When I left my house on Friday morning it was 32 degrees out. As I drove south toward the coast, the temperature rose and reached a balmy 37 degrees as I pulled into the parking area. There was no one else around and I rigged up and headed to the water. There was a pretty stiff northwest wind that made it feel more like it was 20 degrees out. I covered some nice looking water, but pretty much came up empty for an hour. Since the forecast was for above freezing temperatures I didnít bring my gloves. This was a mistake because the wind actually made me feel like I was getting frost bite on my right hand. The fish werenít biting and I was starting to think about a nice cold beer by a warm fire while sitting on the couch with my dog. Ten more minutes and I was outta here. Thatís when I felt a bump. Unlike the last bump I felt fifteen minutes ago that turned out to be a clump of marsh grass floating out to sea, this one pulled back when I set the hook. It was a striper for sure. The bass was all of 17Ē, but it was enough to keep me going for the last two hours of the outgoing tide.
Over the next hour I managed to get maybe four or five more fish about the same size until the current started to really go slack. There was no more good looking water and having caught only a few fish, I considered leaving. However, two weeks ago fishing the same tide cycle I fished a spot that produced good action during the last hour of outgoing. Despite being cold I headed to that spot, telling myself that if I didnít hook up in ten minutes, I was done for the day. Going to the second spot was a good choice because I was into a fish in short order. Things were quiet for a bit after that, then there was a flurry of activity around the last 20 minutes of the outgoing tide. I managed to pick up about a dozen fish at the last spot, only two of which were over 20Ē and surprisingly both of those fish were fought off the reel.
Going into this I told myself that Friday would determine my fishing plans for the rest of the weekend. While I started out slow, I caught just enough fish to make it worth going back.
Saturday it was 27 degrees when I started out and as I sat there warming up the car, I seriously debated not going. I rationalized that it would be warmer on the shoreline, and indeed it was, 32 degrees. After driving a half hour I was committed to the cause despite telling myself that I must be crazy going striper fishing in this cold weather. Not surprisingly I saw not another angler. My fears were soon laid to rest when I hooked a small bass within my first dozen casts. This seemed like a good turn of fortune, but that was it for a long stretch. It was cold and I was getting miserable and starting to question my sanity for doing this. In for a penny, in for a pound. I flogged the water until an hour before low and got not another bite so I headed to the second spot to see if the end of the tide would produce there. I managed a couple of bass and surprisingly I even got one on top. The fishing was slow, maybe a half dozen fish in two and a half hours, but considering it was 32 degrees out that wasnít too bad.
The forecast for Sunday was a high in the upper 40ís. If the bass have been biting when the temperature was in the 30ís, the warm up should turn the bite on better. Plus Sunday was the day before the new moon. Warm weather plus strong tides were a recipe for success.
The actual air temperature on Sunday when I arrived was 51, almost a full 20 degrees warmer than the day before. I figured the fair weather would bring out the fair weather anglers, but I was pleasantly surprised to see only one other person. I surveyed the water and found a spot with a good rip within casting distance. First cast and it was fish on. I got ten fish on my first ten consecutive casts. A very good start and the action was better than imagined. The average fish was around 18Ē with a few running into the mid 20ís. The fish all put up a good fight on the 8wt in the strong moon tide current. What the fish lacked in size, they made up in sheer numbers. I spent the next three hours catching a fish on nearly every cast. At one point I could see fish starting to break on the surface so I switched over to a top water presentation and continued to catch fish after fish. It was cool watching them come up to the surface and smack the fly, especially since it was December.
At low tide the current slowed down and the bite did as well. I was still picking up the occasional bass, but it was getting dark and I was feeling a bit cold. I briefly pondered waiting the hour it would take for the tide to switch and see if the bite turned on again, but decided I had my fill. The catching was so good it felt like the good old days. Technically it is still fall, and this was by far the best fall striper fishing I have experienced in at least three years. Heck, it was probably one of the best all around striper days I have had among the last few dismal years of many hours for few fish.