The striper migration usually reaches Cape Cod in late April. It begins with a few small schoolies caught in the backwaters, spurring debates over whether they are holdovers or migratory fish. By May, there’s no question, as the floodgates open, and swarms of sea-lice covered schoolies seem to appear everywhere at once.
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That’s what was happening when Chris Megan and I headed out in search of our first stripers of the season. Since most of the first arrivals on the Cape are small, 12 to 24 inches in length, light tackle is the order of the day. It’s also wise to modify lures, by crimping barbs and replacing treble hooks with inline singles, to make them more catch-and-release friendly for the small stripers.
We fished the incoming tide at the entrance to a bay on the South Side of Cape Cod. We began by using topwater, walk-the-dog lures, but as the sun rose higher and the tide picked up speed, the bass went deep and mung began to clog up our lures. We switched over to jigheads tipped with soft plastics, working them with the current, which helped us avoid the mung, and keep catching stripers.
Here’s a breakdown of all the tackle used in the episode.
Rods, Reels, Line
G. Loomis E6X Inshore 964S MF (8′, rated for 3/8-1 oz lures, moderate-fast action, heavy power)
Shimano Stradic 3000 (discontinued)
20-pound-test PowerPro braid
15-pound-test Seaguar Gold Label fluorocarbon
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