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June 03, 2013

Striper Fishing During the Cinder Worm Hatch

Unlocking this hatch opens the door to big striped bass in the Northeast.

Cinder Worms Tackle Box

Fly-fishers have an advantage in a cinder-worm hatch because it’s difficult to match such a small bait with lures made for spinning tackle. Still, spin-fishers adapt by tying a cinder-worm fly a couple of feet behind a plug, then working it slowly. Some anglers employ a float and a cinder-worm fly two or three feet below it. 

Regarding fly ­selection, cinder worms are in the red spectrum ranging from an orange-brown to reddish pink, so matching the color and size is a good place to start. I use a simple fly, a 1-inch red Zonker strip and an olive Ice-Chenille head tied on a 1/0 hook. 

Rods: 7-foot medium- to light-action spinning rods, 9-foot, 7- or 8-weight fly rods 

Reels: Smaller saltwater reels with smooth drags, such as Van Staal VS100 or equivalent

Lines: 15- to 20-pound  braid, weight-forward floating lines for fly-fishing

Leader: 4 feet of 15-pound to 20-pound-test fluorocarbon, 8- or 9-foot tapered leader with fluorocarbon tippet for fly-fishing

Lures/Terminal Gear: Topwater plug with a 3- to 4-foot  fluorocarbon trailing leader and cinder-worm fly, or a snapper-float and a ­cinder-worm fly two or three feet below it.

Cinder Worms Planner

What: Striped bass and weakfish 

When: May and June

Where: New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts estuaries


Martha’s Vineyard, Tom Rapone,

Rhode Island, Robert Hines,

Connecticut, Ian Scott Devlin,

Eastern Long Island, Paul Dixon,

Western Long Island, John McMurray,