Carrying the spirit of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, who led an ill-fated 1914-17 expedition into Antarctica which would later turn into one of the all time best survival stories (highly recommend reading the book about his story called Endurance), Dempsey, Bill, and Betsy, who are winter striper fishing veterans and always seem to not only catch their fill of fish but also have some sort of interesting twist to their adventure, picked the coldest day I’ve fished this season to go winter striper fishing. They must have some Siberian blood because they were the toughest crowd I’ve carried all year…..not even a word of complaint all day. They fished all day only to take a short break to enjoy some of Dempsey’s fine sandwiches. In fact, Bill commented several times that he was overheating from the excessively balmy conditions. His explanation for our mid-day slow streak was that the stripers bite much better when it’s more like 12 degrees than 33. Maybe he is right.
We had to use a different ramp because the creek was so iced up. It proved the lesser of two evils as we had to punch through only about 200 yards of inch thick ice instead of about 1/4 mile. I don’t think Pathfinder Boats, built in Fort Pierce, Fl, designed their boats to be ice breakers, but it didn’t let me down, as it never ceases to amaze me time and time again.
After making it to the ice-free, swift flowing water of the Roanoke, we immediately fell into a flurry of fish. After they quit biting or moved on, we struggled until about the ninth inning where we found another decent sized school kinda by “fishing the snag” and were able to finish out with a bang. We ended up with around 30 to round out a fun day in the cooler air and winter sun.