Swim baits are a relative newcomer to the striper scene, but have quickly become a favorite of anglers due to their lifelike action, castability and ability to catch big fish. These lures come rigged with a weighted head and are ready to fish right out of the package. Cast them into a likely looking area and begin using a steady retrieve to see how the fish respond. Some days stripers like the bait moving fast through the water column, while a pause in the retrieve maybe the ticket on other days. No matter if the fish are crashing bait in the surface or holding near the bottom, the swim bait is versatile enough to fish at any point in the water column.
A staple lure amongst hard-core striped bass anglers, the bucktail jig mimics bait fish such as menhaden and alewives. Match the size of the jig to the depth of water you will be fishing in. Small jig heads from 1/2 to 3/4 ounce are ideal for targeting fish that are cruising the shallow waters of spring time. Switch to a larger jig, from 1 to 3 ounces, when fishing for stripers in deeper water. If the fish are hitting the jig but are not getting hooked, try adding a curly tail grub to the back of the jig to add extra action. This can be just the trigger the fish want and can turn a slow day into a memorable one.
Striped bass chase their prey up toward the surface and corral them there, since the bait fish have nowhere else to hide. When the surface action heats up, there is no better lure in the arsenal than a popper, or popping plug, as they are commonly referred to. Cast the popper past the feeding stripers and twitch the bait with short, hard pulls of the rod. This will cause the concave face of the lure to "pop" and spray water, calling feeding striped bass in for a look. Vary the retrieve speed until you find the right combination. Typically, stripers that are actively feeding will react better to a fast retrieve than a slow one.