Elias Vaisberg Shows How To Catch Big Stripers In New York

Pulling In Big Spring Striped Bass On His Kayak

It’s a beautiful day in the 1st week of May.  Elias Vaisberg is out on the waters alone on his Hobie Outback kayak and is pulling in big Spring bass, even though his fish finder is only showing very few fish marks in the area.  He’s fishing in the western New York and the water is mildly choppy.  He goes into detail about how he consistently lands really good sized bass.


He’s using a 9″ Swim Shad Body rigged with a 2 oz. Hogy Barbarian jig head. On this outing, he’s strictly catching and releasing.  If he wanted to bring a fish home for dinner, he’d be using a stinger head.  He chose this lure with a single hook to minimize damage to the fish.  There aren’t any gut hookings and he does a good job setting the hook in the lip of the fish he catches.  Any bass over 20 lbs you can take home and fry up legally! East winds are about 10-15 knots.  On his pedal Hobie Outback, he’s trolling consistently at about 2 knots. He’s monitoring his trolling speed thru his fish finder.  With the Hobie, it’s just pedaling at a moderate pace.  There some other good fishing kayaks to see here.  There’s no significant current.  He is trolling both up tide and down tide.  He really needs to pick up the pace pedaling when trolling up tide.  He did not see all that many fish marks in the area.  Hence, he did not try a lot of casting and retrieving or vertical jigging.   

The water temp was about 52 degrees. Being on the colder side,  he got the fish into the boat pretty quickly.  If waters were 5 degrees warmer, there would be a lot more fight in the fish.  He’s always holding the rod.  He doesn’t put the rod in the rod holder when he’s fishing these big swim shads.  He “needs to set the hook into these fish”. He mentions how if he was on an actual boat, having the rods in rod holders wouldn’t be so much of a problem.  Vaisberg states, “The most difficult thing with these kayaks, is once you set the hook, you’ve got to give a lot of slack when you start pulling into that fish.   One of the most crucial moments is not getting the right angle when you set that hook.  On a pedal kayak, you’ll miss about 75% of the fish if you use the rod holder.  

Some of these hits were pretty soft.  These fish definitely didn’t set the hook themselves.  He’s not too crazy about fishing with two rods because tangles will be inevitable.  He’ll try different bait/lures on each pole and then once he finds out what’s working with these fish, he’ll pull up one rod and only use one.  It’s much easier that way.

What Kind Of Rod Was He Using?

Speaking of rods, he’s using a 6′ 6″ rod with  medium-heavy action.  When the fish is close to visibility, he checks to see where hook is placed and tries not to yank on the line.  This could cause the hook to pull out, damaging the fish and losing it too.  Wearing gloves, Vaisberg grabs the fish by the mouth and hauls it out of the water and across his knees.  These were BIG Spring Bass.  He was quickly able to unhook the fish and get it back into the water.  Sometimes you’ll lose the swim shad with big fish.  This is pretty normal he said.  Pretty easy to do this at the surface of the water.

To see another article we wrote about fishing kayaks, click here.

During the video, Vaisberg put the rod in the holder to make a phone call and it worked!  He actually hooked a fish.  It doesn’t work very often but it works sometimes, he said.

He’ll flip the rod every so often while trolling.  Vaisberg claims this gives a little action to lure and attracts fish to bite.

One fish he caught right at the boat, right at the surface.  So he had to give some slack so the fish could run.  If he pulled tight then,  the fish would have a high chance of breaking off.   He couldn’t wrestle the fish into the kayak at that point, so no point in keeping it tight.  Tire the fish out first.  Let some line out and gently pull back in over time.  A tired fish is easily pulled onto your yak.

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