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Best Bait for Striped Bass

Best Bait for Striped Bass

Striper are known throughout the world of fishing as some of the most voracious feeders in the oceans, rivers and lakes.

They engulf huge numbers of almost any kind of bait fish or other creatures that come within striking distance and will usually eat significant amounts of food each day to grow to the enormous size that they are known to reach.

When it comes to narrowing down their selections to the top choices, it can be tough for most anglers to pick just one single bait that’s better than others.

There are plenty of striper fishing enthusiasts who have their own personal preference, but if you asked each angler to compile a list of their top 5 baits for striped bass, the odds are good that you’d get the same basic answers from each one.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some baits for striped bass and discuss when, where and how each one should be used in order to maximize your chances of catching one of these giants.

Best Striped Bass Baits

1. Shad

Perhaps the most popular choice of bait among anglers who target striped bass is the shad. These small bait fish will gather in small or even very large schools and travel together in order to find safety in numbers.

The fact that they run together in these schools might not be the most protective strategy when it comes to striped bass as they are known to follow these schools and pick off stragglers or go directly into the school to devour mouthfuls of shad in one single bite.

Schools of shad are the main reason why so many striped bass travel many miles up rivers and into large lakes during the spring of each year.

As they prepare for their annual spawn, they will seek to devour as much prey as possible in the few short weeks leading up to their spawning ritual as they might go days or longer without eating while spawning.

Shad can be purchased at most bait shops near lakes and rivers that are known for having large numbers of striped bass.

Rigging a shad so that it can swim around a few feet below the water’s surface is often an excellent strategy for targeting hungry stripers during the spring and early summer months.

Most skilled striper anglers advocate for keeping shad as lively as possible right up until you’re placing the hook in them as striped bass are said to prefer these types of bait live instead of dead.

2. Bloodworms

In some areas throughout North America, bloodworms are widely considered to be the top bait during the winter months when stripers are very deep and can be found near the bottom of most waterways.

Bloodworms are an exceptionally popular choice of bait in the northern portion of the United States, as well as along the coastal regions on the East Coast. They are highly effective in attracting strikes from stripers when no other baits seem to work.

Many anglers are shocked to find that bloodworms are very expensive compared to other types of bait and even other worms. In some areas, a large bloodworm might sell for as much as one dollar per worm.

For anglers who are truly dedicated to catching monster stripers, investing in a large amount of these bloodworms is a strategy that will eventually pay off.

In most cases, using bloodworms presents a few challenges that you don’t normally deal with when it comes to striper baits. They are small, which means bloodworms are likely to be picked off by fish that you’re not intending to catch.

This is something that is simply part of the process of striper fishing and most anglers will attest to having to unhook dozens of smaller fish to catch one decent-sized striped bass.

3. Crabs

When it comes to fishing in saltwater areas for striped bass, there are certain types of baits that are considered better than others.

Crabs are among the most popular choices of bait for saltwater stripers as they are very effective in weeding out other types of smaller fish that anglers don’t want to deal with.

In fact, you might catch any assortment of the most popular kinds of sportfish that live along coastal areas when using crabs, but it’s unlikely that you’ll have smaller fish steal your bait in the same way they are capable of picking off worms.

Also Read: Surf Fishing for Stripers

Stripers are known to go after hard shell crabs when they are hungry enough, but their favorite choice of crab are those which have a softer shell or even a soft underbelly beneath their hard top shell portion.

Striped bass are known to cruise many miles along coastal areas in search of crabs lingering in the sand.

There are certain advantages to using hard shell crabs like the fact that it’s harder for small fish to rip them off a hook.

Also Read: Can You Eat Striped Bass

However, using a soft shell crab is typically going to maximize your chances of catching stripers, but you’ll also be running the risk of other types of predatory fish stealing them off the hook or even biting and putting you through an intense fight before you’re able to land them and make another cast with a fresh crab on the hook.

Crabs are known to be more popular in the southern regions of North America and are generally used in the warmer months of the year when they are more prevalent along coastal beaches.

4. Bunker and Herring

Bunker are commonly known as menhaden and are easily the most common bait used to catch stripers.

Herring might be a very close second as both of these types of bait are generally sold at bait shops with a distinct purpose of catching massive predatory fish like striped bass.

It’s not exceptionally hard to find bait shops that sell frozen or salted batches of cut bunker and herring, but the best strategy for using these bait fish to catch stripers involves finding live bunker and herring.

Also Read: Striped Bass Freshwater Fishing

This usually presents a great problem for most anglers as many bait shops aren’t equipped to keep a steady supply of live bunker and herring and generally prefer to sell them as ‘cut bait.’

In order to find a sizable batch of live bunker and herring, anglers will typically have to go get them right out of the water themselves.

This often requires the use of a cast net and can take a number of hours to net a decent amount of bunker and herring that will be sufficient enough for a day’s journey on the water fishing for striped bass.

Both bunker and herring are quite effective, either in live form or as chunk or cut bait that have been frozen.

In either case, these types of bait are generally considered to be great for striped bass as they will effectively catch striped bass throughout all seasons of the year in southern coastal areas.

Conclusion

When it comes to selecting the a bait for striped bass, the most important bit of information is the age-old advice of ‘match the hatch.’

This basically means that anglers should seek to use baits that are naturally-occurring in the general area they are fishing for striper.

It’s also important to understand that you must use these fishing baits at your own discretion as some of them will work more effectively at different times of the year.

In any case, striped bass are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of an easy meal when they see one.

You’ll also need to match your gear to the type of bait rig you intend on using, given that stripers can grow to very large sizes you need to match your striper rods, reel and line setup to the size of fish and the style of casting that you will be doing.

In order to narrow down the best type of striper fishing bait choice for the specific area you plan to fish, it’s a good idea to do plenty of research before your trip and determine the main type of prey striped bass will likely be targeting at the time of year you’re going to be fishing.

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Striped Bass Freshwater Fishing

Striped Bass Freshwater Fishing

Striped bass are one of the most sought-after sport fish species in the world due to their ability to survive in both saltwater and freshwater conditions.

This means anglers can target them around coastal areas, as well as deep inland as they swim up various river systems and lakes in search of their favorite bait fish species throughout the year.

Another reason striped bass are so popular is their ability to truly bend a rod to unreal degrees in some cases.

These fish are capable of growing to more than 70 pounds in some cases and it is not uncommon to catch stripers that weigh in excess of 50 pounds in areas where they are usually targeted.

In fact, the world record striped bass was caught in Connecticut in 2011 and weighed a whopping 81 pounds.

For anglers who plan to target these massive fish in freshwater environments, there are a number of tips and tactics you’ll want to pay attention to in order to have the greatest possible advantage.

Here are some of the most important facts and information related to freshwater striper fishing.

Freshwater Striper Fishing

For most striper enthusiasts, it’s no secret that you can just as easily catch a massive 50-pound behemoth as you can hook into a modest 10 pounder in the same relative area.

Stripers behave quite similarly, whether they are well over the 30 pound mark, or just a few pounds and a couple years old.

It’s commonly accepted that the larger striped bass will usually be caught in saltwater areas as they like to roam the ocean in search of large schools of bait fish.

However, it is quite possible to target massive striped bass in freshwater areas if you know what to look for and have the right tackle.

It’s important to always be prepared to hook into a monster striped bass if you’re exclusively fishing for stripers.

This might save you the headache of losing an expensive lure or rig—or even your favorite striped bass fishing rod—should you hook a monster striped bass with gear and equipment that is too small for the task.

These giant fish are known to quickly and easily break the line of bass anglers and even those who might be crappie fishing in the cold winter months on their favorite lake.

Be sure to use a heavy rod that is capable of standing up to a fight with a 30 pound striped bass as you very well might catch one of this size during your outing.

As most striped bass anglers will agree, it’s much better to be prepared in the event that you run into a large striped bass than to be caught off-guard.

Best Times to Fish Freshwater for Stripers

When it comes to fishing freshwater for stripers, the key will be to pay attention to where the shad are found. This is highly important as striped bass will chase schools of shad for miles up into a river system or large reservoir, gorging themselves on these small prey along their journey.

Shad will school up throughout the late winter and early spring months as the temperatures begin to rise.

