VIDEO: Boston Harbor December Stripers

December 06, 2013 by

From the moment I first powered up my Marcum LX-9, I knew that for me its scope would extend beyond hardwater. It has become my “crystal ball” as to what’s swimming below. As you can see from the video I shot on December 4th in inner Boston Harbor, some of what’s swimming below (still!) is striped bass! This was NOT taken in a river but from a totally saltwater environment. Sorry for a bit of the shakes, it was a windless day and my footage platform was my Hobie – it was so nice I couldn’t resist a quick cruise!

What is keeping these fish put in the harbor? One word – forage! Much of the forage consists of river herring, which I have learned in some capacity never completely leave the harbor and are fuel for all that swims here. Healthy rivers are the building blocks for most of the life in the harbor, in addition to herring they are nurseries for shad, smelt and other river-running species.

When I discussed my findings with DMF biologist Brad Chase, who heads the anadromous species program, he made some very salient points. His first comment was, “Why would they leave (stripers that is) with all the bait?” And the second was, “See how important river-run species are?”

Now if the cod ever make a comeback, it could get very interesting in the harbor!

Kudos to the hardworking folks at the DMF, the MWRA and others who are restoring the vitality to our rivers and our harbor – Happy Holidays!

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Comments (0)

  1. Joe Holey says:


  2. Tyler says:

    I didn’t know schools tht big stood around

  3. Mike says:

    Beautiful footage. Can’t believe how clear the water is too.

  4. Kierran says:

    Great footage. That LX-9 is sweet!

  5. Johnny Walker says:

    Ron, why didn’t you jig a couple up? See any flatties down there?

    • Ron says:

      As you can imagine when water temps are 42 degrees the bass aren’t exactly ravenous and their feeding window is short. I fished that school briefly and they weren’t interested in my glow Queen Cocahoe in the least. But I fished another school in another area a couple of weeks ago and like a switch they turned on and were all over that same lure, it was wild! And then just as quickly all went quiet. No flatties Johnny, but as you’d expect, I’m scheming to find them!

  6. vinny woods says:

    Aw..right…..good news….i’ll be checking my holdover spots the next mild day here on Cape Cod….I still have a nice supply of live eels in my tank….thanks for the update…good work Ron..!!! vinman 508

  7. mike barros says:

    they were around….he scared them all off now!!!!! hahahhaha

  8. Mark says:

    What an awesome video!! Can’t wait for next season, thanks for sharing!

  9. Brian Runnals says:

    Where in the harbor is this…. the flats off the airport?

  10. Eric Nylin says:

    Awesome ……but – What if a fish eats the camera ?

  11. Pingback: Video: Winter Striped Bass in Boston Harbor? You bet. | New England On The FlyNew England On The Fly

  12. Art Pedini says:

    A lot of shots in Bass river, Yarmouth

  13. Fish Nerd says:

    Unbelievable footage. What a great system. I assume the shaky camera was from you jumping up and down in the boat.

    • Ron says:

      That and the fact that my kayak would shake, rattle and roll as I peddled to keep up with the fish!

      • Jason Ludwig says:

        Hey Ron Im a friend of Joe Holey…Makes you think twice about striper migration,,They catch then in CT, all winter,can it soon happen here as well? Great post and I always read your articles,,,huge fan!! see ya out there…The Rev.

        • Ron says:

          Thanks for the kind words Jason! If you’re a friend of Joe Holey’s than you are in good company! If there is sufficient forage a segment of the striper population will not migrate and obviously I found a few. While biologists differ a few of us even believe that some breed locally – I taped a 10 1/2″ striper last May! I’m skeptical that a fish of that size travels very far. Kay from Surfland will tell you about the winter-over striped bass population that used to thrive in the Parker River and some of those fish topped 20-pounds! Once the forage went away – tommycod, smelt, white perch, herring – so went the stripers. That’s why the efforts by biologists to restore river herring and other anadromous species to our rivers is so important. And it is important that commercial interests which “target” sea herring and bycatch river herring are kept honest!
          Happy New Year!

  14. Marco Rivera says:

    Hi Ron. I am in the process of working with EPA Region 1 in Boston on a video documenting the cleanup of Boston Harbor. We would love to be able to include a few seconds of this amazing clip in the video if possible. Please email me regarding detalls..
    Thanks, Marco

  15. Andrew says:

    This has absolutely inspired me to clean up the gear now and go back out! I just shared this with the people in my facebook group. Check it out and join it, easy way to see what people are catching and where! Facebook search: Boston Casters (Fishermen)

  16. Pingback: Stripers Through the Ice?

  17. michael bell says:

    Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all winter. I would have been out there in my carhart jacket if I’d known.