September 16th, 2006. What an absolutely unbelievable day of fishing this was. Zig had shown up late so we left the dock at 6:00 am in the morning, a little light was beginning to show out and the wind was howling out of the NNE. Waves were about 1-3 feet and following. Fortunately it was behind us and we had no issues getting out there but it would be a problem later. The GPS cave me some trouble a couple of times on the way out and I had to power it off and play with it till it worked somewhat reliably. Zig and his son had been looking forward to this trip. I had taken out a friend of his (Tom Duffy) and Tom had told him about the early morning bass trip with plugs. He could not wait to get out there and try it.Well, after making the 8 mile run we stopped and drifted across the sandbar at the northern tip of Block Island. I dropped out the first rod, cast out the plug and caught a bass while I was demonstrating to them the proper way of working the plug.
I handed the rod off to Zig and got another on down for his son and he started on his way. While I'm helping Zig bring his fish in the boat (a very large Bluefish) a big bass comes up and slams the plug his son is working. Line flies off the reel. He does a good job working this fish to the boat and meanwhile I catch a small bass (about 30 "long) and bring it in. Zig is working his plug again but we have drifted out of the zone and we need to go back around . So I start the motor and putz over there, as the waves over the top of the bar are probably 6-8 'high and you have to be careful crossing them in a 22' boat. spot where they are holding and immediately we have 3 fish on, all bass and they have to throw.
He is using a Shakespeare spinning rod and reel with power pro and it is not easy to bring in a big fish on this tackle.The fish keeps taking more line than Zig can bring in. Meanwhile his son has been fighting what is probably another member of the same school and has the fish pretty close to the boat, then loses it. (we later learned that the fish had pulled the trailing treble hook off the plug !!) At this point Zig has his fish up close so I hand my rod to his son while I get Zig's fish into the boat. I grab the net and try to net this fish and there just is not any way he's fitting into it, and the net has naturally tangled on one of the treble hooks on the plug. I look at this fish and drop the net, scrambling to find the gaff before this monster realizes that it can break away with a shake of its head. The 4-6 'waves that we are riding are not making the job any easier, but it is completely forgotten in the excitation of how good this fishing is. I find the gaf and bringing the fish into the boat, laying it on the deck. We all sit for a moment looking at it saying 'oh my god that is a BIG fish'.
This Striped Bass weights 41.5 lbs and measures 50 "long. Zig bought the fish in a 17lb class rod, a real accomplishment for a fish of this size. His son brings in a 38" long 30lb fish and we boat that one too.
By this time we have naturally moved way out of the zone and need to motor back to the beginning of our drift. Again we cross over the waves, this time the motor keeps coming out of the water and we get a little wet from spray over the bow, but the guys say we're staying, so we pass on through and start another drift. Again the activity is unbelievable, with fish coming to the surface and slamming plugs, fighting, and being brought to the boat. At one point we have 6 bass in the cooler, had to release one and thread back 3 bluefish. Another half dozen fish were hooked, cooked for short periods of time and broke off. Then we went back for another drift and just as quickly as it turned on the bite turned off, and we got nothing on the next couple of drifts, not even a look. We kept at for a while, not wanting to give up, and not talking to go any farther because of the conditions.Considering the weather and the amount of fish in the cooler, the guys were very happy (and a little beat up) and they wanted to go, so we headed back to the dock (well, ok, I was little beat up too).
We had arrived on the spot at 6:55 am, and fished until 8:00 am, although the bite was over by around 7:28 am. In that short time we had boated 3 Bluefish and 7 bass (all keeper size) and had had a chance at half dozen others. It was great. Then we had to face the long slow trip back to the dock. Block Island's North rip can be very bad in a NE wind (it had shifted) and we were heading back directly into it. It took an hour and a half to get in, compared to 45 minutes on the way out. It was also a little wet. Upon returning to the dock, all Zig's son could say was "that was unbelievable." He kept saying it over and over and over again while I cleaned the fish. Of course, I agreed with him, it seemed unbelievable to catch the way we did under those conditions and in only about 35 minutes of successful fishing.
He called home and told them about it, of course they did not believe it. Not until they bought the fish and the pictures back home with them as proof (they kept the two biggest whole). Zig told me later he had the fish mounted and it now graces the wall in his home. It was the largest Bass the taxidermist had seen that season. Pretty cool stuff. The key to this fishing is using topwater plugs, big waves, and getting on