Aprils Showers Mays Long Hours
Bareley touching the months mark to the season as the Striped Bass slipped into local waters of the last weeks of April. The rivers, creeks and runs flush with fresh Herring as they climbed ladders to reach their spawning grounds. The water just touched fifty degrees and a warm welcome was in hand. Early mornings, a new moon and late nights brought the first tides and a salty fresh bite. Better to be early than late our striped friends arrived wearing their best attire full of sea lice!
It was time to give the waders a nice salt bath, the feeling of cold river trips of winters past, an extra layer was in order. The water temps just above the air temps got the stripers in a playful mood. Star filled nights and the fresh salt air connecting us back to the places that wash away a cold hibernation slumber. The peace of the night as our neighbors slept tight it was time to share the feeling with my partner as it didn't feel quite right.
Our chatter stopped and our focus shifted. Alarms set for the early mornings dark hours. Communication shifted to action as we primed our vessels, stretched out fly lines, packed our boxes and the endless pursuit began. Daydreams ends as fly lines cut the air to a season we all dreamt of was here. Casts felt effortless as our hunger for the hunt took over. Foggy, cold rainy mornings brought a smile to both of our faces. Fish or no fish time on the water and experience over the years, make early scouting trips effortless and relaxing. Just the excitement being onboard doing what we love to do the most. Fishing for a fish that we both respect and admire.
As lines tightened communication began. Receiving reports and messages from fellow Captains it was time to explore some new places. Receiving an invite to explore skinny water just due south. When a Captain shares a piece of his world with you its best served to be at attention. Absorbing the details, strategies and techniques developed for them to be successful in their home water. Parker was a true gentleman, covering everything thing I needed. Sharing a snack, coffee and some fantastic fishing opportunities. Floating lines rigged and popping Gurglers to follow brought exciting topwater takes in the early morning light. Truly dialed in he kept me entertained for the following hours. Yet something was still missing and a itch that couldn't be scratched.
A homecoming was due and to be shared in a place I hold close to my heart with the one person I love the most. Over the years my wife and co angler has taking a love to the sport. Yes she loves the fresh air, scenery, nature and sounds but don't put it past her. She was ready to show her skills she developed in only a few short years. Plymouth was primed for an incoming tide. Sand bars and flats exposed as we set up on our favorite rip in the bay. Birds in flight was a great sight. Empty casts as the bait hugged the channels edges ready to escape predators in pursuit. As the currents picked up and the tides flood began, the rip formed perfectly for the stripers to ambush spearing, anchovies and silversides as they tumble across the flats and channels edge. Healthy, heavy middle sized class fish continuing to fill their bellies. Plymouth just as I left her now the season felt just right.
A new hunt was in order as I left the Plymouth harbors with trophies in sight. Close friend and angler Alex was eager and ready. We skipped our early season Schoolie trips to swing for the fences. Sharing a fishery that demands the best from an angler. Countless casts and retrieves that can grind many anglers to a stop. Fishing for large spooky bass in very shallow water. Heaving top water plugs into the air one after another. The fishery began to show her hand. Packs of bass began to follow, with the window of waves and a wide open view of what was hunting our offerings. Morale grew stronger as arms began to tire. We set our drift cut our engine to ride the currents and winds into our goals to follow. As the fog entered over head there was no sense of time any longer. Alex casted down wind into our drift after landing a half dozen mid class fish, he was primed and ready.
A vortex of the oceans surface appeared as his plug disappeared. Alex buckled over as his rod stretched and arched, drag locked tight he was primed for a fight. Moments like these every detail matters, every rod guide in line, reels seated tightly, knots tested to their limits and hooks revealed to their subtle weaknesses. A moment wear no words are exchanged, adrenaline at its highest, every heartbeat heard as everything in preparation will be tested. This fish showed us everything she was made of all of her strengths and will of her decade plus of swimming and migrating through the open ocean. A lifetime moment in a anglers career that may be carried over into years to come. As we all know they'll get even bigger....
As anglers we couldn't have asked for a better start. The North East can be unforgiving, relentless and hardens its people over our harsh winters. To only further enhance our experiences, as anglers we know what's in store, a world class fishery scenary and it's recorded history. A place I hold dear to my heart and looking forward to sharing with others. As captains we serve our fishery, preserve the water and protect what can't protect themselves. Looking forward to another season ahead and can't wait to share the stories they will hold.
Captain Brian Kelly
Rocks Pebbles and Sands
P.S. Let's all safely release the breeders so the future fisheries can flourish.
To revive larger class fish safely bump your engine into gear slowly and carefully swim the fish besides your vessel. From shore swim your fish back and forth as they would be swimming naturally to ensure a healthy release. Give them the time they need to breathe. Safe handling and revival techniques ensure a healthy strong fishery ahead.