Salty Cape: Fall Striper Fishing (October - November)
Fall Notes: Fall striper fishing is very similar to spring striper fishing. In both cases, you are targeting newly arriving stripers chasing bigger baits. The upside is early is less early and late is less late due to the shorter days. The down side is that fall fishing is often cold, rainy and windy. Fall fishing is also a little less predictable. The fish tend to stay for shorter periods of time in the fall than they do in the spring. Otherwise, with the exception of the top water rip fishing, the fishing is the same. Stripers are either keyed in on schools of bait in open water or lingering around structure.
Shore: Sunrise and sunset are your best bets but as I mentioned above, bites can last all day in rainy or overcast weather. If you are a shore angler in New England, you want to prioritize May and June.
Estuaries and Flats: Estuaries become hot and heavy again in the fall, with some surprisingly big stripers mixed in, especially in bays that are holding pogies. A simple 1.25oz Hogy Epoxy Jig will provide you with the most retrieve options and great distance in the wind. A lightly rigged Hogy Original 7” on a 6/0 Swimbait Hook is a good finesse bait and ideal for very shallow areas.
Boulder Fields: You’ll want a line up of plugs to make some surface noise. I like plugs to make some noise in greasy calm conditions. In heavier surf, rotate through a quickly retrieved 2oz Hogy Epoxy Jig®.
Canals and Inlets: Heavier versions of the Hogy Pro Tail are ideal for fishing the swing, especially when fishing heavy currents in inlets or canals; the Cape Cod Canal being the most extreme. Fish a mix of bone, silver and green to hedge your bets with squid, herring and mackerel.
Open Beach: A handful of 2 to 3.5oz metals, like our imitative Sand Eel Jigs, will get you some serious distance to reach far away breaking fish on an open beach. Fish the Sand Eel Jig fast. A slower option, and a deadly one, is to retrieve the Hogy Dancing Diamond Jig The tail is highly imitative but is very soft and may need to be replaced after each fish. Needless to say, it’s worth it if fish are slow to strike. A 4.6” Sand Eel on a dropper loop is an effective way to tease finicky fish.
Jetties: I like to rotate between 5.5” Hogy Pro Tail Paddles and our top water plugs and fan cast the jetties. High tide while dropping is best.
Boat: Everything is going on this time of year. So much so, I don’t really consider trolling as an option in the fall because there are so many more interactive and lighter tackle options available that haven’t been used since the spring season. To simplify, I think of early morning hours as top-water time and high daylight times as a deep-water game, with the exception of shallow rips filled with squid. I’ll list my go to scenarios.
Estuaries and Flats: Stripers in shallow water are great fun to site cast to. A Hogy Original on a 6/0 Swimbait Hook is the perfect finesse bait. Be sure to lead the fish, don’t drop the lure on the striper’s head. Be sure to cast ahead of the fish and bring the bait into the striper’s range. In a little deeper water, blind casting with the Hogy Epoxy Jig® in 1.25oz in silver, pink or olive will produce.
Open Water Herring or Mackerel: In greasy calm conditions, I will fish noisy poppers and dog walkers to call in the fish. In heavier winds, I will likely use a weighted paddle tail soft bait like our Hogy Pro Tail that produced a 64lb striper in 145 of water a couple of springs ago. I’ll fish the paddles at all speeds and levels in the water column until I crack the code.
Top Water Sand Eels: A slow moving, lightly weighted softbait, periodically twitched on the retrieve, is deadly. Allow the bait to drop on an extended pause periodically, maybe 10 seconds or so.
Deep Water Sand Eels: I find this happens a lot midday in bright light and deeper water. A highly imitative 2.5oz or 3.5oz Hogy Sand Eel Jig dropped on their heads and twitched tantalizingly will draw a strike. If this doesn’t work, fish it fast.. If you are clearly marking stripers that won’t eat, dead stick a Hogy Dancing Diamond Sand Eel Jig in their face.
Deep Water Herring and Mackerel: I’ll fish the 3oz Hogy Pro Tail Paddle in silver, bone and green the same way I fished the Hogy Sand Eel Jig above.
Fish Around Structure: Big bass will be cruising around feeding on a diet of migrating baitfish and local forage. Moving water is often the best time to catch structures but many sharpies know that slack high tide is a secret window into the best opportunity to a huge fish. Here, you’ll want to be casting 5.5” Hogy Pro Tails on a slow retrieve, a popper fished with long pauses, a slow moving walk the dog or an unweighted soft bait with an ultra slow retrieve with a lot of twitches.
Trolling Deep Open Water on Light Tackle: A simple way to target scattered fish you are periodically marking on your fish finder is to pull two Hogy Pro Tails on braid or lead core line. If you mark fish, take the boat out of water and drop the baits on the targets. I’ll troll silver and green paddles when fish are keyed in on herring and mackerel and olive eel tails when they are keyed in on sand eels. If you are not seeing targets, but you know they are in the area, the Hogy Bait Ball Brella is the way to go. Although it looks massive with all the squids hanging from it, the frame has a very small profile, minimal drag and is lightweight. The dense pod of bait that this rig simulates will bring in fish from a far.
Trolling Shore Lines: The fall season is tube and worm time. You’ll want to troll the tube and worm in rocky areas, preferably near a drop off. I will work contour lines and play around with depths. Often stripers are holding at specific depths.