Shane_O

New England Holdover Striper Advice

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I’m a novice, having only lived and fished the RI south shore for 5 years (and only fished it seriously for 2). With that said, I’ve always had the itch to get out there and fish throughout the winter months, even if it means freezing my ass off to no avail.

 

I assume fishing for holdover stripers may be similar to fishing for other species during the cold months (they’re lethargic, feed less aggressively, and a slow presentation is key), but I’m looking for some sage advice to better my odds. Any tips on the striper’s winter forage or general habitats? Is it pretty much left to the rivers or do they also hole up in salt ponds?

 

Any advice is welcome! Thanks

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I don’t fish RI very often but if you asked the same question about Mass I would give you the same answer,  find some nice estuaries, many have Stripers that actually hold over.

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I've had luck around water discharge plants in the capital area of RI this time of year.  The water temps are warmer in these areas.

 

Your assumptions are solid in regards to slow presentations; low and slow with small bucktails, white/blue superflukes on jig heads, super shads etc.  Wouldn't hurt to tie on a teaser as well.

Edited by DEM Parking Lot

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Bass Assasins Curlytail Shads or Sea Shads on leadheads will get it done.   I like bright neon colors in the cold dark waters.  

Let's see some pictures when you score.  Good luck!

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Thanks guys! You seem to have confirmed some of my assumptions and I’ve got some new hints to go off of as well. It’s a beautiful out and all my civic duties are done for the day so I might gear up and try some spots.

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You should before it's hard water fishing in the Northeast.   I only need January & February to complete the calendar year but know of a few guys on board here who have it all almost annually.   I'm just not that dedicated to cold weather angling.   

I like the buffer zone to build rods, molds, mend from the rough water boat trips and hangout in my recording studio to reboot for the next season.

 

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5 hours ago, flylikabird said:

You should before it's hard water fishing in the Northeast.   I only need January & February to complete the calendar year but know of a few guys on board here who have it all almost annually.   I'm just not that dedicated to cold weather angling.   

I like the buffer zone to build rods, molds, mend from the rough water boat trips and hangout in my recording studio to reboot for the next season.

 

I hear you there, I’d like to learn how to build rods but for now I’m too anxious. I have a desk job as an engineer and the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit around inside. I’m no stranger to freezing my ass off, we’ll see how this goes.

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I have been out on the kayak a bit over the past few weeks and let me tell you, holdovers are all over. My fish finder and go pro show fish everywhere in the prominent locations. In some spots, the schools are so thick you hit them with your jig on the drop every time.

 

The secret to doing well on holdover fish is to find a location where they are eating. Think discharges, shallow flats, areas of currents meeting, etc. Otherwise, what you end up with is a huge school of schoolies near a huge school of bait, and not much action. They just suspend at 15-20ft and laugh at your offerings when the water is around 40degrees.

 

For tactics, it depends a lot on location. Some places will offer up a 40" fish on a waverer, others will give you a dozen fish at 15" on a micro jig. Slow is usually best though, and small beats large most of the time. I have yet to find a spot that offers consistent big fish as well. I used to have access to a few spots farther north that would offer 30-40" fish with some consistency all winter, but that drive is too much for me at this point with the traffic on 95/93/495 at all hours. Still looking for the equivalent in RI.

 

Photos are prevalent bait (from last week) and screenshot from the go pro (just one of dozens of drops exactly the same).

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 8.35.38 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 8.35.04 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 8.37.05 AM.png

Edited by xjclint

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22 hours ago, DEM Parking Lot said:

I've had luck around water discharge plants in the capital area of RI this time of year.  The water temps are warmer in these areas.

 

Your assumptions are solid in regards to slow presentations; low and slow with small bucktails, white/blue superflukes on jig heads, super shads etc.  Wouldn't hurt to tie on a teaser as well.

Do you know the actual temp of the discharge there? I have a suspicion that it isn't noticeably different than the surrounding temp since they changed it a few years back. Last few years I didn't hook up past early December at that spot, which kind of confirmed this, and it never generates steam even on the coldest of days.

 

By the way, I plan on kayak fishing this location this week and will report back both on fish and temps. Anyone want to join in?

Edited by xjclint

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27 mins ago, xjclint said:

Do you know the actual temp of the discharge there? I have a suspicion that it isn't noticeably different than the surrounding temp since they changed it a few years back. Last few years I didn't hook up past early December at that spot, which kind of confirmed this, and it never generates steam even on the coldest of days.

 

By the way, I plan on kayak fishing this location this week and will report back both on fish and temps. Anyone want to join in?

 

Cool it would be interesting to find out water temps.  I have not fished there yet this season but probably will give it a few chances.  Good luck!  

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14 hours ago, xjclint said:

Do you know the actual temp of the discharge there? I have a suspicion that it isn't noticeably different than the surrounding temp since they changed it a few years back. Last few years I didn't hook up past early December at that spot, which kind of confirmed this, and it never generates steam even on the coldest of days.

 

By the way, I plan on kayak fishing this location this week and will report back both on fish and temps. Anyone want to join in?

You in a dry suit this time of year?

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On 12/9/2018 at 9:01 AM, rwilhelm said:

 

Cool it would be interesting to find out water temps.  I have not fished there yet this season but probably will give it a few chances.  Good luck!  

Went out today on the kayak. Lots and lots and lots of bait in the water but not one fish. Saw no marks and had no hits. Birds were going wild picking the dead fry off the surface (from being ground up in the pumps).

 

The "hot" water outflow is also not hot. Exactly the same as the ambient water temp on my fish finder. All in all learned a lot about the structure for the spring I guess.

 

Looks like I will go back to my other holdover spot further south.

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On 12/8/2018 at 0:37 AM, Shane_O said:

I’m a novice, having only lived and fished the RI south shore for 5 years (and only fished it seriously for 2). With that said, I’ve always had the itch to get out there and fish throughout the winter months, even if it means freezing my ass off to no avail.

 

I assume fishing for holdover stripers may be similar to fishing for other species during the cold months (they’re lethargic, feed less aggressively, and a slow presentation is key), but I’m looking for some sage advice to better my odds. Any tips on the striper’s winter forage or general habitats? Is it pretty much left to the rivers or do they also hole up in salt ponds?

 

Any advice is welcome! Thanks

Word on the Street is the Thames River with small swim baits:)

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11 mins ago, codfish said:

Word on the Street is the Thames River with small swim baits:)

Thanks for the tip codfish! I’ve seen some cool videos of people fishing the Thames in the middle of the winter slamming schoolies, cool stuff. I have an ultralight setup that I’m dying to test against some stripers, might be a good opportunity.

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