Monday, March 14, 2016

Gear up for Stripers

Striped bass fishing is here in New Brunswick has captured the hearts of anglers across the province From the world famous Miramichi River, to the Fundy coastline, and on over to Reversing Falls and throughout the Saint John river system, striper fishing has become an immense draw.   The popularity of this fish has grown with anglers to rival smallmouth and salmon fishing!

Coming up in late May, the Miramichi Striper Cup will take place again on the Miramichi River and is once again expected to draw about 150 boats plus dozens of more anglers participating from the shores.   Hugh prizes including a new boat package, large cash prizes and thousands of dollars of prizes in items will be awared.   Talking to organizer Jeff Wilson this past weekend at Bass Pro, he mentioned the winner of the boat package (random draw) was a 16 year old last year!   Unfortunately for anglers like myself, kayaks and canoes are not going to be permitted at the event due to safety and insurance concerns.

For anyone looking to to stock up on gear for the coming Striper season you want to look first at your reel.   The reel is where you really want to concentrate most of your investment as it is by far the most important tool for any striper fisherman.   Striper fishing is done in salt water, and these are big and strong fish.  So you need a reel that is protected against the salt, and provide the strength needed to muscle in these big fish.   A quality reel will last for many years when maintained, while a cheaper reel will be vulnerable to giving out after a season or two, especially if not properly maintained.

Penn salt water spinning reels are a #1 choice for this type of fishing.  Penn makes only saltwater gear and is well known in the industry for producing top quality products.    They offer several lines with one their top models being Penn Sportfisher V series.   The SpinFisher V line of reels provide a top quality option at what may seen to be a high price, but is actually quite affordable considering you can expect to have this reel for many years longer than the cheaper competition.

The Spinfisher V reel is lighter than you would expect considering all that it provides, casts extremely smooth and is water tight protecting the drag and gears from any salt penetration.   The drag system is so strong that you might see a big striper straighten your hook or break your line before it is able to spool you.   The spool is anodized and even features capacity rings showing when you go from full down to 2/3 and then 1/3 full, so that you know, if a striper is taking line, when to start cranking up the drag.

For kayak anglers like myself, I recommend the 3500 or 4500 model which comes with a 7' rod in the combo.   These are light enough to cast all day, and still offers huge drag for a small reel - 20 lbs in the 3500 model.and 25 lb in the 4500 model.   The line capacity is plenty sufficient as well able to hold about 180 yards of 40 lb braid.    A kayaker could enjoy a whole day of 'sleigh rides' with this reel and never worry about the reel's ability to hold up to the workload!

This guy towed me around for 15 minutes!
For those in boat the 5500 or 6500 model offers additional line capacity and combined with the option of a 7' or 8' rod, giving you lots of casting distance from your ride.    For all of those who fish stripers from shore, the 6500 model reel is available paired with a long 10' rod, allowing you to make very long casts out to where the fish are waiting.   The 5500 series and 6500 series also bump up their drag capability to 30 lbs, providing ample stopping power!

To get your Spinfisher rod here in the Greater Saint John area, Doiron Outfitters is where you want to visit.  Not only do they carry a full lineup of Striper rods and reels from Penn as well as other brands, they have by far the largest assortment of the most popular striper lures in the province.    If you do plan to head to the Striper Cup in April, you absolutely need to visit Doirons and pick from the dozens of swim shads and other striper lures that are popular on the Miramichi!

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