Striper fishing: You Never Forget Your First Time

Despite what images the title of this article may bring to your mind, this article is about fishing; striper fishing to be exact.  Even though I have been fishing in New England waters my entire life, this trip was a first for me in many ways and it was one that I will never forget.  I recently spent the day with my friend David Bois and it was one of the best times I have ever had.  While David owns Stripers-R-Us, this was a trip purely for fun, something he doesn’t often get to do.  This was my first time ever fishing (freshwater or saltwater) in Massachusetts; it was my first time on Cape Cod; and it was my first time ever catching keeper stripers.

   Striper fishing: You Never Forget Your First Time

     It was a Tuesday afternoon, in the beginning of June, when I jumped in my truck and made the three hour drive from my home in New Hampshire.  My destination was Cape Cod, specifically Yarmouthport.  I was staying Tuesday night in Yarmouthport and then heading to Sesuit Harbor in Dennis early the next morning.  While I have caught stripers along both the Maine and New Hampshire coasts and have even fished for cod and haddock, I’m mainly a freshwater angler, so saltwater angling is always a learning experience for me.  I have never caught a striper over 26 inches, so when David informed me that there were chances of catching some really big stripers and even some blues (which I have never caught) I jumped at the chance.

     Striper fishing: You Never Forget Your First TimeMeeting up with David and his friend, Jack at the dock, we were underway by 6:00 AM.  Within 15 minutes after leaving Sesuit Harbor, David had the 24 foot, center console Romarine at our first area.  Once on location Jack and David quickly rigged two Okuma Downrigger rods that were matched up with Okuma reels spooled with lead core line.  These set ups were rigged with tube and worm rigs.  Both men worked like well-oiled machines and the entire process took less than five minutes.  As I had no clue what to do, and I probably would be in the way, I let them do the work.  Once the baits were in the water we began trolling at about three miles per hour.  Now it was a waiting game.

     Both David and Jack were more than willing to share information with me.  David is a native Cape Codder and has over 30 years’ experience in both commercial and recreational fishing.  Jack, well Jack was a wealth of knowledge and he knows so much about striped bass fishing and the waters that we were fishing, that I personally think that he probably has gills.   We were doing in-shore fishing using light tackle so as we waited for the fish to start hitting our offerings, I took advantage of the lull to talk to David about pursuing a fish that can approach the 50 pound mark, using light tackle.  He explained to me that when you get a really large fish on you really need to finesse the fish in.  Both men informed me that stripers relate to structure and for that reason we were concentrating on eight to 20 feet of water, running along the edges of the channels that feed the harbor.

     Striper fishing: You Never Forget Your First TimeMy time was not totally spent staring at the rods waiting for a strike, nor speaking to the Captain about the finer points of stripers.  As this was my first time to Cape Cod, I took a moment to admire the beauty of Cape Cod harbor.  This is truly a special place and those of you who call this area home are very lucky people.

     David hugged the edges, never deviating and it didn’t take long for us to see the tug, tug of the rod tip, indicating that there was a fish on the other end.  Being used to salmon and lake trout, I wanted to grab the rod and set the hook, but both men told me to wait.  Let me tell you it was killing me.  Then all of a sudden the rod bent over.  Now we had a fish on.  Taking the rod and keeping the rod tip up, the fish began taking line.  When I had a chance, I started reeling, trying to gain line on the fish.  I did manage to gain a little before the fish made another run.  David reminded me that we were using light tackle and cautioned me not to try to muscle the fish.  If the fish wanted to run, just keep the rod tip up and let it run.  I finally got the fish to the boat and come to find out it measured 31 inches; my very first keeper striped bass.

     Our action didn’t stop there.  Jack quickly put another sea worm on and got the line back into the water.  Another pass through the area quickly yielded another keeper, this time a striper measuring 28 ½ inches.  With these two fish in the cooler, the rest of the morning was just for pure fun.  By 10:30Am we decided to call it a day and head back to Dennis.  Along the way we made one more stop, running the baits over some submerged structure.  All of a sudden both rods took hits.  We had a double.  Both fish were shorts, but it was a great way to end the day.  In all we Striper fishing: You Never Forget Your First Timecaught seven striped bass with all being released except two, which David filleted for me to take home.  By noon I was back on the road heading for home with a cooler of fillets and a lifetime of memories.

     If you have never fished for stripers, or even if you have, you owe it to yourself to team up with Captain David Bois and Stripers-R-Us.  The experience, the stories and the knowledge alone is worth the price of admission.  If you are new to striper fishing, this is the way to go.  You can contact Stripers-R-Us by calling (508) 362-9195 or email them at  You can also visit their website

By Dana Benner