Stripers targeting the cows
By Joe Brotz aka roccus
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Targeting cow stripers on a regular basis takes a lots of patience, endurance and know how.
The habits of large bass (over 20lbs) are totally different than school and teen sized fish, not that they cant be found in the same places, they can and are, but not always at the same time.
Small and teen sized fish will school in the middle of a rip, chasing bait helter skelter, larger bass will lie behind structure in the rip or to the side,expending only enough energy to get their meal, big fish need calories and cant afford to waste energy chasing bait or competing with small fish,they will often lie beneath them, close to and behind them, taking the cripples (this applies when bluefish are about as well)
They like mud flats and clam beds, places where they don't have to work hard for a meal, clam flats and mussel beds, provide lots of feed for eels and small minnows as well as crabs and clams, all food to a lazy hungry striper. Off shore bars on the beach front provide similar opportunities for jumbos on the prowl.
Early season bass are suckers for herring,mackerel and bunker (wish we had some) they follow the schools closely,this sustains their migration north in the spring, and in the fall as the yearling baits make their trek seaward and to the south, the bass follow them home!
This is a good time to mention the fall, the one time of year when small bait is VERY appealing to large bass, mainly because it's what they are feeding on (shad and herring drops as well as peanut bunker) and they can eat it by volume, thus making an easy meal of the helpless baits.
By early summer once the herring run is over the mackerel have scattered or moved north eels become a prime bait for night fishing,herring,bunker and Mackerel still work,and work well...if you can get them...
Sea worms are often over looked as a "big fish" bait, mainly because the schoolies will drive you insane, but, during the worm hatch in june, big bass once again will take advantage of the set dinner table and slurp these down by the hundreds, I witnessed it one morning back in the late '70's, hundred or large bass finning off of the beach slurping migrating worms off of the surface like a trout slurping bug...It's all they would eat!
I must mention clams,I have NO experience with them (except for ground fish) but many other get some real wall hangers on them.
By mid summer, night time eeling is the best game in town, a true ticket to a monster,this fishing remains good until thee last blind bass leaves our water in October or November (depending on your local)
So far I've talked mainly live bait, but there are other methods that are deadly, one of the deadliest of all, what I call a half and half (without the worm it is useless) is the tube and worm (see info on Santini tube ) I first was introduced to the "tube" back in the '70's while fishing on a charter boat on cape cod, trolled slowly this lure will catch bass night or day under many conditions all season long.
Jigs, I cant say anything about jigs that hasn't been said before, day or night trolled or cast...they rock.
Plugs, I like 'em big, Capt. Bills swimmers,pike minnow's Dannies, Gibbs, goo-goo eyes and storm all can be trolled on wire or braid, early and late in the year they rule...smaller versions can be cast, most fisherman like the balsa wood and plastic models for this, but for trolling..give me wood!
Spoons and squids: again very versatile, big bunker spoons trolled on wire are deadly when bass are after herring or bunker.
Tin squids, I have a few left but most people will use hopkins or kastmasters. Deadly dicks can be good when bass are go urging on sandeels.
Swim baits, honestly I've just got into them last season and haven't used them for big fish, something I will try and report on latter.
There is much, much more, but my fingers hurt!
If this info helps one angler catch his/or her trophy,it was worth my time to type it.
Catch 'em up , but save some for tomorrow..