Saturday April 29th, 5:20 P.M.
Dan and I left my house and headed for the river. I usually bike there, so this was going to be a complicated little arrangement. Before parking we would ditch our gear in a stand of young white pines, so as not to attract attention on the walk from where we would actually park. by carrying copious amounts of fishing gear. We pulled over in a spot that very plainly was marked "no parking", ditched the waders and gear, and went to park. From there we walked back, geared up, and trekked into the spot. Lots and lots of herring were around. After a fairly short time I had a taker. It turned out not to be a striper, but a smallmouth bass. An aggressive one at that, it ate a fly not much smaller than itself.
We did indeed see some striper activity that evening, but hookups were none and follows were scarce. This is often the case when looking for big freshwater spring run stripers nowadays. The runs are not what they once were. But, hard work does eventually pay off, consistently or not. I was not disappointed to get the cold shoulder on the third night. We got back around 10:00.
Sunday, April 30th 3:30
I hit the road, on my own this time. This would be the chilliest night yet, with the temperature falling below 50 degrees. The water temperatures were still warm, warmer than the air actually, and the herring activity was once again quite impressive. In four days the tide had shifted a lot and leaving early was not in my favor this time. It would be two hours before I even saw a striper. I started out just massing around with the abundant yellow perch while I waited for the tide to drop.
Around 7:15 I changed to a large articulated white bucktail fly. 15 minutes later I had a large fish chase and hit the fly twice. I had watched it chasing spot tail shiners and pinning them against the bank but for 20 minutes it ignored my smaller minnow and silverside patterns. Unfortunately I wasn't able to hook it, but seeing a big striper did get my heart pounding. Aside from a few wakes here and there behind groups of herring I did not actually see another striper until almost 9:30, and before I saw it I felt it. While I was totally zoned out watching the trippy swirling and and splashing in the amber reflection a striper grabbed the big all white SF blend deciever I was swinging. The pull of the striper sucking in the slowly undulating fly pulled me out of my daze and I strip set hard. Strong headshakes and a violent thrashing told me it was a good sized striper. Of the three I have caught here so far, this was the largest and the best fighter. In the dark, the obstacle filled water makes for a tooth and nail battle. When I finally lipped the fish I breathed a sigh of relief and proceeded to lift up and admire the beauty, chuckling to myself. Once again searching and timing the convergence of bait and predator had rewarded me a decent striped bass. That was the one and only of the night. I got home at 10:48.