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The old saying April showers bring May flowers doesn’t really concern surf fishermen in the northeast. However, turning the calendar to April does has significant meaning as, in most states, the Striped Bass season officially opens. Along with those official openings and with the calendar taking us into the heart of spring, there is much anticipation to start what will hopefully be a surf fishing season packed with consistent Striped Bass catches and even some personal best catches along the way.

Spring is great on so many levels; longer days, warmer temperatures, and fishing that just continues to get better over the coming weeks. By now you should have had your reels serviced and re-spooled, your hooks and lures replaced, sharpened, or tuned, and your other equipment put into “game” shape. If you haven’t, and you need to utilize your local tackle shop for any

services, you should be heading there as soon as you finish reading this article- these shops will only get busier as the days warm up and people come out of hibernation.

By now, you also should have done your research and reconnaissance for some new fishing spots and, of course, checked your old spots for any changes in structure that may have occurred during the winter months from storms, dredging projects and the like in your area. A well-prepared angler is a better angler, which in turn bring consistent catches.

If, due to a winter full of family and work obligations and honey-do projects, you didn’t get out and check the spots you want to fish, or if you are new to surf fishing, your best bet in the early spring is to fish those creeks and estuaries where the water warms up fastest. This is where the fish will be most active. You should also try working the shallow bays where these creeks and estuaries empty. As the season progresses, temperatures begin to climb, and as they do, you should move into the deeper water areas. If you are experienced at surf fishing but didn’t have time to check your usual spots for changes in structure, you should still target those areas to test your past

experiences, especially if they have hard structure like boulder fields, groins, jetties etc. These areas usually will not experience drastic changes. For example, on Long Island the boulder fields of the north shore present a perfect place to do some early fishing as that hard structure is consistent and creates a variety of great ambush points for predatory stripers looking for an easy meal.

This time of year your tackle bag should have of a lot of slim profile baits, as these are the types of baits that will be present in most local waters you will be targeting. You also want to keep the speed of you retrieve to a slow, steady pace as during this time of year the bass will tend to be lethargic in the cooler water temperatures. Remember, the optimum water temperatures for striped bass activity is between 55 and 65 degrees. It’s essential to pay attention to water temperature and look for sunny days when the warmth of the sun will help the temperature creep up into that range.

Lastly, when it comes to the chances for your success, the early spring is no different than any other part of the season. You must be willing to commit the time in order to be successful on the water. The early part of the season can be a real grind, but with effort, you will be rewarded. Live the Passion! Tightlines! features a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt , a NYS Certified Fishing Guide with over 30 years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast, and now he has a podcast HOOKED ON SURF FISHING WITH BERNIE BASS where he offers his listeners the latest in gear reviews and techniques for the surf fishing scene. You can also follow Bernie on the radio @tightlinewrivradio. Contact Bernie for details on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, or on Instagram @Bernie_bass


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