by Holden Stern

New England winters aren’t very exciting to anglers. The weather is cold, and the fishing ain’t what it is in the summer and fall months. This particular weekend was an exception. 58 Degrees out in February? I’ll take it.

After going into fishing “hibernation”, one may exhibit symptoms of fishing withdrawal: the daunting urge to fish, but ya just can’t. Sometimes, the weather gods throw us a bone and you get days like Saturday.

I took a brief trip to Walmart to stock up on river fishing essentials: spinners and soft plastics. These two lure choices have proven to be the most productive in the colder months, for those slow fish who are lazy as hell. Spinners are perhaps my favorite, in that they really can imitate just about anything that moves in the water. A close second are weighted soft plastics, because well they look and feel just like a real fish.

I rolled up to my fishing spot right before noon. The sun was out and the air was cool, I was getting a good vibe the moment I stepped foot out of my car. As I approached the river, I scanned left and scanned right for any activity: nothing. But that didn’t kill my vibe.

I climbed my way over slippery rock to my first spot and slung on a green rooster tail with a gold spinner: my all time favorite color combo. My first cast was nice, plopped that sucker right on a section of the river where two flows met at a piece of structure.

You have to understand that fish are slower in the winter. They don’t want to move much and chances are they won’t. It’s essential to work your offering in a slow controlled retrieve with enough motion to spark their interest. After three casts, I was about to move my way down the river, when I had a hit 2 feet before my boots. My initial thought was that I was snagged, but sure enough fish on!

Fighting that fish was an absolute blast on 4-pound test. I’ll tell ya, these fish are extra grumpy when they’re cold, and once they’re hooked they get even more pissed. Luckily for us, that means a nice solid fight and a remedy to the dreaded “fish withdrawal” us new Englanders face.

A nice chunky healthy striper. Didn’t get to measure her but I’d say she was around 18” inches or so. “Fun sized” I’ll call it. A couple more casts and nothing. So I slung on a weighted little soft-plastic and moved a-ways downstream. Sure enough, another healthy striper gulped my lure. This fish fought just as hard and pissed as the first one: not a problem. Got her in and snapped a picture for keep’s sake. No more fish for the time I was there, but 2 fish in under an hour in February was more than satisfactory in my book!