Posted by: cworthy | September 14, 2011

Black cats, striped bass, eels and fly rods.

A damned black cat ran in front of the car in the dark and I knew something bad was going to happen on this striped bass fishing trip. It was very early and I was headed to Deer Island, which is at the mouth of Boston Harbor and is well known for big striped bass. I had a fly rod and this was the first of a few mornings of chasing striped bass and then the cat appeared and  had me worried about what was going to happen.

I parked, got ready, threw my waders over my shoulder and hiked for the south end of the island where the big bass hunt in the rips for pogys, glass minnows, and hopefully my offerings. In the dark I had to cross a stone wall and when sat on it to get my waders on I found that I had plunked down in a big puddle cupped in the top of the rock and my butt was totally wet. I hoped that would be all the bad luck the cat put on me and headed down to the water still unsure.

I worked the best jetty as the low tide was starting to rise and when it got light enough to look around I couldn’t see any fish, bait or birds,  so I headed to the next jetty and then the next and still nothing; it was the jinx of the black cat I’m sure.

The next morning my son and I went to a new area this time armed with a bucket of 8 eels. Eels, for those of you who are not familiar with them are about the size of a small lamprey, only they have a conventional mouth and feed more like a fish. We hooked the eels through the mouth and out the lower jaw, about where your double chin would be if you were  an eel, and cast them out into the current without any weight. The eels swim for the bottom and we slowly reel them in. If a bass sees them they grab them and take off. For this reason we hold the rods at 12 oclock to give us a moment to open the bail as we drop the rod tip and feed them a little line. After a couple of seconds we just close the bail and the fish is on.

Our plan was to get up at 2:00, fish for a couple of hours, and then catch another hour of sleep before we spent the day touring Cape Cod and being upbeat and charming with our wives. The plan worked, we caught some keeper bass over the 28 inch minimum and were back asleep before daylight and we didn’t have to staple smiles to our faces like we thought we might. That would have hurt.

Day three found us back out in the night with both eels and fly rods. Bill caught a good fish on an eel and then went to see what all the noise he was hearing down the shore was about. Soon he was back and said for us to grab our fly rods and cast under a big light on a boat dock. Striped bass were popping silversides under it as the bait washed by on the tide.

It was game on as they say and both of us were into fish. I think we caught and released 9 or 10 before the tide stopped and the action slowed along with it.

Day four, our last, found us back looking under that dock light  and the bass were back. Both of us caught fish on flies although not as many as the day before. We quit so Bill could get ready for work and my wife and I could head back to Michigan. Striped bass fishing would become addictive if I lived out east. But so is grouse hunting and that starts tomorrow!

I think Bill boga-ed this one at 22 or 24 pounds.

Stripers like this one caught on an 8 or 10 weight are fun.



  1. Very nice Bill! Very happy to hear of your great trip with your son – OUTSTANDING!
    Every week I try to keep Monday open so I can come up to Leland and run my boat one more time but each week the weather isnt good enough to justify the trip
    I may just come up and run it in the bays pretty soon but I really wanted to go out to the island and put her to sleep that way……

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