According to the most experienced striped bass anglers, the best time of the year to catch these giant fish species is during the spring months of March or April, especially throughout the southern portion of the United States.

As the southern states begin to experience warming trends during March, most of the northern areas of the country are still locked up with frigid temperatures and likely will be until well into late April.

Also Read: Trolling for Stripers

Wherever you plan to fish for striped bass, it’s best to pay close attention to the water temperature and plan your attack for when the water reaches a temperature between 60 or 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is when striped bass will become most active as the water has not become too hot for them yet and they are still lumbering out of their winter state of sluggishness.

During this time, it’s easy to find striped bass that will chase any lure that resembles a bait fish with intense vigor.

In many cases, stripers will attack lures that are fished just below the surface, making this particular time of year especially exciting for anyone who happens to be fishing for them.

Best Baits and Lures for Freshwater Stripers

When it comes to deciding what types of bait or lures to use to catch striped bass in freshwater, the choice is obvious—stick with any type of bait that will closely resemble a shad or other species of bait fish that the stipers are chasing after.

In any event, you can’t go wrong by using a type of lure that is meant to resemble a shad as these are the striped bass’ most coveted species of prey.

In freshwater lakes and rivers, striped bass will strike at any type of lure that remotely looks like a shad or small bait fish. These lures include everything from a spoon or a topwater prop bait that churns the water and entices a violent surface strike.

Many anglers prefer to stick with tried-and-true options like crankbaits or jerkbaits as these can be tossed in or around schools of shad and worked in various styles of retrieval to produce strikes from small or large stripers.

Also Read: Surf Fishing for Striped Bass

In most cases, certain lakes and rivers might have specific types of lures that tend to work better than others for certain reasons. Be sure to study and research the lures that are recommended to be used in the particular body of fresh water that you plan to fish.

This research should always include making a trip to the local bait shop and asking some of the old timers or regular anglers who frequent the waterway.

Natural baits can also be used to catch striped bass of all shapes and sizes. Purchasing large minnows or shad from a local bait shop is always a solid plan if you’re hoping to catch monster striped bass.

These can be rigged on a bobber or even thrown in with a small weight and reeled in along the outside of a school of shad to attract a bite.

Where to Find Freshwater Stripers

Striped bass are no different than other bass species when it comes to the particular type of habitat they prefer in a freshwater lake or river.

Also Read: White Bass vs Striped Bass

More often than not, stripers will be found in or around underwater cover like rocks, trees, and any other kind of structure where they can hide and ambush potential prey.

However, when striped bass are more active and are expected to be chasing after shad and other bait fish, they will usually stick to the open water as they are known to steadily cruise throughout the waterway in search of these schools of fish.

Also Read: What Do Striped Bass Taste Like

Stripers will search high and low during the spring months until they find a school of shad for bait fish, which they will then harass and feed on until they have eaten their fill.

Trolling with various kinds of lures is an excellent strategy for finding striped bass in any lake or river as they are usually known to prowl the open water a few feet under the surface as they look for schools of shad.

Anglers can have quite a successful outing by trolling the open water with a few A-rigs that will appear to be a small school of shad running through the lake or river.

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Surf Fishing for Striped Bass

Surf Fishing for Striped Bass

Striped bass are one of the most popular game fish species found along coastal saltwater areas throughout the United States.

They’re capable of living in both saltwater and freshwater environments and can be caught everywhere from rivers and large reservoirs to coastal waters.

Anglers consider striped bass to be among the most prized and sought-after types of game fish as they are capable of growing to massive sizes of more than 60 pounds in many cases.

Striped bass are typically caught by anglers who have specially outfitted boats with heavy tackle and the latest sonar equipment to track down these giants.

However, it’s not absolutely necessary to have a fishing vessel to have a shot at catching a trophy striped bass. In fact, many anglers have done quite well fishing for striped bass in the surf at their local beach.

There are certain areas of advice that surf fishing anglers should follow in order to have a good chance at hooking a striped bass and we will cover some of the most important points in this article.

Striped Bass Species Overview

Striped bass are among the biggest species of fish that are capable of surviving in both freshwater lakes and rivers, as well as saltwater waters.

For this reason, striped bass have become highly popular with anglers all over the world as they can be targeted at various times of the year when they are chasing different types of bait fish species.

Many anglers commonly refer to striped bass as ‘stripers’ and one of the main identification factors these fish have are the long black stripes that typically run the length of their bodies.

Also Read: Striped Bass vs White Bass

It’s not uncommon for striped bass to grow to more than 60 pounds and some anglers have even landed behemoth stripers that weigh in excess of 100 pounds.

Striped bass are found prominently along the east and west coast states in freshwater rivers and lakes, but can also be caught along coastal areas around the United States and Canada.

Some of the most prominent times of the year for striper fishing are during the spring when these giant fish are known to begin their annual spawning routine, as well as some of the different shad and herring ‘runs’ that take place in North American freshwater rivers and reservoirs.

The Basics of Surf Fishing for Striped Bass

Fishing in the surf is an excellent way to catch a wide variety of different types of game fish species that range from small pompano to full-grown sharks and everything in between.

Different areas of the beach are usually more productive for a variety of factors, but anglers who regularly fish in the surf at a particular beach can often pinpoint some of the best locations.

Contrary to popular belief, surf fishing doesn’t actually involve fishing in the crashing waves and strong tidal pulls of the surf itself. Rather, surf anglers commonly throw their lures out well past the surf and into the calmer waters beyond the breaking waves.

This concept applies for anyone who plans to utilize surf fishing as a means to target striped bass as this species will almost certainly avoid the chaos of the breaking waves and stick to the shallows just beyond the surf in coastal areas.

Surf fishing involves using a long, heavy rod that will allow anglers to throw their bait and lures out as far as possible.

When it comes to surf fishing for striped bass, as well as any other species. The farther you can throw the bait out past the waves, the better your chances of catching fish will be.

It’s also very important to use the right type of tackle and equipment, as well as the right kind of rod holder since a bite from a large striped bass can easily pull the rod into the water if it is not properly secured.

Best Times for Surf Fishing for Stripers

There really isn’t a certain time of year that is considered to be poor timing when it comes to surf fishing for stripers. Anglers who have closely studied and researched the striped bass species will know that these fish begin their annual spawning ritual during the spring months like so many other fish in North America.

During the spring of each year, anglers can expect to have a slight advantage when it comes to catching some of the biggest striped bass that typically won’t bite throughout the other months of the year.

During the spawn, stripers will swim very close to the shoreline where they will sometimes form schools. As these schools of striper grow in number, they can be caught with relative ease using just about any type of lure, especially those that resemble a small bait fish.

This is likely the best time to go surf fishing for stripers and anglers can catch monster striped bass in rapid succession simply by being at the right place and time.

Also Read: Trolling for Striped Bass

Another very productive time of year for surf fishing for striped bass is during the fall season when stripers will chase after various species of bait fish during the many different ‘runs’ up and down the rivers and lakes of North America.

One of the most popular targets of striped bass are any variation of shad species as these bait fish make up the bulk of the striped bass’ diet throughout the year.

For anglers who are curious about the specific time of day when striped bass can be caught more easily than other times, the same logic that’s used with other species of fish applies to striped bass.

Typically, the early morning and late evening hours are going to be the most productive times of day for surf fishing for striped bass. During these times, stripers will take advantage of low light conditions and ambush their prey.

Best Surf Fishing Locations for Stripers

Striped bass are opportunistic feeders and will typically utilize any type of drop off or ledge to their advantage when it comes to hunting for small bait fish.

They are known to hang out on the lower side of these ledges and wait on unsuspecting bait fish to pass by before striking at them with impressive quickness.

When the weather heats up during the summer months, striped bass will shy away from the warmer shallow waters and can usually be found in deeper areas of any coastal area.

Also Read: Catching Striped Bass from Shore

This usually means that your chances of catching a striped bass during the middle of summer will be the lowest when fishing in the surf.

Look for sandbars and troughs around the beach area where you plan to fish in order to identify prime locations where striped bass might be lurking in search of their next meal.

Bait and Lures

Surf fishing for stripers involves using the same type of baits that you might utilize for other species. These often include cut herring, shad, bunker, shrimp, eel, and many other naturally-occurring prey.

