Stripers on top

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Posted by Mar Caballero on 2014-04-01 13:38:20

The one thing that makes this sport so addicting to me is the seemingly endless opportunities to learn. Fishing spots, techniques, flies, etc. You are constantly learning and evolving the more you immerse yourself into the sport.
One such powerful learning experience was during a trip with Capt. Santucci awhile back. We were fishing a shelf mid-morning in a bright bluebird day. Steve pulled out his 10wt rod with a jumbo poledancer and proceeded to fish on top. I followed his lead and tossed a medium poledancer into the shelf. A few yards into the drift and Steve gets a huge explosion from a double-digit fish. He followed it with with a couple more blowups further down the drift. I got 'maybe' a swirl. That was enough proof to me that the bigger fly entices more strikes and under a bright sun no less. I've had some success with the medium PD before but since that session with Steve, I've fished the jumbo PD exclusively and have had some success enticing some big fish on top.

That lesson was further reinforced during a recent fishing trip.
Around the same time last year, with the water temp in the low 60's, early morning outgoing tide, slight breeze and heavy cloud cover, I had an amazing experience fishing for stripers on top. This past Saturday's conditions were eerily similar and I had high hopes of getting into them again.
Another fellow topwater junkie joined me for a quick morning session Saturday morning. Conditions were prime and we had an epic morning session. Several blowups and massive swirls from fiesty stripers ranging from smaller schoolie size to 'holy smokes did you see the size of that fish' range. As is almost always the case, the big ones just teased us but we hooked and landed enough fish (biggest at 14.5lbs) that we can't really complain.. The rain started coming down mid-morning so we decided to end the nice session.
But I know that these fish don't stay around in one spot for too long so I made the most of it and came back for the evening bite. I fished the last 2 hours of light on Saturday in the middle of a drizzle and manageable breeze. And it was even better than the morning session. The fish were even more aggressive and I ended up landing 5 fish (biggest at 16lbs) and briefly hooked or missed 6 other fish. One particular fish that I won't soon forget was a toad in the 25-30lb range that I got to see in action. I casted to a shallow 3-ft flat and saw a huge shadow appear behind the jumbo PD as soon as it started walking the dog. It would zig-zag underneath the fly, stalking it, come up inches below it and turn at the last second leaving a huge upwelling of water underneath the fly. It did this 2 more times until I ran out of retrieve room at the boat. Then it did one last huge swirl with a giant tail slap as if to say 'nice try chump!'. Holy smokes. It was such a sight to see and I was very pumped that I got a big striper to dance with me for a few seconds.
I went back with my wife Sunday morning hoping that they were still around but they have moved on. Ended up catching a couple of schoolies on the intermediate line and FT clouser to wrap up an amazing weekend of striper fishing.

See pics.

P.S. Special thanks to John Quigley for his twisted leaders. These things will turn over some massive topwater flies with ease.

[click here to display pictures]

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