2021 Best Spring Striper Lures
Spring is all over us now. Red-winged blackbirds cling to tan cattails, ospreys circle slow schools of nervous river herring, mighty pretty crocuses push through soil and litter while well-rested woodchucks dart across your neighbor’s lawn. Nervous fishermen get twitchy at talk of those first schoolie bass, volunteers peer into dirty river waters to count single and double buckies while deer hunters kick through piles of curling leaves, searching for sheds. Spring restores energy many pined for through months of short days and long nights so now it’s time to take down those kayaks, uncover tarped skiffs, and reconnect with water.
First, there’s the striper migration. Bass could arrive in the next few days. Word will spread like wildfire through text messages, social media, and old-fashioned window to window parking lot chats for the super careful. While crowds will pack Galilee’s West Wall with their best spring striper lures, a few wise anglers will cast from East Matunuck beach or breachways to catch bass before they reach the jetty circus.
Fish Wrap’s top 5 Spring Stripers Lures
#1 Shiny Spoons
My three favorite brands are Al’s Goldfish Saltwater Series, Hopkins, and Kastmasters. Each offer a variety of sizes and color patterns sure to fool hungry bass. Spoons have been a saltwater favorite for decades because they last long and reflect light above and below. Skip the hardware, tie your leader directly to the split ring. I am, of course, partial to the Fish Wrap Writer special edition lure that can be purchased here (and seen below).
Halographics, realistic paint schemes, beads, articulated rear ends; all that and more driving up the price of lures but right there on the same rack, are Cocahoe Minnows. They’re not fancy, the packaging is pretty white toast and no one has ever seen a bass boat with COCAHOE plastered all over the sides. However, Cocahoe Minnows work, they’re affordable, and some even glow in the dark. They are the most underestimated lure in any shop and stripers love them. Over many years, Cocahoe Minnows have landed more fish from my kayak or any boat from which I have casted than any other lure, hands down. Warm, cool or damned cold water, those minnows call in fish becuase their basic, natural design works. Period. All stop. There is no reason to fish salt water without them, and I mean that honestly.
#3 4″-6” Plastics
4″-6” plastics with ¼ ounce jig head are also a go-to for me. Plastic baits have enjoyed a technology boom these last few years but let’s not forget there are biodegradable versions on the market as well. Pearl, grey or yellow over black plastics from 4” to 6” are perfect.
#4 Nutter Baits
Nutter Baits offer very cool plastics poured in a low-key, local, as in Oceanside California local, shop. Tangy Swim and Nutty Spotty Swim rigs are killer. It’s a double win when you support a small business and catch a pile of Spring bass. “Because the fish go Nutts.”
Bucktails been around since Jesus was doling out bread and tilapia to the masses, with some wine of course, because they work. For these first few weeks, forgo the dressing; stay with basic rigs of white with red trim, with a bit of tail flutter. Migrating stripers hunger for fats and proteins after their escape from Jersey crowds so KISS and catch lots of fish while saving a pile of cash.
Any of these spring striper lures are sure to help your 2021 striper season kick into high gear.
RI Kayak Bassin’ returns with a new tournament season
Rhode Island Kayak Bassin’, the Ocean State’s premier freshwater fishing league, begins its fourth year on Locustville Pond in Hopkinton. RIKB founders RJ Alves and Matt Tetrault shared a love of fishing and the challenges of friendly competition way back in 2018, so they joined forces to a create a kayak bass fishing club with a season of tournaments. Fun, friendly tourneys and a love for water were their founding principles.
Managing a flotilla of anglers is no small feat and after a year, Matt had to focus more on work and family, which left RJ to take the reins and build the group. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting RJ, or RJ Unleashed as he is known, the man is a force of good who genuinely wants to see new people turned onto the joys of fishing from a kayak, especially an Old Town kayak.
“I have made so many great friends who love to go fishing in a kayak, friends that I know will be with me for a long time,” RJ said. So far, RIKB has hosted 24 tournaments, now Director RJ has earned a slot as Old Town Kayak Pro Staff, competed at the 2019 Kayak Bass Fishing, National Championship, in Louisiana, helped RIDEM create a Beginner Kayak Fishing Seminar and produced a 100,000 view promotional kayak review video.
He is “RJ Unleashed” after all.
Tourney rules are very precise to keep everyone honest but these are excellent events with good people. Matt and RJ deserve high praise for promoting a catch/photo/release tournament trail, ending the reckless tradition of hoisting hapless bass under a blazing sun, laying them on a measuring board then tossing them off a dock, potentially miles from where they were happily living.
“Mostly, anyone that knows RJ well, will tell you that he has built a personal foundation on honesty, integrity and faith in a Higher Power. With that said, it’s evident RJ tries to pass along that positive spirit to others, both in and out of the kayak fishing realm,” someone told me. You can enter a RIKB tournament through the Tourney X website, contact RJ to join through their Facebook page, catch up with him at The Kayak Centre in Wickford or head over to Smith & Sayles Pond for their next tourney on April 24 because now’s the time to see what a great group they are.