Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Canada Day Strippers! ... err, Stripers!

Happy Canada Day!

The most common spelling mistake I see on fishing forum is strippers when stripers is meant to be written.   It always makes for a good chuckle and opportunity for an off color joke!    Well, this post is about stripers, so feel free to share with the wife, :-).

It is coming that time of year again when the striped bass should start making their way up the coast and into our local world famous Reversing Falls.   Last year I caught my first striper of the season on July 1st, so I figure we should hear reports of a stripers being landed through the grapevine anytime.

The past 2 mornings, a friend (Matt) and I took our Old Town Predators out into the Saint John River just above reversing falls.   We were hoping to run into a striper, but either we were too early, or went out in the wrong conditions.    Depending on who you ask, the best striper fishing here is done either on the incoming current our outgoing (hence the name reversing falls).    We were there on the outgoing current.

However we did have some fun.    Yesterday I tried throwing down a sabiki rig in a spot I knew to be somewhere around 200 feet deep (forgot the sonar phone at home).    I started at the bottom and worked my way up and got a hit.... which turned out to be a 19 inch shad!    Never before have I heard of anyone catching a shad in 200 feet of water like that.... it was completely unexpected!

This morning, we stuck closer to our launch point and anchored down in 20 - 30 feet of water.   This time, as June is over and sturgeon fishing is again legal here, we decided to see what we could catch bottom fishing worms while sturgeon were jumping all around.   

Now the current here is somewhat fierce, and anchoring is a kayak is not at all the safe thing to do, so I certianly do not recommend it to beginners.     I ended up hooking a rather large, barnicle filled tree branch who's weight caused my anchor to drag as I retreived it.   By the time I got it up and off my line, I was in deeper water with my anchor stuck on bottom, putting me in a tight spot.... I had to cut the line ASAP.   (ALWAYS have a knife handy!)

I did have another 50 feet or so of line on me and found some old heaviy discarded chain to make a second anchor out of, this time a little further back from the stronger currents.   Fortunately I wasn't dragged around any more!   I proceeded to catch 2 sturgeon almost immeadiately, both about 34 inches, and decided to hold off on pictures till I caught a bigger one.    Unfortunately from there on in, all I got were tommy cod!

Matt and I both caught a lot of tommy cod, which I guess is what the stripers would be mainly feeding on now, and Matt also caught an eel.

Anyhow, the annual run of stripers should be starting anytime now.   They will begin with smaller schoolies, and then lead into larger fish as the water continues to warm up.    If you do plan to venture out around the waters above Reversing Falls, please be extremely careful.    Go with friends, do not plan to anchor, and stay well back from the rapids.  

There are spots out above reversing falls where kayakers can have a great time, but you really need to have a quality kayak (I do NOT recommend big box store pieces of molded plastic here), and know what you are doing.    Wind and fog are always dangers out here, so be prepared!   In waters like you'll find next to Reversing Falls you do not want to take any unnecessary chances!

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