WHY HERE? STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE
Throughout my years of guiding, I have been asked a multitude of questions. One of the most frequent questions is, “Why are we fishing this spot?” There are many reasons for choosing a particular fishing spot, but for me, one of the most important factors is structure. Striped Bass love structure, especially the big ones.
Why do they like structure so much? It’s simple, really. These fish are opportunistic feeders, and more structure creates more opportunity for an easy meal. Striped Bass are looking to ambush their baits and do it in a manner that exerts the least amount of energy. So, if you can locate and identify different types of structure, you can put yourself in position to have a successful outing.
Structure can be summarized into two categories- soft and hard. What is nice about my home waters, and a lot of the mid, and northeast Atlantic coast, is we have both. On the south shore of Long Island, we have mostly soft structure and manmade jetties and groins that have been put along the shoreline for navigation purposes and erosion protection. On the north shore of Long Island, we have natural hard structure in the form of boulder fields throughout the coastline bordering Long Island Sound.
When it comes to soft structure you need to see where the troughs, sandbars, holes, cuts, submerged points etc. exist along the open sand beach. To find these places, I highly recommend scouting your areas during the daytime AND at low tide. This is when structure will be most easily visible. I also recommend getting one of the many apps available on smart phones that allow you to pinpoint and save locations. This will enable you to find the areas when you return at high tide or at night. These soft structure areas create places where bait will congregate, and at the same time create ambush points for Stripers to get an easy meal. The open beach can be a vast place and knowing where the soft structure has formed along these areas will tip the percentages in your favor of landing quality fish more consistently. Soft structure is key to being successful on ocean beaches, However, soft structure along
beaches will constantly change from storm activity, so you will have to check your beaches multiple times during the season.
When it comes to hard structure such as inlets, groins, boulder fields etc., you don’t have to worry about it changing like soft structure. Right from the start you are dealing with consistency in these areas. This results in less leg work and hopefully consistent production. The rocks of a jetty, groin, or boulder field provide a total ecosystem of marine life, creating a wide variety of meal options for Striped Bass. These rocky structures create ambush points for
Stripers in search of easy prey. If you are looking to fish hard structure, you should still do your initial scouting at low tide as well. This will allow you to see rocks that aren’t visible when you fish the higher tides. These will be the hiding places for the opportunistic striper.
Knowing about structure creates more opportunities for catching fish consistently. It is just as important as knowing the best winds, tides and moon phases for the areas you target. A successful day- or night- of fishing is not only about WHEN you cast your line, but also about WHERE you cast your line. So, do your research and put in your scouting time. You WILL be rewarded! Live the Passion! Tightlines!