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Trolling Strategies

    Stripers

 

The Hows and whats of trolling for stripers
Trolling Strategies for Striped Bass

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When you are trolling your speed should be between 2 and 4 miles an hour. (Even slower when stalking stripers along a rip with the tube and worm rig.) Look for structure, turbulance swirls and working birds. You hear people talk about rips. Rips are glacial eskers or ridges that were formed during the last Ice Age and have since become submerged as the ocean waters have risen. The tide or current hits this wall on the bottom of the ocean and the water, having no place to go but up, creates a very visible rip line, making it a great place for stripers to lurk in wait for the baitfish that the tide brings with it. It is also one of the easiest types of structure for a newcomer to fish. Rips along with lumps and sudden changes in the ocean, river or lake floor are all striped bass magnets. Stripers congregate on these bottom structures so make them the spots you want to target. When fishing a rip, position your boat ahead of the rip, and angle the boat into the tide and slide along the rip line. Study the rip and you will see that some spots look fishier than others. Every rip, just as every lump has its own peculiarities, and it is learning how to make your lures drop into these spots that will determine your success. Trolling anglers have been successful with shad umbrella rigs. Take out all your large trolling tube lures and spoons, constantly test them by changing them until you find what the bass want. One specific lure is not your answer but large trolling tubes and spoons are a good start. Lunker city makes the Slug go mentioned in the article on soft plastics. Reports of this lure have been deadly on stripers. A deep diving Rebel is a good choice of lure. The color that has worked consistently well is the Chartreuse . Also do consider the santini tube and worm combination. it is deadly on stripers if fished properly. The key here is it must be trolled very slowly. Jointed stretch and the magnum stretch lures are excellent trolling lures as well. Read the Hows and whats of trolling for stripers from our experts in the forum Boat Fishing Doesn't matter how big or small your boat is you need to know what your draft is and be able to maneuver it quickly as you move through and around changing water conditions.

If you fish alone in a small boat, mount the downriggers at the transom. You can keep everything in easy reach and when you hook up you keep the fish away from your prop. In a smaller boat with two or more people you can mount the downriggers mid ship. Dont have excess equipmenton board. It may hamper your ability to move around freely.

 

Choosing the right tackle Here are some tackle recommendations for striped bass when fishing from a boat. You will want to have a rod capable of casting far enough and handling the pull of fish up to 60 pounds. Shimano Compre Spinning Rods are capable of standing up to the riggers of trolling and heavy jigging and reasonably priced. Your line may be fairly light if you have a good drag and take your time. For beginners use at least 20 lbs test. You will lose some lure action but you’ll need it when you cast a 4 or 5 oz sinker. (See section on shock leaders when casting heavier weights.) It is a good idea to have a line counter/level wind reel. Each pass of the guide lets out about 10 feet. You can tell how deep you are. The formula is to let out ten feet of line for each foot of water depth that you are fishing in Line counter reels are much easier to use because you know exactly how much line in out. Set your drag snug but not too tight, The drag you troll with is the drag you fight with. Dont try to horse the fish in, let him run, and then bring him in. Dont gaff the fish, use a net. You will need a depth finder to let you know the depth of water that you are in and where the fish are. Lowrance, Garmin and Hummingbird units from low priced to the higher price electronics for the serious angler. If your drifting, jigging 6 ounce Hopkins and 3 ounce buck tails with white grubs are necessary lures in your tackle arsenal. Also diamond jigs are an excellent weapon in the arsenal when the temperature drops. Bait Fishing: Bait fishing on the ocean can get tough, due to the spiny dogfish and bluefish. Some anglers drift eels and clams and others like to freeline or live line bunker. Sometimes you have to tolerate the blue fish and dog sharks long enough to wait out a bass on baits. I find that if I approach a boil (baitfish under attack) its best to toss my wounded bunker away from the boil just a bit. Striped Bass seem to like to go after the solitary fish in open water. Also use pogie (bunker / menhaden)or mackeral heads, the blues wont go after the head as fast as striper will.

 

 

Rod: 6' to 8' heavy action casting or boat type. Reel: Revolving spool or Spinning, larger for heavier line. Line: #14 to #30 depending on whether you are casting eels herring or live lining bunker.
Leader: Unnecessary unless your fishing around rocks then use 3 feet of 20 to 30 Lb. monofilament. If blue fish are present then use steel leaders. Hooks: Circle, 5/0. to 9/0 (Circle hooks prevents gut hooking fish and decreases mortality for catch and release.) Light Spinning: with spoons There are two basic types of spoons that are used in Striped Bass fishing: trolling and jigging. The former are thin, light spoons that are designed to be trolled, usually off downriggers. Jigging spoons, such as a Hopkins, Kastmaster and slab types are used in vertical jigging. In this type of fishing, a trolling motor is used to keep the angler over a school of Stripers. The spoon is dropped to just below the depth of the Stripers and jigged through them. Rod: 7' to 8 1/2' medium to medium heavy with ceramic guides. Reel: Good quality, smooth drag, open faced reel Line: 14lb test (lighter line may may break casting 1 1/2 oz. lures and 17 lb test is max without loosing lure action.) Leader: Only for bluefish, 9" of 15 lb. test. Lures: The bucktail jig is a long time favorite for Striped Bass anglers. Jigs chartreuse, blue or green shad types white, yellow and glow colors, 1/4 to 3 oz. Hair and curly tail: Poppers (white and yellow, 7/8 to 1 1/4 oz.); Spoons/Tins (5/8 oz. to 1 1/2 oz., silver, blue/silver and green/silver) 1/2 to 1 3/4 oz.). Plugs (white, yellow and blue,) Always try to match the size of the jig/trailer or plug to the bait that the Stripers are targeting.

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Ultra-Light Spinning: Rod: 5' fast action graphite. Reel: Mini spinning with large spool. Line: 6 to 8 lb mono Leader: #12 flourocarbon Lures: Plugs (3/8 to 1/2 oz., silver and blue/silver swimmers); Softbaits (3" to 5", "sluggo" type in creme and "shad", texas rigged); Jigs (1/4 oz. white, hair and curly tail); Spoons (1/4 oz. "Silver Spoon" type, weedless)

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Fly Fishing: Rod: 6 wgt. (minimum), 8/9 wgt. average and adequate, 12 wgt. for big wind or exceptionally big fly days. Reel: Saltwater with a good, smooth drag. Line: Usually an intermediate sinking does the job for stripers in 3' to 20' feet of water but a shooting head system with four lines from floating mono (flats) to rocket sink (ocean and channels) is handier for changing conditions. Leader: Stripers, usually 3' to 9' (open water to flats) of 12# tippet. Bluefish require steel. Tunas benefit from 8# flouro. Flies: Clousers (chartreuse/white & olive/white, #2 to 1/0, flats to shallows); Deceivers (blue/white & green/white, #1 to 2/0, shallows to open ocean); Bunny (white, 1/0); Sand Eel (#1); Surf Candy & Bonito Candy (white, pink and red, #1) For questions on fly fishing and fly tying post a question in the message forum. We will answer it right away.


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