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Stripers 101 - The Beginners clinic. Saltwater and freshwater surfcasting. Plugging, Bait dunking and boating

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Old 05-02-2008, 12:28 PM
Mass Baster Mass Baster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2
Default Catching Live Bait

Hello All.

1st post here.

I have searched most of the beginner posts but I was unable to find an in depth review of catching your own bait.

I live in NJ with easy access to the Raritan Bay. I have a cast net that I never used (Christmas present). I have access to a boat (sometimes). But I have no clue how to target and catch types of live bait (bunker, eels, others).

- How do you find your live bait?

- Also, how you catch your live bait?

- Lastly, where and when do you use live bait?

I know its a broad subject on one part of striper hunting but this is the beginners section.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-02-2008, 01:07 PM
Roccus's Avatar
Roccus Roccus is offline
King of Eels
Pro Staff
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Reading, Mass/Rings Island
Posts: 4,227
Default Re: Catching Live Bait

First off, welcome to the site, I applaud you for searching first...
Catching you own bait, like striper fishing itself, is a learned must acquaint yourself with each species you intend to capture, to learn their habits and cycles for your area..My reply is going to be extremely general, as each section of coastline has it's own specific ecosystem.

Most baitfish rely of structure for safety and food... Some baitfish, like mackerel,menhaden (pogies or bunker) mullet and herring rely on their large numbered schools for safety...

Baitfish like eels, Scup and even crabs to a degree rely on cover, weather it's a rocky bottom, a deep hole or group of pilings...or even an old shopping cart!

Mackerel: These fish are seasonal to most regions, they can be found over open water, but are best captured over deep water rock piles using small diamond jigs, or sabiki rigs... chumming the water is also huge help, ground herring or sand eels are the preferred chum....

Menhaden ( pogies) these large herring like filter feeders also travel in large schools, they can be snagged or gill netted( permit usually needed) or throw netted... the large weighted snagging hook can give you enough bait for a mornings fishing if the schools are packed tight... pinch down the barbs for a better survival rate, bunker are as good dead( sometimes better!) and chunked as they are dont despair if they croak!

I've no personal experience with mullet, I understand most fisherman catch them with cast nets....

Herring: River herring are off limits here in mass, when they were legal, a small gold hook dropper ahead of a shad dart would account for enough baits to allow you to fish a tide in the morning as they made their way up the river es and creeks to spawn, we also used to dip net them in the herring runs, sea herring( different species) are an excellent bait, only experience will tell you where to jig for the schools, they do prefer deep water bordering sharp underwater reefs..A sabki rig in the smaller sizes work well on these baitfish..these are a late summer to fall bait, usually showing just as the mackerel have departed...

Whiting: this is a great fall bait for trophy sized bass, when the whiting are running, look for them over mud bottoms, a sabiki rig sweetened with a strip or two of herring will attract them.... if you happen to get a large one... gutted and scaled and dropped into a deep fryer and you have a treat fit for a king...

Scup: these bony fish make excellent striper bait, look for them around rock piles, small hooks and strips of squid are the ticket to sucess... be sure to adhere to all seasons and regulations when catching or pursuing scup...

Eels:.. look for eels along quiet back water with deep holes near rocks or pilings... eel, or shiner traps baited with fish, crushed mussels, clams or crabs will attract these living pieces of striper candy..Again, check local regulations before trapping eels....

Crabs: green crabs can be used for striper bait, and at times will do big business when live lined under a balloon, to catch them mussel beds, rocks and the edges of river or creek channels are a preferred hiding place...

This is not a be all end all list, at times catching your own bait can be complicated, at times, it's just plain easy.... most times it's somewhere inbetween.... study your local marine habitat, adhere to all local and state regulations, and work hard at it and having bait to fish with will never be a problem..

Tight lines
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:25 PM
candleburnerZ candleburnerZ is offline
Striper Hunter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: strafford cty NH
Posts: 74
Default Re: Catching Live Bait

roc is right.

He covered alot of things.

Catching live bait and finding them are 2 different things.

bunker, pogie, and macks can be found with the birds. If your ever out in a boat and see a group of gulls on the water/diving/hovering. You got a school. Be very quiet and use a trolling motor if you can.

If your jigging for macks a sabiki rig wieghted with a diamond jig and a smalll bit of seaworm added will be killer.

Not trying to give all the answers away but, do work son.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:37 AM
Mass Baster Mass Baster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2
Default Re: Catching Live Bait

Informative and helpful!


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bait, catching, live

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