Re: General, Chunking, and Bait/Bottom Fishing Questions
A few things:
You really might want to post for somebody to go with you once or twice in the Cornwall/West Point/Newburgh area. There are days when there are flotillas of boats that mean the fish are clustered, and there are days when a flotilla means that nothing is going on/we're tired of looking for them/gas is expensive. Somebody who knows the area will know the difference and know what baits are working.
Yeah, the West side is good, but don't ignore the Bannerman's area and the Croton Pt. area - they can go red-hot.
Your questions about higher-tech baits are drawing exactly the reactions I thought they would. The Gulp baits, etc. don't get the kind of attention here in the Northeast because high-quality natural bait is pretty easy to get and the demand for the more-expensive packaged stuff just isn't the same as inland.
Do the fish spawn around West Point? Depends on what you mean about "around West Point". The West Point area itself contains the deepest spot in the whole river, and Stripers spawn in the shallows, so the answer is no if you mean right in front of the Point. I've wound up standing in the river in 3' of water at the Cornwall flats during a spawning frenzy, though. Remember though that Stripers aren't like largemouth guarding a nest - the actual spawning spot will be important for exactly one day - the Stripers could be miles away the day before and the day after.
Don't sit around and wait very long while you ask questions - the Striper run in the Hudson will be over in a month or so - then they spread out over the Long Island area and North from there.
I find that you've got to target either quantity or quality of stripers. That isn't say the nobody will get the 40# fish in the middle of a flotilla that's working a school, but the big female cows are pretty solitary (and pretty smart, too - they didn't get to be big and old by being stupid). I find that if you're in 30' of water and they're biting at the 15' level, the big fish will be UNDER the school if they're around the school at all. Some folks say that old cow Stripers are lazy - I think they're experts at energy-efficiency! In the summer, they'll hang under a school of bluefish and get the fresh leftovers. If you want to target the big fish, think like a fish that doesn't want to spend a lot of energy fighting the current/tide and wants the food brought to it.
Best of luck!!
Celebrating my 50th year of Striper fishing