Migratory Stripers are Back on Cape Cod

After a week of trudging around in the muck, rain, wind and cold (and some sun yesterday) I encountered a small school of migratory stripers this evening – and even managed to hook a couple of them. These fish were bright, clean and crawling with sea lice.

Odds are that because they had sea lice on them, these striped bass were recently swimming in the open ocean. Sea lice hitch a ride on stripers when they are traveling in the sea, and then hang on for dear life. Holdover stripers, on the other hand, are typically more dull in color and do not have sea lice.

I’ll spare you on the long story which involved a few hours of walking through cattails and jumping the muddy ditches that litter many of our area’s estuaries and just cut to the chase.

Just before sunset tonight I arrived at a narrow bend in a creek that was littered with weeds and all sorts of debris. The flood tide slowly wrapped around this bend, and it did not take me much more than a few minutes to notice small bait fish cruising just underneath the surface. The place felt fishy.

On my fourth or fifth cast I felt a bump. Upon reeling my lure in I noticed the lure was clean of debris, and had no visible signs of snagging the bottom.
I cast again to the same area, felt another bump, set the hook and I was on.

Woo hoo! It’s been about a week since I hooked a bass so it felt pretty good to put a bend in the rod. Compared to the holdover bass I caught last week this striper definitely had a bit more spunk and put up a slightly better fight.

I was actually kind of surprised by his size. Obviously this was no monster bass, but it was bigger than my last fish, which was a whopping eight inches long.

I was pretty curious to see if this bass was a holdover, or possibly my first migratory fish of the season. Once I landed him I took a close look for sea lice, and sure enough there were at least a half dozen of the critters crawling on the bass.

If you look real close in the above photo you will see small reddish-brown blotches on the underside of the bass, and on the edge of the anal fin.

As the sun sank lower in the sky other bass began making their presence known. A fish would touch the surface 30 yards to my left, then another would touch the surface 30 yards to my right. Of course they were just out of casting range, as is often the case.

Once the sun set more bass began popping and slapping the surface. I got back to casting and was soon on with an other fish.

Click here for the full Cape Cod fishing report, and more of Ryan's fishing reports from this past week.

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