Improve your tactics for striped bass fishing with the tips in this article. These are my best tips and information for striped bass tackle, gear, bait and techniques. Surf fishing for striped bass is a cold water endeavor. They prefer water between 55 and 65 degrees. Fishing the surf for these guys ranges from North Carolina to Nova Scotia. In warmer areas of the US they are more likely to be found in fresh water lakes and rivers where the water is colder.
Striped Bass Tackle
The only live bait rig I like is the fish finder rig because the bait can free line with the current. In my opinion this is the most productive live bait rig. Smaller fish, 8 to 10 pounds can be taken on hook sizes in the 2/0, 3/0 range. For bigger fish 6/0 to 8/0 is the preferred size. More importantly you should size your hook to the bait used. Circle hooks are what I like to use which is also best for catch and release.
Leaders should be 60# to 80# test. Monofilament is okay for leader material. Rig your own fish finder setups with 18″ to 24″ of leader between the hook and the swivel. Artificial bait and lures are not as productive as live bait but work well. Artificial eels and squid are best in the artificial category. Most any type of swimming plugs are good from 1-3/4 ounce to 2-1/4 ounces in size.
Striped Bass Gear
If you’ve been reading my articles you know I have a preference for spinning reels. I just think they’re easier to use and cause less problems. Suit yourself here, whatever you like the best. Choose a spinning reel or bait casting reel it makes no difference. As far as surf rods go, a 10′ to 12′ rod is still my recommendation. I’m not a real big fan of having a special rod for every kind of fish caught in the surf. Most of the surf fishing I do is with my medium-heavy 12′ rod. For me it can handle short or long casts and if I hook into something sizable I have enough beef to deal with it. I like to keep it simple. These fish do have some size so you want to be sure your rod is up to it.
Spool your reel with 200 yards of 20 to 30 pound test monofilament or braided line. If you cant get 200 yards of 20# test monofilament line on your reel then switch over to 30# braided line. You’ll have no trouble. 30# test braided line is approximately the same diameter as 8# test monofilament.
Striped Bass Bait
Striped bass will feed on a large variety of live bait but their two favorite choices are eels and squid. The best way to fish eels is tail hooked on a fish finder rig so the eel feeds out with the current in the natural way it would swim. Next to that I would recommend menhaden or bunker hooked just in front of the pectoral fins on a fish finder rig for the same reason. You want your bait to feed out or swim natural with the current into the waiting predators.
Cut baits will catch stripers too and can be hooked which ever way works best for you.
Striped Bass Techniques
Striped bass like moving water and will always be facing into the current. They would rather lie and wait for their food to come to them. Out going high tides are best for live bait. If you can find a rip current that usually a good choice. The fish finder rig is good because the bait can be free lined out with the current, right into the path of waiting stripers. Lures, artificial bait and live bait that is retrieved are best for incoming high tides as the fish will be facing into the retrieve. Scout the beach at low tide for likely spots to fish. They like rocks and other forms of hard structure.
Striped bass are not put off by riled water and will take live bait, lures or artificials equally well under those conditions. Night fishing after dark is productive as well as the early morning hours just before daylight. Striped bass are primarily nocturnal feeders. Fishing during the day is not nearly as good.
Striped bass are one of the most prized game fish caught in the surf. Follow the tips in this article to improve your catch rate and hunt for the big stripers.