Basic Striped Bass Fishing TipsBasic Striped Bass Fishing Tips

The striped bass is  highly prized for its size, battle on the line, and culinary merit. Striped bass, also known as the striper or rockfish, are easily identified by the dark horizontal stripes across its silvery body. Striped bass can grow to more than 48 inches, weigh over 50 pounds and live up to 30 years.  Striped bass is a very popular game fish for recreational anglers because of its size and the spirited fight it shows once hooked. It's also a delicious fish and is quite good any way you prepare it: smoked, grilled, baked or fried.

A variety of artificial lures and chunks or strips of standard bait fish will attract stripers. Stripers can be caught on shad, anchovies, "cut" bait, spoons, plugs, jigs, crankbaits, and streamer flies.


There are several types of tackle used for catching stripers. Almost any rod and reel heavier than a light spinning outfit is suitable for striped bass fishing. The tendency is to use salt water gear with a medium to heavy rod, and 20-40 pound monofilament line.  However, a medium to heavy spinning rod with 12 to 20-pound test line is considered ideal by many anglers for plugging, jigging, or offering bottom-fished baits to bass. Some anglers, who ply the beaches with swimming plugs and live eels, prefer the 10 to 12-foot surf rod and conventional reel spooled with 30 to 40-pound line. The lighter the tackle, the greater the sport, of course. Under certain conditions, however, fairly heavy tackle is desirable.

The novice should consult one of the bait and tackle stores in the striped bass fishing area for information about the types of leaders, hooks, and sinkers used by striped bass anglers. To avoid catching too many undersized stripers, it is advisable to use hooks at least half an inch between the point and the shank. Fewer small fish will swallow the large hooks, so serious injuries will be reduced.


Common types of bait include herring, bloodworms, and eels. These live baits are not used for catch and release fishing. Striped bass aggressively swallow their prey and any hooks attached. Although they may initially swim away, bass can later die from internalbleeding. To avoid creating fish mortality, you may want to use a circle hook. Circle hooks are shaped at an off-set angle so the fish set themselves and the hooks are not swallowed. Rapalas, Rebels, and Rattletraps are popular lures that are great for catch and release style fishing and can be trolled along bottom.

Live lining of "herring," menhaden (pogies), or mackerel can be a very productive means of taking large bass. A fairly stiff boat rod with a conventional reel is the preferred rig. Baitfish is hooked through the back or snout using either a single or treble hook. When bait fishing, the preferred rig consists of a pyramid sinker attached as a fish finder, and a long leader with a brightly colored float attached close to the hook. The float keeps the bait away from the bottom-dwelling crabs and skates.

Remember, for successful bait fishing, it is generally necessary to keep the bait near the bottom. Strong tidal currents are usually present on striped bass fishing grounds; therefore, it is particularly important to have a varied assortment of sinkers, so the amount of weight can be adjusted to match the changing strength of the current. Striped bass may be caught either by bait fishing or trolling.

When trolling for bass adjacent to shoreline areas, the rod should be equipped with a high-ratio conventional reel and carboloy guides to prevent line wear. By choosing among monofilament, lead-core or wire lines, depths from the surface to the bottom can be trolled. Many lures, including swimming plugs, jigs, tubes, and umbrella rigs- as well as live herring and menhaden lend themselves well to trolling for stripers.

by Jay Bryce
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Jay Bryce is a community manger at has fishing and local information for over 40,000 lakes and  fishing areas in the United States. Information includes current  weather and forecasts, best times fishing charts, maps, local businesses, Fishing Store and more.

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