Southern Maine and New Hampshire Striped Bass Fishing Report
Over the past week we've covered a lot of water and seem to be finding fish in most places that we look. From the coast to the back rivers, fish are holding in their usual spots waiting to ambush prey. Blitzes have been popping up on the ocean side all the way to the back river mouths. Our season seems to be fully underway with a continued charge of bigger fish entering our system each day.
Small mackerel, tiny sand eels, and crabs are plentiful and the stripers are looking for this prey. If you've been on the water in the past several days you've probably gotten a chance to see stripers blitzing really small bait... that's the sand eels. They are 1" to a 1.5" long and very petite. Sand eels of this size are an easy target for stripers and when bait like this gets cornered in a cove the blitzes can last a long time... sometimes until either the tide stops or the bait pod is eliminated. Be mindful because Mackerel also eat sand eels so it's not always just stripers under this bait.
We've had hoards of small schoolies this season and sometimes it feels like these little fish displace the larger ones to a degree. The young, ambitious schoolies are not shy and they are happy to move to your fly. To find larger bass try fishing under blitzing fish, targeting the more efficient stripers below who are picking off stunned and wounded bait as they fall in the water column. Also larger stripers may find good holding water near the smaller blitzing fish and post up to feed in these efficient locations. Larger stripers have gotten that way because they are smart, lazy/efficient and minimize risk!
We've found schools of blitzing micro bass this year and have decided to just post the skiff up and watch. As we kept our eyes glued to the micro stripers feeding, every few minutes we would see folds of 26"-30" fish erupt through the bait. Patience can be key in any element but the angler that times a cast just right in this situation will be rewarded with a healthy sized fish.
We've poled around some of our favorite flats this year and were pleased to find fish in 18" of water cruising for crabs, shrimp, etc. It's not long before sight fishing on the flats is in full swing.
One of our personal favorite ways to fish is by hunting the rocks on the ocean side. We are finding fish holding in the whitewater created by rolling surf and wind chop. Points and structure also create great places for bass to hold. Larger fish can be found here. As the months progress the rocks is where you go to find your fish of the season, especially on the fly.
It's all fun out there right now! Fish are happy, bait is plentiful, and the crowds are few. Forget the forecast, throw on a rain jacket and get yourself a little!
-Captain Kyle Schaefer