Also Read: Are Striped Bass Good to Eat

Be sure to hook these baits with a large, strong hook that won’t easily bend as striped bass have been known to straighten many hooks that are simply too weak to stand up to their incredible strength.

Utilizing a heavy type of fishing line, as well as a large sinker are also key points to remember when it comes to surf fishing for stripers as you never want to risk being outmatched against a large trophy striped bass that might break your line and your heart.

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Best Surf Fishing Rods

Best Surf Fishing Rods 2022 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Choosing the best surf fishing rod does not always mean picking the longest most expensive rod that you can afford.

While some anglers are obsessed with casting distance and using as large as rod as they can handle, that does not mean that you need to…..

A longer rod does not always mean better.

If you are just starting out then I would suggest that you match your rod to the breaking strain of line and the weight of you sinkers or surf rigs that you will be using at your local beach.

Not sure of what type of rigs to use?

Ask the regular anglers that you see on the beach or at your local tackle and bait shop, as local knowledge is crucial to fishing that stretch of water.

What Size Rod for Surf Fishing?

The good size rod for surf fishing will be in the range of 8ft to 10ft, longer 12ft plus rods are usually used for very long distance casting setups.

  • 12 ft  –  Long distance surf rods
  • 10 ft – Great all rounder
  • 8 ft – Close in work for smaller species

You’ll need to pair your rod will a suitably sized reel, the most popular size would be a 5000 or 6000 spinning reel.

Best Surf Fishing Rods

1. Penn Prevail Surf Spinning

Penn have a long history in the surf fishing world for producing not only high quality reels but also some very good rods at a really attractive price point.

The Prevail surf spinning line of rods offer a great mix of power and sensitivity in a very attractive looking package.

Built on a two-piece graphite composite blank you get all of the sensitivity of modern graphite rods combined with the durability and pulling power of more traditional fiberglass rod.

Penn’s Carbon Shield technology protects the blanks with a braided shield of carbon fiber. This additional protection strengthens the blanks and guide wraps.

The finish on these rods is what you would normally expect to find on a rod three times the price.

Moving to the guides Penn use stainless steel frames with aluminum oxide inserts, aluminum oxide is a very hard and smooth material which is great for both monofilament and braided lines.

For to the handles they use rubber shrink tube grips, this material is very durable very strong and it gets wet it doesn’t want to slip out of your hands it’s all-around great material for being around the water.

A DPS reel seat with stainless steel hoods keeps your reel locked in tight.

When it comes to techniques and species these rods are great for throwing doing artificial lures, plugging, soaking dead bait in the surf for striped bass, blues, big redfish, drums you name it these rods cover at all.

A 10 ft medium/heavy is a great surf rod for a beginner which also doubles as a decent pier or jetty rod.


2. Daiwa Emcast Surf Rod

If you are looking for a lighter surf rod that you can comfortably make a lot casts with all day without tiring your arm then the Emcast series from Daiwa are a great choice.

The rod blanks are made from a super light weight graphite design that gives a super sensitive tip yet still retains enough backbone to handle larger species.  

If you are throwing bait rigs for smaller species and need a tip that gives a lot of feedback some heavier surf rods may well miss the more subtle bites.

The lighter blank and tip on the Emcast is sensitive enough to allow a lot of feedback back through your line and into the rod blank.

They also work great as a surf rod for throwing plugs, larger pencils and big poppers although the 11ft model may be better suited to all day lure fishing.

If you need a budget, lightweight surf rod that can handle several different surf setups the Emcast make a for a very versatile rod choice.


3. PENN Battalion II Surf Conventional

If you are looking to throw larger bait rigs a good distance then a conventional rod is better suited than a spinning setup.

The Penn Battalion II conventional surf rod is a real work horse at a very attractive price point.

These rods are a little stiffer than some of the lighter spinning rods featured above and are a perfect match for fishing in larger surf and crashing waves.  

The Battalion II graphite composite blanks are built using a novel SLC2 structure that includes inner spiral carbon wraps and outside layers of longitudinal carbon fibers to create a robust, well-balanced rod.

With graphite composite blank construction, Fuji Alconite guides, Fuji reel seats, and durable, easy-to-grip rubber shrink tube-wrapped grips, PENN’s Battalion II surf rods offer outstanding strength, performance, and style.

Paired with a PENN Squall or Fathom casting reel and you have your self a very high quality surf casting setup, and they have the actions and durability that big surf casters need.

A step up in performance and quality from the Penn Prevail line as seen above.


4. St. Croix Rods Mojo Surf Spinning Rod

The St Croix Mojo range has a massive offering of technique specific rods that that feel very light and crisp in the hand.

With the Mojo Surf St Croix have gone for a two piece rod with a 70/30 split, which they refer to as an offset ferrule.

This split helps give a two piece rod an almost one piece feel and performance but still allows it to be transported inside you car or truck. 

Specialized, weight-saving surf guides with zirconium rings and black frames are accompanied with a Fuji reel seat. A custom “X-Wrap” handle provides comfort, durability and style, all of which are covered by a 5-year manufacturer guarantee.

Because of the light weight SCII graphite, this rod feels surprisingly light for its size and power. When throwing smaller lures or rigs from the beach, it is well-balanced and has a very smooth casting feel. It can readily handle fish weighing 20 to 30 pounds; anything more and it may feel a bit light.


5. Tica Dolphin Surf UGSA

While Tica might not be one of the big brands in the fishing tackle world have have built a well deserved following with anglers in the know.

By word of mouth they have grown from an obscure brand to one of the go to choices for high quality, affordable rods.

They have a solid range targeting striped bass, steelhead, inshore and surf fishing technique specific rods.

The Tica Dolphin UGSA series make a perfect surf fishing rod for beginners especially those that are reluctant to spend big money from some of the more established brands.

These rods, made of high modulus TC3 graphite, can throw hard baits such as topwaters and spoons across great distances. Super low weight and smaller diameter blanks make this a great rod for traversing long lengths of beach without tiring especially when casting all day long.

There is a decent range to choose from and they are available in both one and two piece configurations.


Surf Fishing Rods

Surf fishing rods are designed to cast bait rigs and lures out beyond the breaking surf to where the fish are most likely to be found.

Casting distance is always the number one attribute that gets mentioned when discussing surf rods.

But it is not the most important thing to look at when buying a new rod.

Matching your pole to the types of rigs and the species that you will be targeting is far more important than which rod can cast the longest distance. 

  • Rod Length – Longer rods will generally cast longer distances, shorter rods will have more control and feedback.
  • Rod Action – Fast action rods have a more sensitive tip, moderate action rods have more power through the full length of the rod.
  • Rod Power – Rod power describes the lure/line rating and how big a species you can target with it.

What is the Best Length for a Surf Fishing Rod?

The optimal length will be between 8 and 10 feet or more importantly one that matches your setup and the distance that you will be casting, 12 foot for longer distances and 8 foot for closer in work for smaller species.

You don’t need a massive rod if you are casting just beyond a break that is close in to the shore line.

How or where the surf breaks and where the fish are found at the beach that you are fishing at should determine your casting distance.

It’s no use casting out beyond where the fish are holding, this is why local knowledge is so important.

14 ft Surf Rods

Some surf rods are as long as 14 feet, these rods have the potential to cast the furthest distances but only if you know how to cast them and if you match the rest of your surf tackle and terminal rig correctly to them.

In the wrong hands they will be too cumbersome and may well perform worse than a shorter rod.

They will almost always be conventional rods rather than spinning rods as larger conventional reels will perform better with heavier lines when casting greater distances.

12 ft Surf Rods

12ft is considered more than adequate for long distance surf casting and paired with the right reel and line should throw out past 100 yards easily.

The higher the rod the more easily it will be to keep your line up and out of the crashing surf once it is put into its rod rest or sand spike.

8 to 10 ft Surf Rods

If your are buying your first surf rod then something in the 8 to 10 foot range is ideal. Paired with a high quality surf fishing reel such as a 5000 spinning reel and either 30 lbs braid or 20 lb monofilament line you should have a great rod to get acquainted with surf fishing.

