How We Caught ‘Em – Miramichi Stripers

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Ang and I hit New Brunswick’s Miramichi River in the fall and MAN did we slay the stripers. What an incredible fishery. 

Our first trip here was in the spring of 2015. This one was in October of 2022. An extreme contrast in seasons.

The water temps were already into the cold range (in the 40’s F) so we didn’t know what to expect. Our hope before even leaving for this trip was a topwater bite… but these were high hopes.

Unfortunately, the excitement of surface action would have to wait because the fish we were onto were a bit deep and didn’t want to commit in that cold water.

So, down to them we went.

We used a variety of jig-type baits here. Ang had his new tube bait (mentioned in the Seine River article) along with some swimbaits and I went with an old reliable, a fluke with a jighead. All three worked well and by the end of the first day we were onto a fun bite… but not what we hoped for.

This is pretty much the extent of fluke and swimbait styles we throw for Stripers in sizes from 5” and up to 9” (make sure you squeeze the barbs if barbless rules are in effect).

As the day and the following days progressed, the water temps kept dropping. We figured the topwater bite wouldn’t happen so we did the next best thing and threw our new Yo-Zuri Twitchbaits (in the Seine River article). The Stripers LOVED them. Crushing strikes and ridiculous drag pulls were the deal for some time.

An interesting note, the area we were fishing was a barbless, single hook zone. That meant replacing the original treble hooks with singles and then squeezing the barbs on brand-new hooks! Oh well, it had to be done. Although we missed a lot of fish, we also hooked our fair share. 

Does it make a difference? 

Absolutely! However, since there are so many fish in the area, we really didn’t care if we dropped the odd one since another one would be coming up soon (that said, we did lose a couple of heartbreakers).

Our Twitchbait retrieve was a pretty aggressive “pop-pop etc.” while walking the dog underwater (normally a topwater retrieve but it is deadly with this bait) and those silver bullets loved it! There are not many better feelings than having a Striped Bass drill a Twitchbait during an aggressive retrieve all while a strong tide is flowing. You set the hook hard and hang on!

The Yo-Zuri 3DB Twitchbait came through big time on this shoot (note, we removed the treble hooks and replaced them with single barbless).

Our Twitchbait rods and reels were very similar. Baitcasting rods over 7 feet long and at least a medium heavy action. Reel speed didn’t really matter however we had them all spooled up with 14-17 lb T7 or TopKnot Mainline fluorocarbon line to aid in helping the Twitchbaits slightly sink. It was a perfect setup.

Since we didn’t know this area, Ang and I depended on local Striper expert Jeff Wilson to give us some general areas to fish and then we relied on our Garmin units to help us locate the fish.

Once Jeff gave us the fishing spots (either took us there or by waypoints), we would first scan the areas with our SideVu and then once we located a group of fish (we were looking for schools not individual fish), we would then drop the trolling motor with the LVS34 LiveScope transducer attached and let the magic begin. 

This system worked EXTREMELY well (as it does in many other fishing situations)!

Here’s what the small schools of Striped Bass looked like on the sideVu screens of our Garmin units. The two circles represent two schools of Stripers. Note our speed; we would drive around with the Merc to find fish, and then drop the electric in to stay on them.

Our finale on this shoot was the icing on the cake. Ang and I hoped to get a topwater bite going on these fall Stripers, however, they just weren’t playing the game (water in the 40’s blah blah blah) but as the heavens all closed in (a thick low fog bank) it was like a switch was thrown. Those finicky, frigid Stripers gave us an hour or two of complete topwater ecstasy… What a way to end this shoot and the shooting season.

The Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil Popper 110 in Bone colour came through yet again in a big way on this shoot

This fall Miramichi River trip produced pretty much the same results as our previous spring trip in 2015… tons of fish! The schools were much different in locations and in size (spawning spring fish schools were insane) but they all bit like crazy. It’s a fishery that everyone should try especially since it is so easily accessed.

These beasts pull like no other!

Pete Bowman

Pete, one of the most revered and popular anglers in the nation, has a tremendous love for the game… the fishing game. Pete’s vast knowledge of angling and ability to articulate it to audiences worldwide has endeared him to his fans who still see Pete as just “ONE OF THE BOYS”. Pete is also an accomplished and published outdoor writer and photographer as well as a sought-after speaker. In 2012 another of Pete’s ultimate fishing career highlights occurred when he was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall Of Fame, something he never thought would happen. A Canadian fishing icon.

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