I saw some rain in the forecast, and I knew this might get some striped bass going, so I hit the beach and spent the next 7 days targeting and catching these fish.
Day One. About 30 minutes into fishing, I hit a brick wall about 6 feet in front of me. It shook its head slow and wide but subtly, and then it bolted and peeled drag for about 6 minutes straight.
By the time I was an hour into this fight, I knew I was on my PB so I just wanted to land this monster.
It took nearly 5 hours to land that fish with 20lb leader. Certainly, I could have put more pressure on it, but I didn’t want to risk losing it, and its a good thing I took it easy because as you can see, it was only hooked with one single hook. If I had turned up my drag I would have risked popping my 20lb leader or bending out the hook.
So I took my time and waited for it to come in just like a massive clump of seaweed. I think it’s a great testimony to the strength of these stock hooks on the Battlestar 115, and proof that if you just turn down your drag as loose as possible, you probably won’t bend out hooks even on some of the biggest fish.
Day two, the bite was on almost instantly!
Looking around at conditions, and the existing bite, I had a really good feeling. That I just might catch a BIG fish tonight.
I had learned the night before, from the 5 hours battle with the 55” leopard shark that I better fish with at least 30lb leader, or just fish straight 30# braid.
It was looking so fishy to me, that I decided to invest my time in fishing tonight and keep my bait in the water all the way until at least one full hour after high tide.
I want to point out that I am investing a lot of time and energy and even a little money to be there fishing when I believed conditions were finally lining up. I saw the storm front and rain predicted and it suddenly felt like I wasn’t choosing to go fishing, rather the fish were choosing me. They were saying, "ok you see the signs, you see that the conditions are lining up, so Knock Knock, it’s time to go." I waited all year for these conditions to happen, so I felt like I didn’t really have a choice, I had to be there.
So, as I was fighting this 30" Striped Bass, it was dead weight like I snagged a log that was caught in a rip current. But then, as stripers often do, it turned and swam towards me. So naturally I started cranking as fast as I could and walking backward, and that is when I tripped and fell backward on a big tree branch that was stuck in the sand.
I managed to keep my rod tip pointed up and bent with pressure the whole time. And while I was still down, I saw the fish sitting on the wet sand so I got up and ran to it as fast as I could.
Boy, I am so glad that I was fishing straight braid that night, and that this big striped bass got hooked really well. As far as I know, no one else on the central coast has caught a 30” striped bass this year yet. So I feel really lucky that I caught that fish.
DAY 3 and 4. Unfortunately, my GoPro was glitching on Days 3 and 4, so I do not have any footage of all the bites and all the fish I caught and lost during that time. But something important happened. Now you guys have seen me catch tons of big halibut, White Sea bass, 55” leopard sharks, big striped bass, even 4-foot shovel nose guitar fish and 4 foot angel sharks all on the Battlestar 115 jerkbait, and I have never experienced my hooks getting bent out. I like the stock hooks on that bait. But over days 3 and 4, for the first time ever, I lost multiple fish due to bent hooks. And it got me wondering, why am I all of a sudden losing fish due to bent hooks on my jerkbait?
It's because Striped Bass specifically, are built for powerful, rapid headshakes. The force that comes from that power and speed could potentially bend hooks. Also, a stiff fast action rod does not absorb the force of those big powerful headshakes. You need a slow action rod with a soft tip, so it gives and absorbs the energy of their headshakes. So, I learned 3 great tips that I want to share with you now. I came to the conclusion, that in the future when I target striped bass specifically because they have such powerful, and rapid headshakes, I will:
1) upgrade my hooks to the VMC 4X treble hooks in size #4.
2) I will also use a slow action rod because they have a softer rod tip, like my Okuma Hawaiian Custom which makes a huge difference when fighting striped bass.
3) I also learned to keep my drag turned down even lower than I ever have before.
These are all GREAT tips when targeting striped bass. In fact, my friend Edward from Hook2Cook told me to do all of these things, and I was stubborn as usual, and I did it my own way. And I probably lost about 5 or 6 nice striped bass as a result. So I learned my lesson, I made these adjustments, and I want you to see for yourself how I made these adjustments over day 5 and day 6, so you don’t have to learn these lessons the hard way like I did.
Day six. So here’s something else I think I am learning. When it rains, and the freshwater flows out of the creeks, then the striped bass get concentrated near the freshwater outlet. But as the creek level descends, that same school of striped bass seems to disperse. So If you start to get way fewer bites around the river mouth, try going for a long walk, and fish a long stretch of beach to see if they are spread out along the beach somewhere.
On Day 7, my friends Dan and Kathy have just returned from their vacation in Maui. They headed straight for the beach to try their luck at this striper bite, and here’s how it went.
So Dan caught that Mondo-sized 15” barred surf perch on the Battlestar 115, and then I continued to comb the beach, and slowly make my way back to the river mouth, to see if could find a couple the way I did the day before.
But the blitz was over… I didn’t get any stripers, in fact not even a bite on that last day. And as you can see conditions had changed. The fish had all but disappeared.
One of the biggest takeaways from this video is, wherever you live, look on google maps, for your biggest most prominent creek or river, that has an estuary. Some kind of marsh. Even if there’s a big sandbar blocking it off from the ocean most of the year. WHEN IT RAINS, and that creek level rises, when it breaks past the sandbar and starts flowing fresh water into the ocean, that is going to bring the stripers in and concentrate them right there around the mouth of that outlet. And within a few days, after it stops raining, you might notice that the creek level has gone down, weather conditions have changed, and the stripers have dispersed. So now you will know where your local striper hole is located, and when to be there targeting them with the Battlestar 115 Jerkbait.
I hope this has been helpful. I hope you are pumped and excited for the next striper blitz to hit your local spots. As always, thanks for watching VINCE GOES FISHING. Please like, subscribe, and hit the bell for notifications of new videos. Fish Safe, Fish Legal, Fish Hard, and Good luck out there!
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