Stripers are in the harbor in Norwich, and at least as of last Saturday could be caught either by boat or on the shore. My buddy Bob nailed this slob, which measured 36" and weighed 32lbs. More typically, you will catch 20-24" fish, sometimes one right after another. We caught them on 4 1/2" jerkbaits on 3/8 - 1/2 oz. heads, mostly right off the bottom. They also will usually take spoons.
The Thames fishery gets pretty pounded at times. If you took the time to do the legwork, I guarantee that you could identify other coastal river systems that support holdover striper populations just as close to home that rarely get any pressure. I live in central Massachusetts and know of 4 significant wintering populations on different rivers within an 1 1/2 hour drive of me, and I can almost guarantee there are several others I don't know about. I don't know where most of those interested live, but I know there are wintering stripers in the Connecticut and Housatonic River. I've never read any reports about it, but I'd bet my eye teeth there are plenty in the Hudson. If you are familiar with a coastal river and potential navigation hazards, you know where some deeper holes near current breaks exist (even though the fish may move up onto shallow flats depending upon tidal conditions), and you don't mind spending some time motoring around looking at your fish finder (trust me, you'll know when you're on em), you may just stumble upon your own personal winter honey hole. Good luck
I guess cabin fever doesn't exist in your house!
I live right near the Hudson, and Bass winter right under the Tapanzee bridge. However, from what I have heard is they just won't bite at this time of year.
You must surely be the Striped Bass man!
Thanks for the reply.
"I live right near the Hudson, and Bass winter right under the Tapanzee bridge. However, from what I have heard is they just won't bite at this time of year."
What you have heard is wrong! Trust me on this. Stripers as far north as Maine are biting right now. With cold water temps (33-40 degrees), you will want a mostly vertical presentation. Assuming you will be fishing from a boat, it helps if you have a bow mounted trolling motor and can sit right over them. For this technique I use a 6 1/2' med or med/hvy action rod and 6 or 8lb test mono or fluoro. Braid doesn't work as well if you are dealing with any appreciable current and are fishing mostly vertically, because the line tends to float and messes up the presentation. The main technique is simple. Rig a small soft plastic jerk bait on a relatively light head (1/4 oz. -1/2 oz. is typical). Fish it right off the bottom - drop it down, reel up the slack, and periodically snap the rod tip up and watch the line as it drops. It helps to have a finger on the line and also watch the line for strikes because hits can be very subtle. If you don't get bites right off the bottom, crank the handle a few times and repeat the process at varying depths. The fish may be pretty inactive, but because they are so heavily stacked up in wintering holes, you can have great action.
I had the opportunity to fish for Stripers on light tackle last fall.
Very addicting. Every fish is like a trophy Largemouth.
I found myself 6 Saturdays in a row putting 10 hours a day on the water.
North Shore of Long Island out of Huntington was the ticket. Fishing shoreline grasslines 3 - 8' feet of water. Ripping Bomber Long A's as hard as I could.
I have never seen any boats fishing the Hudson in the winter by me.
Could it be hte Hudson is the exception to the rule?
Once the water starts to heat up in March you start to get fish that will take artificials in Croton Bay.
"I have never seen any boats fishing the Hudson in the winter by me.
Could it be the Hudson is the exception to the rule?"
Marty, I seriously doubt it, but there's only one way to be sure. If I lived anywhere nearby, I be doing my dardnest to hijak a friend's boat to get out there The only questions I'd have are 1) can the river be navigated safely? Particularly since there are few if any boats in the vicinity and you won't last long if you find yourself swimming, I'd make sure that the level of flow is manageable, I had a partner onboard who knew how to operate the boat in case I fell over (and vice versa),I had all necessary pfds and safety equipment with me, and lastly, I was confident that the motor was trustworthy; and 2) In the wake of 9/11, can you fish near the bridge legally and with the sanction of those who's job it is to make sure the bridge is safe from attack?
Read absolutely nothing into the fact that you never see anyone fishing there in the winter. Everybody knows that stripers don't bite when the water falls below 50 degrees, so why bother, right? The best winter spot I know of is on a river right outside of a major fishing harbor in SE Massachusetts. I have NEVER seen another boat there in several fall/winter fishing expeditions there. As long as its not locked up with ice, you can count on taking lots of schoolies and the occasional keeper up on the flats in as little as 3 feet of water during the right tidal conditions.
"Once the water starts to heat up in March you start to get fish that will take artificials in Croton Bay."
You gotta wait till March, huh? Check out what I found with a wee bit of googling:
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Hudson River Almanac December 30- January 5, 2004 Highlights
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
1/2/04 - Croton Bay, HRM 34: Big schools of striped bass have been feeding right at the surface for a week. You could see the tail and dorsal fins. When they moved, they put out a wave as much as a foot high. The fish left in a hurry this afternoon when two harbor seals began to feed in the bay.
I can lead a horse to water, bud. The rest is up to you. Godspeed. :wavey:
I wouldn't last long at all if I went overboard.
I have my own little Striper Boat, but my wife would never let me take it out this time of year.
Concerning that report about Croton Bay, on the train going into work one morning I did see tails & 3 cars parked by the Launch. The fish were on the the Croton River side of the train tracks which is actually a very shallow lagoon, no deeper then 3 feet.
I'm sure those guys are local Sharpies. If the fish would bite I'm surprised they weren't fishing.
I'm sure you are right about river Stripers biting in the winter, you have the pictures to prove it.
You must really know your stripers.
I can only imagine the Cows you much catch durring the season.
Thanks for all your insight. I really appreciated it.
If you ever want to try Fishing down my way just let me know.
The Thames is so loaded with wintering stripers that you will think your depthfinder is lying to you. Its common to mark a school that is a hundred yards long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high. Slug gos and superflukes worked slowly along the bottom are often best. Most guys use a weighted jighead between 3/8 and 3/4 ounce. I used 8 pound test and a 1/2 ounce jighead last time I went. I think we landed somewhere between 30 and 40.