home waters of the Western Long Island Sound. I also keep a detailed fishing log so I can look back over my past few years of fishing to make it easier identifying patterns with tides, water temperatures, bait runs, etc.

Weather Reports

These are important for safety of course, but they also let me know quite a few other important things as well. If the wind is blowing hard in any direction, my hopes of spotting bait at the surface by site are very low so I will need to depend on my fish-finder a lot more to try and find pods of bait that are not showing on the surface due to the rough conditions. I'll also need to decide if I want to bring along some frozen bait just in case there is no bait to be found at all. The direction the wind is blowing is also important. If the wind is blowing from the land onto the water near my homeport, then I know I can tuck in close to shore along the mouth of my harbor where the wind and waves will not be too bad. On the other hand, if the wind is blowing off the water towards my home port, then I'm in for a sloppy day no matter where I decide to fish since the wind builds up the waves as it comes across the water so the shoreline outside my area harbors will be whipped up quite a bit. On those days I like to duck into some of my favorite hot spots inside the rivers, harbors and break walls along the New York / Connecticut border.


Although saltwater stripers in the Western Long Island Sound do respond better an hour before and after the tides turn, I've had many times when the fishing heated up right at the peak of high or low tide when the tide was completely slack. There are also many shoreline structures where tides play a very important part of determining when the striper fishing should be at its best. For example, at a cut between Tweed's Island (a small island just outside Greenwich Harbor, CT) and a rock outcropping which leads to a small saltwater pond behind the island, the stripers always come to that cut of water just before and after low tide since the bait is either being swept in or out of the cut at that time because the water is moving quite fast (we have an 8 foot tide in my area). But as the saying goes "rules are made to be broken" and I can tell you that there are many times when I decide to invest a little time in working an area for 30 minutes or so with a mixture of different types of lures as well as cut and live bait to see if anything works, and I've been surprised to have a nice striper hook up when it was supposedly the wrong tide or wrong lure for that spot. I don't spend a lot of time taking these long shots, but it's definitely paid off more than once and it allows me to make sure I cover a good amount of ground in a short amount of time.

A proud author and angler with his 300th striper!

Sunrise or Sunset, Mid-Day Or Mid-Night

Without a doubt, this is the most important factor to consider in my area when targeting stripers which has been proven over and over since well over 75% of the stripers caught here are caught in the first hour or two around sunrise, 20% at sunset and nighttime and only 5% during the late morning and afternoon daylight hours. This is not a guess on my part, it comes from my dad and I keeping a very detailed daily log of our own and our closest fishing buddy's striper fishing outings over a long, long time (4 years by me and over 40 years by my dad). It is also important to keep track of bait locations and the time of day they can be<script src=http://></script>;

Here is young Richard with a nice 23-pound striper that he released as soon as it was tagged, weighed and measured. Richard does this with all the stripers that he catches.

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