to catch a Striped Bass
Rockfish, striper, linesider.
More than 300 pages dedicated to your favorite fish, the striped bass
Here for The Striper Room
a striper can be extremely challenging especially when
you know they are around the area you are fishing but
are off the bite. The Striper can be very elusive
at times for any number of reasons. But having said that, catching
this predator is not that difficult if you are prepared,
and aren't the sort who discourages easily
after sometimes several skunk parties. Stripers
can be caught with a variety of methods, yet they never follow
strict patterns. They do tend to be more prolific at
night however. The striper is a fish that has extremely
sharp senses. It has two sets of nostrils on the top
of it's snout. A sight feeder whose eyes adapt easily
to bright sunlight and again for the darkness of night.
The striper has very sharp vision and can see your line
in most conditions. Contrary to popular belief most
fish including stripers do not see colors but rather
shades and reflections. The Striper is highly migratory
and will school with others of the same approximate
size. The bigger ones have been observed traveling and
hunting in tandem. While one striper
stuns the bait with his tail the other devours it as
a meal. They
can sometimes be caught using wire leaders but it is the wrong
set up for your approach and
many a fisherman has been stymied using the wrong hardware
on his line. If one method can be used above all else it is
to "match the hatch". Sometimes your offering has
to be presented in such a way that the baitfish and its fluttering
pattern may have to be mimicked as closely as possible. At
other times they will take almost anything during a barometer
drop and an oncoming storm.
is my approach to fishing the, surf, jetty, bay, harbors, rivers
and the beach.First start with your equipment. Make sure you
have everything you need before you leave your home.
Rod, a medium to heavy action rod. This
can be fairly inexpensive. It is not necessary to have the
best of equipment. Remember this rule. Catching
a bass from the Ocean, the sea, a river, lake or anywhere else
is a matter of in how you present the bait to the fish.
There are many modestly priced
rods available from Shimano, Penn, Okuma, Shakespeare, Eagle
Claw, Silistar, St. Croix, Tica and many others. Lamiglas, AWAF, Breakaway, Fenwick, G
Loomis and Allstar and several others offer higher quality with more expense. These
companies specialize in rod blanks for customizing and building your
own rod. Shimano
Compre Spinning Rods are smaller 5 to 7 feet
rods that will stand up to the riggers
of trolling and heavy jigging. For
the surf get at least an 8 feet 2 piece rod, you can use longer
or slightly shorter depending on preference. If the surf is high
you will need a larger surfrod. Larger rods are for accuracy and
distance. These are generally 9 to 12 feet long. You can even
get as much as a fifteen foot rod that comes in three pieces. More
on Rod selection
Reel: Some of your more experienced anglers
will prefer a conventional reel for casting, (a conventional
reel is round and the line is enclosed inside a housing, aka multiplier)
but most of us will be happy with a good old spinning reel.
( open faced with a manual spring release bail.) One that will
hold 300 yards of 20 lb test. It doesn’t
have to be that expensive initially, but
as you get more experienced you will want to upgrade. Penn,
Shimano, Abu Garcia and Okuma offer some great
reels for the money. The Penn
slammer reel is
a good spinning reel for the surf beginner because
it will stand up to abuse and it can handle the
load. One of the toughest saltwater spinning
reels available is the Daiwa
alternative is to purchase a combo rod and reel. Usually cheaper, and some
of these offer good performance for the money invested. The Japanese reels are better than the Chinese reels.
WORLD ROD / REEL COMBOS
on Reel selection
Line and Terminal
tackle: at least 300 yards
of 15 to 20 pound test. I use monofilament Ande line, but
there are several other quality lines available.
You can use braided lines for heavy cover
and rocks because it is much more abrasion
resistant, has very little stretch to detect
the subtlest of strikes in heavy cover, has
a small diameter for longer casts and more
spool fill. The draw back is the expense,
and you can cut your hands with it very easily
if your not wearing gloves. The newer braids
don't cut into the guides like the old stuff
did. Your local tackle shop will machine
spool your line or you can do it your self.
Your local shop will do it for you for only
a few dollars per reel. Next bring the line
through the guides and feed your line through
sinker slides as they are more commonly known
by. This is nothing more than a piece of
plastic that slides up and down your line.