Most big brands have several saltwater spinning reels on offer and these reels are purpose built for the harsh salt water environment. Regardless of how well sealed a reel is always rinse it in fresh water after use.

Surf Rod Action

Rod action describes how high up the natural bend in the rod will start to form when pressure is applied to it.

A fast action rod will have the bend start to form in the top one third of the rod blank. This generally means a more sensitive tip and better feedback down through the rod.

A slow or a moderate action will start to bend in the lower or middle part of the rod blank.

Moderate actions rods will be less sensitive. They are often used for casting long distances as you can load up the full length of the rod as you cast giving a much higher speed to you weight as it is thrown forward.

For most anglers a fast action rod is standard as it will give you the more sensitive tip action.

You can still cast well out beyond the break with all but the heaviest of surf rigs.

A faster action will also perform better on shorter cast when the surf is breaking quite close to the shore line.

Surf Rod Power

Rod power describes the weight or lure rating that a rod blank has been designed for, it also details what breaking stain line that will work best on that rod, usually this rating will be in a range from a lower weight to a upper limit.

It is generally a good idea to stay within this range as per the manufacturers recommendations.

A medium to medium/heavy is most likely what will be required.

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Trolling for Striped Bass

Trolling for Striped Bass

For many anglers, striped bass are widely considered to be among the few heavyweight fish that present a serious challenge to even the most experienced fishing enthusiasts.

In order to catch striped bass through trolling, you must have the right kind of tackle, as well as a solid game plan for targeting these monstrous fish.

In addition to all the planning that goes into trolling for striped bass, you must also be ready for a serious fight with a fish that can easily snap rods like a twig or straighten out a poor-quality hook.

In this article, we will cover some of the major tips and techniques used when it comes to trolling for striped bass, as well as some of the best lures to use for a successful outing on the water.

Trolling Overview

Some anglers mistakenly view trolling for striped bass as somewhat of a ‘lazy’ method of fishing that doesn’t actually require as much skill and tactical planning as casting lures or other methods.

This mindset couldn’t be further from the truth as those who have done a fair amount of trolling for striped bass know that this method of fishing requires a significant level of planning and preparation, as well as a decent amount of trial and error to truly become proficient at it.

Trolling over open water requires that an angler be ready for any size fish they might encounter. This entails using heavy gear and tackle that allows you to feel confident about your chances of landing the fish you’re after.

It’s important that you have a thorough understanding of the body of water you’re fishing in, even if it’s in the open ocean where you don’t anticipate coming into contact with any underwater structure.

Trolling for Striped Bass in Open Water

The first, and most important thing to realize, when it comes to trolling in open water is to understand what’s beneath the water’s surface.

If you’re trolling in the open ocean, you can usually avoid most underwater obstructions for the most part. It’s very important, however, that you’re aware of any natural or man-made underwater reefs that you might encounter.

Underwater reefs in the ocean are an excellent location for anglers to fish around or even over the top of to get a bite from striped bass.

There are also going to be shipwrecks, but most of these underwater structures will be so far down in the water column that an angler won’t have to worry about getting snagged on one while trolling by.

When it comes to trolling for striped bass in open water, this is generally meant to describe fishing areas with absolutely no underwater cover or structure at all.

It’s very important that you utilize any sonar or depth-finding equipment to pinpoint any depth changes or rocks and reefs where striped bass might be circling around in search of prey.

Studying various maps and being aware of the underwater landscape beneath your boat will go a long way in making sure that your efforts to troll for striped bass in open water are successful.

Trolling Around Cover or Structure

As with any type of underwater structure or cover, various kinds of fish will be holding very close to these objects like rocks, reefs, and shipwrecks.

Fishing around these types of structure will typically prove to be very rewarding for anglers who put in the time and effort to gain a full understanding of where the striped bass are likely to be found and what type of lure they might strike.

When looking for certain underwater characteristics that might be a reason for striped bass to stick around an area, be sure to make a note of the slightest change in depth as any kind of drop off or bottom contour will sometimes play more of a role that you might think in attracting fish to the area.

Also Read: Night Fishing for Stripers

Like most other opportunistic predators, striped bass will utilize any type of structure or underwater cover to their advantage.

Striped bass will stick close to underwater structures and lie in wait for unsuspecting bait fish to wander by. Like other types of bass, striped bass will ambush their prey in a quick, precise strike that is highly effective.

When it comes to fishing in or around underwater structure, you can usually catch striped bass at almost any time of the year. Knowing where the structure points are in the area you plan to fish will be the first and most important step to trolling for striped bass.

Trolling Techniques

There are a number of different points to remember when it comes to trolling for striped bass. This technique is quite unlike trolling for any other fish as striped bass can be found just about anywhere.

Paying careful attention to the points we will mention will get you started on the right course when it comes to trolling for these behemoth fish in all types of water.

Vary Your Trolling Speeds

As with any type of trolling strategy used for other fish species, many of the same principles apply when it comes to trolling for striped bass.

If you troll at a slower speed, you’ll be able to reach a much greater depth. If you expect the fish to be cruising through the water column a bit more shallow, you’ll have to move a bit faster in order to keep your lure at the right level.

Troll With the Current

One of the most productive strategies when it comes to trolling is to move along with the current. This will ensure that your lure stays relatively in the right depth as you move along.

Going with the current is a great way to keep your lure at a deeper level without having to move too slowly while going against the current is a solid plan for fishing at a more shallow depth.

Best Lures and Rigs to Troll for Striped Bass

There are a number of different styles of trolling lures and rigs you can utilize when it comes to trolling for striped bass.

Many of these rigs and lures have been used for decades while some of them are a bit more new and are much less known among anglers.

Deep-diving plugs are an excellent choice for trolling for striped bass. These plugs are also likely the most popular types of trolling lures that have been in use for decades.

There are various styles of plugs and many are made to dive down to certain depths, allowing anglers to fish a specific section of the water column.

Also Read: How to Catch Striped Bass from Shore

Plugs are highly versatile and can be used at deep or shallow depths at any time of the year since striped bass love to feed on small bait fish.

Umbrella Rigs have grown in popularity in recent years as many companies have started producing better versions of these rigs.

There are few things that are more appetizing to a striped bass than a small school of bait fish swimming along, unsuspectingly. If used at the right depth and at the right time of year, umbrella rigs can be the ticket to landing a trophy striped bass.

The classic tube and worm approach is another great choice when it comes to trolling for striped bass.

Also Read: Surf Fishing for Striped Bass

These lures are excellent choices for fishing in warmer months and there are a wide variety of different types of soft plastic worms and flukes that can be used to achieve just the right look and presentation underwater.

Conclusion

Trolling for striped bass is as exciting as any other form of fishing, especially when you find a great location and are able to make several passes, getting bites almost every time.

Using the tips we’ve listed in this article should be a great starting point for anglers who have never gotten into trolling for striped bass, but might be looking for a starting point.

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How to Catch Striped Bass from Shore

How to Catch Striped Bass from Shore

Striped bass are one of the most popular fish in the world due to their potential to grow to enormous sizes, as well as the fact that they can be caught in fresh or saltwater.

Various wildlife programs throughout the United States engage in regular stocking of striped bass in some of the country’s most prominent lakes and rivers, which also adds to the overall appeal from sportfishing anglers who are looking to tangle with these giants.

Most anglers will target striped bass from a boat as these behemoth fish require a special amount of heavy tackle and significant planning and preparation to catch a bonafide trophy striper.

However, in this article, we will discuss some of the ways that anglers can target these types of fish from the shoreline and enjoy a moderate level of success despite the fact that they are typically limited to only being able to fish a fraction of the water that anglers can fish from a boat.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can target striped bass and how to maximize your chances of successfully catching them from the shoreline of your favorite local lake, river, or coastal saltwater area.

Best Places to Target Striped Bass

Striped bass are mostly considered a saltwater fish as they are commonly caught along the coastal areas of the United States. For certain portions of the country, striped bass can be caught in greater numbers when these types of fish flock to certain areas to take advantage of various ‘runs’ of specific types of bait fish.

Along the eastern coast of the United States, striped bass can be caught during the spring months as they are typically found chasing after large schools of bait fish like shad and herring.

