Finest Baits for Striped Bass of 2022

The most effective bait for striped bass varies on the time of 12 months, climate circumstances, location, and a big selection of different components. Striped bass are opportunistic and won’t cross up any sort of straightforward meal. When selecting bait, suppose extra about what you wish to accomplish along with your fishing moderately than what everybody else is doing. Are you fishing open-ocean seashores for giant stripers? Or are you attempting to catch as many fish as you possibly can from a quiet, sheltered, back-water mudflat? Every sort of fishing requires one thing completely completely different. But, with every kind of bait obtainable at your native deal with store, how do you select? This information will assist level you in the precise course for selecting the perfect bait for striped bass.

  • Finest General: Menhaden chunks
  • Finest Surf Fishing Bait: Reside Eels
  • Finest for Spring Stripers: Sea Worms

Issues to Take into account When Fishing Bait

There’s no single bait that’s finest for striped bass. As an alternative, try to be serious about these components in selecting which is finest on your subsequent fishing journey.

Why fish bait when you possibly can fish lures?

Fairly merely, besides in some uncommon exceptions, bait goes to be simpler in catching all sizes of stripers. That is very true when stripers are being fussy. In the event you’re fishing in clear water on a brilliant day, stripers is perhaps choosy and cautious of any synthetic providing. The scent of the bait is admittedly what makes the distinction on this case, and it’s exhausting to copy that with a lure. Whereas there are actually instances that lures—and even flies—could be simpler than bait, over a whole season bait goes to provide extra fish and bigger fish on common.

How recent is your bait?

Contemporary bait is extraordinarily essential. Utilizing bait that’s spoiled, outdated, dried-out, freezer-burnt, or missing any scent is a waste of time. I’d urge you to solely take into account shopping for bait from a deal with store with the freshest choices. This usually means bait that’s caught domestically; although that isn’t essential usually. Frozen bait could be efficient, but when given the selection, at all times purchase recent—even when it prices a bit of extra.

What are the areas you’ll be fishing?

As an alternative of selecting bait after which attempting to determine the way you’re going to make it work, take into consideration what you need your bait to do. If you would like your bait on the underside of a sand seashore, you’re going to make use of some weight. You’ll need bait that works finest with a sinker connected—lower bait, like mackerel, menhaden, or mullet. Nevertheless, if you wish to preserve your bait up within the water column, you possibly can take into account both utilizing your bait with out weight or with a float. Reduce bait works nicely weightless if there isn’t a severe wave motion pushing your bait again to shore. Worms and squid work nicely underneath a float, the place you possibly can simply control your bait because it drifts with the present. Reside eels additionally work nice weightless as nicely.

What measurement fish are you concentrating on?

In fact, all of us wish to catch the biggest fish we probably can. Nevertheless, when you’re fishing in an space with smaller stripers—let’s say, underneath 12-pounds—then utilizing large reside eels might be not your finest guess. But when there have been stories of some giants in your space, huge items of lower bait are going to draw the eye of an enormous fish extra simply than a bit of piece of sand worm.

What deal with will you be utilizing?

In the event you’re utilizing a seven-foot, medium motion rod, then casting five-ounces of lead and a three-ounce piece of menhaden is just not going to be attainable (or very efficient). The identical is true when you’re attempting to solid worms with 1/4-ounce weight on a 10-foot rod rated to 8-ounces. Additionally, take into account how troublesome it will likely be to move your bait. Holding reside bait wholesome on a ship in a reside nicely is simple—doing so on-shore could be far more difficult.

What’s a circle hook, and the way do I take advantage of it?

Non-offset, inline circle hooks are required by legislation when fishing for stripers with reside bait up and down the complete Atlantic coast. Anglers which can be caught fishing with bait and any non-circle hook are topic to fines, gear seizure, and even doubtlessly jail time. Circle hooks are required as a result of they considerably cut back the variety of stripers which can be hooked within the intestine and gills, making certain extra fish are launched wholesome.

The excellent news is that circle hooks work nice. I’ve been utilizing circle hooks for a very long time, and have caught the whole lot on them from flounder and sea trout to stripers and bluefish. The hot button is realizing easy methods to use them. With typical “J” hooks or treble hooks, the moment you are feeling successful from a striper, you wish to set the hook as exhausting and quick as you possibly can. This doesn’t work with circle hooks. As an alternative, while you really feel a strike or the suspect a chunk, slowly raise the rod and start a average retrieve. The circle hook will journey again out of the striper’s mouth and catch on the fringe of its bony lip. As soon as hooked, circle hooks are a lot more durable for stripers to free themselves from. This implies you lose fewer stripers whereas doing much less injury to the fish you launch.

Finest General Striped Bass Bait: Menhaden Chunks

Why It Made the Reduce

Also referred to as bunker and pogies, menhaden is a really oily fish that stripers feed on all through their total vary—from North Carolina to Canada. Menhaden is a flexible bait that’s usually straightforward to fish and could be offered in a wide range of methods.


