If you are a striped bass fan, and like to catch or eat them, you will be happy to know they have good taste too. They enjoy eating just about any bottom crustacean or fish that presents itself as easy prey. However, they particularly like to eat lobster.
A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation on striped bass to the Jamestown Striper Club and played video clips of striped bass experts relating tips on how to catch them. One of the video clips was of Greg Myerson, who holds the world record for striped bass—an 81.8 pound monster he caught off the Connecticut coast when fishing among lobster pots at slack tide.
Greg said, “These big fish are lazy. They do not want to chase bait around in a lot of current but would rather feed on lobster at slack tide. You only have about a 30 minute window to catch them. I fish for them with a three way swivel with the largest eels I can find and send them down among the lobster pots. I make noise on the bottom to try to mimic a lobster (or crab) scratching along the bottom, this attracts the striped bass, they see my eel and go for it.” Greg said he first developed this technique when fishing with friends. “If four of us were fishing, each with equally enticing eels over the side, what was going to attract the bass to my eel rather than their eels? This is when I started to try to mimic lobster sounds on the bottom.” Greg now sells a bait rig called the Grey Myerson RattleSinker, it mimics the sound of a lobster to attract those monster bass to your bait. You can find them at http://www.neucart.com/worldrecordstriper, and they are available in various colors ranging from 5 to 16 ounces.
After recounting Greg’s interview I came across and article in the June 2013 issue of “OnTheWater” magazine by photographer Ethan Gordon titled “The secret life of stripers”. The article, first published in the February 1998 issue, was reprinted this month in a special striped bass issue. Gordon has taken some great striped bass photos and relates his underwater encounters with striped bass. He said, “…you might be wondering how striped bass can eat lobster. I have seen them swallow lobster whole, tail first. I have also witnessed one or more stripers attacking a lobster out in the open, first removing its claws, then breaking it in half, fighting for the pieces. A live lobster doesn’t seem to intimidate a striper either; an adult striper can swallow a one-pound lobster whole.”
I then came across and article from “Landings” magazine that was first published in the MLA Newsletter in October 2011 by Melissa Waterman, relating the link between striped bass and lobster. Erin Wilkinson, then a graduate student at the University of New England, studied this relationship by examining the stomach contents of 35 striped bass caught in the Casco Bay, Maine area. Wilkinson said, “I have seen lobster in quite a few stomachs… one (striped bass) had five juvenile lobsters in there.”
Not surprisingly, lobstermen do not like striped bass. A dock mate of mine who is a recreational lobsterman said, “Please, do not put striped bass racks in my bait box, I found out the hard way. One year we baited the pots with striped bass and did not catch a single lobster.” Striped bass show up and lobsters run for cover.
So this is good enough for me: a lobsterman, a scientist, an underwater photographer, and the striped bass world record holder all say striped bass eat lobsters. So keep this is mind when fishing for big bass: fish among the lobster pots, and if you are serious about catching a monster striped bass, mimic the sounds of a lobster like Greg Myerson does.
Now I know: striped bass have good taste too.
Atlantic Menhaden commercial fishing closed
The Division of Fish & Wildlife of DEM closed the commercial possession limit for Menhaden in Narragansett Bay Menhaden Management Areas on Monday, June 10. DEM does weekly aerial monitoring of the fishery, it closes and opens commercial Menhaden fishing based on these weekly stock assessments.
Where’s the bite
Fresh water. Kim Bissonnette and Dayton Martin of South County continue to find largemouth bass in local ponds and lakes. Kim Bissonnette said, “…it seems most fish have gotten over the post-spawn funk. Smaller fish are holding under floating areas of vegetation, and still tighter to shorelines, with bites being plentiful using baits typically suited for this type of cover. Weedless frogs and other soft plastics (lizards work really well for this technique) retrieved slowly over the vegetation (with pauses around openings) has the potential to trigger abundant strikes.
Bigger fish are holding off the outside edges of weed lines, with a productive approach being long casts to vegetation edges and a slow, varied retrieve back to the boat. Results have been really positive with the boat positioned in water depths between 6 and 14 feet. Stick baits are a great choice for this approach, and many strikes occur as the bait falls, so exercise patience and let the bait drop towards the bottom. With this technique, be prepared, as most strikes will occur fairly early in the retrieve. Colors often depend on water clarity, with natural colors working in clear water, and baits with brighter features and color contrasts better suited for stained water.”
Striped bass fishing mixed this past week. Elisa Martin of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “We had fish at the North Rip for three weeks but it shut down before and after the storm—so we were happy when big fish started to appear at the Southwest Ledge. Customer Glen Corsetti of Wakefield caught a 40 pound striped bass Sunday at the Ledge.” Bay fishing for bass was on and off last week. Fish were taken in Providence River and off Prudence Island under Menhaden schools and close to shore in low water around Prudence Island using soft plastics. Lorraine Danti of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “Customers continue to find bass and extra large bluefish in the Mt. Hope Bridge area using Menhaden chucks.”
Fluke fishing was off after the storm as water was turbid and dirty, making it difficult for fish to see baits. I caught two fish Sunday off Warrick Light, using white squid rigs tipped with squid, and freshwater minnows (find them meatier than silversides and their silver scales flake off nicely when in the water). Elisa Martin of Snug Harbor said, “Fluke fishing slowed after the storm along southern coastal shores (from Pt. Judith to Watch Hill). Fluke fishing around Block Island was fair.” Anglers continue to find black sea bass as they fish for fluke. Black sea bass season opened June 15, 13” minimum size, three fish/person/day.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Visit Captain Dave’s No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com; his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.