The Itch to Twitch! Tidal Pro Twitch Baits for the Win.|
Our first Guest Blog of the season!
Matt Stone is a kayak fisherman based in Connecticut. He targets primarily saltwater species including striped bass, tautog, and false albacore. Additionally, Matt has written for Angler's Journal, On The Water Magazine, FishTalk Magazine, Coastal Angler Magazine, Farmers' Almanac, and is a regular contributor the Old Town's blog. He teaches high school English and works summers at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook, Connecticut.
Picky Eaters: What to do When Stripers Won’t Bite
They’re right there, mocking me. The oval shapes on my side imaging confirming what the surface-level spooky swirls hint at: stripers are all over this flat, some good ones too. But they won’t bite, and I’ve thrown everything at them on this May morning but a piece of my sandwich. At times, this is the (frustrating and somewhat annoying) story of spring striper fishing. Our eagerness to break free from winter’s grip and lock into some rod-bending madness is countered in stubbornness by the stripers’ desire to eat when, where, and what they want, and nothing more. I didn’t know it yet, but despite frustration, by the end of that day I’d find a new confidence bait.
On that May morning, I was at a favorite early-season spot on a large, shallow flat. The wind was light, I had partial cloudiness, and some early-season desire had led me to launch at 3:30 that morning, prowling the shallows for a night bite which hadn’t appeared. My side imaging was lit up with fish, some of which I knew were carp, but experience told me the majority of the fish I was seeing were stripers, a good sign any time of year and especially in spring when their migratory patterns and activity levels can be tough to pinpoint.
As you might expect, I’d started by throwing a large topwater plug, a staple for big stripers. Some swirls from curious fish who were content to follow as I retrieved the plugs with the outgoing tidal flow, but without fail these fish would turn away at the kayak, refusing to commit. I can be stubborn, so I refused to give up on topwater and instead clipped on a Chug Bug, a cheap, loud, far-casting popper that gives finicky fish a chance to hit during brief pauses in the popping. At least that’s what I reasoned in my head. The Chug Bug produced zilch, so on I went.
Next up: soft plastics. Large and small, not even a sniff. Frustration swelled to a boiling point. It was time to think beyond my most commonly thrown lures. Cue the Tsunami Tidal Pro Twitchbait.
Admittedly, until that point I hadn’t used twitchbaits very often. Occasionally, I’d tie one on, working it erratically, pausing often, hoping for a hit, but it was one of those lures I just didn’t feel comfortable with. You know how it is: confidence in the bait you’re throwing can be huge! But these were desperate times on the flats, so the “Texas Tea” colored Tidal Pro made its debut. The Tidal Pro is the definition of a lure crafted with attention to detail: A hydrodynamic shape and weighted core allow it to dart around and then freeze. Internally, it is equipped with a shattered scale design and vibrant, realistic 3D eyes, capped by a nice rattle for attention grabbing noise even in stained water. The logic of using it made sense: a twitchbait is designed to mimic a baitfish in its final moments: a flash, rattle, and quick, pulsating movement, followed by stillness, drawing a bite which seems too easy to pass up.
As I whipped the Tidal Pro up-current in about 8’ of water, I did so with the rueful abandon of a fisherman sniffing a skunking. My focus was flimsy at best, and my attitude openly poor. But I knew how to work these baits, having bass-fished freshwater with similar presentations. Twitchtwitch pause, twitchtwitchtwitch pause, BANG! Out of nowhere, the rod was nearly ripped from my hands. On the pause, I had been absolutely walloped by a striper which defied the previous hours of inaction by snatching this bait mid water column and fighting ferociously. Happily, I fought back, eventually landing and releasing a healthy 34” striper.
In the hour and a half that followed, I didn’t fish longer than five minutes without landing a fish, and every one of them came on the Tidal Pro, on the exact same flat I’d been fishing all morning without success. In short, it was a day-saver. A likely skunking turned into a memorable day, not because the size of these stripers was mount-worthy, but because I had lived out one of my favorite sayings: You’re either catching fish, or you’re learning. That day, thanks to the Tidal Pro, I did both, and I’ll never again hesitate to tie on a twitchbait.
Buy your Tidal Pro Twitch Baits here!