Mike and I went to hunt the striped ghost extremely early yesterday morning. I had gone Thursday evening and caught two schoolies and a hickory shad, but I felt there had to be more fish there, and bigger fish. This outing did not at first play out as I expected. We both caught one fish each early on. Neither was large, and it seemed like there just weren't concentrated schools around.
We farted around for a while, fished a couple spots, Mike moved a big sea run brown, we briefly considered heading far west, then we finally settled in at the same spot we started. The tide was coming in now. I worked a frequently productive rip and nailed two very small fish. Then WHAM. It was like my pink clouser just hit a wall. This was a much better fish; not a giant by any stretch of the imagination but it was great to see that there actually were sizable fish around.
A long time passed without so much as a bump. I thought I may have caught a few fish from schools that were quickly moving into the tidal creek of which we were near the mouth of. So we got our butts up there. It didn't take long for Mike to nail into a schoolie. He had the money spot, for quite a while they came to his fly one after the other. I was sticking one here and there, nothing consistent. I tried a bunch of different techniques and it was very quickly evident that Mike was just in the exact right spot. Something good did come out of my experimentation: I got a hickory shad double on a double clouser rig. Having two silvery leaping shad on at once was a cool new experience for sure.
I should say, these were not large stripers. They were absolutely tiny. It's great to see so many young fish in the system, but it they aren't quite as fun to battle as the big ones. But while I was taking some shots of Mike working his spot he finally nailed into a better fish. This one stayed deep. It didn't take an that much line really, but it was clear from the head shakes that it was much bigger then the 10 to 12 inch fish we had been catching.
It was a beauty. Low 30 inch range, strong, healthy striped bass. We caught a lot more tiny schoolies after that but we never touched another larger fish, that one was the highlight of the day. Things will only get better from here. Big fish from the great blue ocean.