  • Very oily and attracts stripers from a distance
  • Might be fished reside or lifeless from boat or shore
  • Works nice for all sizes of stripers, significantly interesting to trophy-sized fish


  • Complete fish and huge chunks can solely be fished with heavy gear
  • Might be messy

Menhaden are a education filter fish which can be extra generally often known as “bunker” or “pogies.” The adults, that are what’s offered for bait, vary in measurement from about 10- to 15-inches and are comparatively skinny, however tall and spherical in profile. They’re usually very reflective and silver in coloration, however have varied shades of tan, blue, and yellow alongside their backs and tail. An essential forage fish for stripers all through their vary, stripers completely like to eat menhaden!

Most deal with outlets on the east coast will carry menhaden, both frozen or freshly caught. Search for recent bait that’s not overly slimy, is agency to the contact, has a great coloration (not white and boring), and is stored nicely refrigerated or over ice.

The way to fish it: 

There are a couple of methods to fish menhaden. Use a small cooler to maintain your bait in whereas fishing. Fish-finder rigs are highly regarded to make use of with all lower bait, together with menhaden. This easy rig makes use of a circle hook, a brief chief (6- to 20-inches of 30- to 80-pound monofilament), after which a slider with a weight to maintain the bait on the underside (usually 2- to 8-ounces). The slider permits the fish to drag on the bait with out feeling the load of the sinker, growing hook-ups. Solid this into deeper troughs or channels operating alongside the shore.

As an alternative of utilizing a stationary bait, it’s also possible to drift chunks weightless, or with small egg-sinkers. That is finest executed in locations with some present, however not an excessive amount of. In the event you’re a ship fisherman, one other common technique is to make use of a snag to hook reside fish from a big faculty. Attributable to present rules, the angler should then deliver within the menhaden and put it on a circle hook. Then, let the fish swim again out with a circle hook (7/0-10/0 measurement) by way of the nostril.  Menhaden can weigh practically two kilos, so even smaller chunks usually require a strong rod rated to not less than 5 ounces.

Lure Alternate options: The spherical, tall profile of an grownup menhaden is replicated by bigger lures resembling 3.5-ounce Gibbs Danny metal lip, Drifter Tackle The Doc, the 15-centimeter Westin Swim SW glide bait, or massive swimbaits just like the 9-inch Strom WildEye or 8-inch Lunker City Shaker. Smaller juvenile menhaden could be replicated far more simply, with lures resembling Andrus Bucktails, Acme Kastmasters, the 140-millimeter Shimano Colt Snipers, and 1-ounce Heddon Super Spooks. From a ship or kayak, trolling large bunker spoons (Mojos) is a highly regarded imitator of menhaden.

Finest Surf Fishing Bait: Reside Eels

Why It Made the Reduce

There’s nothing that catches stripers like reside American eels. All season lengthy, underneath nearly any circumstances, the eel at all times works. They solid comparatively nicely (for bait) and can be utilized as a lure, so surf fishermen, specifically, love the eel.


  • Irresistible to stripers
  • Might be solid and retrieved just like a lure, and canopy the complete water column
  • They work in all places
  • Don’t require coolers or weights, straightforward to fish on the transfer


  • Costly and could be powerful to maintain alive
  • Can shortly tangle your line

Reside eels are one of the common baits for stripers up and down the coast. Trophy hunters and surf fishermen specifically love eels; many imagine (myself included) that stripers will assault eels even after they’re not significantly hungry. You’ll be able to solid and retrieve eels just like how you’ll a lure, which makes them nice for protecting extra water and appeals to shore-bound anglers.

Eels additionally work nice in deeper or faster-moving waters as a result of they’ll actively swim to the underside. Simply watch out round heavy buildings like boulders, ledges, or wrecks—because the eels will swim proper into them, tangle you, and grasp you up. Eels aren’t obtainable in any respect bait outlets and are usually pricier. Name round to see what is offered. Additionally they should be stored damp over the quick time period (when fishing or transporting them) and completely submerged (freshwater is ok) for longer storage, or they’ll shortly die.

The way to fish it: Eels are finest fished with a easy rig however can be utilized nearly in all places. I counsel utilizing a brief, 8-inch chief of 50-pound monofilament and a 6/0-9/0 circle hook. Then, merely solid the eel out after which slowly reel it again. You actually can’t go too gradual, however don’t let it sit for very lengthy, or the eel will discover its method into rocks or different construction and grasp you up. And whereas they solid higher than menhaden chunks, you’re nonetheless going to desire a comparatively sturdy rod rated to not less than three ounces; 5 ounces is finest.

Lure Alternate options: It’s extraordinarily exhausting to match the effectiveness of reside eels underneath virtually any situation. Tender plastics are finest, and the Savage Gear Real Eel is about as practical as they arrive. Nevertheless, I favor unrigged lures (to rig them how I would like) like Joe Baggs Block Island Baits, Gravity GT Eels, and Zinger Colosseels. For exhausting baits, needlefish are finest just like the 24/7 lures 7-inch and 9-inch needlefish and the 1-3/4 ounce Super Strike Super N’ Fish.

