River, Lake, Onshore, Near shore
10 - 36 pounds
20" - 79"
The Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) is also known as Atlantic Striped Bass, Striper, Linesider, or Rockfish and a popular game fish for both recreational and commercial fishers. As the name suggests, it has seven to eight stripes running down the sides of its body; and its color can vary from light green and olive to brown and black. It also has a shimmering white belly and has plump bodies that can grow as heavy as 70 pounds and as long as 5 feet, making it easily distinguishable from other species. Although this fish mostly lives in saltwater its adult life, it’s anadromous as it spawns (and even known to adapt well) in a freshwater environment.
It can naturally be found along the Atlantic coast (from as far north as Canada to down south in the Gulf of Mexico). However, you can find it in most water bodies in North America as the species was introduced across the continent for recreational fishing and for controlling the gizzard shad population which the Striped Bass is known to prey upon.
Striped Bass spawn in freshwater and many of the Stripers become landlocked because of dams and other human-made obstructions; but, as earlier mentioned, they adapt well and can thrive in a freshwater habitat.
If you’re fishing for food, the Striped Bass is excellent for eating not only for its plump and meaty body but also for its exquisite sweet taste, which is quite similar to its close relative the Black Sea Bass.
For those of you who are planning to fish for this species, yes, they are known to be powerful swimmers, but they’re not particularly fast, making them fairly easy to catch. Although they can grow much bigger, most that are caught weigh around twenty to forty pounds.
You can fish for Striped Bass pretty much any time of the year and can find them in nearly every body of water in the United States. It’s also worth noting that the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is the major producer while the Hudson River in New York and New Jersey is the second.
However, if you’re on the West Coast, you may want to try your luck in the San Francisco Bay and the surrounding coastline. Colorado rivers and lakes such as Lake Havasu, Lake Mead, Lake Powell, Lake Pleasant, and Lake Mohave are also known to have a great abundance of Striped Bass.
Striped Bass is a structure-oriented fish meaning they can be found around physical structures such as coral reefs, sand bars, and drop-offs. They stay at the bottom of the ocean along the shores as it looks for food. And because they love to swim in moving waters, you can most locate Stripers within yards of the shorelines.
Striped Bass can be caught year-round and in almost any condition; you can, however, increase your chances if you know exactly what, when, where, and how to look. Stripers are known to swim around and feed in moving waters, near structures along the shores and you will find them where the water is cooler near the surface during dusk and dawn. Cast your lines out early or late in the day from bridges, piers, bulkheads, or even while wading in the surf.
Choosing the Right Bait
Striped Bass are mostly finicky predators being picky about the baits they will take. It’s best to use live baits such as herring, menhaden, mackerel, eels, squid, anchovies, bloodworms, or shad as it will help attract them with the live bait’s movement.
Choosing the Right Equipment
Although you can use almost any rod and reel for Striped Bass fishing, you can be more successful using rods that are 8 to 14 feet in length, especially for fly fishing. You should use a thinner and sensitive yet stronger line with little stretch like a braided line. If you prefer using the monofilament type, make sure that it’s strong enough to withstand up to 20 pounds of weight as these fish are not only big, heavy fish, but also strong fighters.