If you’re going to be wrong about when the fish will show up, it’s best if they show up early! This year I predicted that the big schools of surface-feeding bass in Buzzards Bay would arrive on May 7. As it turns out, I was off by a few days.
I got word from a buddy that he was seeing action on top 3 days ago. I took a shot 2 days ago and got blanked on a cold, wet evening.
I got the call again last night, and my friend assured me it was “wide open”. So this morning Capt. Shaun Ruge and I splashed early in Bourne and ran out into a snotty southwest wind blowing right up the bay. Although cold and rough, the ride was worth it. In no time, the radar’s “bird finder” mode was living up to its name.
We set up on one of several acre-size flocks of terns picking sand eels and franticly working over huge schools of bass and bluefish! The bite was indeed wide open, and Shaun and I were doubled up on nearly every cast. We decided to take turns, with one of us shooting video and taking pictures of the action while the other person hooked up on every cast. You can view the results of this team effort here!
After an hour or so the birds broke up some and the action got a little thin, so we fired up the radar again and started hunting. A few miles away we saw what looked like several more huge flocks of birds near shore, so we raced over and continued where we had left off in the deeper water.
These fish were chasing small squid out of the water, and the ratio of bass to blues was closer to 50/50. After getting our fill of bass and blues, it was time to head back to the ramp so Shaun could get to work by 0830. That’s right, we were nearly worn out and it was only 8:00 a.m.!
The fish were all over the surface, but they wanted no part of topwater lures today. Instead Rapala X-Raps in olive and silver worked very erratically was the hot ticket. If you jerked the rod tip 3 to 4 times, then let the lure sit for a second, the fish would crush it on the pause every time. The stripers were all good size, ranging from 25” to 32″, with most of the fish within an inch either side of legal. The blues were in the 2- to 5-pound range and more of a nuisance than anything.
Final tally for the short morning was 30 to 40 fish per man, with a few keeper-size fish mixed in (we released all of the fish). The water was a consistent 53.8 degrees everywhere we ran. Water depth ranged from 10’ to 50′, but the key was finding the birds and staying with them.
Overall, a great way to start off the season for Team Riptide. The gear worked flawlessly and it was fantastic to finally feel the tug of a fish on the line after such a long winter.
- Rod: 7’ St. Croix Tidemaster 8-17 lb. test
- Reel: Shimano Saragossa 6000
- Line: 30 lb. Suffix 832 Braid
- Lure: Rapala X-Rap
Video of Todays Action:
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