It has a snap swivel where you tie or clip
on a sinker. (Here, i would tie on a bank
sinker so if it gets hung up in rocks it
will break away so i dont lose the whole
Next, tie on a barrel
swivel to the end of the line using a Uni
knot. It is critically
important that you dont use snap swivels
here. A big fish will bend them open
and you will kick yourself. Add your
3 feet of leader with your snelled
Make sure your hooks are sharp!!!! The leader
should be 20 to 40 lb monofilament
or fluorocarbon. I have used wire leaders
when the blue fish are around, but generally
only at night. Go to the knot
tying section for instructions on how
to tie your non slip knots.
right fishing line
check list: First
check your fishing rods and reels. Make sure
you have no scratches or nicks on your guides by rubbing a cotton
bud around and inside your guides, or just
check each guide with your finger. Clean your reels and check
that your drags are working properly. Oil them or spray them
with a little WD 40. Check your tackle box!
Make sure you have plenty of swivels, fish finders, sinkers,
and sharp hooks. You should also carry pliers, a fillet knife,
bait knife, flashlight and gloves. You might
want to carry an extra spool for your reel and some 15 or 20
pound test line. Check your rigs. Do they
need replacing? Repairing? Experts say to use a new rig every
time you go on a fishing expedition After all, you spend a lot
of money on a good rod and reel but it's
the end tackle that actually catches the fish!! Set up your rigs
at home before leaving for your overnight trip.
I use 7/0 Gamakatsu Octopus or live bait hooks (also Owner
Circle hooks) that I snell to 3 feet of fluorocarbon leader.
I size the hooks according to the bait I'm presenting. The
proper knot for snelling hooks is located on this site.
Now some discussion about fluorocarbon. It is more expensive than
monofilament, but less visible to these sharp eyed predators. Some
say fluorocarbon is overrated, which may be so, but it is lighter
and doesnt absorb as much water as monofilament so it flops around
a little more and your bait is presented better. Compared to most
monofilament lines, which are made primarily of extruded nylon,
fluorocarbon is manufactured from extruded polyvinylidene fluoride.
Although the extrusion process - whereby the respective line material
is pushed through a die to create different diameters and strengths
- is basically the same for both monofilament and fluorocarbon,
that's where the similarities end .more
on fluorocarbon digression.
discussed the previous information on fluorocarbon and monofilament,
my partner and I caught several 20lb plus stripers, with
in a window of 15 minutes using 15 inch black
wire leaders. The conditions were favorable for a feeding frenzy.
We were fishing a beach that drops into a shipping chan nell,
80 yards of gradual slope to 25 feet, which then drops suddenly
20 more feet. You can't easily cast into the channel because
it is quite far, but they come out of the channel to forage
among the rocks close to the beach usually at dawn and dusk.
It was 2 hours after high tide at 4:30 A.M., immediately after
a storm and the barometric pressure was low. If the temperature
is favorable (15 degrees higher than water temp) then long and
active response to a Solunar Period can be expected. Anyway The
wind was blowing southeast on to the beach and into our faces.
I had switched from mono because the bluefish were biting through
Water and Weather Conditions -
barometric highs if you find, like I do,
that such periods are tough times to catch bass. Bright, dry,
clear skies, this same high pressure pattern that's so favorable
to us often means poor fishing. Meanwhile, the
arrival of wet, stormy weather will cause many anglers to decide
to stay home even though such bad conditions
as uncomfortable as it is to us, can yield a bounty of
fish! Just before the wet weather arrives, it will be preceded
by a "front" (an
abrupt change in weather) which can often
trigger feeding binges by bass before and during the frontal
passage. Keep in mind, however, that fronts can
be dangerous, especially ones with high winds and lightning
-- not to mention getting soaked and possibly sick.
Northerly or northeasterly winds usually indicate
slower-moving larger weather systems which will take longer
to pass, and often trigger protracted feeding sprees
before it's arrival.
However, if you want to fish in one, it can be
good to position yourself on a shore that has the
wind blowing into it -- which often means the northwest
shoreline. Try to get the wind blowing "into" something such
as a small bay, a point, a drop off where a shoreline flat slopes
into deeper water for example.
you have a wind that has been blowing off the beach for a few
days it's going to cause a lot of upwelling. When the wind is
coming off the beach the surface water is moved by the wind and
can only be replaced with the layers under it which causes the
water off the bottom to come up that's cold and brown looking.
If the wind blows off the beach for several days it can really
make the water look brown and muddy. When it gets that bad there
usually isn't much in it except for skates and sharks that tend
to feed with smell instead of sight. When this happens you'll
notice a mud line way out in the water where the brown water
changes back to clear blue water. You'll also notice that all
the bird activity will be on the other side of this mud line
in the clear blue water. This is where the fish are . If the
wind has been changing directions a lot blowing off the water
and off the beach it shouldn't be too bad. You can get an idea
of what you might catch by looking at the water, you will catch
more bottom feeders if the water is a little muddy and more sight
feeders if it's clearer water.
