I spend a good portion of my summer guiding fishing clients from all over the country for striped bass from kayaks. There is something about catching fish from so close to the water line that seems to keeps people coming back, especially when those fish are migratory visitors whose appearance is as synonymous with summer as beaches and ice cream. Whether they come because they want to experience the thrill of the Nantucket sleigh ride, or they just want to try something new, the result is almost always the same. They catch fish and I make new friends.
It can be said that kayak fishing doesn’t afford you the same access to as great a number of striped bass as fishing in a boat. Sure, when the fishing in one spot slows, boaters can fire up the motor and speed off to check another location. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when the fish seem to disappear, it is usually because they are simply corralling bait before another feeding frenzy.
A little patience goes a long way. My dad always used to say, “You don’t leave fish to find fish.” Being on the water almost every day, I know when certain areas are good and when they’re not. When my clients see boaters evacuate an area I reassure them that we have nothing to worry about. I love the look on their faces when the fish return and they commence catching fish. It’s not about being right, it’s about the smile on their face and the trust that is built.
Now, some years are better than others, and so are some days. This year the stripers are making my job easy. We have a huge 2014 year class of fish that always seem willing to bite. At 12”-15” these aren’t huge fish by striped bass standards, but what they lack in size they certainly make up for in numbers. Most of my clients try to keep track of the number of fish they catch, and so far all of them have lost count. There’s little more satisfying than when a client needs to stop fishing and rest their arms because they have caught so many fish. I know the feeling, so I know how great it is.
I enjoy the unpredictability of striped bass kayak fishing. It keeps me on my toes as a fishing guide, and fends off monotony. Some days we catch tons of fish, some days we catch really big fish, and occasionally (but rarely) we don’t catch any fish. You never really know and the best you can do is guess and hope to be right.
Tim Moore is a professional fishing guide in New Hampshire. He owns and operates Tim Moore Outdoors, LLC, offering year-round guided fishing trips. He is a member of the New England Outdoors Writers Association and the producer of Tim Moore Outdoors TV. Visit www.TimMooreOutdoors.com for more information.