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Are Striped Bass Good to Eat

Are Striped Bass Good to Eat?

Striped bass are among the most unique and most highly-targeted fish by surf anglers and others who fish along coastal areas.

They are one of the few fish species that are anadromous, which means they are capable of surviving in both freshwater and saltwater. These fish are also capable of growing to immense sizes of well over 50 pounds in the right conditions.

With the popularity of fishing for striped bass comes the question of whether striped bass are good to eat. There are anglers who agree that striped bass are one of the tastiest fish in the Atlantic coastal waters around the United States.

In fact, they are considered to be the best table fare of any fish within the bass family and their meat is very high in nutrients and flavor.

Are striped bass good to eat? Many would agree that they most certainly are and there is lots of information you should know in relation to eating stripers and how to properly cook them. In this article, we will answer the questions related to whether or not you should keep these fish for their fillets.

Are Striped Bass Good to Eat?

If you’re reading this article, you’re either planning to catch striped bass or have already done so and are wondering whether these fish are worth the trouble of filleting and cooking.

Anglers who go through the effort to catch striped bass do so mostly for the thrill of fighting and landing such an impressive fish, but there are also great rewards as it relates to the meat that they offer as well.

Out of the many varieties of fish that are classified as bass, striped bass are considered to be among the best table fare of any. The simple answer to the question of whether striped bass are good to eat is a resounding ‘yes.’

Like most other fish that are capable of growing to massive sizes, striped bass that are very large are also very old. Throughout the time in which these fish grow to be giant trophy stripers, they also accumulate various metals and toxins in their bodies.

These metals and toxins are guaranteed to make very large striped bass taste poorly, no matter what lengths you go to clean and properly cook them.

If you’re planning on eating striped bass, make sure you don’t keep one that’s more than about 36 inches in length as the meat will usually be too soft and filled with unhealthy toxins and metal.

Instead, you should target striped bass that are about 18 to roughly 30 inches to get the ones that will offer the best taste.

What is a Striped Bass?

Striped bass are also know as stripers, linesiders, and stripes and are found in almost every coastal region throughout the eastern half of the United States, In addition to the stripers that live in the ocean, you will also find many of the rivers throughout the area east of the Mississippi River in the United States to be teeming with striped bass.

They are one of the most popular of all freshwater and saltwater game fish species for many reasons, their versatility and great strength and size being just a few.

These fish have very peculiar habits that set them apart from most others. They live most of their lives in the ocean, but will migrate up into the freshwater rivers where they will spawn and lay their eggs.

There are various methods of catching stripers that include fishing with heavy rigs from the surf, as well as fishing from boats far out from the coast. Unlike salmon, which migrate from the sea into freshwater rivers, striped bass do not die after they spawn. Instead, they will live and can actually spawn more than once a year.

The construction of large dams that helped create vast reservoirs in many areas of the United States turned out to be devastating to the striped bass populations that once swam many hundreds of miles up America’s largest rivers.

However, various states in this part of the country have made efforts to restore the striped bass population by stocking them in lakes that are blocked off by dams.

Striped bass can be found as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida. The world record striped bass is a whopping 81-pound behemoth that was caught in the winter off the coast of Connecticut in 2011.

There is no denying that stripers are among the greatest fish in North America and you can truly enjoy your catch by keeping striped bass of the right size, as well as preparing them the right way.

Can You Eat Striped Bass?

Just like the versatility of the striped bass’ many habitats and natural range, this fish can also be cooked and prepared in a wide variety of different methods. The answer to the question of whether or not you can eat striped bass is a resounding yes, as long as the fish is properly cleaned and prepared.

The meat of striped bass is quite unlike most others you’ll find in and around North America. The middle section of the striped bass’ filet is made up of a reddish colored meat that is by far the tastiest portion of this fish’s meat.

This fish’s middle section is known as the bloodline and failing to properly clean striped bass can result in the meat being ruined and becoming overly oily, which will also spoil the taste.

In order to make sure you drain all the blood from the fish before you filet the meat from it, you will need to ‘bleed’ the striper right after you’ve caught it.

There are a variety of different ways to do this, but the easiest one involves taking a pair of fishing pliers and, while holding the fish with your thumb by the mouth, insert the pliers down into the mouth and use it to rip out the striper’s gills.

This needs to be done right after you’ve caught the fish while its heart is still pumping in order to ensure that the blood will be drained as much as possible.

