Striped bass aficionado Peter Kaminsky wrote the Outdoors column for the New York Times for 35 years. He’s also been a contributing editor to Field & Stream, Sports Afield, and Outdoor Life. A long-time flyfisher, his books include the well-known The Moon Pulled Up An Acre of Bass and The Catch of a Lifetime: Moments of Flyfishing Glory, released in 2023, which is a collection of original flyfishing essays by talented writers asked to describe their greatest angling memory. Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., he spent decades fishing Montauk’s shores and New York City waters.
Recently, he talked to TRCP about striped bass.
TRCP: Flyfishing for striped bass is one of your passions. What’s special about these fish in particular?
Peter: One of the things that was always eye opening about striped bass was there was excellent fishing right where I live in New York City. When you dial into a blitz, it brings out the hunting instinct that we are all born with. You feel as madly wild as the gulls and gannets.
TRCP: What’s one of your most memorable experiences fishing for stripers?
Peter: If we are fortunate, between Thanksgiving and the 10th or 11th of December, if we haven’t had a big Nor’easter and a hurricane then migration patterns for baitfish [on Long Island] are inshore and the fishing can be great, if it isn’t too freezing cold. This has happened only two or three times over the last 30 years. There was one year that [striper fishing legend] Paul Dixon called and said, “If you’re ever going to come, come now.” Bait was pouring out of a cut in Southampton and there were big bass. One day we just caught big fish, forty inch plus, until we didn’t want to catch anymore.
TRCP: How has fishing for stripers changed over the years?
Peter: Well, like all species, you’ll have upticks and downturns. I have seen it go from terrible in the ‘80s to great in the ‘90s, then a sort of a roller coaster up and down since. There is an element of that simply being the way nature is. But at the same time, the degrading of the Chesapeake fishery—the major nursery for striped bass—and the unrealistically generous catch limits for recreational fishing have hurt the fishery.
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