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.
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.
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.
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.