These runs will often include the striped bass going far up into the reaches of rivers that delve deep into the interior of the continental United States, especially around the southeastern portion.

Anglers can have incredible success when targeting striped bass during the early or even late spring months if they know what areas to focus their efforts on.

Even fishing from the shoreline for striped bass can be highly productive for those who know where to look and just what type of lures and baits to use.

How to Catch Striped Bass from the Shore

It’s highly important that anglers do their research when it comes to fishing and catching striped bass from the shore, regardless of whether they are fishing in saltwater or freshwater bodies of water.

If you are relatively familiar with the shad and herring runs that come through certain areas of a lake or river, it can be quite simple to narrow down the best places to set up along the shoreline and try your luck at catching striped bass.

There are a few major points that you need to take into consideration when planning to target striped bass from the shore. The first of which is using the right kind of tackle.

When it comes to fishing for striped bass (even from the shore) it is highly important that an angler be prepared to hook into a large-sized striped bass, even if they don’t expect to catch one that’s of significant size.

Also Read: Difference Between White Bass and Striped Bass

Striped bass can grow to be well over 50 pounds in many cases, which is large enough to render most moderate and medium-sized rods and reels virtually useless should you ever encounter one of this size.

These fish are known to pull especially hard against the angler’s rod, especially at the onset of being hooked.

There are many cases of anglers who have managed to hook a large striped bass, but were woefully unprepared to go toe-to-toe with a trophy-sized striper.

When this happens, it is not uncommon for a large striped bass to strip the drag off a reel, or even snap a light action rod like a twig.

With these facts in mind, it’s highly important that anglers use heavy tackle when fishing for striped bass and be prepared to hook into a monster-sized fish at any time.

Look for the Right Spot

As with any other type of fish, it’s highly important that you find the ideal spot for fishing along the shore for striped bass. This can be tough as these fish are commonly found cruising through open water in search of large schools of bait fish.

However, it is not uncommon for striped bass to pass relatively close enough to the shore for a well-equipped angler to have a shot at catching them.

Whether you’re fishing from freshwater or saltwater shoreline areas, the most important thing you want to look for is any type of drop off or ledge-type of structure.

Also Read: Night Fishing for Striped Bass

These can be prevalent in rivers, lakes, or even along coastal shorelines and anglers who are seasoned striped bass fishing enthusiasts are well-aware of the fact that striped bass will lie in wait on the other side of a ledge or drop-off and attack any bait fish that travel over it.

When it comes to fishing in freshwater, rivers are widely considered to be the best option for catching striped bass from the shore.

Striped bass are known to prowl up and down rivers in search of easy meals that range from small bait fish to moderate-sized fish like trout and even bass.

Using the Right Tackle

For anglers who plan to fish along the shoreline of rivers, it is important to note the rate at which the water is moving.

Striped bass can be found in rivers that contain slow-moving water, as well as relatively fast-moving water as these fish are very strong swimmers and can easily chase down their prey in this type of environment.

If you’re planning to fish in a river with stronger current, be sure to have a heavy enough weight to keep your lure or bait firmly in place to avoid having it swept downstream.

Most serious anglers who regularly target striped bass in rivers recommend using a striper rod that’s at least 8 feet long and a larger-sized reel that’s at least a 5000 size as this will allow you to make longer casts and get farther out away from the shoreline and out toward the middle of the river where the striped bass are likely to be.

Best Lures and Baits

When it comes to catching striped bass from the shore, some of the best baits and lures are going to be relatively the same type that you’d use while fishing from a boat.

Any type of swimbait lure that closely resembles a shad is going to be the best option when fishing for striped bass from the shore.

Also Read: Striped Bass Baits

Many anglers also have good amounts of success in using lipless crankbaits and medium-diving crankbaits that can be thrown out a considerable distance from the shore.

The most important key to remember when it comes to fishing for striped bass from the shore is to match your bait and lure to the exact presentation of the specific type of bait fish that the striped bass are going after in your particular body of water.

If you do this well, you’ll have no problem catching plenty of striped bass during these prolific ‘runs’ where they will voraciously chase after bait fish.

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Best Striper Fishing Rods

Best Striper Fishing Rods 2022 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Choosing the best striper fishing rod means matching the rod length, power, and action to the size of stripped bass you are targeting and how you will be fishing for them.

Striped bass varying in size greatly and the tackle required to catch smaller surface schooling fish will be much lighter than when surf casting, live lining or trolling for bigger fish.

The most versatile setup will be a 7 foot, medium power spinning rod with a fast action.

However;

Not everyone will be fishing for smaller sized stripers in an inshore or freshwater location and they may need a much heavier rod and reel.

Below you will find some rod suggestions that will cover jig/casting very light lures all the way up to trolling with larger lures or using large live bait.

  • Medium Power Spinning – 7 foot length, medium power with a fast action
  • Heavy Spinning – 7 or 8 foot length, medium/heavy to heavy power with a moderate action
  • Surf Casting – 8 or 9 foot length, medium/heavy with a fast action
  • Light Conventional – 6’6″ foot in length, medium power with a fast action
  • Heavy Conventional – 6’6″ foot in length, heavy power with moderate action.

Most anglers will not either need or afford all of these rods, so if you looking for a decent first time striper rod for a beginner then the medium power spinning rod is the best choice.

Best Striper Fishing Rods

1. Shimano Teramer Northeast Spinning

Shimano released the Teramer Northeast to specifically match striper fishing and the types of rigs used to target them by anglers along the Northeastern coast of the USA.

The blanks for their thickness are extremely strong and can take a serious beating.

Not only are they strong but they are quick sensitive and easy to cast all day long.

For those unfamiliar with rod blank materials Glass(S and T) is used for rods that need to be very strong, this strength usually comes at the expense of sensitivity.

Shimano achieve a thin but very durable rod blank by creating a T Glass and graphite blend.

Graphite is used to make really light and sensitive rods that allow a lot of feedback from the tip back into the handle, graphite is lighter and weaker than Glass.

Shimano have designed the Teramer with a dynamic core of T Glass material which they then over-wrap with a spiral pattern of high modulus graphite.

The result is the best of both worlds a light sensitive rod that can handle a lot of abuse. 

The rods are then finished off with a split EVA handle, Fuji O Guides, and a Fuji Reel Seat.

They are designed for use Power Pro braid but also run monofilament extremely well too.

For small to medium early season striped bass a 7′ MH(medium/heavy) paired with a size 4000 or 5000 spinning reel is the choice to go for.

For heavy stripers a 7′ H(heavy) paired with a larger 6000 reel is the best bet.

If you are looking to throw lures a decent distance then a 7’6″ will give you the extra casting range to cover more water.


2. Ugly Stik Striper Rods

If you are looking for a rod that can take a serious beating at a very affordable price then chances are Ugly Stik have a rod for you in their line up.

You can bend an Ugly Stik right over on itself and they won’t break that’s just how durable the rod blanks are.

The blanks are built from a blend if graphite and fiberglass so they are both durable and still sensitive at the same time.

These rods are best suited to close in work whether that’s from a boat or a pier. In other words they will not be the best choice for surf casting or all day casting if you are sight fishing for schooling stripers early in the season.

They work best if you are looking for a slightly heavier spinning setup as there are definitely more sensitive rods out there that are better suited to lighter lure and jig work.

Like most Ugly Stik’s they come with Ugly Tuff™ one-piece stainless steel guides, Clear Tip® design for strength and sensitivity and a 7 year warranty.


3. St Croix Tidemaster

St Croix build some of the best performing rod blanks available and the Tidemaster series is designed specifically for saltwater use.

The Tidemasters are specifically built for targeting striped bass and can be used from lighter jigging work to heavier applications on a boat.

They are extremely sensitive and feel well balanced in the hand even after a long day of jigging or casting smaller lures.

When using a lighter setup sensitivity is key particularly if you are targeting smaller striped bass.  

They offer a range of lengths from 6′ to 8′ with varying power rating from medium/light up to heavy. The majority of the models have a fast action, with a few having a moderate action.

The fast action is the one to go for especially when using smaller lures or looking to make pin point casts when sight fishing or working close in.

For smaller lures a medium power rating is spot on.

