Candy Stripers

What bait will catch more striper?

No question: In freshwater, shad. In saltwater, Mehaden (Bunker) and whole squid.

Stripers are notoriously size-conscious as to what bait they will hit. Your offering needs to be close to the size of the shad they are currently feeding on. And they prefer their shad a bit larger than most other predators. Anything smaller than 3″ will usually be ignored by all but the smallest Stripers (but White Bass school right along with them, and they have no qualms at all about slashing these smaller baits, so it’s a win-win situation). If you are catching mostly White Bass, simply go to a larger size bait.

When shad are being attacked near the surface, the savage mauling they take attracts birds, who swoop down and get their share of the buffet. You can find schools of Stripers by looking for wheeling, and diving birds. Then, just power over to the spot and start casting. The school will go down after a few minutes, and come back up nearby, so a watchful eye can follow a school for quite some time, and get in a lot of terrific fishing.

In the summer months, when Stripers are cruising deep water, trolling with spider rigs (several rods at a time) is the best way to find them. Use jigs, and troll the deep waters over sandy, or rocky bottoms, along rip-raps, channels off of points, or shoals, and river mouths.

You can rig two different colored jigs, one about 2′ under the other, on one rod, and sometimes ‘double up’, catching two Stripers at once. Then, you have your hands full! Sometimes, two jigs trigger more strikes than just one. This is very effective when Stripers are in the fast water below tailraces. Just rig the two jigs under a large bobber, cast them upstream and let them drift down. When the bobber goes down, FISH ON!

When fishing with live shad, place a small piece of soft plastic cut from an old worm on the hook. Then hook the shad through the nostrils. This keeps the shad from sliding up on the hook shank and re-hooking itself in the body, killing the bait, and worse, if a Striper hits it anyway, you will miss the hookset.

No matter how you do it, Stripers make for some very exciting fishing.

Happy fishing.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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