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For really big stripers from a kayak, try fishing at night.

A few pieces of gear are necessary: a C-light, required by USCG regulations so other boaters can see you, and a headlamp, so you can see your hook to bait it and your fish to lip it.

Other than that, you might want a paddling partner, a calm night, and an area you're familiar with.

One great place to try this is up in Rockport, Massachusetts, where a stretch of seabottom about 70 yards off Old Garden Beach, and about a half-mile long, creates a sharp depth transition line from 20 feet to 40. A lot of stripers hang around there at night looking for forage.

There's two rigs to try: a trolled tube-and-worm on light mono with some lead to sink it or a live eel on lead core.

For the live eel, it's essential to use a high-quality swivel so your line doesn't twist into knots. Also you'll need a small bucket of ice to subdue the eels into a state of temporary catatonia so you can rig them on.

As anyone who uses eels knows, live eels can wrap themselves and your line into a tight bird's nest knot faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

Trolling slowly is key. The hits can be big...so be prepared to brace that boat with your knees and hips when you feel a hit.

This is not a technique applicable only to the fine waters off Rockport and Gloucester, Massachusetts, however. Check your NOAA chart of your favorite local area for distinct depth-transition lines not too far offshore. Stripers will hang there at night. Troll the line with live bait and you may take home your largest striper so far.

But try paddling at night at least once or twice first, to find out what paddling at night feels like. For some (I'm definitely one), night-paddling throws off one's balance and makes the kayak feel far more unstable. Waves seem bigger, and distances can be tough to judge.

A rag to grasp those eels while you rig them on the hook helps also, as eels are slippery little black cords coated with a viscous slime.

A good light to buy is one of the new LED headlamps by PrincetonTec, available from most large outdoors outfitters. The headlamps are fully waterproof, and the LED lamps themselves consume very little power ---40 hours of bright burn time with two double A's is not unusual.....

A hook-and-line commercial striperman I know up here in Boston made a lot of money fishing for stripers like this last year, trolling from his kayak along Cape Ann inshore depth transitions at night...
 
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