Once you’ve removed these gills from the fish, be sure to dip it down into the water or keep it submerged in a bucket of water as the bleeding portion of the remaining gills will quickly clot and slow the amount of blood from draining.

Once you’ve done this, you can get ready to filet and cook your striped bass.

Striped Bass Mercury Level

Striped bass are known for growing very large, which means they will have a longer lifespan than most saltwater or freshwater fish. This long lifespan also means that more mercury will accumulate in the fish’s meat over time and is another reason why you should not bother with eating striped bass that are longer than about 36 inches.

The mercury levels in striped bass and other fish have been rising in recent decades and biologists and scientists believe that various industries are to blame as their products and manufacturing processes lead to more mercury finding its way into the waters around the United States.

Striped bass are known to be fish that contain a slightly higher amount of mercury than other species.

It’s recommended that you consume no more than two servings of striped bass per week with one serving being about 4 ounces of meat.

What Do Striped Bass Taste Like?

Striped bass are known as one of the best-tasting fish in North America. They are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that help provide the human body with many benefits from increased metabolism to enhanced brain function.

The taste of each individual striped bass will differ depending on where the fish was caught. Stripers that are caught in saltwater tend to have very flaky meat and offer a bit more flavor than those caught in freshwater.

Stripers that come from freshwater lakes or rivers will usually have more fleshy meat, but will lack the flavor of saltwater striped bass.

Be sure to bleed the fish out before filleting it so that it will have the best possible flavor when cooking.

How to Cook Striped Bass

Striped bass can be cooked virtually any way you might cook almost all other fish. These fish can be deep-fried, poached, broiled, smoked, grilled, or even toasted.

Overcooking striper fillets will cause them to lose their flavor, so be sure that you don’t go overboard with whatever cooking method you choose.

One of the best ways to cook striped bass and maintain the flavor of the meat is to broil it. By coating the filet with butter and various citrus fruit juices like lemon, as well as spices that are commonly used in grilling fish, you can cook these fish in a way that helps them soak up the spices and butter to create a hearty and bold flavor you won’t soon forget.

You can also grill these fish using the same method of basting them with butter, lemon juice and spices like paprika, salt and pepper.

Be sure to cook them at a temperature of no more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit and turn the fish fillets after every 5 minutes.

You can use various online videos and other resources to view the many methods for preparing striped bass fillets, as well as the most popular recipes used by avid anglers.

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Night Fishing for Striped Bass

Night Fishing for Striped Bass

When the weather heats up and the days become filled with the sweltering heat of the sun, most anglers prefer to do their fishing under the cover of darkness.

This benefits their chances of success for a number of reasons, most importantly because the fish will likely be employing the same strategy to hunt down their prey at night.

Striped bass are much like most other predatory fish when it comes to feeding and hunting habits.

Stripers know that their chances of ambushing bait fish and other types of prey are much better under the cover of darkness than it would be in the daytime when their prey might be able to spot them.

Night Fishing for Striped Bass

Night fishing has exploded in popularity over the past few decades as anglers become more familiar with strategies and tactics that work when it comes to night fishing for striped bass.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the main points you should consider if you want to maximize your chances of successfully fishing for striped bass at night.

Night-time Behavior of Striped Bass

Stripers are like most other bass species in that they will almost always use their surrounding environment to their advantage when it comes to hunting for food.

Striped bass will begin to be more active as the weather starts to warm up in the early spring. They will usually engage in heavy feeding habits in the few weeks leading up to their annual spawning ritual.

After the spawn, they will usually rest for a few days and then go back to feeding again to build back any strength they lost during their spawning activities.

This is a time when stripers can be caught during the early morning hours and late evening, but as the weather continues to heat up throughout much of North America, striped bass will increasingly begin to feed more at night.

Like most other large fish species, striped bass prefer to stay away from overly warm water as it is simply not comfortable for them to stay in it for very long.

They almost always prefer to be in the cooler, deeper portions of most lakes and rivers, as well as coastal areas. As the summer heat takes hold across much of the continent, various creatures will become more active at night, including those in lakes and rivers.

Striped bass always take notice of this increased activity and will take every chance they can to feed and hunt for prey during the night hours when the water is cool.

Stripers also have a significant advantage when hunting at night as their prey typically can’t see them as easily as they can during daylight hours.

Where to Find Striped Bass at Night

One of the most prominent questions among anglers who are learning the tips and tricks of night fishing for striped bass is where to find stripers during the night hours.

