Plymouth Harbor Stripers

Fishing for striped bass and bluefish with Fin-Nor and Van Staal in Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts.

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Welcome to Plymouth, Massachusetts. As the sign says (and as you probably recall from History 101), this is the place the Pilgrims landed back in 1620.Mike Mazur
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Here's a replica of the boat they sailed on from the Old World – the Mayflower, docked in famous Plymouth Harbor.Mike Mazur
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But what are these guys looking at so intently?Mike Mazur
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Why, it's Plymouth Rock, of course -- the site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims. No doubt about it, this region is rich in history – but it's also rich in something else…Mike Mazur
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…fishing! I took a quick day-trip to Plymouth recently with Capt. Joey LeClair (left) (774-262-2675), Craig Cantelmo (right) of Van Staal and Chris Littau (rear) of Quantum and Fin-Nor. But what was Captain Joey pointing at on the horizon?Mike Mazur
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Diving birds. And bait – lots of it! Under the bait and birds swim stripers and bluefish, our quarry for the day.Mike Mazur
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Today’s goal – in addition to having some fun with a few scrappy fish — would be field-testing some gear, including the classic, bail-less Van Staal VS150. We also would be fishing with…Mike Mazur
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…Quantum’s sweet new spinner, the Smoke 25.Mike Mazur
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Capt. Joey cast a hookless topwater into the fray of birds, with hopes of stirring up some game fish. It didn’t take long before the action broke out.Mike Mazur
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Talk about some excited anglers! Craig and Chris toss lures into the mix, while Capt. Joey fights to keep the bass from inhaling his hookless plug.Mike Mazur
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And, bang! Craig hooks up!Mike Mazur
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No, it’s not a monster, but this gorgeous little bass socked the daylights out of this small diving plug. And it….Mike Mazur
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…shined beautifully in the warm Massachusetts sun. So, what were these bass chasing throughout Plymouth and Kingston Bays?Mike Mazur
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Massive schools of peanut bunker, spearing and small herring. The fishing got so hot that…Mike Mazur
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…we decided to break out the fly rod. Drew Townes, my colleague at Sport Fishing, had been loafing around the back of the boat (just kidding, Drew!), so Capt. Joey quickly got him on the bow with the long rod matched with a Van Staal reel. And Drew did not disappoint…Mike Mazur
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…latching quickly into a spunky, hard-pulling….Mike Mazur
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…striped bass! Living in Florida, I don’t regularly fish for these gamesters, but they’re undoubtedly one of the most beautiful fish in the sea. As this one tired out boatside…Mike Mazur
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...Capt. Joey landed it, removed the fly, then carefully slipped it back into the bay.Mike Mazur
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It didn’t take long for another hook-up. The fish were really chewing! Chris gives the new Smoke reel a good workout. But what did this fish eat?Mike Mazur
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A weightless soft plastic. Truthfully, these schooling bass probably would’ve eaten about anything we threw at them. And only seconds later….Mike Mazur
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…Drew hooks up again, on a spinner this time. But this fish fought a bit differently. It turned out to be a…Mike Mazur
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…nice little bluefish that was mixed in with the stripers.Mike Mazur
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Craig and Joey chat about trying a new area, where the fish might be a tad bigger. Soon, Joey fired up the outboard, pushed the throttle ahead, and we were on our way…Mike Mazur
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…running through Duxbury Bay and past the Duxbury Pier Lighthouse. When we got to our spot…Mike Mazur
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….Capt. Joey pulled out the push pole. The water was shallow, and while there weren’t a ton of fish showing, there were just enough to make for some interesting sight-fishing.Mike Mazur
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We stood at the ready, scanning the flats for cruising fish and shadows. As it turned out, it was Joey himself who…Mike Mazur
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…scored the big one of the day, a fine, shallow-water Plymouth striper. Gotta love a place that offers good fishing and a rich sense of American history. I imagine the Pilgrims fished for striped bass themselves 350 years ago. It's neat to walk on land and navigate waters so near and dear to our nation's founding.Mike Mazur