This morning I fished with Capt Ken Jones out of Brooklyn, NY. The striped bass bite has remained hot later than expected into the summer. Weather patterns have consistently pushed cooler water close to shore, keeping the bunker schools and marauding stripers within easy reach from NYC.
Saturday, Capt Ken spent a full day of chasing (and catching) Mahi Mahi on fly rods offshore in 78-degree water. But word came down that the big striped bass were busting bunker inshore, so today Capt. Ken decided that he and I would fish the morning bite near town.
Bunker, or menhaden, are oily fish that school up in dense, swirling shoals. They’re easy to spot, flipping at the surface and churning the water. And bass love them. Unfortunately, when the bass are on these 12-14 inch bunker, they’re not interested in flies.
Nonetheless, fishing for them is a blast. You cast out a weighted treble hook into a school of bunker being harrassed by predators. Snag a big baitfish, let it panic on the end of the line for a few seconds, and hang on. We caught four bass this morning over forty inches, and I blew the chance for plenty more. I also hooked a couple fish I could not turn, and one bent the huge saltwater hook. Word on the radios was thresher sharks were in the mix.
You gotta love fishing the salt. If you’re in NYC, call Capt Ken.