Monster Fly-Caught Striper from the South Jersey Surf

Big striped bass on the fly

South Jersey is a tough place to surfcast for big stripers. The shallow, featureless, slowly sloping beaches simply aren’t as attractive to fish as the dramatic drops and structure characteristic of the coastline from Barnegat Inlet, north. I spent many spring runs in the late 90s and 00’s fishing hard to scratch a few keepers on clams in Atlantic and Cape May counties, while the fishermen in Ocean and Monmouth Counties had 30-pounders fighting over their pencil poppers. This made me all the more impressed when I saw a photo circulating social media this weekend of a giant striper that wasn’t just caught from the surf, but caught from the surf on a fly.

 

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Ok….1st thing…no official measurement or weight. It was released in ONE minute after landing. It was around 1/2 the length of my 9’ fly rod. Thats the best I have for you. So 50”+. Believe me….dont….Dosnt matter. I know how it goes with pics. I am holding the fish against my body. I am 260lbs. I was fishing for weakies w/ a pink and white fly. Decided to put a 2/0 pink and chartreuse bunny Clouser in case there were some schoolies around. I saw some bait jumping around and thought maybe something was chasing it. Dolphins were crashing bait everywhere but these were in close. Looked like Hickory Shad. 15 minutes later my line stops dead and I do a side hook set and when I feel the weight I see it roll and knew it was a big striper. I cleared the reel as I made my way to the beach off the jetty. Chucked my stripping basket and it was on. BTW I wasnt in Avalon ?. It made a huge run and it was peeling backing off my reel. All I kept thinking was I’m fighting a Monster with an 8wt and 20lb leader. Albright on the line to backing, loop on the leader to fly line, Lefty Loop Knot on the fly. I was dreading something would give or its mouth would chafe the leader in the fight. My wife recorded the fight…6:16. After a few runs it was a brief tug of war in the surf line. As you saw in the video I slid it up and never realized how big it was. There is some cursing in the full video. Haha. I quickly held it up and then walked right into the ocean waist deep and it was already trying to swim off. I worked it 20 or 30 seconds and she wanted to go so I let her swim off. She swam off strong. I am in complete awe and disbelief that I caught this fish today. I have dreamed of a big striper on the fly for many years. I have gone after big fish and have just never made it come together. The stars aligned in my favor today and I could not be more grateful. ??? Caught this fish on a Scott A4 9’ 8wt., Nautilus CCFX-2 6/8 reel, Cabelas 8wt S4 Line, Seaguar Flourocarbon 20lb leader, 2/0 Bunny Clouser I tied on a Mustad 3407. #flyfishing #scottflyrods #nautilusflyreels #cabelas #mustadhooks #seaguar #clouserminnow @bobclouser #stripedbass #fishhippie #striper #surffishing

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Keith Allonardo’s striper would have been the fish of a lifetime regardless of where or how he caught it, but from the South Jersey shoreline, on a fly (and undergunned with an 8-weight and 20-pound leader at that!) this catch is remarkable.

Here’s the story in Keith’s words:

I was fishing for weakies with a pink and white fly. Decided to put a 2/0 pink-and-chartreuse bunny Clouser in case there were some schoolies around. I saw some bait jumping around and thought maybe something was chasing it. Dolphins were crashing bait everywhere, but these were in close. Looked like Hickory Shad. Fifteen minutes later my line stops dead and I do a side hookset. When I felt the weight and saw it roll, I knew it was a big striper. I cleared the reel as I made my way to the beach off the jetty. Chucked my stripping basket and it was on.

It made a huge run and was peeling backing off my reel. I kept thinking “I’m fighting a monster with an 8-weight and 20-pound leader.”

I had an albright on the line to backing, loop on the leader to fly line, Lefty Loop Knot on the fly. I was dreading something would give or the striper’s mouth would chafe the leader in the fight.

After a few runs, it was a brief tug of war in the surf line. I quickly held the fish up for pics and then walked right into the ocean waist-deep and it was already trying to swim off. I worked the fish for maybe 20 seconds and she wanted to go, so I let her swim off. She swam off strong. 

 

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The release. You can see her take off for the deep. She needs to go get back the bunker she spit up when I was fighting her.

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I have dreamed of a big striper on the fly for many years. I have gone after big fish and have just never made it come together. The stars aligned in my favor today and I could not be more grateful.

Caught this fish on a Scott A4 9-foot 8-weight, Nautilus CCFX-2 6/8 reel, Cabelas 8wt S4 Line, Seaguar Fluorocarbon 20-pound leader, 2/0 Bunny Clouser I tied on a Mustad 3407.

16 on “Monster Fly-Caught Striper from the South Jersey Surf

  1. mark

    Great fish! And if he whipped it in 6:16 he was not “undergunned”. He fought it well and landed it successfully and it swam off in apparent good health.

    1. TK

      Well said! I have caught quite a few 15-30 pound fish with 8 and 9w’s (20lb lest) from the surf (South Shore NE/Jamaica Bay, Croton on Hudson), and with the right angle and pressure landed them quickly for easy releases. It kills me to see some idiot fight a 25 inch fish for 10 minutes. Just kil the damn thing already. Oh yeah…all my fish are caught w no barb. Left Kreh once told me that barbs are for people who don’t know how to fight a fish. 30 years later and truer wrods were never spoken. Great job on that beauty!

    1. TK

      Awesome job! I miss weakies since I moved to Mass…and albies, but I can catch much larger bass in coves and rocks right from shore. It’s unreal sometimes. Thanks for showing everyone how it’s done! It can be done….just have to know how to fish! You sir do!!!!!!!!

  2. mike

    great job landing such a big stripah and also great that you let it go and it swam away!

  3. LOU

    OK, LETS GET THIS RIGHT, IT WAS A NICE FIGHT AND IT WAS DONE NICELY. BUT THE BEST FIGHT OF OTW WAS THAT KID LAST YEAR OR THE YEAR BEFORE THAT WAS FIGHTING THE FISH FROM THE SURF THAT TOOK AN HOUR TO BRING THAT FISH IN. HE WAS ONLY ABOUT 10 YRS OLD REMEMBER THAT GUYS ? OTW PUT THAT FIGHT UP AGAIN AND LETS VOTE WHO HAD THE BETTER FIGHT.

  4. Jim

    Mike, I agree. Both individuals had a great time landing their fish….leave it at that.

  5. Don Avondolio

    Congrats- You are a real fly sportsman. I’ve fly fished many waters, for over 50 yearsshore & boat & was very interested in your tackle. Very jealous of your great catch & still waiting for my big bass. Although, my Albacore of 18# caught at Harkers on a Clouser was quite exciting and released. Keep going!

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