On The Water With C-MAP

Capt. Ron Murphy has been winning tournaments and guiding groups of anglers aboard his charter boat Stray Cat for 30+ years, all the time refining his light-tackle techniques for hauling big stripers from the productive waters around Cape Cod and Nantucket Sound. He pioneered the use of light lead-core line outfits and nearly weightless “parachute fly” lures to take advantage of the way big stripers feed in these waters.

The Standard Horizon CP590i chartplotter and C-MAP MAX charts aboard his custom 31-footer play a big part of Murphy’s technique, as well as his angling success.  “We’re blessed to have a lot of shoals in the South Cape, miles of water five to 25 feet deep that provide good habitat,” said Murphy. In addition to finding shoals, Murphy said, you need tidal current. “You need to plan your departure time and time running to be in a productive area with moving water. The Tides & Currents feature in my C-MAP charts helps me do this.”

Finding a productive shoal is just part of the equation — fishing it correctly is equally important.  His technique involves positioning the boat so an angler can let the current take the fly into the area where stripers are holding and waiting for the moving water to bring squid, fish, crabs and other prey by them. It’s a more “targeted” technique than wire line trolling or parachute jigging where the lure is constantly on the move. This doesn’t mean you sit perfectly still, however. “It’s important to slide back and forth along the edge, instead of staying in one spot. The ends of the rip usually hold more fish, so focus your efforts in these areas.”

Murphy also advises anglers to mark the ends and gaps in each shoal to help them spend the most time in the best areas. “Some shoals fish better on one stage of the tide, and some on another.”  Marking these areas on your plotter will help you fish the best areas at the best tides.