Top 10 Hot Spots for Big Stripers, Part II
September 10, 2010
Our roundup of great New England striper spots continues this week with numbers 6 through 10. As we mentioned last week, the following locations are listed in no particular order, as all of them have the potential to produce big fish.
Elizabeth Islands, MA: The famed Elizabeth Islands, including Cuttyhunk and Sow & Pigs Reef, are justly famous for holding big fish throughout the season, with most anglers favoring the Vineyard Sound side of the islands and the various “holes”. The abundance of big boulders and strong currents hold big fish right through the summer—although you’ll definitely do better by fishing at dawn. Many anglers like to concentrate on the corners of the islands just outside holes, where currents tend to be strongest. Chunk fishermen also score very well in the slightly deeper water of the Sound when the fish move away from shore during the day. In June, casting live eels among the rocks in 5 to 10 feet of water can result in big fish too. Another productive method is trolling tube lures and big soft-plastics on wire or leadcore line along drop-offs or past big boulders. The same techniques also work inside the holes, although many anglers find it more productive to anchor up and fish chunks here.
Newport, RI: The reefs (eg., Brenton, Seal, Haycock) south of Newport have given up some nice fish to 40 pounds for anglers and commercial fishermen this season. Fishing eels at night is always a good way to go, as long as you know the area well, but vertical jigging with diamond jigs and lures such as the Point Judith Deep Force jig resulted in some impressive daytime catches in 2010.
Chatham/Monomoy, MA: The combination of cold water, strong current, lots of baitfish and prominent bottom structure make the waters off Chatham and Monomoy Island a season-long producer of big bass. Bearses and Pollock Rips are perennial hot spots, especially for anglers fishing live eels and trolling tubes and jigs on wire line. Tossing a live menhaden or plug next to the shoreline at the southern tip of Monomoy can also yield large stripers. The big rips off this part of the Cape can be tricky and even dangerous to fish, especially in fog, so be sure to learn these waters well before venturing out on your own. The good thing is that you can often catch big fish throughout the day if conditions are right.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA: The southside of the Vineyard is another well-known big-fish spot, particularly the rocks of Devils Bridge, Squibnocket and the area to the east known as “Parkers”. These 3 areas often produce fish throughout the day, all season long, for anglers fishing live menhaden, live eels, or trolling tube lures and parachute jigs on wire line.
Stellwagen Bank, MA: This last entry will no doubt stir some controversy, as Stellwagen is in federal waters and therefore off-limits to anglers who wish to target stripers. However, we feel that it must be included because the bank has held phenomenal numbers of giant bass in recent years, probably due to the abundance of sand eels. In fact, tuna fishermen often consider them a nuisance, as the stripers devour their live baits and trolling lures. Again, you can’t legally target stripers on Stellwagen, but it definitely qualifies as a great place to find them!