If you are looking for a heavier spinning setup then the 6’6″ medium/heavy with a fast action is the perfect blend of backbone and sensitivity for targeting larger stripers.

Unlike a lot of other heavier spinning rods the Tidemasters feel quite light in the hand and even this medium/heavy rated rod can be used with lighter lures making them a very versatile rod.

St Croix have a large range of premium freshwater rods on offer and with the Tidemaster series they have really upper the quality if the hardware so that it can withstand the harsh realities of constant saltwater use.

Batson Forecaste hard aluminum-oxide guides feature 316 stainless steel frames for dramatically improved corrosion resistance, especially when compared to more regular 304 stainless steel frames.

The blanks also get two coats of slow-cure finish for added durability.

As ever they are backed by a 5 year St Croix warranty.


4. Penn Battalion Surf Spinning

Surf casting for striped bass is one of the more popular methods especially during the spring and fall seasons.

Getting your bait out beyond the crashing surf requires a long rod of at least 8′ feet in length at a minimum with 10′ rods not being uncommon.

Longer rods all things being equal will usually cast much further than a shorter rod.

The Penn Battalion series of surf casting rods are some of the best available and at a decent price point too.

Pair one of these with a size 4000 or 6000 size spinning reel and you have your self a pretty good surf casting outfit that can through heavy bait rigs with ease.

With surf fishing you’ll need a medium/heavy power rating and a more moderate action.

The moderate action allows more power to be put into the full length of the rod as you cast compared to a faster action one.

As an example the Tidemasters above would have too fast an action to be a really great surf caster so it is generally considered best to have a dedicated rod for surf casting.

The Battalion are built on a graphite composite blend of 30% fiberglass and 70% graphite, this type of mixed material rod blank gives you lots of power and strength from the addition of the fiberglass while still being light and responsive as graphite is known for.

With surf rods being so long you still need that added sensitivity so you can better judge what is going on in the water.

Purely fiberglass rod blanks although extremely strong do lack sensitivity and can often feel limp and heavy.

They come with Fuji® aluminum oxide guides for better casting performance for both monofilament and braided line.


5. Penn Squal II Star Drag Conventional Combo

When trolling big rigs or plugs you need a rod that can handle the constant pressure, a rod that is rated 6′-6’6″ in length 20-50# class should be capable of handling most striper trolling setups.

If it is your first time buying a trolling rod setup then I would strongly recommend a rod and reel combo as they are a great way to save money.

You can always up grade in two or three years if your fishing tactics require a more heavy duty setup.

Penn conventional rods and reels are some of the highest quality available and buying a boat rod as a combo is one of the best ways to save some money particularly if you are just starting out.


Striper Fishing Rods

Buying a striper fishing rod can be a daunting task particularly if you are new to fishing in general.

While choosing a reel is generally straight forward, rods are a different story as there are many different attributes that affect how the rod performs and what style of fishing it is best suited to.

The easiest way to choose a rod is to know how, where, and what weight the fish will be that you are targeting.

Smaller stripers caught inshore ca be caught on a smaller spinning setup, but larger fish caught on a boat or by surf casting do need more specialized rods.

Type

There are three main types of rods used for striper fishing:

  • Spinning 
  • Surf Casting
  • Conventional

What Size Rod for Stripers

The size or length of rod is usually determined by where you will be fishing.

Longer rods can cast longer distances.

Surf casting rods for example are much longer than every other type of rod as the longer length helps to achieve greater casting distances.

Boat rods are shorter as a longer rod can be cumbersome to use on a boat and you will be targeting larger fish, a shorter rod is usually much stronger and can be used to pump a heavy fish up from the depths easier than a longer one.

Spinning in shallower waters uses a rod somewhere in between the two extremes, between 6 and 7 is usually best.

  • Surf Casting – Usually between 8 and 10 feet in length
  • Inshore Spinning – Between 7 and 8 feet in length
  • Conventional Boat Rod – Between 6 and 6’6″ in length

Rod Power

Rod power describes how strong the rod blank is or what size line and weights it is rated for.

The lightest rods are rated “ultralight” and are only used for much smaller freshwater fish. The heaviest rods are rated “extra-heavy “or “mag-heavy” in saltwater fishing once you get above a certain size the rods are described in pounds(lbs) for example a 50lb or 70lb class rod.

For lighter spinning for stripped bass a medium power rod is good.

For surf casting a medium/heavy rod is best depending on how heavy the weights and rigs you are casting are.

Conventional rods for big stripes from a boat will have a heavy rating or be rated by different lb classes.

Rod Action

Rod action and power are often confused even by very experienced anglers.

Rod action describes where in the rod black that the natural bend in the rod starts to form when pressure is applied to it.

Fast action rods will start to bend in the top one third of the rod blank towards the tip.

A rod with a fast action will have a more sensitive tip and is best used when using lighter bait rigs, small jigs or lures.

Moderate action rods will start to bed more towards the middle or bottom one third of the rod blank.

A rod with a moderate action is better when you need to load up the rod blank when casting heavy weights a very long distance as you can put energy into the full length of the rod on the back cast.

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best saltwater spinning reels

Best Saltwater Spinning Reel 2022 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Choosing a saltwater spinning reel means matching the right size reel to your rod, what type and how much line you will need.

And then finally what’s within your budget.

However;

The number one technical issue to get right when buying any saltwater reel is that the reel is capable of extended use in a saltwater environment.

Why?

Salt is the enemy.

It corrodes and renders the elements of a spinning reel useless once it gets in and starts to corrode all of the internal components.

Most cheaper priced reels are intended for use in freshwater, for saltwater use, reel manufacturers have to ensure that the internal gears are perfectly sealed from any saltwater entering the reel housing and that all of the external surfaces can handle the corrosive affects of salty water.

The drag system, internal gears and even the bail arm can suffer the effects of corrosion if they are not up to the job and the end result of a jammed reel is almost always a lost fish!

Top Tip: always rinse your reel in freshwater once you are done fishing for the day.

Many big name reel brands have specialist reels purpose built for saltwater use and if you care for them properly and get them serviced regularly you should get many, many seasons of use out of them.

What Size Spinning Reel for Saltwater Use?

For lighter inshore work a size 2500 or 3500 is more suitable, whereas heavier offshore reels can be as big as a size 15000 or even a 25000.

Line capacity and rating is how you should choose the right size reel. Line ratings and the amount required is usually quoted for both braid and monofilament.

Most spinning reels will hold roughly twice the amount of braided line for the same braking strain as monofilament.

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

1. Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel

The Daiwa Saltist is a purpose built saltwater spinning reel and is easily one of the most popular.

You’ll see them in smaller sizes on pier, jetties and in the larger sizes on plenty of charter boats that hunt larger species.

They also make a great surf casting reel for lighter to medium setups as they have a pretty fast retrieve rate so you can pull in a lot of line quickly when needed.

The range has seven different models ranging from a size 2500 up to an 8000.

The smaller model 2500 has a max drag of 15lbs, weighs 9.5oz, can hold 140 yard of 10lb monofilament or 120 yards of 30lb braid.

At the other end of the scale the largest offering an 8000 has a max drag of 33lbs, weighs 30oz, can hold 370 yards of 30lb monofilament and 440 yards of 80lb braid.

The smaller sizes are a little on the heavy side for all day casting which is due to just how well the Saltist is built.

For surf casting a 5000 or 6500 is the way to go as you get a heck of a lot of line capacity combined with a big jump in retrieve rate when compared to the smaller offerings.

If you are looking to size up to an 8000 or so saltwater spinning reel then the Penn Slammer below is a better bet as you get a much big drag capacity and an incredibly well sealed reel for similar money to the Saltist.

Daiwa have gone to great lengths with the Saltist to pack in a much of their high end technology as possible.

They use a special magnetic oil called “MAGOIL” or Mag Sealed Technology that was originally developed by NASA which creates a dust and water resistant barrier on metal.

It does this by becoming solid when magnetized thus creating a solid oil barrier on the main shaft and line roller of the Saltist.

You won’t find this tech from any other reel manufacturer!

On the 4500 and up there is also a Mag Sealed bearing + 7 CRBB corrosion resistant bearings.

The sizes from 4000 down get 8 CRBB corrosion resistant bearings.

