Thursday, October 18, 2012

Light Line Stripers

Opening day of the fall striper season in the Chesapeake Bay region of Virginia is one of those days that many mark on their calendar. Some mark it for their opportunity to fill their freezer with the coveted striper filets, and some mark this day as a reminder to stay far away from all the craziness and hooligans that can overwhelm the light line at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT).

21" Opening Day Striper

I have been out a few times already this fall season and caught my 2 fish limit every time in fairly short order. To me, it's not just going out and catching a couple of stripers to take home. More than that, I love the "pursuit" or the "hunt" of the schoolie stripers that are soaking in the light line waiting for their next meal to cruise by. Like a mind reader, friend an Ocean Kayak Pro Staffer Rob Choi gives me a call mid week suggesting a short notice light line trip after work. "I was already thinking of that myself!"

It's no secret that the HRBT holds fish, especially in the cooler months of the fall and winter seasons. There are a lot of fish holding here throughout the bridge complex for a long time. Still, every time that I come out of the tunnel on I-64, I pray that I don't see any boats fishing the light line. Who am I kidding, it's striper season!

We launched with high hopes in tearing up the stripers like we have in the past. The only bad part was that we were not the only ones thinking that. It seemed like half of the Hampton Roads boat owners felt the same way. Long story short, there were a ton of boats out on this night. The fish were there, but very finicky and deep with all the boat traffic and fishing pressure. Matt Anderson joined us in the search of the schoolies. It wasn't until the night wore on until we started to pick up some fish.  We worked multiple lights picking up fish here and there. I had to call it a night around 11pm so I could make it work at 7am without being a zombie. I already had a 21" and a 22" for the freezer but I still wanted to feel the tug of something a little bigger. Not until I decided to call it a night was when I saw the "small logs" laying in the shadows. In short order, I picked up a healthy 26" and a 28.25" striper.

22" (Photo Credit: Rob Choi)

28.25" (Photo Credit: Rob Choi)

 I considered my night to be so so. I caught 7 stripers between 17" and 28.25", a couple dozen grey trout, and a dozen or so blues. Definitely was not those "40 fish a night frenzies", but still a good time either way. I can't complain fishing in nice weather with good people! One thing I know about Rob, he's crazy! This guy stayed out way past midnight to fish the next tide cycle so that his drive from Richmond was worthwhile. Was it worth it or not??? Make sure to check out to find out! Be safe out there and get on em!

~See ya on the water!


  1. Nicely done Richie. Definitely keep your head on a swivel out there!

  2. Mom, I will see if I can bring some fish back to WI this November. Thanks Chuck, I'm always keeping a look out!!