How To Catch Striped Bass: Fishing tips for stripers

Kristian Ole

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Have you ever wanted to catch a striped bass? When fishing for stripers, look for areas with baitfish, use the right tackle, and, most importantly, be patient.

Catching striped bass is a thrilling experience for both experienced and beginning anglers. The saltwater fish is popular for its fighting ability, delicious meat, and big size. This makes it favorable among recreational and commercial fishermen and women.

Stripers are the most sought-after fish and are primarily located in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. However, they migrate to deeper and cooler waters off the New York coast during summer. Thus, it is important to study striped bass migration trends to have the best shot at catching them.  

This article will teach you everything you need to know about catching striped bass. I will explore the fishing tackle, location, and techniques for striped bass fishing.  

Species Overview

NameStriped Bass
Latin nameMorone saxatilis
Size2 to 3 feet
Weight10 to 30 lbs
Where to findRhode Island, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware
Preferred seasonSpring and Fall
Best weatherColder weather
Temperature500F  to 650F

Gear & Setup

Fishing LocationCoast, Boat, bank, surf
TechniqueBait, Lure, Jig, Trolling, and Fly.
Best baitBunker
Best luresPencil Poppers
Fishing rod length6.5 to 7 feet
Fishing rod actionMedium/heavy action rod
KnotsPalomar Knot
Fishing lineMonofilament lines
ReelPenn Squall Level Wind

What Kind of Fight Should You Expect from Striped Bass?

how to catch a striped bass
Image Credit: @gettysignature, Canva

The striped bass is popularly known for its aggressive nature and size. Be prepared for a fight if you’re lucky enough to hook into a striped bass. These fish are not afraid to take on lures or bait and will often strike with great force.

The striped bass commonly executes powerful runs. They also jump out of the water to tackle threats. Stripers are also fast and agile, making them difficult to reel once hooked. And because they are bottom-feeders, they are often found in areas with lots of underwater debris, making it hard to keep them on the line.

The fight is what makes fishing fun, exciting and challenging. Your fishing tackle game should thus be up on top to catch striped bass.

Fishing Tackle for the Striped Bass

There are many ways to tackle a striped bass, but the most important thing is to use the right tackle. The rod, reel, and line you use will all contribute to your success or failure when fishing for this species.

You will need a good quality rod that can handle the weight and power of striped bass. Second, you will need a reel to handle the line you will use. Third, you will need a strong line to handle the fish.

I recommend using a medium to heavy action rod paired with a baitcasting reel. A preferable reel is the penn squall-level wind. The rod length should measure 6.5 to 7 ft. The setup will give you the power and accuracy you need to land this fish. Plus, baitcasting reels are user-friendly and easy to learn, even for beginners.

For line, you’ll want to use a monofilament line in the 20-30 pound range. The monofilament line will give you more strength and durability when battling a monster striped bass.

Why are these things important during striped bass tackle? 

  • The rod must be able to handle the weight and power of the fish. If you choose the wrong rod, the fish may break the line or snap the rod in half.
  • The reel must handle the line and have a good drag system. Bass is one of the heaviest fish, so a weak reel will not suffice.
  • The line must be strong enough to handle the fish. Striped bass can be big and heavy enough to snap a weak line and get away. 

Now that you know about striped bass tackle, it’s time to learn about the best places to catch this amazing fish.

Where to Catch Striped Bass

If you’re looking to catch striped bass, your best bet is to head to the coasts of Rhode Island, New York, or Maryland. But if you’re far from these locations, there are different environments where you can find striped bass. 

Understanding how stripers migrate in different seasons of the year is a key factor in knowing their location. The striper migration playbook can help you get an in-depth idea of how stripers migrate. 

As the weather warms up in spring, you will likely locate striped bass in estuaries, tidal rivers, and bays. The striped bass swims in school toward the northern direction as the spring migration continues. Thus, you can find them during beach and surf fishing. 

When temperatures rise, striped bass head for the cooler waters of New England. This is due to the low oxygen level in rivers, bays, and creeks during summer.  

So, where do stripers go when they’re not migrating or open water feeding? Striped bass love to hang out around structures in the water. They’ll often be near reefs, bridges, jetties, boulder fields, and ledges.

Related article: Find striped bass spots near me

Fishing Techniques for Striped Bass

Striped bass caught from kayak
Image Credit: zygplater0, Pixabay

You can use various methods to fish for striped bass. This will depend on the weather, environment, and available equipment. 

PRO TIP

If you want to up your chances of catching striped bass, use live bait and select the right gear setup. Next, pay attention to their migratory trends and factors like temperature, seasons, wind, and tide. Finally, a little patience will pay off when landing that lunker. Good luck!

Bait

No matter what’s swimming around, stripers will snatch it up! They’ll eat anything from bunkers to marine organisms like squid and porgy.

The live bait method is often considered the best option for striped bass fishing. This is because live bait movements attract the stripers successfully. However, cut bait can also be effective, especially if it is fresh and has a strong scent.

If you want to catch striped bass using bait, you need to use a non-offset circle hook. This hook is less likely to kill the fish by reducing the chances of gut hooking. 

Lures

Another popular striper fishing technique is using lures. The lures mimic the appearance and behavior of the fish’s natural prey. 

When choosing a lure, it is important to consider the bait’s size, color, and action. 

Shiny objects attract striped bass. So lures that are brightly colored or have metal flake finishes are often effective. Lures with a lot of action, such as those that spin or vibrate, are also very impactful. You should also match the lure’s size to the baitfish on which the bass is feeding. 

The categories of lures, depending on different depths, are as follows:

  • Surface: pencil poppers (best) and spooks
  • Sub-Surface: darters and bottle plugs
  • General purpose: metal lips and bucktails

Jigging

Jigging is another alternative method when fishing for striped bass. One of the most popular lures for jigging is the bucktail jig

The most effective jigging technique is using a heavy lure and working it vertically in the water column near the bottom. Alternatively, use a lighter lure and work it more erratically in the water column near the surface.

Cast the lure out when jigging, and then use a jerking motion to make it swim up and down. This action often attracts striped bass, which will strike at the lure as it is jigged.

Trolling

Trolling is often seen as an easy or beginner’s way of fishing. However, it produces big striped bass and gives anglers an offensive fishing tackle. So, angling for striped bass from a boat can be very productive if done correctly.

The best trolling techniques involve slow and steady trolling speed. This keeps your lures at a constant water column depth. You’ll also want to target areas where stripers congregate. These are near drop-offs, points, and reefs.

Other popular techniques include fly fishing, surfing, and kayaking. Each technique has its benefits, so choosing the one that will work best for you is important.

Related article: How to catch Largemouth Bass

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About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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