Monday, July 11, 2016

In Search of Fallfish and Stripers

At this point, the RoughFish Spring Species Contest was well underway, and I had two more nearby species I was fairly sure I could secure: The Fallfish and the Striped Bass. 

It was a beautiful day on the Big D, with bluebird skies and a real comfortable temperature. The only problem was, the winds were gusting at 20 mph. Luckily for me though, they were blowing southeast, which didn't affect me too much other than my stuff flying all over the place occasionally. 

I had just got a new killer ultralight that I wanted to test out on these little fish. I started with a simple mealworm and split shot that I drifted along the current. First cast, a strike while I was reeling the bait in. Fallfish, like the gamefish they are, prefer to chase their prey. Second cast secured my species for the contest, a beautiful fallfish from the Delaware river. 

Striped bass were my next target, and not wanting to switch rigs, I continued to use my plain mealworm, knowing that the baby stripers would hit. After a couple fruitless casts, a fish took my bait and fought pretty viciously on the ultralight. I looked into the clear water and saw a broader shape... Striper? Nope, a pretty redbreast sunfish. These fish plague small creeks and rivers, but this was my first one from the very large Delaware River.

A couple more fallfish graced my line soon after.

Including this one, which is the smallest fallfish I've ever caught.

Seeing that no striped bass were willing to play, I decided to switch things up and tie on a 1/32 oz white hair jig tipped with a mealworm. Hopefully this would attract the attention of the stripers more.

The fallfish, however, were still more than happy to slam a hair jig and I landed several beautiful specimens in quick succession.

Another cast, another fish. I brought up what I thought was another small fallfish: It looked silvery and thin. I lifted it out of the water, and lo and behold, I saw stripes.

Mission accomplished.

A teeny tiny striped bass.

I discovered that baby stripers have light blue par marks - isn't that interesting?

I continued to nail striped bass as the day wore on, with the odd fallfish here and there.

My smallest striper ever. This was a day for PLs (personal least)!

The light was gold as the sun was getting low. 

One of the larger bass.

Green head?

This was one tubby chub. 

My biggest fallfish of the day absolutely demolished my jig and fought like a demon on the ultralight. It was also my last fish.

Overall, a great outing, having caught tons of fish and completed my goals.

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