Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bait Changes the Game

The last couple of days have seen loads of
small stripers chasing bait in the Bay.
Up until the last couple of evenings, it had been weeks since I caught a fish in the Bay. Yes, the water was warm but the main culprit was the fact that there was little or no bait around.  That all changed on the weekend as a large influx of small bait (bay anchovies as well as small peanut bunker) moved into the areas I was fishing.  It suddenly lit up the fishing for schoolies and an occasional bluefish. I saw schools of fish breaking in a frenzy as well as individual fish here and there tearing through the bait schools.
The hot lure has been a fluke
body on a quarter ounce
Summer fish are especially fussy when keying on small bait, and these fish were picky.  I had to go down to a quarter ounce jighead with a fluke body to entice the fish to hit. They would not look at a surface lure.
Most of the stripers I have found are small, running 10-20 inches long. Heck, this is what we are seeing along the oceanfront also, and this is what we have been seeing all year from shore. But, grab a light freshwater rod, and it can be exciting.
There has been a lack of bluefish so far, even when there is a lot of bait around. In most years, the big numbers of bluefish seem to arrive in late August and early Sept. The giant alligator blues that were around last year came later in the fall as they were chasing large menhaden that were dropping out of the Bay.  We'll see if that all happens again this year.