Remember that striped bass are opportunistic feeders that will use every type of structure or depth change to their advantage when it comes to hunting prey.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider where stripers are likely to stage at night and where they will have the best chance of ambushing their prey.

Also Read: Freshwater Fishing for Striped Bass

In most instances stripers will stage along points and the mouths of creeks or rivers where they will prowl around in search of unsuspecting bait fish. They can also be found along any type of sharp drop-off or ledge where they are able to ambush anything swimming over the edge.

Many anglers have successfully caught striped bass around deep creek channels and virtually anywhere else stripers can gain an advantage over their prey—much like they do during daylight hours.

What Lures or Bait to Use

Catching striped bass at night involves using many of the same types of bait you normally would during the daytime, but with slightly different approaches to certain areas.

Many anglers successfully use live baits like shiners and herring or other choices, but anglers have also reported having great success using artificial lures as well.

If you plan on using artificial lures, be sure to stick with those that are capable of drawing the most attention from striped bass as these giants will often be using their other senses besides sight.

In most cases, lures that create a distinct vibration or rattling noise are excellent choices and will draw strikes from hungry stripers who are willing to chase them down or ambush them as they pass by.

Stick baits and jigs work very well, but crankbaits are usually one of the most popular choices of lure among experienced striper anglers. In addition to shallow to deep-diving plugs, topwater baits are also another solid choice of lure in many cases.

Remember that you’ll need to use dark-colored lures when fishing at night instead of bright colors as fish can see these colors better.

The best live bait for striper fishing at night is undoubtedly live lining shiners or shad. If you can purchase these bait fish from a nearby bait shop, be sure to keep them inside an aerated tank in order to ensure that they are lively on the end of the hook and won’t quickly go belly-up.

Also Read: Best Bait for Striped Bass

Hooking bait fish on their back just behind the dorsal fin is the best way to keep them alive and allow them to swim around while hooked.

Using the Right Gear

One of the main differences between fishing for stripers in the daytime and night fishing is the fact that you can manipulate light conditions on the water to create a greater advantage for catching these monster fish.

Thanks to recent innovations in fishing and lighting equipment, anglers can utilize high-quality products that are capable of illuminating wide sections of the water.

These lights are aimed at bringing in baitfish and other prey that striped bass hunt for at night and they are known for being highly effective.

When using these lights, anglers have found that striped bass will come close and investigate what other types of bait fish are swimming in the area.

Stipers will typically lurk just beyond the light’s reach, in the shadows, waiting for a baitfish to unknowingly focus its attention toward the light, or for it to stray too far away from the light and into the dark waters only to be devoured by the striper.

Seasoned striper fishing enthusiasts who have experience fishing at night all agree that using shiners and other types of live bait fish around these lights are a highly effective strategy for catching monster striped bass during the summer months.

In order to have the best chance of getting a strike using this method, try to keep your bait out towards the edge of the light’s reach in the water.

This will put it closer to the striped bass that are lurking and circling the light and will usually draw a strike if the bait stays in place long enough.

Some anglers will put small glow ticks on the tip of their striper fishing rods so that they can detect the bite and strike quickly but they are not really a necessity.

In addition to using lights to illuminate the water, you’ll also want to come prepared to light up your boat and anything else you need to see clearly.

It’s often a good idea to just wear a good quality headlamp instead of trying to use a handheld flashlight when it comes to night fishing since this will free your hands up to allow you to perform various tasks and reel in your catch.

Also Read: Are Striped Bass Good to Eat

It’s also crucial that your boat is well-lit and other boaters passing by can easily see it and avoid any potential collision on the water.

Conclusion

If you follow the basic tips we’ve covered in this article, you should be off to a solid head-start when it comes to night fishing for striped bass.

Be sure to always be aware of your surroundings as boating accidents and other mishaps usually happen more at night as anglers aren’t able to see as well.

Lastly, it’s important to pay close attention to the laws in the specific area you plan to fish at night. Some lakes and waterways have certain restrictions or regulations that anglers must abide by in order to legally fish at night for any species.

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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 best bait 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 of the best 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 best bait for striped bass 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

Among the best baits for striped bass that many anglers consider to be their top choice, it’s hard to beat 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 the best bait 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 best 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 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.

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.

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.

Also Read: Best Striper fishing Rods

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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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.

Also Read: Best Striper Rods

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.

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: Best 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 2021 – [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.

The best striped bass fishing rods for the money!


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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