Finest Bait for Spring Stripers: Sea Worms

Why It Made the Reduce

When fish first begin shifting up the coast within the spring, blood and sandworms are a well-liked selection as a result of they’re cheap, straightforward to fish, and ultra-effective.


  • Straightforward to fish and solid on all sizes of substances
  • Cheap and obtainable at most bait and deal with outlets
  • Might be fished on the underside, underneath a float, or connected to a trolling lure
  • Nice multi-species bait


  • Fragile, don’t at all times keep on the hook nicely

Whereas sea worms could be fished all season lengthy, they’re significantly efficient in Spring. When fish are nonetheless sluggish and shifting north, worms are well-sized and may appeal to bass from a distance. Sea worms used for bait within the Northeast are literally two completely different carefully associated species referred to as blood worms and sandworms. Whereas there are slight variations, and a few anglers favor one over the opposite, ultimately, they’re very related in how they fish.

The way to fish it: There isn’t a neater bait to fish, and you can also make your rigs as easy or advanced as you need. I’d counsel utilizing small circle hooks (3/0 to five/0) on a two-way rig with small floats, resembling with a Pompano Rig. This places some weight on the finish of the road, which helps it solid, after which the small floats preserve the worms off the underside the place they may doubtlessly be picked at by crabs and different small creatures. This rig is finest fished on mudflats, backwater, and alongside sand seashores.

You may as well fish your worm with a float similar to how freshwater fishermen fish earthworms, permitting you to float your worm with estuary, river, or tidal currents. Many boat and kayak anglers nonetheless use worms to tip the ends of trolling rigs, just like the Tube and Worm. In these circumstances, simply watch out to get it on the hook correctly, and don’t overdo it along with your pace or the worm will fly off. For spring deal with, you may go a bit lighter, however don’t underestimate the flexibility of worms to catch good fish.

Lure Alternate options: In my view, there actually is just one live-worm different on the market for stripers. As a result of the bait is static or drifting slowly, you want a robust scent to draw fish. Due to this fact, something from Berkley Gulp is a winner in my guide, together with the Gulp Alive Bloodworm. It’s not fairly nearly as good as the actual factor, however they are often efficient and can maintain up higher to a number of fish.

How I Made My Picks

My selection in striper bait relies on practically 30-years of angling expertise, with hundreds of hours fishing for stripers. I’ve fished with plenty of completely different bait over time, from worms and squid, to menhaden, mullet, and mackerel, and eels. All of them have their time and place, and no single bait is finest. However normally, I believe menhaden, eels, and worms are your finest guess. I evaluated the bait decisions on this article primarily based on the next standards:

  • Strengths and weaknesses of every bait: I went by way of a wide range of baits and requested the next questions: What are the traits of every bait, and how much water are you able to fish them in? Is the bait species region-specific, or will it work wherever? Can it’s used each from a ship and shore?
  • Availability and price: Whereas there are lots of completely different baits on the market, not all are available, and a few are very costly. These decisions are usually obtainable up and down the East Coast.
  • Versatility: My picks are primarily based on baits which can be efficient in as many locations as attainable, up and down the coast.


Q: How a lot does bait for striped bass price?

Bait is very variable in its price. Worms and frozen clams could be comparatively low-cost, whereas reside eels and recent, domestically caught menhaden could be far more costly. Count on to pay wherever from a pair {dollars} for a full bundle of frozen bait (like squid), to over three for a single eel. However the more energizing and extra native a bait is, the higher it’s, and typically that can price extra. Whereas stripers aren’t choosy, in my view, recent bait is a lot better than frozen bait.

Q: What hooks must you use for stripers?

To reiterate what I mentioned within the introduction, apart from uncommon exceptions, circle hooks should be used when fishing for stripers with bait. Dimension will depend on the bait you’re utilizing. Massive lower bait—like menhaden, mullet, and mackerel—require bigger hooks starting from about 6/0 to 12/0. Small bait like worms, clams, and squid are finest matched to smaller hooks within the 1/0 to six/0 measurement. There are a number of nice producers of striper-grade circle hooks like Proprietor, Eagle Claw, Mustad, VMC, and Gamakatsu.

Q: Are you able to drift bait for striped bass?

Sure. It’s a standard false impression that bait fishing for stripers (or different species) requires utilizing a heavy weight, and sinking your bait to the underside, the place it’s going to sit stationary. As an alternative, utilizing no weight, very mild weight, or floats to maintain your bait shifting with the present is a extra pure and engaging presentation. In locations with present that strikes alongside or away from the shore, drifting bait could be one of the efficient ways to catch striped bass.

Ultimate Ideas

Whereas fishing with lures is enjoyable, there isn’t a substitution for bait, however lots of anglers make the error of shopping for no matter they see different individuals fishing. Similar to lures, not all bait works everywhere, or always. In the event you’re trying to catch probably the most stripers this season, take into account selecting bait from this listing that matches along with your type of angling.

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