Hopefully it’s warmed up, bunkers are everywhere and the Striped Bass Spring run in the Western Sound is in full swing; after another cold, snowy winter we deserve a nice spring, plenty of fish and some good times!

If you haven’t worked on your boat, rods, reels, sharpened your hooks, checked your line, too bad, I’m going fishing! There will be Stripers spread out all over our area and should be easy enough to find, whether you use live bait, chunks or artificials. In previous articles I’ve gone over various techniques on how to catch Stripers; it’s time to get out there and get some!

Look for the bait, the bass won’t be far from them, they’re hungry, post spawning fish that will be moving through the Western Sound now and some cows will be amongst them.

Be flexible, “think outside the box” when looking for these big fish, the best spot isn’t always where the most boats are. Maybe that little wreck you ran over last summer will hold some bass? Maybe that fishy looking point you walked by, or that big rock you saw at low tide? Try these spots a few times, under different conditions, tides and maybe it’ll become your own private honey hole. There is a lot of fisherman out looking to catch, the Western Sound is huge and Stripers do swim. I hope I’m not sounding too crazy here, I have found new spots every season by looking, putting time in and thinking about what’s going on around me. Do you watch your sonar when driving around? You should! Fish may be holding in spots that have no rhyme or reason to us for them to be there, but they are and if you put enough time in, you’ll probably figure out the why, when and how to catch them. Don’t be afraid to experiment, it took Edison thousands of tries before the light bulb worked.

With the new Striped Bass regulations, one at twenty-eight inches or more; be prepared to target other species as well. Bluefish, Fluke and Porgies will also be showing up this month as well. Bluefish are a lot of fun to catch; they fight hard, will test your tackle and angling skills. Just watch out for their teeth, they are sharp and can take a finger if you’re not careful. If you’re going to keep some Blues to eat; make sure you bleed them out and ice them immediately. To bleed them out, insert a knife behind their gills, (watch those fingers) make a small cut, put them head first in a pail of water and then ice them. All fish will taste better if you take the time to bleed them and keep them in a cooler of ice.

I like to Bucktail for Fluke with a light spinning rod, using braided line. Try putting a four inch plastic grub, pork rind on the bucktail, and some fresh spearing on the hook. Many anglers like to use Gulp products on their bucktails and it’s out fished bait on many days. Again experiment, have options, it will help you catch fish when no one else is. Drop your bucktail to the bottom, bouncing it as you drift; you’re trying to mimic a live fish to the Fluke. When you get a bite, swing up hard; keep your rod tip up, reel, applying constant pressure on the fish. Don’t drop your rod tip; it’ll cost you a fish. Fluke need to be netted; don’t try lifting a fluke until you have a net under it, keep the Fluke’s head under water till the net is ready this will keep them calm. Fluke are one of the best tasting fish we can catch locally, (filet of sole), ice them right away. Fluke are also great cooked whole on the grill with garlic, fresh herbs and olive oil.

Last but not least are Porgies, they fight hard and are also great to eat. Light tackle is all that is needed. Porgies are a great fish when you have the kids aboard; they’re easy to catch, fight hard and are usually plentiful once you find them. Just show the kids how
to be careful with them; a Porgy has sharp dorsal fins that will hurt if one gets you.

You’ll need fresh clams, sandworms and clam chum to be successful. Drop your baited Porgy rig to the bottom; bounce a few times than hold it still until you get a bite. Once hooked just reel them up with steady pressure and lift them into the boat and on the ice. I love eating Porgies; whole on the grill is my favorite way, but they can be filleted, and then pan fried or broiled too. Porgy is also good raw in a ceviche or Hawaiian Pokey Salad.

I want to wish everyone a great safe and happy fishing season!!

If you need to book a charter or have a comment or suggestion about COASTAL ANGLER MAGAZINE; you can reach me at capttommykampa@gmail.com.