Originally Published June 2012: June Stripers – Primetime for Light Tackle. – by, Capt. Tim Egenrieder June is here! The long processes of prepping the gear and boat, the anticipation through the long winter all culminate in June with some of the best fishing of the year. It doesn’t matter if you fish from shore or boat, June is prime time for the light tackle angler. The striped bass long migration has brought them to Boston, and they’re hungry! June is also the month that the main herring swims - alewife, bluebacks and menhaden (pogies) have either completed their journeys and are falling back into the harbor or are just arriving. These factors combined with 60+ degree water temperatures and all of the increased activity of other baitfish leads to some of the most spectacular visible feeds of the season – perfect conditions! What to look for: The worst kept secret in coastal fishing is that diving birds = actively feeding fish. If they’re going to make it easy for me to find large schools of bass, I always say, why fight it. These feeds, when paired with appropriate sized light tackle, can be the most exciting moments ever spent on the water, at least until someone trolls through it… There are over 20 different species of gulls, 14 species of terns, 6 species of shearwaters, 4 species of storm petrels, 2 species of cormorants and then the gannets around our waters. All of these birds have better eyesight than you, a better vantage point for viewing and have a more pressing need to catch fish than even the most crazed angler. If they’re not very good at it, they don’t last very long. Observing and understanding the differences between the above bird species can tell you everything from the size and species of bait the bass are on, the direction the school of fish is moving and even where the fish were half an hour ago. Where to go: There is no set answer to this question. There are structures that coincide with strong currents at stages of particular tides that hold fish more frequently, but it is far from every tide in every weather pattern. You need to trust your sounder and make note of both schools of fish that you mark and active feeds. If you go to the same place at the same tide a day or two later, you will often find them. One of the best things that can happen in a day of fishing is finding a big school of active fish without any birds or other boats on them. What to use: I have long used DAIWA Coastal Series rods and reels for my light spin tackle. They are the perfect balance of finesse and power for fishing the harbor for striped bass. The feel of these rods makes fighting barely year and a half old schoolie bass enjoyable and I’ve landed 40#+ cows on the very same setup. My standard rigging is comprised of 30# FINS braid tied via a 12 wrap Yucatan knot to 30# fluorocarbon which is then tied directly to a 50# Tactical Anglers fishing clip. 30# test is more than necessary but loops can be easily picked out of a reel and the line holds up to the punishment that charter after charter can bring. The Tactical Anglers clips give each lure more action and make quick changes of lures a breeze. I always start each charter with the 2 lures that worked best yesterday and 2 rods rigged with a surface popper and a lure that can get down deep. One of the 2 lures that worked best yesterday almost always includes a RonZ or Hogy soft plastic, usually white. It is not at all uncommon to have every cast from every angler on the boat hook into a striper in the month of June. If you’ve been longing to get on the water but work, life etc. have been stopping you – this is the time to blow them off and get out there. I absolutely love June in Boston Harbor!
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