Striped bass, known as "stripers," are a much sought-after trophy among sport fishermen. It's no wonder, because these fish sometimes live to 40 years old and reach sizes of up to 100 lbs. The fish are also noted for the tremendous fight they put up when hooked. Add all of this up, and you have one of the most exciting species of fish that can be pursued with rod and reel. Since striper fishing can be challenging, it pays to have some pointers for a successful outing.
Locate the Fish
Locating stripers is often a matter of being a careful observer. Look for the presence of the bait fish that stripers prefer: alewives, flounder, sea herring, shad and smelt. Stripers are opportunistic feeders, though, so keep in mind that where you find an abundance of bait, you are likely to find stripers. Birds will often help you find the bait; look for herons and gulls that are diving, and there is probably schools of small bait fish there. When looking for likely fishing spots that hold stripers, don't forget to try the shallows near some underwater structure. Many fishermen ignore these shallows and immediately speed out to deeper water, passing up great fishing opportunities in the process.
Windy conditions are a usual occurrence in prime striper waters. Adjust how you go about getting bait, since if the wind is blowing hard, you probably will not be able to spot the schools of bait fish on the surface by sight. Use your fish finder in these situations to find the bait that is probably holding under the choppy surface conditions. If you are expecting extreme wind, consider bringing along frozen bait in case you strike out when trying to find bait in the wind.
Keep Records and Network
Keep a log book and update it with all the details of your fishing trips. Serious striper fishermen do it. You will be surprised how much you learn and are reminded of when you review the log before a fishing trip. In addition to this, talk to other fishermen and share information. Discuss bait, techniques and favorite spots. It also helps to keep in touch by radio with other fishermen while out on the water--a tip on where the stripers are biting can save a fishing day.