Tri-State Stripers E-mail
Thursday, 13 September 2012 00:00

Danny Viscardo is a world-traveling kayak angler who recounts trips to Alaska, Mexico and Christmas Island in the South Pacific in his quest for action and big fish. But, if asked his favorite fishing, he’s likely to cite local striped bass as number one on his list. Viscardo lives in North New Jersey, and works in New York City. This puts him smack in the center of “Striper Central,” the network of open coastline, bays and estuaries formed by coastal barrier islands, glacier cut sounds and numerous riverine channels of the area.

Dan3Living in the northeast, stripers are my main target fish for about 7 months out of the year. There are endless ways to fish for stripers and at different times of the year, all work great. You can fish shallow waters in back bays, deep water in the ocean and just about every way you can think of.

It starts in early spring with stripers heading into several back bays in New Jersey and New York. It's mostly lure fishing early in the season until bunker (also known as menhaden) show up in large schools.

There is nothing like having a two-pound live bunker on a single hook around a school of bunker. Your line starts peeling, and you wait a few seconds and set the hook. Of course that's my favorite way in the spring, but casting small jigs into acres of busting fish is pretty insane as well.

Once the bunker show up, it's snagging and live lining in and around the schools of bunker. The technique is very effective in late spring and early summer. This is the best time of year for bigger fish, up to 50 lbs.

In the middle of summer, striper fishing slows down until around October, when the water starts to cool off. Then, I head to Montauk Long Island to find acres and acres of bass busting small bait fish on the surface. It's pretty much tossing a small jig head with a 4-inch Fin-S or any soft bait. In winter months, I’m jigging, mostly with Ava-47's or casting and trolling with some type of sand eel imitation lure.

I usually tie direct to my lure by using 20-pound fluorocarbon. Terminal tackle is not really a factor when I target stripers. There are usually blue fishDan1 mixed in with the stripers and getting bit off is just something that you have to get used to. But, I take my chances and don't mind losing a few jig heads each trip. When tying my mono to fluoro, I use an Albright knot and when tying direct to the lures, it's either a uni knot or an improved clinch. When I tie them right- they "almost" never fail.

I use either Tsunami Air wave rods or Shimano Trevala rods, usually in the two to six-ounce range, and all my rods are 6'6". As far as reels go, I use Shimano Tekota reels when the bigger fish are around and a Daiwa Luna 300 when the fish are not as big. I never use a spinning reel and can usually cast my conventional reels far enough for kayak fishing. Some guys use lighter set-ups as far as rods go, but I never want to be under-gunned, just in case that BIG one comes on the line!

It's hard to say which story is my favorite. There have been some amazing days as far as numbers go, with days with 50 stripers landed and some days with just a couple over 30 lbs. landed.

There was a day last December when I was in the ocean with birds crashing. I was about two miles out. I was alone and when I got to the birds, the conditions were not good. There was a 3-foot chop and 6-7 foot swell and the wind was about 15-20 mph. Nevertheless, I was landing striper after striper. And then while releasing one, I almost went over. I decided to head back closer to shore without even trolling. Once I got about a mile from shore, I started trolling again and with a six-inch soft plastic and a 3/4 oz. jig head.

All of a sudden I hear a large crash behind me and I see a huge bluefin tuna crashing out of the water right near my lure! I did have a heavier set-up with me, because a few boats posted about seeing tuna in this area the day before. Before I could switch over, my rod almost got pulled out of my hand and I was tight with a tuna in the 75lb. range.

Dan6The conditions were still not good, even closer to shore and I knew that my chances of getting this fish in were slim to none. BUT… After about a minute of getting pulled backwards, with water coming over the back of my kayak, I was able to get straight and gain some of my line back.

I started reeling and then just watched my line peel off the reel as if I was hooked to a speedboat. Of course, just before I got spooled, the line stopped right at the knot on my reel. I thought for a split second that if I could get straight again and pedal to the fish, I would land it.

HA HA....just as I thought I had a chance, the line broke and I almost went over again. All this was in about 90 seconds with my heart racing like crazy the whole time.

 

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