5.15.2015

Can't Break that Burple Habit...

While Jerry has been actively in pursuit of the spring striper run, I finally dusted off my waders and joined him for a late night trip to the beach. Admittedly, my surf casting success last year was extremely limited, but with the way my first fishing venture of the season went last night...this year is already looking much more promising...

31"  



29"

Jerry's 10th
Friday evening, Jerry and I picked up some iced coffees and made the trip out to one of his usual spots. I had been to this spot with him last year a few times but as I recall, only ever caught one fish there. Jerry, however, has been catching and with the timing of the tides, a soon-to-be new moon, and calm winds, we were hopeful that we would have some luck.

We arrived and made our way down the beach, taking a few casts along the way. I hadn't been surf fishing since early fall last year as I have been taking graduate courses and late night fishing trips became late night course work for me. I put on a needle fish and slowly worked it in the calm water. I had visited our "plug wall" and picked out a nice variety of plugs to try out. The needle fish was easy to cast, but bored me with the slow retrieval. As it got later in the evening and we made our way down to "the spot" I tried a metal lip swimmer and a big black sluggo. The sluggo had one hit, but otherwise nothing.

I started to worry that perhaps, here I was again, bringing a case of bad luck to our surf fishing adventures--there was a time last year that this fear was always lurking in the back of my mind. Feeling a little anxious, I decided to throw on my most favorite, if not overused lure, the S.P. Minnow. A BLURPLE one, of course. I had promised myself that I would expand my horizons and try new plugs, working on my casting skills (keep in mind that I'm five foot tall, trying to whip around a ten foot rod with a big ol' Penn reel), but it was time to start catching!

I walked by Jerry, jokingly shouting, "Time to quit f-ing around! I put my BLURPLE on!" I have named my favorite lure BLURPLE, because I can't seem to remember whether it is S.P. or S.B., and well, I think the word BLURPLE is hilarious. Anyway...I took a single cast with my old standby and there they were...FISH ON! I caught my first guy of the season and we took a picture, even though he was just a lil' guy.

First striper of the season for me!
In the next two hours, I caught six more, two of which were in the keeper range (one was 31", a great fish for me!), and the rest all being over 20 inches. Jerry was toe to toe with me with 6 in the 22-28 inch range with one nice 29" keeper.  Between us, there were at least 5 fish between 26-28".  It was fast and furious for about 2 hours, where every 3 casts we'd get hit, lose a fish, or catch a fish. We both lost quite a few dinks too, and had some technical difficulties (me being first trip of the season, and Jerry getting cut off twice!), which decreased our landing rate. Eventually the tide went out to the point that I couldn't reach the sweet spot, my unconditioned casting arm on fire. Jerry kept going and I rested on the rocks. He gave a countdown wanting to do ten more casts, after saying how he really wished he could have caught ten fish, a nice round number. On his tenth cast, boom, here we go again! He brought in another 7 fish, and 4 in a row! I gave it another go, but couldn't hook up, my fatigue catching up with me (I lost at least 3 fish practically at my feet). Jerry is rarely without energy, and just kept going...I admire him for that.
Jerry and I kept doubling up, too! Look at the dedication, I bled all over my surf top from hook wounds brought on by my thrashing fish.
Eventually, Jerry took mercy on me after landing 14 fish, and we headed back to the car for the drive home. All in all, a great start to my surf fishing season and a wonderful night with my husband...Gotta love that BLURPLE.

-C