Most of my life has been dedicated to the pursuit of fish in a variety of different places around the world. Based on those experiences, and having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I can confidently say that New England saltwater fishing is nothing to take for granted. Prior to moving to New England for college I had dipped my toe into saltwater fly fishing in the Bahamas and Belize. Once I arrived in Massachusetts, I fully immersed myself in the saltwater fishing realm.
Since taking the plunge into New England saltwater fishing, I haven’t looked back. Now a couple years removed from college, I make saltwater fly fishing my top hobby priority. My love for saltwater fishing especially caught fire during the pandemic when I had so much extra time to hone my craft. Up to that point I had focused on trout, and my shot at larger fish generally came when I was back home in Washington fishing for steelhead and salmon. However, once I started consistently fishing on Cape Cod, I quickly discovered that there is always a chance for big fish when saltwater fishing.
Insert On the Water Magazine and Striper Cup. I have been reading On the Water’s striper migration map and updates on striper conservation measures for years. As a natural resources scientist, I am especially interested in the conservation of all our precious game fish. Eventually I took notice of the advertisements for Striper Cup and it has become a staple for myself and a handful of friends since the pandemic.
Striper Cup is more than just a friendly competition. It represents the very essence of what it means to be a striper fisherman. The varying categories of shore, kayak, and boat fishing represent the diverse ways anglers can target these fish, and have plenty of success regardless of whether they have a vessel or not. Striper Cup also provides an opportunity for anglers throughout the northeast to connect. The prevalence of social media allows individuals from Maryland to Maine to track the progress of the migration and get fishing updates through posts specifically made for Striper Cup.
Although at its core, Striper Cup is a competition, the very rules represent On the Water’s commitment to conservation of striped bass. With the “weigh ins” being virtual and only requiring a photo of the fish with enough quality to estimate its length, fish are able to be released quickly and safely. When I first entered Striper Cup, the conservation aspect greatly appealed to me, and On the Water continues to find ways to improve upon their commitment as evidenced by their providing entrants with single-hook lures rather than treble-hook lures in 2023.
Striper Fest is the culmination of Striper Cup and is unlike most fishing festivals I have seen. The various booths are always fun to peruse, not to mention the boat rides are always more than welcome on a nice September day. Of course it wouldn’t be Striper Fest without a shot at winning the Tidewater boat. The slight chance of winning the boat sticks in the back of your mind all day at the festival, and as someone who grew up on boats, I can confidently say that it is a well-equipped and incredible prize.
Overall I have come to really love Striper Cup. As soon as sign-ups begin each year I do not hesitate to enter. I now wait with great anticipation for the color of that particular year’s shirt in the swag bag. I love entering my catches each week with the possibility for winning some prize. Most importantly, I love that it motivates people to go fishing. The amount of photos on the internet with the tag #stripercup are evidence enough of that. Join Striper Cup and I expect you won’t regret it.
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