Click for larger image. Striper Decoy Shark

The Stripers are coming. Will you be ready!

By Capt. Jimmy Samia

I just came in from snow plowing and was admiring my charter boat sitting in my yard all shrink wrapped. I started thinking, wishing, that I would soon be fishing for sea run Stripers in the Hudson on their annual spawning run. I then began reflecting on what will need to be done to get everything ready for that first "shakedown cruise".

Before I put the boat up for the season, I removed all of the electronics that could be removed to storage in my home. I then coated all the electrical plugs and connectors with dielectric grease to protect them. This makes for an easy plug and use install when I bring all the electronics back on board; Fishfinder, radar, chart plotter, downriggers, down speed and temp,, and most importantly the VHF radio. Safety gear including life preservers, rope, paddle, bailable device, and throwable cushion all check out.

Next, the battery connections will have to be cleaned and the banks brought back up to snuff with a good charge . So far so good, everything tested is working like itís supposed to. The for and aft bilge pumps and auto switches are operating correctly. Now comes the biggest test of all. The muffs are placed over the water intakes, the garden hose spicket has been turned on, and YES, the 200hp Johnson is rumbling after turning the ignition key. Now for the kicker motor, "Yeah baby", sheís purring like a kitten , music to my ears. Now all the work Iíve been doing over the winter getting my tackle ready can be put to good use.

First to be loaded on the boat will be the Sabiki set-ups, probably the most important pieces of gear. After all ,you got to have bait! Any medium lite or heavier rod with any kind of reel with a minimum of 8lb test line will do. My favorite sabiki rigs are made by either Marathon or Tsunami in the Hage-Kawa or Hage-Aurora colors in size 4 or 6. Last year we field tested the original "The Bait Stick" Sabiki rod and reel combo. Itís a unique set-up in that the Sabiki rig itself is stored inside the hollow rod. The Sabiki rig is actually reeled right up inside the rod so as to protect the rig hooks from getting caught on anything, including me. Those little hooks are sharp, and they hurt when they poke you. These rod set-ups are great for kids.

Next comes the meat and potatoes for bait fishing,. our bait rod and reel set-ups. Any medium action rod or stronger rod with a reel that will hold at least a 150yds. Of 20lb test will get you started. Our Charter boat rod and reels are made up of 8í6" Gold Cup med/heavy rods with Shimano Charter special reels filled with 30lb Momoi Diamond monofilament fishing line. A good supply of 7/0 Mustad Big Game hooks, 40lb shock leader material, heavy duty snap swivels, sinker slides , and a variety of slip sinkers from 2 to 6 ozís are needed as well.

For trolling needs we use 8í3í Shakespeare rods in med/lite action along with Penn 875 electronic line counter reels filled with 25lb test Tectran monofilament. Any of the rod/reel combos that are used on the Great Lakes for King salmon will work. A good selection of Stickbaits and J-plugs make for good striper baits when the fish are on a trolling bite. This year as part of the Shark Downrigger weight Pro staff we will be introducing "Striper Sharks" downrigger trolling weights. I have trolled with the Shark weights for many years in the Hudson for Stripers and they have a unique tracking ability because of their shape and profile. This allows me to really dial in my presentation to run it within inches of the bottom of the river without snagging bottom. Any lesser quality in tracking ability in the rigger weight and you will not be able to track bottom as well. Lesser weights will rise and fall in the water column significantly more causing the plugs to rise and fall too erratically, and eventually hang bottom. One of the "secrets" to successfully trolling plugs for Stripers is to be able to keep them within the strike zone for the maximum amount of time as possible. The strike zone is usually within a foot of the bottom in as deep as 40ft. The new Striper Sharks look like Schoolie Stripers. Stripers like being around other Stripers. They are a schooling fish! The new Striper Sharks will be just the ticket to help increase the trolling catch.

Oh Yeah, and last but not least......DONíT FORGET THE NET!!!!!!!!!!!

Capt. Jimmy Samia can be reached at 413-743-2204 or on the web

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