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Striped Bass Fishing - Stripers are a spring to fall visitor to our local waters. Most of the fish caught in our area weigh between six and fourteen pounds, but quite a few stripers from fourteen to twenty-five pounds are taken. Occasionally, anglers will catch bigger fish that weigh over thirty pounds.Striper fishing in our area starts in mid-April and continues to late November (and sometimes December.) Early season fishing is done in the shallow waters of Raritan Bay and around the "tip" of Sandy Hook. As the season progresses, the fish can be found throughout the New York Bight. By late spring, stripers are caught both in the coastal ocean waters and in the bays. In the summer and fall, striper fishing centers on the many high bottom spots, wrecks and deep-water channels throughout the New York-New Jersey area The most popular baits for stripers are live sandworms, small live eels, fresh or frozen surf clam strips and fresh or frozen menhaden (mossbunker) chunks. While you are free to bring your own, we provide you with the bait that seems to be working best at the time. We use sandworms for bait when we drift fish in the summer and early fall, and generally use eels only in the fall . We use fresh clam strips and menhaden chunks only when fishing at anchor in the spring and early summerFor fishing at anchor with clams or menhaden, the typical striper rig we use is a one-hook rig combined with a 2 to 8 ounce sinker. We use a 3/0 or 5/0 size Sproat or Beak-style hook tied to about 36 inches of 30 or 40 lb. test monofilament leader. The leader is then tied to a two-way swivel. Pass the line from your reel through a fish-finder sinker slide (with sinker clip) before tying it to the two-way sinker. We find the fish finder will allow the striper to pick up the bait without feeling the weight of the sinker and seems to work better when the fish are “picky” or not biting aggressively. For drift fishing with worms or eels, the typical striper rig we use is a one-hook rig combined with a 2 to 8 ounce sinker. We use a 5/0 or 7/0 size Sproat or Beak-style hook tied to about 36 inches of 30 or 40 lb. test monofilament leader. The leader is then tied to a three-way swivel. An 18-inch dropper loop attached to the swivel allows you to easily change sinkers and help keep the bait slightly off the bottomWhen fishing with sandworm baits, you can immediately set the hook when you feel the striper bite. However, we recommend you wait a few seconds before setting the hook when fishing with the generally larger eel baitsWhen we are fishing at anchor, anglers let their line down to the bottom and simply wait for the striper to bite. Most of the time the stripers don’t like to see the bait jerking around, so just let it sit there. Important – leave your reel in free spool and just hold it in place gently with your thumb. Sometimes the stripers are feeding aggressively and will hit your bait hard. If this is the case, immediately put your reel in gear and set the hook. At other times, they can be picky and just play with your bait. If the striper is toying with your bait, you must resist the temptation to strike. You’ve got to wait it out until the striper picks up your bait and moves off with it before setting the hook. This is the situation where keeping your reel in free spool and the fish finder rig really helps. Feed the fish extra line by letting up your thumb pressure until you feel it swim off with the bait, and then set the hook. If you feel a striper toying with your bait, but stops before picking it up, wait it out. Sometimes they will come back for a second pass (and even a third) before inhaling your bait.
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