The side cover and reel housing are made from a proprietary metal alloy which reduces warping under heavy loads and it has a bullet proof carbon drag system with full anti-reverse.

It also comes with a braid ready ABS spool so no need to add mono backing if you are running braid.

Specifications:

  • Magsealed line roller and main shaft
  • Digigear™ digital gear design
  • Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS spool
  • Waterproof Carbon ATD Drag System
  • Light weight Air Rotor design

2. Penn Slammer III

Penn are one of the most respected saltwater reel brands out there and have been for several decades.

They have a big line up of spinning reels for saltwater and each one of them is built to a very high standard.

The Penn Slammer III is suited for larger offshore work particularly in the larger sizes.

Saying that is you need a beefier spinning reel for shallower water species then these reels are more than capable of handling just about anything you can throw at them.

The sizes range from 3500 to 10500 spread out over eight different models. Aimed predominantly at the heavier end of saltwater spinning setups, they even make a decent surf casting reel too.

The Slammer line is built from an almost all metal construction with an end result being a very rigid reel with little to no warp when the drag is under a lot of pressure.

Penn use very strict CNC processes at manufacturing time and the result is a very smooth running reel.

The body is made from die-cast aluminum while the main gear and pinion is solid brass.

A big chunky over-sized handle makes operation with wet hands a breeze particularly when fighting large fish species.

Who is the Penn Slammer III For?

The Penn Slammer suited to those looking for a big solid reel that can take a beating, due to the all metal design they are a little on the heavier side so if you are casting all day long you may want to take that into account.

Specifications:

  • Full metal body, rotor, and side-plate
  • Fully sealed Slammer drag system
  • 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings

3. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

If you are looking for a more budget friendly option the BG from Daiwa is one of the top choices available.

It comes in at roughly have the price of some of the cheaper options in the list and although it may not have all of the higher end technologies or materials it’s still a very solid reel for for the money.

There are ten models in the range starting at a 1500 up to an 8000, the 2500 makes a good reel for targeting smaller species, with the 4500 making a great all round saltwater fishing reel.

Although the BG could be considered as the entry level of Daiwa’s saltwater fishing reels it still share some of the technologies found in the higher end reel such as the Saltiga and also the Saltist listed above.

So how do the Daiwa BG and Saltist compare?

They share the same Hardbodyz frame construction technology, the Digigear digital gear design, and air rotor design.

So you get access to some of the most advanced reel technology that Daiwa have to offer but at a more amenable price point.

Who is the Daiwa BG For?

The Daiwa BG is suited to those who are looking for an affordable reel that can still perform well in a saltwater environment it makes a good choice as a first inshore fishing reel in the smaller sizes.

It offers great value for money especially if you are not out fishing regularly.

If you are just a casual angler then you do not need to buy a high end reel costing $300 or more as the majority of the time it will be sitting in your garage doing nothing.

Specifications:

  • Waterproof Drag System
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum
  • Braided Line Ready Spool

4. Shimano Saragosa

If you are looking for a larger offshore spinning reel then the Shimano Saragosa SW is one option that won’t break the bank.

High end offshore reels can get extremely expensive with the most popular options being the Shimano Stella and the Daiwa Saltiga.

Both of those models retail at over $1000 so they are out of reach for a lot of anglers.

With the Saraogoas SW you get a lot of the technologies and features found in the higher end Stella but at a fraction of the price.

The Sarogosa’s last major release was in 2013 and was a huge hit with saltwater anglers particularly those looking for a workhorse of a reel without the big price tag.

Since that model not much changed on the Saragosa and it was only in 2020 Shimano finally released an updated version. 

That update brought in a lot of the features you will find on the flagship Stella.

The major difference between the old Saragosa and the new one is that the newer models are lighter and also more rigid than the earlier offerings.

They are also better sealed and have up-rated internal gears to reduce warp when under pressure.

The Saragosa is not meant for lighter spinning setups as the smallest size starts at a 5000 and tops out at a whopping 25000.

The smallest in the range a 5000 will hold 245 yards of 20lb braid and has a max drag rating of 10kg, compared to the 25000 that holds 630 yards of 65lb braid and has a max drag of 20kg.

The highest drag model is actually found on the 18000 and the 20000 which max’s out at 22kg.

They are definitely aimed at anglers who are looking to haul bigger species and one of the things that the Saragosa is known for is it’s cranking power especially when large fish are on the line.

Specifications:

  • Propulsion Line Management
  • Shielded A-RB bearings
  •  X-Shield Waterproof Drag

5. Penn Spinfisher VI

Penn are so confident in the abilities of the Spinfisher VI to repel salt water that they claim it does not need to be rinsed in fresh water after use.

I don’t know about you but I’d still rinse any reel as a matter of precaution.

Penn’s build quality is now legendary and they just about wrote the book on how large saltwater fishing reels should be built.

Their classic conventional reel the Penn International is found on just about any large charter sport fishing boat but they also have a great line up of spinning reels which includes the Battle, Conflict, Fierce, Slammer, and the Spinfisher.

The VI model as the name suggests is now the sixth iteration of the Spinfisher and one of the finest spinning reels available.

The difference between the Spinfisher V vs VI is that the VI gets improved CNC gear technology and up-rated IPX5 seals.

The IPX rating is a standard that describes the water proof and water resistance capabilities of a product. 

As a comparison the more expensive Penn Slammer III listed above has a higher rating at IPX6. 

The range starts at a 2500 and tops out at a massive 10500. The VI is the first time due to demand that a Spinfisher has been available in a 2500, previously the 3500 was the smallest model available.

On the 2500 to 5500 there is an automatic bail trip i.e just crank the handle and the bail flips back into place after casting, on the 6500 and up there is a manual bail close only.

The real appeal of the Spinfisher is it’s HT-100 carbon fiber drag which is protected by a completely sealed spool, under pressure even during prolonged use that drag remains silky smooth.

Specifications:

  • IPX5 sealed body and spool design
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • Full metal body

Can You buy a Good Saltwater Reel Under $100 or even $200?

You can buy some of quality spinning reels for under $200, at under $100 you might be stretching things and you’ll have a very limited choice.

Spinning reels start to get expensive once you go above a size 4000 and with saltwater fishing reels the highest quality reels starts at roughly this price point. 

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Best Saltwater Fishing Baits

5 Best Saltwater Fishing Baits

Saltwater fishing is widely considered to be one of the most exciting forms of angling in the world. This is mainly due to the fact that saltwater fishing involves a huge variety of different species of game fish that range from small to very large.

Many of the fish that roam the seas and coastal areas are highly-adapted predators that are built for seeking out the most nutritious meals they can find swimming in the ocean.

Anglers who regularly fish in the ocean and along coastal areas must be well-acquainted with the types of baits that saltwater fish tend to prefer, depending on which species you’re going after and at what time of year.

Understanding just what type of bait your chosen fish species will be attracted to is part of what makes someone what most people would consider an expert angler.

In this article, we will cover the 5 best saltwater fishing baits and how each angler should use them, as well as the different reasons why one might choose one type of bait over another.

Best Bait for Saltwater Fishing

1. Squid

Squid Bait

The best saltwater bait for beginners, in the opinion of most expert anglers, is squid.

This is mainly due to the fact that squid have an especially oily nature and their flesh is exceptionally tough, which means they will stay on the hook better and longer than just about anything else.

These are usually available at any bait shop and are also relatively cheap. There really is no wrong way to hook a piece of squid and these are usually best for fishing on bottom or trolling.

Using squid in an excellent approach to fishing for just about anything in the ocean as the smell produced by the squid’s oil is generally irresistible to most types of fish that can be found along the coastal areas and underwater reefs.

If you plan to use squid for saltwater bait, be sure to cut it up into the particular size you want to use. If you’re hoping to catch smaller fish species, cut the squid into very smaller pieces.

2. Shrimp

Shrimp Bait

Shrimp is arguably the top saltwater fishing bait available in the world. These small critters can be found in great numbers at your local bait shop and are typically available in frozen blocks, or live buckets.

Shrimp are usually considered the best baits for fishing inlets and around docks or piers as they will be quickly recognized by hungry game fish species as an easy meal.

