Stripers cruising the shallows of Orange County beaches

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DOUBLE-DIGIT SURF STRIPER – One of three striped bass from an Orange County beach in the span of an hour for Miroslav Matic from the Danube River coast in Serbia.
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Listen to Episode 47 of the WON Podcast to learn all about catching striper in saltwater:

ORANGE COUNTY – Stripers are one of those fish in California that will end up on both freshwater and saltwater fishing reports. This past week they have been on the chew at lakes like Pyramid or Castaic with an assist from regular and consistent DFW trout plants, but they have also been slamming baitfish around some local beaches in Orange County.

Miroslav Matic from the Danube River coast in Serbia has been fishing all his life. Since he’s been in the States since November, he figured he would buy some fishing tackle along with a license and try some fishing here. He went to a local tackle shop in Orange and got a decent spinning setup, a few Lucky Craft jerkbaits and headed to the surf.

As he was casting his lure in the waves and retrieving it kept coming up short with no luck, so he walked farther down the beach and tried it again. He casted out and bam! He connected to a fish that many avid surf anglers have been chasing for a very long time: a striped bass in the saltwater.

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They are there at times, but generally few and far between. This particular fish slammed his Lucky Craft and took off running; he was able to fight it to the shore not really knowing much about what he had just caught other than what species it was. Not only did he catch a striper but a stout 10 pounder that measured 32 inches long. That is a substantial striper specimen, especially off an Orange County beach of all places. Once he unhooked the fish, he let it swim away.

Before he casted back out, he noticed 2 of the 3 treble hooks were bent all over so he straightened them out and then made a few more casts. Then slam, he was bit again. This time he knew it was an even better fish, so he loosened his drag a couple clicks to give him a better chance of landing it. After a few minutes of fight, this fish was also landed and looked to be right around the same size. Again, Miroslav let this fish swim free and had to fix the hooks on his lure again.

Of all things for a surf angler, a striper from the beach in SoCal, and then to double up a short while later? Talk about a great session of surf fishing.

So as Miroslav continued to fish, he casted a few more times and on that fourth cast he was met with a big pull on the other side of his line. This time, without a doubt he was playing tug of war with something even bigger that the last two fish he connected with. Back and forth, this fish ran up and down the beach. Miroslav said, “I got it close to the surf 4 or 5 times and it kept running back into deep. It definitely wasn’t giving up. I started to think that I might lose this one as it just didn’t give up and my treble hooks were already pulled out twice before. But to my surprise, the fish got tired and I was able to land it.”

This fish was 34 inches long and just over 14 pounds, then he let this one too swim back to the sea. Miroslav already had one of the most epic hours of surf fishing an angler could experience. He said, “I would probably catch more but my hunger for fishing and fighting was satisfied with joy. I was done.”

Not one, not two, but three double-digit stripers from the beach is what this reporter is calling the “ultimate surf fishing power hour.” Pretty tough to beat — especially in late December — and safe to say Miroslav will be back out on the sand looking for a repeat soon.

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