Striped Bass Fishing
- Stripers are a spring to fall visitor in our local waters. Most of the fish caught in our area weigh between six and fourteen pounds, but quite a few stripers from fourteen to twenty-five pounds are taken. Occasionally, anglers will catch bigger fish that weigh over thirty pounds (the current New Jersey state (and IGFA) record striper weighs about 78 pounds.)
Party and charter boat striper fishing in our area starts in mid-April and continues to late November (and sometimes December.) Early season fishing is done in the shallow waters of Raritan Bay and around the "tip" of Sandy Hook. As the season progresses,
the fish can be found throughout the New York Bight. By late spring, stripers are caught both in the coastal ocean waters and in the bays. In the summer and fall, striper fishing centers on the many high bottom spots, wrecks and deep-water channels throughout the New York-New Jersey area. Stripers congregate on or around these bottom features especially after dark. We find that stripers seem to
feed more readily in low light or dark conditions and when the boat traffic lessens. Consequently, we go fishing for stripers at night.
The ANGLER goes Striper fishing every night, MONDAY through SATURDAY,
from 6:30 PM to 11:30 PM.
On SUNDAYS, we fish for Stripers from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
Please note that for 2012, New Jersey state recreational fishing regulations allow you to harvest two stripers that are 28 inches in length or greater.
The New Jersey recreational striper season is open all year in coastal Atlantic waters (0 to 3 miles from shore) and open from March 1 to December 31 in all other marine waters.
The most popular baits for stripers are live sandworms, small live eels, fresh or frozen surf clam strips and fresh or frozen menhaden (mossbunker) chunks. While you are free to bring your own, we provide you with the bait that
seems to be working best at the time. Because they are expensive, we will only include a limited amount of sandworms or eels with your fare, but we have plenty on board and will sell them to you, as you need them. Our live sandworm and eel prices are cheaper than what you would pay at the tackle shop.
We use sandworms for bait when we drift fish in the summer and early fall, and generally use eels only in the fall. We
use fresh clam strips and menhaden chunks only when fishing at anchor in the spring and early summer. Please see our Fishing Reports page to find out how we are fishing for stripers and the baits we are using.
We recommend using light tackle conventional rods and reels, and monofilament line from 15 to 30 lb. test. While
experienced party boat anglers may opt for lighter gear, a good all-around setup is a 6.5 or 7-foot fiberglass boat rod with a Penn Jigmaster reel filled with 30 lb. test Ande monofilament. Important - Please make sure the drag system on your reel is working properly, otherwise you may lose a bigger fish.
For fishing at anchor with clams or menhaden, the typical striper rig we use is a one-hook rig combined with a 2 to 8
ounce sinker. We use a 3/0 or 5/0 size Sproat or Beak-style hook tied to about 36 inches of 30 or 40 lb. test monofilament leader. The leader is then tied to a two-way swivel. Pass the line from your reel through a fish-finder sinker slide (with sinker clip) before tying it to the two-way sinker. We find the fish finder will allow the striper to
pick up the bait without feeling the weight of the sinker and seems to work better when the fish are “picky” or not biting aggressively. If you prefer, ready-made rigs and sinkers are available on board at low cost.
For drift fishing with worms or eels, the typical striper rig we use is a one-hook rig combined with a 2 to 8 ounce sinker. We use a 5/0 or 7/0 size Sproat or Beak-style hook tied to about 36 inches of 30 or 40 lb. test monofilament leader
. The leader is then tied to a three-way swivel. An 18-inch dropper loop attached to the swivel allows you to easily change sinkers and help keep the bait slightly off the bottom. Again, ready-made rigs and sinkers are available on board at low cost.
Like most party boats, we fish for stripers from a drifting boat or while at anchor. When drift fishing, anglers let their
line down to the bottom and slowly raise their rod tip from two to six inches every few seconds. This action makes the bait look like fleeing prey. If and when the drift slows down because of wind or tide conditions, the captain will instruct you to move the baits more often. When fishing with sandworm baits, you can immediately set the hook when you feel the striper bite. However, we recommend you wait a few seconds before setting the hook when
fishing with the generally larger eel baits. Finally, have a good time reeling it in.
When we are fishing at anchor, anglers let their line down to the bottom and simply wait for the striper to bite. Most of the time the stripers don’t like to see the bait jerking around, so just let it sit there. Important – leave your reel in
free spool and just hold it in place gently with your thumb. Sometimes the stripers are feeding aggressively and will hit your bait hard. If this is the case, immediately put your reel in gear and set the hook. At other times, they can be picky and just play with your bait. If the striper is toying with your bait, you must resist the temptation to strike.
You’ve got to wait it out until the striper picks up your bait and moves off with it before setting the hook. This is the situation where keeping your reel in free spool and the fish finder rig really helps. Feed the fish extra line by letting up your thumb pressure until you feel it swim off with the bait, and then set the hook. If you feel a striper toying
with your bait, but stops before picking it up, wait it out. Sometimes they will come back for a second pass (and even a third) before inhaling your bait.
Our mates will net all stripers large and small. We like to net even the small fish since it causes them less harm before unhooking and returning them to the water.