There are a variety of different shrimp baits that can be used, as well as different sizes of live shrimp. It’s best to use the size that you feel gives you the best chance of catching the type of fish you’re after.

One of the main downsides to fishing with shrimp is that they are notoriously soft-bodied and can be easily ripped off the rig if they aren’t hooked properly.

The best method for hooking shrimp is to run the hook through starting at their top portion close to the head and curve the shrimp along with the curvature of the hook before pulling the hook out at the base of the back.

This will prevent smaller types of fish from picking away at the shrimp and quickly leaving you with a bare hook in the water.

3. Crabs

Crab Bait

When it comes to going after larger predators and game fish in the ocean, crabs are usually an excellent choice of bait.

Crab are excellent bait for tarpon and other large-sized fish that can be found in coastal waters, but it can be hard to find crabs that are suitable for bait. Anything from soft-shell, hard-shell, or peeler crabs make good bait for fishing in deeper water around the coast.

The main problem with fishing for crab is that they aren’t as readily available as other types of saltwater bait.

The best way to keep a steady supply of crab for fishing is to regularly use a crab trap and catch them shortly before you plan to fish.

Hooking crab present another problem, but most anglers prefer to bore the hook through the shell of the crab so as not to lose it to any fish that happens to bite.

4. Cut Bait

Cut Bait

When it comes to appealing to a sportfish’s senses, there are few baits that are better-suited to do so than cut bait.

The term cut bait can entail a variety of different bait fish species such as menhaden, variations of shad, skipjack herring, and many other types of fish.

Most bait shops will carry these in limited supplies as they must be caught by various commercial fishing vessels and brought in to sell.

Some bait shops sell fresh cut bait, but most seasoned anglers prefer to use cut bait that has been salted and cured as this kind will generally stay on the hook for longer periods.

Hooking cut bait isn’t terribly difficult as most anglers simply run the hook through the skin and flesh and let the rest of the cut bait dangle below the hook to attract fish.

Cut bait is an excellent choice for catching many different types of popular game fish like snapper, grouper, mackerel and many other types of saltwater species.

5. Sand Fleas

Sand Flea Bait

One of the most underrated saltwater baits in the world are the common sand flea. These are mostly used for surf fishing as any fish prowling the coastline will not think twice about biting a sand flea that’s above the surface and exposed in the water.

Sand fleas are not sold in bait shops and must be caught by the angler themselves in most cases.

If you’re fishing with kids, the process of finding and catching sand fleas can be a fun activity in and of itself. Once you’ve caught a decent amount, be sure to keep them secure in a large bucket so they don’t get out and burrow back down into the sand.

You can usually hook sand fleas through their hardened shell portion near the head, or from the back end with the hook running up through the shell.

Either way, you’ll want to be sure that these kinds of bait are securely hooked because they typically require a bit of patience and know-how to catch and use properly.

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Jigging for Flounder

Jigging for Flounder

Flounders are one of the most popular saltwater fish species in the world for a variety of reasons.

They are known to be one of the easiest fish to target, but require a certain level of skill and dedication to entice a bite out of in most cases.

Flounder are mostly found in the shallow waters around coastal areas along the North and South American continents.

Most experienced flounder anglers prefer to start their search for these elusive creatures with a series of jigging techniques that might help them locate specific areas that are considered hotspots for flounder.

These include virtually any type of drop-off that might be as much as one foot, but this can often be a great location for flounder.

Flounders are known to utilize these ledges in a way that lets bait fish and other prey fall or swim off the ledge and become susceptible to being picked off by the stealthy and highly camouflage flounder who are known to bury themselves down into the sand and lie in wait for their meals.

In this article, we’ll cover the topic of jigging for flounder and take a closer look at why this is widely considered by many anglers to be the best way to locate and catch these tasty fish.

Where to Catch Flounder

According to expert flounder anglers, jigging for flounder works best in areas where there are the slightest drop offs or ledges.

Like any other predatory fish, flounder will use their surroundings to create an advantage that helps them surprise their prey.

Ledges and drop offs are the ideal areas for flounder to sit and patiently wait for small bait fish to swim just too far over the edge and into striking distance of the jaws of the flounder.

As anyone with a limited amount of flounder fishing experience might expect, you can usually locate an area that’s rife with flounder activity by searching out “flounder tracks” or areas of sand and silt that have recently been depressed by a flounder.

These tracks are best visible at low tide as most anglers can walk the shoreline and spot locations where flounder commonly post up and feed on smaller fish and other prey.

Another way to spot the ideal location for jigging for flounder is to cruise the shoreline in a flounder boat and look for these tracks.

Experienced flounder fishing guides are usually very skilled at this and will have their own secret ‘hotspots’ where flounder can be found at certain times of the year or the tide level.

When to Fish for Flounder

Flounders are a unique fish in that they can typically be caught throughout much of the year in the same relative locations. They are known to be much more active during the warmer months of spring and summer and typically move throughout the day and night in search of food.

Most flounder fishing enthusiasts know that the best time of the year to catch these types of fish begins around the middle of October and lasts until December in most areas of North America.

This is mainly due to the fact that the cooler water temperatures cause these thin, shallow water species to stop moving as much, which makes them much easier for anglers to target in most cases.

Flounders are known to pile up around the mouths of estuaries along the coast in the early morning and late evening hours.

This is a tactic they use to position themselves in an ideal location for catching unsuspecting bait fish, shrimp, and other potential meals.

Most anglers look for areas near grass beds, points and other types of formations that are home to other predatory fish that are looking for an easy meal throughout the day.

Flounder fishing is also a great activity to be done at night as these fish are sometimes more active after the sun goes down in most parts of the world.

How to Jig for Flounder

The best way to jig for flounder is to start with a small jig that’s about ¼ ounce option and use it to methodically probe the bottom along areas where you expect there to be a hungry flounder waiting on a meal.

You won’t need a heavy saltwater jigging rod when fishing for flounder as the tackle will be too light and the jigs too small.

Instead an inshore fishing rod with a fast action will work best.

The areas where you have found flounder tracks in the past or expect there to be flounder nearby are always worthy of further investigation.

Experienced flounder anglers always recommend that you fish an area thoroughly as a jig can sometimes come within just a few feet of a flounder, but may not be taken seriously.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that jigging is not the right technique to use at any given time, but that it can be one of the most productive means of catching flounder when used properly.

As we’ve already noted, drop offs should be especially productive flounder habitats and anglers should position themselves in a way that allows them to work their jig across the ledge, letting the lure fall off the edge, however deep it may be.

It is usually just as the lure drops or shortly after it reaches the bottom of the other side of the drop that the flounder will attack it and often inhale the jig before taking off.

Best Techniques to Catch Flounder

Most anglers utilize a ‘fan’ technique when fishing an area that involves casting their lure across a wide swath of water and working it steadily along in order to avoid missing any potential bites.

Jigging for flounder involves simply bouncing the lure across the bottom at various intervals as you probe the area for fish.

Also Read: Flounder vs Halibut

The fan technique is most common when anglers don’t have a solid visual on some flounder tracks, but when you do happen to notice the outline of a flounder hidden under the sand, you can alter your approach and target the fish in a more direct way.

This is typically referred to as sight fishing and is known to be a highly effective means of producing a bite, especially when you’re using some type of natural bait along with your jig.

Best Jigs for Flounder

One of the best things about jigging for flounder is that these fish are not picky. They tend to strike at almost any type of jig, often the smaller style jigs being better than larger versions.

Anglers have been known to catch flounder on bucktail jigs, paddletail jigs, shrimp jigs, and a variety of other styles at various times of the year.

Jigging for Flounder from a Boat

As you might suspect, flounder fishing is almost always best done from a boat as this will allow you to position yourself in a way that truly utilizes the drop offs, ledges and other areas where flounders are known to hang out. It also allows you to cover more water as you fish for flounders.

Jigging for Flounder from the Shoreline

Flounders are one of the few types of fish that can be caught from both a boat, or standing along the shoreline.

Many experienced anglers find that they can more easily sneak up on larger flounder when fishing from the shore as they sometimes recognize the shadows cast by a boat, or the telltale whirring sound of the trolling motor.

If you’re fishing from the shore, be patient and work the area thoroughly to probe for any flounder that might be hidden from your view.

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