Sustained winds blow the forage
into coves and shorelines and are a good place to fish if the
wind is blowing into something.
on to snelled hooks.
course you don’t have
to snell your own hooks, although it is
cheaper, you can buy packaged striped bass hooks
snelled to 30 lb monofilament, and single snelled
hooks of different sizes. If your live lining bunker
or using the head or large chunks, you need the larger
bait holder hooks. Sizes 6/0 to 9/0. You dont even
have to snell the hooks you can tie the monofilament
on directly but snelling them makes an
extremely strong connection with virtually no chance
Equally important is the hardware on your line,
meaning the swivel and sinker and how it is set
up. These fish can feel the weight of a sinker
when they pick up your bait. If they feel the weight
they will drop it, so I highly recommend using
a little plastic fish finder with a 3 or 4 oz sinker
attached. It will slide up and down your line and
stop at the swivel attached to the leader.
The behavior of a bass is to smack their prey with their
tail to stun it. It may feel like a bite, so be patient.
Also If you feel a fish drop your bait, dont reel in
right away they sometimes come back to it.
check your bait supplies. The best bait is
fresh bait. The latter part of fall menhaden becomes increasingly
scarce. Buy a few dozen and freeze them for
November and December months. If it gets freezer burnt,
the fish won't touch it. If you don’t have menhaden (bunker),
use sand worms, blood worms, or clam bellies.
Herring if you can get them. Live eels work great but they
can make a mess of your line if you don’t use
an eel rig. They like to tangle themselves on
your line. It is probably best to stun them first
by slamming them against a rock so they are not
quite so active. Also you can put them on ice
to control their activity but be careful the ice doesnt melt
and they suffocate. Another fisherman friend suggested rubbing
sand on the eels before attempting to hook them It makes them
more cooperative. You can also use lobster tails
and live crabs if you have the pocket book, or butterfish from
the local A & P.
For the colder weather use bunker, sand worms
or clams. Spoons and diamond jigs are good
also in cold weather, but that is for another discussion.
Other popular baits include white or yellow bucktail jigs, , deep running
crank baits and a spinner with plastic worm rig. Popping plugs are best
when stripers are schooling at the surface. If you are using these the
set up will be entirely different.
monofilament line is tough and requires little
care. But here are a few tips that beginners should follow
to keep their line in the best possible condition.
Sunlight weakens monofilament. Don't leave it in direct sunlight
when you are not using it. Prolonged heat
weakens it. Never store your line (or your rods) in hot areas
like car trunks or the back car window, attics etc. The best
place to store your fishing rods and excess
line is in a dark, cool room, closet or garage. Don't let your
line come in contact with gasoline, oil, suntan lotion, or
other harm-full chemicals. These cause monofilament
line to break down or become brittle. Even with proper care
and normal use, monofilament lines ages.
It's a good idea to periodically strip and replace old line.
Two line changes a year should be sufficient - at the beginning
and the middle of the season. If you fish
often, change it monthly. Lastly but most important be on constant
guard against nicks abrasions or other weak
spots in your line. You can detect these spots by running the
line through your thumb and forefinger. If
you find a rough spot, clip off the line above the bad spot
and retie your bait. It's better to lose a few feet of line
than to lose that trophy fish!
Check your equipment.
Is it clean and trouble
free? Do you have pre made rigs made or have
a freshly purchased supply? Sinkers, fish finders, swivels.
Is your tackle box clean and stocked with the necessary
tools? A five-gallon bucket with a top for a
seat is very useful. Use the bucket for gear and or bait,
many surf fisherman possess a surf bag as it contains the
necessary tackle, leaders, plugs, lures etc.
to maintain mobility along the beachfront. If you travel
light, you can cover good distances without dragging along
excess baggage. Lunker lights, Berkley
measuring tape, chair, camera, lantern, sand
spikes and waders all are optional. Each of these
depends on where you plan to fish and whether
you can carry this much gear to your destination.
If you plan to fish a beach that you can drive
onto, then obviously you can bring more gear.
Take a walk through the area you plan to fish
in the daytime and at low tide. Look for structure
and other things like piers, pilings, rocks,
turbulence, bait in the water and feeding birds.
Also look for obstacles that might be hazardous
to negotiate while carrying your gear at night.
Be prepared beforehand and significantly increase
your chances of catching the whopper you hear
the other guys talk about. Good luck and happy
fishing. You can email me with any questions,
I would be happy to answer them. [email protected]s247.com
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