My sister and brother-in-law live down in Marblehead, Mass. If you have to live in Massachusetts to work in Boston, it's not bad. Sort of like a more crowded (and way more expensive) coastal suburb of Portland. He's been bugging me to come down and fish stripers for a couple of years, and they just bought a used 23' center console to sweeten the offer.
I got a tour Saturday afternoon while my mother, sister and wife went shopping. My BIL and I headed out for a boat ride--mostly to put the boat on the dock for an o-dark-thirty attempt on Sunday, but we did tour the area and take some casts. It was pretty dead, except for one VERY larger fish that came up off a rock pile and followed a big plug to the boat.
We were on the water by 4:45, looking for a busting stripers my BIL saw on Thursday when he took the boat to work. (Quicker commute than driving, though parking is more expensive.
) They never showed, so we went hunting along rock piles that reminded me a whole lot of the Maine coast. I was banging flies into lots of spots where he said he'd taken fish before, and there were several other boats out that appeared to be guided parties hitting the same spots, so I think we were trying the right places. As the sun came up and it started to get hot, I figured the day was over and was just going through the motions, when he suggested we try one more spot--a rocky island about a mile offshore. He maneuvered the boat up to a 10' wide slot between two half tide ledges. A big swell was washing in and out of the cut, and my second cast fell back into the wash and a 25" striper hit on the second strip. My tackle got messed up while releasing the fish, so he tried with the spinning rod while I re-rigged, but never saw a fish. When I was ready, my second cast to the same spot was hammered by what felt like a much bigger fish. It put on a long run and had me into the backing. I got some line back on the reel, and then had my venerable STH reel break--the reel literally fell off the reel foot. It looks like two small screws that held the foot on stripped. Anyway, that left me with what I thought was a very good striper to hand line to the boat, still with about 70 feet of line out.
Fortunately, I was born, raised and trained as a trout fisherman, so I have stripped in about 75% of the fish I've landed in my life.
I got it to the boat, and it turned out to be much smaller than I thought, but still just a hair over 28".
I believe those were the two largest stripers I've landed in three years, so I may have to spend more time down south.
It was just beautiful down there from 5 am until about 8. We headed back in about 8:30 to a steady stream of boats heading out of harbors in Marblehead, Salem, and all the other nearby towns. After we picked up the rest of the family and headed back out for a boat ride and picnic, it was the boating equivalent of the York tolls on a hot Sunday. We stopped in a little harbor to drop the anchor for lunch and soon found ourselves surrounded by more than 50 other boats--no exaggeration. The local harbormaster was out patrolling to make sure nobody crossed over what was described to me as a property line in the harbor beyond which was a sign: "Private Tidal Area: No Trespassing." We watched him make several boats move. It made the busiest day I've ever seen on Cobbossee Lake look pretty tame.
I wouldn't want to try the mid-day fishing in summer, but I'll be back for the dawn patrol before the end of the season.
Picked up a replacement reel at KTP on my way home. They had a bunch of deals on Reddington reels running if anyone is in the market. I got a machined large arbor with a cork drag for $120 that looks to be pretty durable. It will have a time living up to the service I got out of that old STH, which I think I got at a TU banquet sometime in the mid 90's.