Species: STRIPED BASS
Morone saxatilis: Striped Bass, Striper, Rockfish, Line-sider whatever you call it, along with the red drum, are arguably the most sought after inshore gamefish on the East Coast. They range from northern Florida up the east coast to southern Maine They can be caught from the shore, in the surf, from the pier or jetty, or from a boat.
Dark olive to blueish silver above, silvery on the belly with 7-8 dark horizontal stripes down the sides.
Striper, Rockfish, Line-sider
Average weight is from 15-35 pounds. Females are larger than males. Generally they grow up to 59 inches and weights of 55 to 77 lbs.
Migratory range the east coast from northern Florida to the Carolinas and Virginia, north to New England along the Massachusetts Coast into New Hampshire and southern Maine and into rivers up to freshwaters to spawn.
Ideal Water Temp.:
Are migratory fish and seek water temperatures between 45°F and 65°F. with ideal temps being between 55°-65°.
Striper migrate north or south depending on the season. In the spring, between April and June they move into freshwater rivers and tributaries to spawn.
Striper are migratory fish moving up the coast when water temps reach about 50°, and into rivers to spawn. Spends most of its time near the bottom around structure. Will hide near or behind structure in the current break and wait as current moves bait into striking distance and dart out and grab a meal.
Eels, smaller fish of various kinds, also blue crabs, lobsters, shrimps and clams.
The world record striped bass is 81 lbs. 14 oz. (37.14kg) caught by Greg Myerson on August 4, 2011 in Long Island Sound, Westbrook, CT. on a live eel.
The previous record was 78 lbs. 8 oz. caught by Al McReynolds on September 21, 1982 on the Vermont Ave Jetty, in Atlantic City, New Jersey on a Rebel 5-½” Black-back Silver Minnow. It was 53″ long and had a girth of 34 1/3″.
Record for the Chesapeake Bay:
In the Chesapeake Bay, the largest striped bass is just under 68 pounds.
Eels, bloodworms, spot, croaker, peeler crab. Use hooks atleast 2/0 and the lightest weight possible and cast up current of the structure and let the current carry it down to the structure where the fish can ambush it.
Live bait recomendation, for early in the season, try whole bloodworms and/or clams on a 3-way bottom rig. As the water temps warm try live Baiting with Menhaden, Spot or Eels on a fish-finder rig around rocks, rip-rap and bridge pilings with a 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook, depending on the size of your bait and as light a sinker as is logical.
Bucktails with plastic bodies or pork bodies are one of the favorites, surface poppers, jigging spoons, and crankbaits that move in a straight line like a speed shads or rattletraps or mirr-O-lures are great choices too.
Never leave home for striper fishing without Jigging spoons either. Hopkins spoons are a long time favorite. You can use them plain or baited with a piece of cut squid or add a curly tail grub for a little extra action. Cast spoons right beside bridge or pier pilings or drop them in the rocks. Let it fall, then “Jig it” by quickly jerking rod tip up about 6″ and let it fall again. Work it all the way back to yourself. Feel for the tap of pickup when the lure is on the fall.
Try top water lures like Mirr-O-Lure’s “Top Dog”, or Heddon’s “Zara spook” or “Super Spook, Jr or “poppers/chuggers when the water temps are in the mid to upper 60s. Cast near rip-rap, rocky shores or structure, like bridge pilings or “current breaks” right into the rocks or structure. Let the current wash your lure into the “break” or area where waves break and work the bait all the way back to the you.
Popular colors for artificials include:
Most popular colors for striper fishing are chartreuse, white body/red head and chrome body with black or blue back especially. On bright days try gold or chrome spoons, spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits. During the early morning or on cloudy days or in low light conditions try topwater plugs or popping plugs. During the mid-day try deep diving crankbaits or cocktails jigs in darker colors like black, grays or blues.
Medium to heavy spincast equipment that can handle 200-300 yards of 20-40lb mono or braided line works great in the surf but levelwind or baitcast equipment is a better choice in most cases. Use heavier leaders when fishing around rough structure.
Interesting and un-interesting facts:
• Striped bass, are the top recreational sportfish in the Chesapeake Bay.
• The striped bass is Maryland’s official state fish.
• Striped bass were once so plentiful they were used to fertilize fields.
• Striped bass were introduced to the west coast in 1879. 133 yearling fish were seined from the Navesink River, New Jersey, and transported to California by train and released into the San Francisco Bay.