The arrival of fall means more than just sweatshirts, bonfires, and pumpkin flavored everything; for anglers along the east coast, it means striper season has arrived once again. The Striped Bass (or striper) will begin their fall run from the New England area back down to the warmer waters of North Carolina until spring.
If you’re looking to get involved with striper fishing, be aware there’s a lot more to it than throwing a line with some bait out into the water. Here are some tactics and tips to help you tighten your lines & catch the State Fish of Maryland, the striper:
Locating Striper: Having your own boat equipped with a fish finder is a plus, as it will come in handy for getting an idea of depth. A basic strategy for locating fish is to look for birds working the surface of the water for food. This is a sign that the bait fish Atlantic Menhaden (aka bunker fish) are in the area. Bunker fish are a staple in the Striped Bass diet, and if you see a pod of bunker near the surface this may be a sign that a predator has driven them there. Fish like to hang out around structures, so fishing around bridges, docks, underwater rock piles, drop-offs, or wrecks can yield great success.
When To Fish: Many professional and amateur anglers swear by the lunar phases when it comes to fishing. The theory is that the phases of the moon will determine when fish are in their prime feeding window. This is somewhat similar to the way humans are conditioned to eat breakfast in the morning and dinner in the evening, only the feeding times of fish are constantly changing based on the phase of the moon. You can view the tide charts, lunar calendar, and peak fishing times here.
Tactics and Bait Setups: There are different fishing techniques to use depending on what kind of fish you’re going after. Below are some of the best that work for striper:
Trolling is a very popular tactic used amongst many saltwater anglers. It consists of throwing your line in the water and actually pulling the bait through the water while keeping the motor going at a pace that is not going to spook the fish. Trolling allows you to cover a larger area than moving from spot to spot.
Jigging is one of the simplest yet most effective tactics out there. When you’re jigging, you manually imitate the movement of the prey in the water. The most common setups for jigging are usually jig heads with eel, or plastic tube worms with a weighted hook to help get the line to the bottom.
Live eels are a great bait to use for either trolling or jigging. Live bunker may also be a good trolling bait, depending if they are still present in the area during the season. When using eels for jigging, be sure to get them off of the bottom of the ocean floor quickly or they will bury themselves in the sand.
The Striper will only be here for a limited time until they come back in the spring, so get out on your boat, reserve your spot on an Ocean City Striper charter fishing trip by calling 877-725-FISH http://reeladdiction.com/ or hi,t the beach with your rod and get those lines in the water!