Striped bass have mid-Atlantic anglers waiting for winter. Each fall, 70 percent of the world’s striped bass return to Chesapeake Bay to spawn. Anglers brave cold weather and open water to pull fish up to 50 pounds from deep channels and warm-water discharges. Wilderness Systems Fishing Team captain, Jeff Little, is there to meet the fish. Little has developed kayak–friendly techniques for taking big striper from cold water.
Little starts the season in November fishing channels in the main bay and tributaries. “Any channel over 40 feet deep can hold striper,” he says, “use a fishfinder to find the edge.” As winter wears on, Little will break skim ice to get to the fish. “The deeper water will stay a few degrees warmer than surface temperature,” he adds. In January, when the water temperature drops below 40 degrees, Little heads to the warm-water discharge from power plants and factories. “The power plants get a lot of pressure,” he points out. So he watches his water temperature display to identify factory outlets that attract fish that most fishermen miss.
When Little marks striper…