Captain Mike Roy Describes His Gameplan for Cooling Waters
The striped bass migration along the Atlantic Coast is one of the most culturally significant and economically important fisheries in North America, drawing anglers by the thousands to rivers, jetties and nearshore waters for the opportunity to tangle with this dynamic sportfish. Captain Mike Roy, owner-operator of Reel Cast Charters, has been guiding clients to trophy stripers in the Connecticut waters of Long Island Sound for over a decade. Captain Roy has carved out a unique niche in the Northeast sportfishing community by specializing in shallow water striper fishing with light tackle – and he loves chasing stripers in the fall.
“By the last week of August, we’ve reached the summer peak of water temperatures,” reflects Roy. “Rivers running into Long Island Sound can be pushing into the upper 70’s, while deeper water in the middle of the sound can be mid to low 70’s. These conditions set the stage for the fall run. There is a lot of smaller bait in the water, especially peanut bunker and menhaden, which generates a lot of surface activity. I like to target stripers popping peanut bunker on the surface with the CURRENT SNIPER Splash Walk, which is an outstanding walk-the-dog lure. Because it sits with a tail-down posture when at rest, the CURRENT SNIPER Splash Walk has an excellent hookup ratio. We bump into some big bluefish as well during this time. While there are some big striped bass in the area, this is a window when they can be challenging to catch. Those trophy-caliber fish are frequently associated with the bottom. With live bait or eels, you can get them to bite, but generally, the fishing for big stripers can be slow at the end of the summer.”
Better fishing, however, is just around the corner: “The first Nor’easter of the year will start everything up,” reflects Roy. “Once we get through the first week of September, the fishes’ aggression levels begin to peak. The prime fall bite window covers September and October and often extends into mid-November. Every predator is on the chew – bonita, blues, and of course, big stripers. All of these fish are feeding aggressively as they get ready to travel south, completing their annual migration up and back down the Atlantic coast.”
As a light tackle specialist, Capt. Roy relies on G. Loomis IMX-PRO Blue Northeast saltwater rods to help his clients land the striped bass of a lifetime – and then land another. IMX-PRO Blue rods feature high-modulus graphite construction, balanced swing weight, and incredible durability. With unique actions designed specifically for Northeast saltwater action, IMX-PRO Blue rods leverage G. Loomis’ exclusive Multi-Taper Technology to yield powerful, incredibly lightweight blanks that form the backbones of exceptional, purpose-designed rods.
“For casting lighter lures,” continues Roy, “we use the IMX-PRO 842S XF, which is a 7-foot, Medium Light power, Extra Fast action rod. I pair this rod with a 4000-series Shimano Stradic spooled with 15 pound-test PowerPro Super 8 Slick V2 and finished with a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. We get stripers, false albacore, and blues with this combo. The key is to have a rod with an action fast enough to cast the small lures into the wind, because Fall on Long Island Sound is windy.”
“For larger fish, we’ll move up to the IMX-PRO 843S F, which is also a 7-foot rod but with Medium power and Fast action. I equip this rod with a 4000-series Shimano TwinPower SW reel spooled with heavier line, like 20-pound-test or 30-pound-test PowerPro. This combo is also a great choice for vertical jigging the CURRENT SNIPER 80 gram (2.8 ounce) jig.”
“Perhaps my favorite rod in the spinning series IMX-PRO 844S MF. Like the other rods in the series, this is also a 7-foot rod, but with Medium Heavy power but a slower, Moderate Fast action. This is a tremendous rod for pitching live eels to 30- to 40-pound striped bass. It’s also an excellent choice for casting a larger plug, like the CURRENT SNIPER Splash Walk. I pair this rod with a 5000- or 6000-series Shimano Saragosa SW or TwinPower SW, spooled with 50-pound-test PowerPro Super 8 Slick V2 and finished with a 50 or 60-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.”
“Most of our lure fishing out here uses spinning tackle,” notes Roy, “but we frequently reach for casting gear when bottom fishing with live bait. For example, if we’re looking for black sea bass, I’ll use a lighter casting rod like the IMX-PRO Blue 843C MF or an IMX-PRO Blue 863C XF. I pair these rods with a Shimano Calcutta 400 D or Tranx 300 loaded with 30-pound PowerPro Super 8 Slick V2. For larger live bait – like a bunker – I’ll step up to an IMX-PRO Blue 904C MF with is a 7’6” casting rod with Medium Heavy power and Moderate Fast action. When paired with a Shimano Tranx 400 and loaded with 50-pound-test PowerPro, this is a tremendous setup for fishing with big, heavy live bait.”
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