The Best Bait for Striped Bass

The Best Bait for Striped BassStriped bass or stripers are popular game fish known for their striking appearance and fierce fight. Because stripers spend part of their lifecycle in the ocean and part in rivers, they eat a variety of fish and seafood. Whatever you are fishing with, keep it fresh. Old, pungent baits will rarely catch stripers.

Chunk Bait

According to Bob d'Amico of Striper Surf, "Chunk'in is smelly, dirty and messy, but striped bass sure do love their fresh chunks" as long as the bait is fresh. Take a fish such as anchovy, herring, mackerel or menhaden and cut it horizontally into five pieces. Cut up the tail, and throw it in for chum. Use a rubber band to hold the innards against each piece of bait. Fish with one chunk on a fishfinder rig with circle hooks or whatever other setup you prefer. The guts will chum the water, attracting stripers. If a piece hasn't caught anything in 20 minutes, pull it in, cut it up and throw it in the water for chum. Keep the pieces you aren't using at the moment on ice to keep them fresh.



According to Striper Surf, "Clams are the bait of choice, from the south shore of Long Island, the New York Bight, Sandy Hook and south to Cape May." Stripers feed on clams along the East Coast for much of the year, making clams a natural food for striped bass fishing. Buy live whole skimmer clams from a bait shop and keep them in an ice bucket with a hole in the bottom to drain out water (since the freshwater will kill them.) Put them in a bucket of saltwater at least once a day then back on the ice. You can either cut up the meat of a clam without the lips and other parts for baiting two to three hooks or the whole clam on larger hooks, such as 8/0 circle hooks. Throw the shell and any other parts of the clam you don't use into the surf as chum.

Live Bait

According to fishing researcher Dan Eggertsen, fishing for stripers with live baits "will normally yield amazing results." Striped are drawn by a wide variety of live bait including eels, river and sea herring, shad, minnows, bunker and mulllet. If you can, with a net or trap, catch the live bait near where you intend to fish. Keep the fish alive in the water they came from, and use them as soon as possible. If you buy your bait from a store, choose a local shop to ensure you get plenty of action to lure the stripers. Hook the bait through the mouth or the back to allow it to swim naturally as you slowly reel it in. Try to keep at least two types of live bait on hand if possible to give yourself more options if the striper stop biting one type of bait.

Article Written By Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.