Author: Captain Mike Littlefield
Fishing For Trophy Striped Bass In The Northeast
Striped bass are a perciform fish native to the Atlantic coast of North America, from Florida to Nova Scotia. They are a migratory fish that move between freshwater and saltwater. The striped bass (or "striper") is popular in sport fishing—the largest specimen ever caught weighed in at 81.8 pounds. Striped bass can be a little tricky to catch, as they are constantly on the move and behave somewhat unpredictably. As a result, many fishermen argue over the best methods for catching them. However, with the right equipment and few simple techniques, you can improve your chances of hooking a striped bass.
Finding Trophy Striped Bass
Although striped bass can be caught all year round, in almost any condition, you can increase your chances of successful fishing if you understand the striper's behavior patterns.
Striped bass are migratory fish who prefer water temperatures between 45 and 65 °F (7 and 18 °C). Therefore, if the water temperature goes above or below this range, you are unlikely to find any striped bass, as they will have migrated to warmer or cooler waters.
The temperature may also affect the location of the fish within the water. On a hot sunny day, the striped bass may dive to depths as low as 40 feet to avoid the heat and find more suitable temperature and oxygen levels. Whereas, on a cooler day, you might find them just a foot or two below the water's surface.
Stripers are more prone to feeding when there is water movement due to changing tides or a strong breeze. This is due to the fact that water movement stirs up sediment, which attracts bait fish (who feed on the sediment). In turn, the feeding bait fish attract the stripers. In addition, they are more likely to bite when the temperature of the water has recently fluctuated.
Time Of Day
Striped bass tend to feed most actively at dusk and dawn, where they can hunt smaller fish under the cover of darkness. Therefore, you may have a higher rate of success if you fish at these times.
Use Your Fish Finder To Aid You In Finding These Conditions
Having a boat equipped with a reliable fish-finder will certainly help in your pursuit of big striped bass. We are using the Hummingbird Solix G2 10 inch with side scanning technology.
Having a firm understanding of how to operate your fish-finder will aid you in locating a productive area in which striped bass have gathered. Therefore it is recommended that you read the owner's manual thoroughly before using.
Striped bass can be unpredictable—they can be found at different locations and different depths depending on the weather, time of year and even the time of day. Using your fish-finder will help you to determine the depth at which the bass are holding, which will allow you to present the bait at that exact depth and give you the best chance of actually catching a striped bass.
Choosing The Right Bait For Stripers
Choose the right bait. Striped Bass are opportunistic feeders who may be caught using a wide range of bait.
Live bait such as herring, menhaden, mackerel, eels, squid, clams, anchovies, bloodworms, shad, nightcrawlers and sandworms all make great bait for striped bass fishing. You can find these baits at just about any local fishing bait and tackle shop.
The type of bait that will bring you the most success will depend on the location you intend to fish in. If you're unfamiliar with the body of water you'll be fishing, consult with a local bait and tackle shop to find out what type of bait they recommend.
Best Lures For Stripers
You can also catch striped bass using a lure that resembles the forage base in the area where you'll be fishing. These lures can be made from plastic, wood, metal, resins or rubber.
Choose Your Rod & Reel Combo
You should be able to catch striped bass with almost any rod and reel, provided it's heavier than a light spinning outfit.The type of rod you use will depend on type of fishing you intend to do. Will you be fishing in freshwater or saltwater? Will you be fishing on a boat? Or will you be fishing from the surf or on a jetty, bridge or pier? Will you be chunking bait, or using a lure? The answers to these questions will determine the correct weight, size and flexibility for your rod. We use rods from Crafty One Customs, contact the owner to find out which rod is best for your type of fishing.
The type of reel you use is arguably more important than the rod -- a saltwater spinning reel is a good option, as long as it's sturdy enough to pull in a 20 to 25 pounds fish. The Finnor marquesa 16 or a Quantum Cabo spinning reel is our weapon of choice.
Spooling Up For Big Stripers
In terms of line, you should be using bullbuster 20 to 30 pounds test monofilament line (though some people prefer heavier lines for catching bigger fish) or we use 40lb Bullbuster braid. The VMC hook should be nice and sharp and there should be a minimum of 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) between the point and the shank, to avoid catching undersized bass.
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