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All Stripers All The Time!!
Don't let low temperatures keep you off of the water. If you can handle raw weather, the bass are out there. From New Jersey to South Carolina, winter bass action is continuing. And it seems to be better than ever. Productive areas are those areas close to Striped Bass wintering homes like the Hudson River for example in New York and New Jersey. In Virginia its the Roanoke, and further south in the Carolinas, it's Cape Charles and Cape Hattaras.
It is generally accepted that feeding slows when water temperature goes below 50°, but anglers in New Jersey have caught literally hundreds of bass with the water temperature in the low 40s during January. These bass around Ambrose Channel, Sandy Hook, Raritan Bay and Staten Island presumably are indigenous to the nearby Hudson River.
The fish in montauk and the hudsoan can be found west of the sound.
Look for gannets and gulls diving for herring and surface swirls.
Jigging with large 4 oz jigs like Diamond jigs and Bridgeport slab jigs. Jig and teaser combos with plastic eels have been productive. It takes a knack to find the right feel for the bottom. Also slow trolling with a deep trolled shad rig works well in the winter time.
Or get out the surf gear and head to the nearest coast and look for a spot with some decent structure. Talk to some of the other die hards you see out there. They know! Most guys are friendly and helpful, but some guard their "secret locations" like the Fort knox vault. You would think that a fish couldn't swim or something. Use clams, frozen bunker, herring, sand worms, butterfish, or eels. Remember big stripers are like their smaller cousins the large mouth bass. They like cover, deep, cool clean oxygenated water, rips, edges, rocks, and they point their nose to the current.
If fishing in Interior freshwater impoundments, you will find stripers hanging around power plants and warm water discharges. The ideal water temps for the striped bass is below 70 and above 50 degrees. Warmer water holds less oxygen and bass will literally stack on top of each other to find cooler water temperatures in the summer time. In winter the Stripers will hang around the tailrace as long as there's high water and optimal water temperatures. Large crankbaits, jigs or live shad will do the job."
The rule of "Bigger river, bigger tailrace" applies. Fishing the shoreline look for riprap and sandbars they will hold large numbers of stripers and hybrids. Besides shad, many bank anglers like to use small, live crayfish fished on the bottom on a fish-finder rig. These smaller baits produce scores of fish, though most of them are hybrids. Stripers prefer the larger live shad. Artificial baits are effective, but are not as frequently used.
Its no longer too late in the season to catch your trophy striped bass. (well maybe February) Just dress warm, be prepared, brave the elements and put your time in. Good look and happy fishing.
Montauk Stripers in wintertime
All Stripers All The Time!!