Early Spring Notes: I start thinking about my first “first” around this time. I happen to be typing this on April 8. Regardless of whether you had a mild or cold winter, the water is still frigid. You're only play is in shallow water estuaries and back bays where there an abundance of baitfish all winter long. If the area has a herring run, even better! The water is also shallow in these areas and the first sunny days will spike the water temperature and activate any hold over stripers that have survived the winter. If there are fresh fish in the area, new arrivals find their way to the shallow bays where they have more comfortable water conditions and easier bait resources. Back bays hold a variety of bait. Your best bet are small, easy to cast baits in natural colors. You’ll want to cover all levels of the water column and fish slow. When the water is cold, the fish are sluggish. Fish these lures on 12lb test Flouro leader.
Shore: This is a time of year where you’ll see many “boat fishermen” fishing from shore as it is easier. All you need is a light 7’ inshore spinning outfit. Your best bet is to find ambush points in the backwater you have selected. It’s hard to say which tide is better (dropping or rising) without knowing the specific spot, but you’ll want moving water and you’ll also want to locate deeper channels where the water is funneled, making it easy for stripers to ambush bait. Stripers will also leave the bay on an outgoing tide. You’ll want to fish just outside of the bay at this tide stage. The same lures can be used inside and out. The mix of baitfish this time of year is varied, so small, natural lures like our Hogy Epoxy Jig and our smaller Pro Tail Paddles in natural colors will be your best bet.
Estuaries: A mix of a 3/8oz Epoxy Jig and a 5/8oz Epoxy Jig will give you a lot of options. You’ll get great casting distance. The lightness of the lures will allow you to fish the lures slowly but also give you the ability to let them flutter in a little deeper water. The 3.5″ Pro Tail Paddle and the 4.25” Hogy Pro Tail Paddle will give you a little extra casting distance over the epoxy jigs and the vibrating paddle will create more commotion. You’ll want a medium speed to retrieve with these, allowing you to cover more ground.
Boat: Early spring is the small boat enthusiasts dream time. Often, you are only a few feet from shore and likely fishing in the same areas where you would if you were fishing from shore. Personally speaking, I use boats this time of year to get access to the spots I couldn’t get to by land. One advantage to boating this time of year is that you can troll small baits, like our small Hogy Pro Tail Paddles in this video, in open water to cover ground and locate fish.