Tracking the Hudson River Striper 2011
For those of you who do not follow his site.
RIVER BASIN REPORT – Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As I sit here looking out at the falling snowflakes and hear the weatherman tell me that we’ll get 3 to 6 inches of snow tonight my thoughts drift back to March 2006.
Yup, the second half of that month was beautiful, much warmer than usual, and the first of that year’s stripers arrived in the Catskill area on March 31, right along with our first sightings of local herring. The water temperature in the Catskill Creek hit 47 degrees that Friday…but believe me it ain’t even gonna be close this year. Presently the creek is still flowing at just about the 39 degree mark.
That was a great start to a year which saw the second longest striper I’d ever seen brought in the River Basin Sports Shop – a 48 ¼ incher caught by James Provoncha of Stockport – he used cut shad for bait (actually, the fish tied for the second largest ever with a monster taken by John Repko of Germantown in 2004). Of course, the largest fish of all was taken the following year, 2007, by Jeremy Phillips of Saugerties. Man, those were great fish.
Hopefully, something in the 48 inch range will be caught this year but in the 33 years we’ve been in business we’ve only had occasion to measure a total of 6 striped bass that large. The other three 48 inchers were taken by Bob Koziol (Pleasant Valley), Charles Graham (Palenville), and Dean Krissler (Alburg, Vt.).
It’s kind of interesting to note here that three of those giant fish were taken on dead bait, not live herring as is used by, and insisted on, probably 85% of our striper anglers. The fourth was taken on a Mann’s Stretch 25 plug while the two remaining were caught on live herring. It’s also interesting to see that of the top 4 fish brought in to our striped bass contest last year (2010) none were taken on live herring – two were taken on chunk bait, one on a live eel, and yet another on a Rapala. It just might be interesting and worth while for you to remember this.
From a survey we took of 20 striper fishermen last year we also learned a few other things which might be of interest to you. One of these regards which type of hooks most anglers are using. Of course, the big push during the past 5 years or so has been to get fishermen to use “circle” hooks rather than the standard style “J” hooks, the ones we’ve all been reared on. According to studies, the circle hooks are less likely to deep hook a fish – definitely preferable if you’re going to be releasing the fish anyway. Our survey showed that 30% of the fishermen had made the switch to circle hooks while 50 percent were still using the J style. Of the rest, 10% were using treble hooks and the remainder used artificials.
The most popular hook size used was 6/0 or larger – only 15% used smaller. The most popular sinker size was 3 ounces (in the main river), and 30 pound test line was the one most in use, preferred by 35% of the anglers.
15% of the striper fishermen used “level wind” baitcasting style reels and another 15% used standard style spinning reels, but 70% used the newer “baitrunner” style equipment.
Here in the shop, during the past 10 years or so, I think that we’ve only sold a total of 3 or 4 of the older style spinning reels for stripers – and have sold hundreds of the baitrunners. It really is the only way to go if you’re in the market for a new reel for bait fishing, and that is the reason we stock over two dozen different at this time of the year, ranging in price from $49 to $200 – tell me what other retail store gives you such a selection.
Of course the best way to buy one of these reels is to make the purchase as a combo – rod and reel. At present we’ve set up some great striper combos at rock bottom prices – an 8 foot two-piece striper rod along with the most-popular Okuma ABF65 reel for only $89.97. The supply of these won’t last forever so take advantage of it wile you can.
In the meantime, sit back and dream of 45+ degree water that just swarms with herring bait being chased by four foot long stripers. Tom G.
Fish don't care if it's raining & you can't catch em' from your couch ... so get out fishing !!!