The Striped Bass is a fish that, wherever you look for it, is an alluring fish that is one of the most powerful and challenging fish to be caught by anglers. Let’s show you all you need to know about this almighty fish.
What Is a Striped Bass Fish?
The Striped Bass belongs to the Moronidae family of fish and is a part of the bass family. The most obvious feature of the Striped Bass is, unsurprisingly, its stripes. The Striped Bass is characterized by a streamlined, silvery body marked with seven horizontal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail.
They are silvery, shading to olive-green on the back and have seven or eight horizontal stripes on each side of the body. They can have a wide variety of colors on their belly, including blue, dark olive green, and silver, but are usually seen with the color white. Striped Bass is known for having a very healthy appetite, and will feed on small fish and wildlife. In comparison to other pelagic fish, Striped Bass does not have a forked tail.
Where to Fish for Stripers
The Striped Bass is native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico, and goes to approximately Louisiana, however it has been introduced to other locations including California and New Mexico. You can also find them through the Midwest and even as far as the West Coast of Canada, but in smaller numbers.
Understanding where they congregate is crucial according to each season. During the spring, you need to go to estuaries, creeks, bays, and tidal rivers. But as spring goes on, bass swims in schools heading north. During the summer months of July and August, they look for cooler waters, but as cold water has a lower level of oxygen, they tend to migrate to waters around 48 degrees F to 50 degrees F. The ideal water temperatures for Striped Bass fishing are between 50 and 70 degrees F.
While it is possible to catch bass in the winter, this is a lot less likely- you can catch them during the winter in locations where they “holdover” which is their biological instinct telling them to migrate north.
When they are not feeding in open water or migrating, you can find them in structures like ledgers, jetties, bridges, reefs, breach ways, inlets, reefs, mouths of rivers, and boulder fields. The best time to fish for stripers is from early April to late September. However, if you are in the mid-Atlantic region such as New Jersey and Virginia, they will see Striped Bass first in the spring and will see the last in the fall months when the bass starts migrating south for the winter. During migration they are at their most vulnerable as they feed on large schools of bait, making it the ideal opportunity to catch multiple fish in a short amount of time.
The typical diet of Striped Bass is similar to a predator. They will feed on small fish such as crustaceans, insects, and plankton throughout their development. Striped Bass larvae will feed on zooplankton, and the juveniles will feed on worms, insects, and other crustaceans. When they reach adulthood, on the Atlantic coast, they search for Atlantic menhaden, as well as other fish such as herring, alewives, and silversides. Like most predators, Striped Bass feeds at dawn and dusk, and feeds heavily after dark.
Striped Bass usually stops feeding before they spawn, which begins in the spring. Striped Bass needs constant running water as this keeps the eggs in motion until hatching. During spawning season female Striped Bass can lay up to 3,000,000 eggs and the female will grow larger than the males.
While Striped Bass spawn in freshwater, they are considered anadromous and can live in both freshwater and saltwater environments, but they are more likely to spend their adult lives in saltwater.
Striped Bass doesn’t have eyelids. When the sun comes up, they retreat to deeper water to avoid the light.
The adult Striped Bass can range from 16 to 30 inches in size. While the maximum reported length is 6 ft. 6 inches, it is usually around 3 ft. 11 in. (120 cm). The largest Striped Bass ever captured was reported to have weighed 125 lbs, but the heaviest non-IGFA Striped Bass weighed 125-pounds, caught at Edenton, NC, in April 1891. Other recent records include Greg Myerson’s Striped Bass, which weighed 81-pounds and 14-ounces, which was landed off the coast of Westbrook, Connecticut in 2012.
Striped Bass can live for a long time, and on average can live up to 30 years. Other names for the Striped Bass include the Atlantic Striped Bass, striper, linesider, rock, or rockfish.
Striped Bass has also hybridized with white bass to produce hybrid Striped Bass, known as wiper, Whiterock bass, sunshine bass, palmetto bass, and Cherokee bass which are found in many freshwater areas across the US.
Top Striped Bass Fishing Lures & Tips
When it comes to catching Striped Bass, there are many different approaches. But it’s important to remember that the setup you prefer will be the same regardless of the water environment, whether you’re in freshwater, saltwater, or brackish water.
When it comes to your bait and your tackle, you’ve got to remember that the Striped Bass is a very hungry fish. While you might never know what they will go for, it’s important to have a mixture of live bait. You can use a variety of bait including eels, blood worms, sandworms, herring, and crabs. However, if you want to use artificial lures, you should try to mimic the baitfish using plastic eels, or a combination of a tube lure with a live worm.
The most important thing to consider when you are looking for the ideal setup is the size of the fish you are after. If you are looking for larger fish, you need a heavy spinning outfit so you can drift larger pieces of bait into the current, so you can use heavy jigs in an underwater structure. If you are looking for smaller fish, a medium-light spinning tackle and a 7-ft medium road with fast-action will suit you fine.
If you are looking for any special type of tackle, the best thing you can do is to invest infused or braided lines that weigh more than 30 lbs and attach them to a fluorocarbon leader weighing between 30 and 50 lb.
When looking for the ideal way to fish, the best way is to do it from a boat. Fishing from a boat means you can easily cover large areas of water, and you will catch a larger number of fish. When you are fishing on open waters, it’s best to try the trolling technique. Even the most experienced fishermen and women will try their hand at fly-fishing, however, this is the most difficult method to catch Striped Bass because it requires a wide variety of skills, not to mention patience.
If you are looking for the best time of the day, many large Striped Bass fish move into shallow water when night falls, giving you a better chance at getting the lure you need. As they don’t have eyelids, the best time to venture out is after dark, so you have a better chance of catching a large amount of Striped Bass.
Striped Bass are structure-loving fish, so if you are looking for a technique or style that nets you more, the best technique will allow you to focus your attention around underwater structures, such as rocky shoreline areas. But you will have to consider the location, the time of year, and if you are fishing from a boat or not.
Can You Eat Striped Bass?
For the fish connoisseur, the Striped Bass is a white and flaky flesh that is slightly fat, making for a very buttery taste, but not oily like a lot of other fish like anchovies. The taste is very light, which allows for a variety of different cooking methods.
Many people consider fish tastier when on the bone, and this certainly applies here, but a Striped Bass is one of those fishes that can be incredibly versatile. You can grill this fish, make it in a salt crust, and you can even put it on the barbecue, as its natural sweetness balances out the char grill flavor.
Striped Bass is one of those dishes that is incredibly popular, not least when it comes to popular restaurant dishes like Chilean sea bass, but the Striped Bass can be baked in in a lemon and herb butter, or if you are looking to give it an oriental flavor, you can marinate it in sake, bringing out the sweetness of the fish.
The Striped Bass is a fish that can be found in freshwater and saltwater, and for the amateur or experienced angler, the Striped Bass provides a number of challenges. It is an incredibly rewarding catch.