Light Tackle Stripers on the Susky Flats

Discussion in 'Fishing Reports' started by JerseyBrian, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Went out with Captain Ed Robinson of Bonus Check Charters to do some topwater popping and jigging soft plastics for Striped Bass on the Susquehanna Flats. The "Flats" as most people call it, is the area where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay. If you don't know why it is called the "Flats" you'd get a pretty good idea if you launch a boat and come to find that the water depth is no more than 2-3 ft. deep for a few square miles. You don't get any deeper until the eastern shore where you'll find the bay channel depth of 10-20 ft. In the springtime, the Striped Bass migrate up the riverways and there is a Catch and Release period during this season where you have a chance at some real trophy fishing with LIGHT tackle gear. This is possible because when hooked up, a big striped bass has no option but to run long and hard on the flats since there is no depth or real structure to use. These settings make the scenario of a hooked fish much more beneficial to the fisherman in landing it.

    We met Captain Ed at 5:30AM at the Galena Fire House parking lot and proceeded to follow him to the boat launch. Capt. Ed runs a 21' 6" Sea Pro SV2100 with a 125HP Mercury outboard.
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    We started out at 6AM as the sun began to rise. There is still nothing that beats a morning sunrise on the water :)
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    We first set up on a shallow flat and threw Stillwater Smack-It's for the sunrise bite and my friend, Ed Derias quickly had an exciting explosion of water come up beneath his popper. Unfortunately, no hook up. :(

    Next, I had a big splash behind my popper, but no contact with the lure. Finally, Capt. Ed hooks up with one and quickly lands a 20 inch striper. He switches to a 7 inch Bass Assasin and hooks into another one immediately.

    I place my popping rod in the holder and pick up one of his rods pre-rigged with a 7 inch Chartreuse glitter Bass Assasin and hook up immediately. Land my first Striper of the season! A healthy 24 incher. Next cast. I let it fall to down to the 8 foot bottom and get bumped immediately after the first twitch. Nicer fish.
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    Meanwhile, Capt. Ed had changed to a Tony Acetta spoon and started catching one fish, one cast :eek: He finally missed on his 4th cast :p

    I felt sorry for my friend Ed since he's still VERY new to fishing in general and still has difficulty setting the hook properly. He had many bites and blatant run offs that even I could visually see by his rod tip and line, but couldn't sink the barb in. It will come in time....

    Next cast, I launch my Bass Assasin far and wait for it to sink. Twitch, reel, twitch, wait... big jerk...slow reel..bump fish on! This one is pulling drag. I give Ed the rod. After a good, safe 5 minute fight he lands the biggest fish of the day at approx. 30 inches and 10lbs.
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    In total, we caught about 13-14 fish (I caught 5, hooked 6:D ) most which were on Bass Assasins and the Tony Acetta spoon. Only 2 were caught on poppers. Had a great time and was fun to be out there on my day off.
     
  2. A.whitman

    A.whitman Senior Member

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    i miss stripers. looks like fun!!
     

  3. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    guy in the last pic has a New Jersey sweatshirt and a Nova hat. I like it, haha!

    I never fished striped bass in the Susq. or the bay. Always did it off Jersey. Looks like a fun trip though!
     
  4. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Guy in the 2nd pic is my buddy Ed. Went to PITT, but grew up in Bryn Mawr and was a big 'nova fan. Even got to Brian Westbrook single handledly beat PITT's football team by himself when he was on 'nova :p

    The trip was a LOT of fun. Especially as 2 other guides were following us and calling Capt. Ed to see what we were using cuz they could see us catching fish while they weren't :)

    We didn't catch any monsters that would be qualified as "trophy size", but Capt. Ed hooked into a chunky momma later that afternoon ready to lay some eggs.
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    We fished from 6AM-1PM and the bite died for us at around 10:45AM.

    I used a Quantum Catalyst Inshore 20 PTs reel with 10lb Sufix braid and 20lb Yozuri Fluorocarbon leader connected to a Temple Fork Outfitters TFS 703M spinning rod.

    Ed used a St. Croix PST66MHF Premier spinning rod with a Okuma VS-30a reel with 10lb fireline and 20lb leader.
     
  5. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    i grew up very close to bryn mawr (wayne, pa). the striper in the last pic is a nice one, i'm sure those were a lot of fun on that light gear!
     
  6. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    i grew up very close to bryn mawr (wayne, pa). the striper in the last pic is a nice one, i'm sure those were a lot of fun on that light gear!

    Yea it was a blast. You gotta trust your drag for this type of fight since you're letting the fish tire itself out by making long runs on the flats. If your drag gets fouled up, you could possibly pop the 10lb line. I definitely trust my Quantum Catalyst Inshore reel since I've landed several 24-30 inch stripers on it last summer, but was more surprised at how smooth the Okuma VS-30a drag system was. Much better than my Okuma Epixor EB-30's drag. Light weight and easy casting. Not a bad reel to have on a light tackle charter boat.
     
  7. Angler Systems

    Angler Systems Senior Member

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  8. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Really great photos.
    Thanks! I haven't been able to get out much, but did land a few of the "demons" behind Wildwood, NJ a couple of weekends ago.

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  9. Enoch

    Enoch Senior Member

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    Wow, Brian, bonus check is the charter I went on last spring for my PB 33lb Striper! It's good to see I was following your tracks!