Penobscot River Striper Report
Woke up at 3:30 on Monday to a damp and foggy morning and fairly hesitated before getting out of bed and stumbling downstairs. I was impressed that in about 10 minutes I managed to brew a cup of coffee, get out the door and be barreling down route 3 toward Belfast. About an hour later my cell phone rang, it was my brother “Were the hell are ya?” “About 15 minutes out”, I said “just passing Hamlin Marine”. “Ok, well I'll be fishing”, was the only reply. A quarter of an hour later, I pulled up next to my brother’s truck at Sandy Point. He had already untied his Predator kayak and it was sitting in the parking lot next to his fishing gear. Barely had I turned off the key in the ignition switch and noted the time (5:00) when an anxious figure appeared over the fogy dunes. “Lets go” it stated.
In a few minutes time, we loaded his kayak next to mine and were again on our way down route 3 toward Bucksport. We had a simple plan to put in the kayaks at the public launch on Verona Island and fish the stretch of the Penobscot down to Sandy Point. By leaving a vehicle at each point, we could play the outgoing tide and accomplish the 4 mile trip with minimal effort.
Paddling up and past the Bucksport mill almost to the power lines we then turned and crossed the river and fished the location where we had such good luck last season. Unfortunately, no fish. Picking our way through the fog we passed by Fort Knox and I snapped a few dreary photos and noted the time was 5:45. The old and new bridges soon stretched high over our heads and we continued down the river. We tried trolling, casting and a variety of lures (surface poppers, sinking pearl shads, floating pearl shads and assorted streamer flies) but no fish. As we made out way down the western shore I noted 3-4 Blue Herons busily feeding on bait fish but no schooling stripers were seen chasing this food source.
At 7:30 I beached the kayak and got out to stretch my legs and attempted some casting from shore. Minutes later I was back in the kayak and again heading again down the shoreline. We took our time casting to shore as well as away into the deeper waters and hitting all of the eddy pools and stream entry points with multiple casts. No fish.
At around 9:00 the thought of hot coffee (I was wearing my winter hat, long pants and two insulated tops!) and a couple Irving red hot dogs proved to much of a temptation and we paddled the remaining time to the beach with renewed vigor. Arriving at the beach 30 minutes later, I was impressed with the sight of the old 1970s fertilizer factory just off shore. Even in the heavy fog, the immensity of the ancient structure was hard to ignore.
We pulled the kayaks across the beach and loaded them in my brother’s vehicle and headed toward Irving in Searsport. After stocking up with supplies my brother said “Hey, I heard the mackerel are running off the pier in Searsport want to give it a couple hours?” At 10:00 we arrived at the town pier in Searsport and joined a group of about 10 other fishing individuals. Happily eating my red hot dog and sipping back on a hot coffee, I questioned if anything else could have compared to that moment. Fishless but relaxed and happy we both decided to call it quits around noontime.
Well, this is why the sport is called FISHING and not FINDING so stay tuned . . . maybe soon the stripers will be running and hopefully we will see you on the water next weekend! Take Care!