Best of 2018 #1: A Striper on the Fly from the Shore for 12 Consecutive Months

Whew! After nine December outings, over 30 hours of fishing, four different locations, it all came together at the 11th hour (both figuratively and literally). I didn’t think it was going to happen. December was by far the toughest month, with high and cold water, wind and subfreezing temperatures, and a maddeningly inconsistent bite. It only proves that catching a striper on the fly from the shore for twelve consecutive months takes skill, planning, perseverance, and — this cannot be understated — luck. Am I going for 13? Maybe. Stay tuned.

It all began on a whim. It was a warm(er) January night, and the tide lined up with some free time. Forty-five minutes in, there he was. I was crazy enough to try again in February, succeed, and off I went.



Once you get past March, things get a little easier. They certainly get warmer, as you can see from the gloveless, submerged (not happening in February) July water hand. 



WHACK! I was dragging the deer hair head streamer across the surface to change it out when the fish hit. What a great story about how I caught my December bass! But wait. What is that? Not a striper. Nope, it’s a five-pound Northern Pike. I can’t remember ever being so depressed about catching a quality fish on the surface in 35 degree water. Good thing I didn’t lip it.



I planned on paying homage to a friend (who’s had a very tough go with cancer this year) by catching the December fish with one of his flies, but I lost one on the bottom, and I wanted to keep the other. Ultimately, the winning fly was a three-feather flatwing/bucktail hybrid version of the Crazy Menhaden. I called Ken on the way home to tell him about it, and he said, “You should call that fly the ’12 Consecutive Months December Striper On The Fly From The Shore Crazy Menhaden.'” Who am I to argue?

Crazy CU


Cold but happy Post-December Striper Flashlight Hat Man.

Flashlight hat man

17 comments on “Best of 2018 #1: A Striper on the Fly from the Shore for 12 Consecutive Months

  1. Dennis Zambrotta says:

    Very nice achievement – well done.
    All the best in 2019!

  2. Greg says:

    Congrats on your persistence and success! Better you than me. Of course I can share in your success vicariously lol.

    Not to give away any trade secrets but, basically what body of water were you fishing for this last one and was it the same for all 12 months?

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Greg, I basically follow the striper migration. Winter through spring, it’s large CT rivers. Spring through Fall it’s CT/RI coastline & the Cape. Late fall through winter, back to the larger CT rivers. It’s easy for boat anglers to find a big pile of over-wintering stripers on their fish finders. Not so much for the intrepid shore-bound angler.

  3. Joseph GaNun says:

    Congratulations. This was a tough year to take up a challenge like that. Happy New Year….and forget lucky 13.

  4. Roger Mitterling says:

    That stripper was probably heading to Times Square to bring in the New Year.

    • Steve Culton says:

      I didn’t find a “striper” misspelling, but I do find it funny when I see others do it in their reports. Such an easy mistake to make. I did mess up “flatwing,” but that’s only because of infernal auto-correct.

  5. Chris Gilly says:

    Bravo….very impressive !

  6. Alton Blodgett says:

    It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters. Congratulations. Going for a repeat this year? 🙂

  7. Frank says:

    The “Twelve Months of Stripers on a Fly” is a WAY better song than “The Twelve Days of Christmas”! I mean…really… who needs “Lord’s a leaping”?!
    Tightest in 2019 Steve!

  8. Singer, Mark says:

    Dear Steve– I greatly enjoyed the 2018 countdown and was flattered to see my July little victory on the Farmington included. I was especially blown away by the steelhead pics and touched by your fatherly pride. This mystery lingers: what was that foul-hooked 5-lb. Northern doing in the same water you were plumbing for stripers? Were you in an estuary or further upriver? Or have I misunderstood? . . . I’m grateful that we’re past the solstice, and draw some consolation from slightly longer daylight, with the promise of spring and all the accompaniments looming. Sending best wishes to you and yours for 2019, and looking forward to returning with you to the Farmington (and, yes, the Housy) come warmer weather. best, Mark

    • Steve Culton says:

      Thanks, Mark. You earned your mention. To clarify: the pike was not foul hooked! On the contrary, that sucker hunted down and inhaled that fly; without pliers, it’d probably still be stuck in its mouth. I was fishing in a tidal river. Never caught a pike there but it’s far from unheard of, especially in rivers like the Connecticut. Here’s to warmer and longer days.

  9. jack swegel says:

    I just read this post. Congrats on 12 for 12. Ken sure knows how to name flies. I hoped to get a fish each month this year on my local Housatonic but here it is March and I haven’t gotten out yet. One of these days. Keep up your great posting, I love it.

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