In my last report, I wrote about the fall pattern in the Upper Bay changing. We saw more of that this week. The Stripers have noticeably changed their behavior. In weeks past, we saw fish scattered throughout the water column, chasing bait. This week I saw more fish relating to the bottom and smaller fish up in the water column. All the better fish we caught were on the bottom in 25 to 35 ft… Just a few weeks ago the fish were at 12′ depths. This is what I mean by a pattern change. Along with this change in depth is a change in attitude. This week, they did not want to chase anything. A slower than slow retrieve with the thumper jig produced some nice fish like this 28″ Rockfish for Ange Harclerode.
Several times this week we caught fish right on the bottom even though we did not mark big active schools. The sparse marks on the bottom proved to be rockfish hugging the bottom. These fish also responded to “Snap jigging” BKD’s … I took my friend Mark Muzzelman and his friend Robert Patton, These guys were new to snap jigging but caught well when I had them over fish…
The “Thumper Jig” is a horizontal retrieve whereas “Snap-Jigging” is more of a vertical presentation… either way “Slow it Down” for best catching now. This one came on a slow rolled “Thumper Jig” in 30′ of water. Dipping the tails in garlic scent helps trigger the bite.
This is important for good catching as the water temps continue to fall. The best retrieve for the Thumper is painfully slow. You want that tail to slow wobble sending out big vibrations, that the fish feel in their lateral lines. They will often slow stalk the lure for awhile before attacking it. Keeping it slow, keeps the fish’s attention… they don’t want to chase anything very far or fast. Slow down and fish deeper and you will find the stripers still here and feeding.
Take a good look at the “Thumper Jig” a skirted jighead with 5″ paddle tail attached. This one has caught about 25 Rockfish you can see where they are starting to damage the tail.
This color combination and white on white on white have caught fish all week in different rivers. An excellent cold water Striper lure in the Upper Bay and it’s tributaries. Slow it Down for better catching! Hope to see you on the water.