That’s an odd looking striper

That’s an odd looking striper

Fishing for Stripers, 08/10/13

High Tide 2:34 pm – South of the G3 Can – 10 / 12 mph W SW wind – Sunny

Angler Tom Dunphy  & Captain Dave Miele

We have fished together for many years Tom & I, over twenty, and this was not unlike any other Saturday that we might venture out for a late afternoon / early evening of striper fishing – or so we thought. Gear loaded up and lines cast off, our course was east to the mouth of the Merrimack to troll wire between the jetties.

It was a bit slow so we decided to south of the “cans” out front of Plum Island. I saw the strike as Tom loudly stated that he was on! – Tom’s “I am on” quickly became warnings of being spooled. “I’m crankin in as fast as I can Tom” I had slowed to I idle speed to keep tension on whatever he had on. – Many thoughts were shared – “I think I have the bottom” – “this thing isn’t moving” – “but your rod tip is moving Tom – it’s got to be something” – “must be a log there’s only sand over here” – “maybe it’s a sea monster” – “Dave I see my spool” – — – now we fish with 150 feet of 50 lb. wire and the 100 yds. Of 50# Dacron backing – all this happened in about 2 minutes or less! – I quickly threw the boat into reverse with some throttle and that saved the day. My line now in, I was able to run the boat, take direction from Tom and 25 minutes later we discovered what was at the of Tom’s line.

Up from the shadowy depths the form slowly took shape – Shark we both shouted simultaneously! – Then in the same breath said Sturgeon! – It was definitely a monster. Using references on the boat that later would measure out at 9 feet we estimated the fish with the tail still swishing at the stern at about 9 ½ feet! Truly the catch of a lifetime. I could not be happier for the friend of a lifetime!

Since these fish are protected we took great care in the removal of the hook. Once done the beast instantly began undulating and slowly submerged as it appeared into the depths.




Last Year we wrote a story called “A Tale of Two Sturgeon – Leave Both Alone” which tells the story of the two kinds of sturgeon we have in the river, the Atlantic and the Short-nosed sturgeon. It’s an interesting read, and includes the regulations.



Stickman is the resident web design guy at Surfland. We pay him in eels.

  • Joe Hale
    Posted at 09:53h, 13 August

    Several years ago I chanced on a fish thrashing on the surface, missing its tail, out at the dumping grounds (pre-LNG). It was a sturgeon. Nothing I could do, but I was also greatly shocked that such an ancient fish still swam in our waters.

    I hope that they are increasing.

  • Jen
    Posted at 17:38h, 13 August

    Thats my Dad !!!what an amazing catch!! and what a great experiece for you and Dave !!!

  • Michael Dumont
    Posted at 20:38h, 13 August

    I have hooked 3 of these this year in the mouth but only was able to bring one 6 footer to the boat. I had caught another 6 footer 2 years ago and we have been seeing them jumping in the mouth consistency for the last 3 or 4 years. No one knows why they jump like that. Most or all of the time they are accidentally snagged when someone hooks one. You were lucky to get him in the head like that. Its really tough to bring them in when you snag them in the body! Nice catch and great pictures!

  • Ippi
    Posted at 12:35h, 14 August

    Thanks for sharing that is about the 5 sturgeon caught that I heard about this year!!! Ippi

  • Wyatt
    Posted at 12:02h, 16 August

    Females roll and surface to beak their eggs loose.
    All though I know fresh water sturgeon spawn in the spring.
    I am not aware of when these two species spawn.

    • Michael Dumont
      Posted at 11:53h, 17 August

      I am not sure exactly what they are doing there but they have been consistently in the mouth and outside the the river since the end of May through now. My guess is that spawning would take place far up river. Any spawning down near the mouth would be futile. The fish are not just rolling and surfacing though. It is a full body breach straight up in the are and slamming back down into the water. I had one last year almost hit my boat!

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