New England Night Moves
By Paul Lebowitz
Photos: Courtesy New England Kayak Fishing
Squint if you have to. It’s hard to see in the dark, but that’s when the anglers of New England Kayak Fishing do their most damage during the annual NEKF Striper Shootout.
It’s all in the course of competition according to Gregg Crisp, who says the club wouldn’t do it any other way. That’s when the big stripers are cruising and maybe a little bit less wary. “Striper fishing in New England has a long tradition of dusk to dawn fishing. The NEKF Striper Shootout is the only major kayak tournament, that I am aware of, that allows a kayak angler to compete during those peak fish catching hours,” Crisp said.
During the recent 2013 edition contested in the waters near Salem, Massachusetts, Eric “Slappy” Harrison lassoed the 47 incher that’s a little tough to see to take the Artificial Division. In the Open Division, Eric “Linehaul” Hromada wasn’t far behind with his own 46-inch and change striper. John “Jayboy” Craine’s 34.5-incher topped the Fly Division.
Crisp said this year’s Shooutout drew a record 174 paid entries to the Winter Island Park Pavilion. “This tournament is as much about the camaraderie we share as kayak anglers as it is about catching big fish. The fact that we can do it while supporting some worthy charities makes all that much better,” he added. Prize kayaks from Old Town, Jackson, and Hobie sweetened the pot.
This year’s beneficiaries included Heroes on the Water, Caster for Recovery, the Greater Salem Boys & Girls Club, the Friends of Winter Island, and Sofia’s Fund.