East Coast striper pioneers felt around in the dark for years honing skills and figuring patterns. Rusted floorboards, “gators” and headlamps along the Cape.

Words: Robert H. Abel

“The guys we ran into out there on Nauset Beach, aka South Beach, were serious surf casters, armed with 10- and 11-foot rods, often with conventional reels like a Penn Squidder, and plug bags or sacks full of squirming eels. We’d done that kind of fishing, too, but changed tactics when limits were instituted to help reclaim the striper stock. We didn’t see the sense of damaging a bass with a bunch of treble hooks or eel hook in the belly if all you were going to do was to set it loose. So we took up trying our luck with fly rods. The Vamp liked a 12-weight, which he said could toss the most line with the least effort. I found the larger rod too grueling to handle over a night of fishing and settled on a 9-weight overloaded with a 10-weight line.”

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