Striped Bass

by: Cam Gammill

photography by: Cam Gammill

I am on a north-shore beach. It is June and the sun is just beginning to set. I can see distinct swirls and movements in the water, as I look out in the dimming light. The ocean is gently lapping on my shins and there is a feeling that every part of this world is good. I haven’t even taken a cast yet. I am preparing to disturb this harmony. A cast, three twitches of a top-water lure, a striped bass rising to the bait, and everything will be thrown into glorious chaos.

Bass fishing on Nantucket in June is absolutely the best, and the picture I described before can be a regular occurrence for beach fishermen. The best way to describe the month to non-fishermen is this. Picture a symphony that starts out slow but beautiful and by the middle of the score, hits a peak of overwhelming energy. The end brings you slowly back to Earth and lets you pause and reflect on how great a journey it was.

The author with striped bass he caught, fishing off the deck of a boat.

Striped bass start their migratory journey toward our local waters at the end of April or early May. Our first fish are quite small and active. Think about the 6- to 9-year-olds in your life that always ditch their parents and run ahead. Those are our early fish. In fact, we generally don’t catch a “keeper” until the middle of May. These fish are the tip of the spear and barely represent our resident striped bass population.

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Striped bass are the quintessential game fish on the East Coast. Our geography, being 30 miles out to sea, and the diversity of our fishery, give us the opportunity to target these fish in endless fashions.