Reliving an epic day of striped bass fishing off of Long Island’s South Shore on June 9 of this year.
My quest for a striper and preparation for a local striper tournament began on Tuesday, June 6th. That afternoon we left Fire Island Inlet in search of bunker and hopefully the big bass that had been riding herd on them to our west for the past week. Based on that intel, we headed west but struck out. The next day, Wednesday, we went west again, spending a full 8 hours searching for bunker and bass to no avail. On Thursday, I hopped aboard a friend’s go fast boat, a 39 footer with triple 350s. We ran west all the way to Rockaway Inlet, but did not see a flip, not a mark on the machine, nothing.
Frustrated but still determined to locate bait and fish for Sunday’s tournament, I decided to go east on Friday. One of my fishing buddies had been east and found bunker, but no fish. Finally our luck changed and with a good friend on board we found bait and boated a few fish, including a 38 pounder for me and a 48 pounder for my buddy – his best to date.
Now that we had located bunker with bass on them, we left the dock on Saturday full of anticipation. Joining me were John Maio and Adam Feizer. I asked John to bring as much ice as possible so the boat would be iced down for the tournament Sunday. John responded, “That’s bad luck and I’m bad luck to have on board.” I told him, “That’s nonsense, I am going to put you on fish and break that silly notion.” Little did I know how prophetic those words would be.
We found bait and fish immediately. I think Adam had the first fish, a 42 pounder. Within 30 minutes, I had a solid take and the line went limp. I reeled hard and fast, bingo, the line went tight and the big bass took off with half my spool. I told Adam, “This is a fifty!” It was exciting but concerning because the fish didn’t stop. Adam suggested backing the boat up and I said no. I didn’t want the line to go slack and wanted to keep pressure on the fish. I managed to get the fish to the boat after about five minutes, but as soon as she saw the boat, she took off again, emptying half my spool in the process. After another five minutes, we were able to net the fish. We were all excited and hi-fiving each other after the digital scale revealed 54.3 pounds.
We got back to the fishing and I boated and released a 40-pound class fish. John was really getting frustrated and I told him to hang in there, that his turn would come. A few minutes later, bingo, John was hooked up and nearly got spooled. At the rate line was leaving John’s reel, I knew it was another big fish. After a great fight we netted and boated his giant. John immediately said, “I am releasing this fish.” We quickly weighed her at 62 pounds, shot a quick video and photo, and after giving the huge bass a big hug, John returned her to the sea. It took a while for the three of us to calm down and let it all sink in.
At the end of the day, it was a 5 day journey covering several hundred miles and $2000 in fuel, but our perseverance paid off. We had boated six trophy stripers, released three of them, including John’s giant. We were all blessed to experience an epic striped bass fishing trip. Three good friends, three great fish boated, and three released. It was truly a Triple Crown day of striped bass fishing.