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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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Old 05-20-2019, 09:24 AM
Mark C Mark C is offline
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Default Bass Migration

Frank, what do you think has the most influence on when bass will show up (or leave) a giving area? Calendar? Water temperature? Bait? I'm planing some flexible vacation time on Cape Cod, Thanks.

Mark C
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:27 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bass Migration

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Originally Posted by Mark C View Post
Frank, what do you think has the most influence on when bass will show up (or leave) a giving area? Calendar? Water temperature? Bait? I'm planing some flexible vacation time on Cape Cod, Thanks.

Mark C
Calendar. All three influence arrivals but the most predictable is the calendar. Water temperature and bait can be variable, bait being the most unpredictable. July and August are good months.

But watch out for the Cape because there are NEW influences with which I have no experience. Outer Cape beaches are now over run with seals and those buggars can scare the snot out of you. They can weigh a few hundred pounds and snap up a fish that you are reeling in to the beach. Less, but still an issue are the great white sharks that are there to feed on the seals.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:46 PM
Mark C Mark C is offline
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Default Re: Bass Migration

Thanks, I love to fish the salt ponds near Falmouth and was worried about the cool wet spring keeping the bigger (keeper) fish south longer. It's nice to fish for them when they first arrive, they get smart in a hurry. And thanks for taking the time to answer questions on this forum.

Mark C
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:37 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bass Migration

Your welcome Mark. Like so many things this year I think there will be some lateness component bein it was a late spring.

I just did an article for the Fisherman called "Striper Playbook" in which I outline the timing of striper arrivals at given locations. In it I warn about expecting keeper size stripers too soon. It can happen in late May but the longer you wait into June, the better are your chances. Also when such arrivals takes place depends upon where.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:25 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: Bass Migration

I've always thought that the bass migration, and this is in both spring and fall, has push and pull factors.

The push factors are thing that make fish leave an area: lack of bait is one, or water temperatures that get too cold is another. The presence of predators of the wily stripah, like seals or sharks, could be a factor too, I guess, though it's one I've never much thought about.

The pull factor is the calendar: we know that bass will be off the mouth of the Chesapeake in January, that they'll be in the bay itself in March and April, etc. There are a few fixed date/time deals on the calendar of the fish, and they all will be there when they have to be. The shortening daylight in the fall, for example, is a signal to the bass that they should start heading south -- this is a pull.

But getting from Point A (where the bass are right now) to Point B (their breeding location) can be highly variable. I remember one fall a few years ago where the bass were a complete no-show in southern Jersey -- they were havin' a big old pogie party from Island Beach State Park to Sandy Hook, and there was so much forage there, and the water temps were so warm, that they just stayed there for a long time, like 6 weeks if I'm remembering. And they didn't pass by the southern points, like Cape May, until January, when the pull to get to their breeding grounds finally made them scram from North Jersey and head south. That was an interesting year.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:33 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bass Migration

There are many things about which nobody knows regarding striper movement. What you can be certain about is all the junk science practiced by both amateurs and wildlife professionals. You have all these explanations for what happens that people swear by. All marine species suffer from variability in their quantity. Cod, weakfish, pollock, blues; here today, gone tomorrow. But the pundits always find someone/something to blame.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:45 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bass Migration

Over the years I have found that a lot of anglers start striper fishing way too soon and they also quit too soon. In fall they are tired after having pumped up all season and hasten to get out of the grind. Nobody around Southern New England hangs on late enough. I have even seen good fishing last into early December. Admittedly, what with hunting improving, I would prefer to go hunting in the daytime than kill myself at night for one fish. Part of that is because of over-regulation.
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