Re: What works best?
Man, that is a loaded question..... in all honesty, each one of those tactics works under specific conditions.... versatility is the key to sucess.
In the early spring, migrating bass are following a food sorce, (as they do in the fall) concentrate your efforts early on along "pinch" points such as river mouths, creeks and streams that have spawning herring runs(check local and state regs before using these as bait)location is key, using bait early is distinct advantage, a herring or pogie chunk (or clam, which I dont use, whole differnent story) anchored to the bottom will take more than it's share of fish, but hungry bass often respond to artificial baits such as jigs, tins, and soft plastics...
as the water warms and bass become entrenched in their summer haunts, the spectrum broadens, during the worm hatch,( in June) a live lined worm can take some outsized fish when NOTHING else will work, mackerel can be live lined around rock piles or along the beach front, in tidal flats and in river or creek mouths, eels trolled or cast in the shallows at night are a prime bait, during the day, eels, scup (again check your regs.)macks. pogies and just about anything that swims can be live lined or drifted on a 3 way rig for bass over deeper water.
wire line and lead core trolling around jettys,sandbars and rock piles with tube and worm can bring keeper bass to boat.
wire line is also a useful tool to get big swimming plugs and jigs down through the rips to find bass (and blues) waiting to pounce on it's hapless dinner, dont discount the value of a diamond jig fished yo-yo style over these very same rips.
In the fall the gloves come off, young of the year baitfish gather in rivermouth and migrate along the beach,, and bass fattening up for the long winter and treck south are there to greet them, at times the fishing can be fast and furious, with bass hitting anything that moves, surface action can be outstanding, have some pencil poppers, spook type and atom style poppers handy,at other times they can become selective beyond belief,during the fall run all lures and baits that worked in the summer will work now, small baits often entice gluttony, 4" soft plastics, needle fish, bombers and red fins become go to lures...
this is only the tip of the iceberg.. dont be afraid to experiment.. I've said it before and I'll say it again, bass dont read books,living in the ocean is a matter of survival.. what fish is more suited to survival than a striped bass!