Finding a 50 Among the Blitz

Russ Burgess with a monster 50-pound striper.
Russ Burgess with a monster 50-pound striper.

The text was a bit strange – “favor please – need camera and pliers.” The camera request from my friend Russ Burgess was not that unusual, it usually means he has caught yet another 50-pound class striper and he wants a keepsake photo but the pliers plea had me scratching my head. A quick call revealed the need, a monster striper that Russ took in Boston Harbor Friday in the middle of a downpour had wanted the 10-inch, 7-ounce Big Water Lures troller so badly that little more than the metal lip was sticking out of it’s maw and Russ had forgot his pliers.

The photo-op/plug extraction occurred that evening at Admiral Hill Marina in Chelsea, where the Captain’s Dinner for the following day’s annual Boston Harbor Striper Shootout was taking place. While there was no scale to authenticate it, I taped the huge bass at over 50 inches and it had gargantuan proportions – definitely a 50-pounder. I shot the pics (below) and provided the pliers. News of the fish soon sent shock waves among the other participants; I almost felt bad for them. It was almost a foregone conclusion as Russ took first place the next day with a “smaller” fish that taped out at a mere 49 5/8 inches and was similarly built.

What is most noteworthy was how he caught the first fish that is in the photos. Mid-morning last Friday was raining and Russ spotted a blitz between Deer Island and the North Channel. Most everyone who sees the spectacle of bait, bird and bass joins the chase and rains topwaters, soft plastics, jigs or whatever into the mayhem. Russ did none of that, he snapped on those deep-diving, baseball-bat-big pikies, set out his lines and the rest is history. Ordinarily Russ does his thing nocturnally but when the special conditions of rain/fog exist, this method is still deadly. Captain Russ Burgess bests bass of this size consistently in Boston Harbor, a place that is seldom is in the conversation of big stripers. How would this method work in your home water?

I had the opportunity to fish with him that day, but I deferred to enjoy light tackle/schoolie action with finesse plugs…yikes!

The fish engulfed a 10-inch, 7-ounce Bigwater Lures Troller.
The fish engulfed a 10-inch, 7-ounce Bigwater Lures Troller.

1 thought on “Finding a 50 Among the Blitz

  1. Peter D

    About 25 years ago in the midst of an insane moonlit blitz in buzzard’s bay I sunk a whole pogy to the bottom of the channel. After a 40 minute fight I finally turned the beast but upon seeing the boat it was too powerful for my 12 year old frame and bolted to the stern, winded the wire line around the prop and got away.

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