Monday, July 06, 2009

Best Bait for Striped Bass and Bluefish (Striper Fishing)

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The weather is getting warmer. Summer is in the air, and the east coast ocean water is almost warm enough to dip two of your toes in. This warmer water means the fish are headed deeper, and it is the perfect time to chunk bait for stripers and bluefish.
Here is your mission should you choose to accept:
Fish the bottom with big chunks of bunker or mackerel and catch huge stripers and bluefish.
The Bait: If you are fishing in the early spring sand worms and fresh clams work well. Any other time of the year bunker, mackerel, porgy and small bluefish will do the trick. Your best results will come from using fresh bait and not frozen. Only the freshest bait will retain and attract the desired catch.

Tackle: Fish finder, barrell swivel, 2 ounce to 5 ounce sinkers - the heavier sinker will depend on the waters current. You will also need leader and snelled hooks. (Many tackle shops sell the pre packaged striped bass hooks rigged to monofilament leaders.
The Process: Find productive water. This should be a spot where the predators are likely to ambush prey or show up at feeding times to forage and or hunt.
Once you have found your place to set up camp, you’re ready to steak up some pieces of bait and get a line in the water.
All that is involved in chunking bait is cutting the bait into sections. Porgy, bunker, mackerel, and snappers all work well. You can also chunk eels. Chunking implies the animal is dead already.
Presenting the Bait: Cut 5 or 6 chunks also cut away the belly of the fish keeping the head and discarding the tail fin. Cut the piece directly in front of the tail fin into an inch or 2 inch chunk. This piece will stay on the line the longest. The presentation of the cut chunks in moving water will be extremely enticing to your prey. The head is my favorite piece for stripers and the tail is a delicacy for the bluefish.

The Gear: I prefer a 10 ft surfcasting rod for chunking. Some people prefer longer rods. The longer rods allow for more casting distance. The reel should be large enough to hold at least 200 to 300 yards of 20 pound monofilament line.
Now- the Set Up: A 6/0 or larger wide gap hook or wide gap circle hook attached to anywhere between 18 and 40 inch mono leaders. For bluefish you have to use at least 50 pound mono leader or wire for they will mangle or bite right through mono leader. Tackle shops sell blue fish rigs, they are hooks attached to wire leaders with crimps. The line from your reel will go though the tip of your rod right on though the fish finder. Once your though the fish finder tie the line to one end of your barrel swivel. The other end will start your rig. The rig will be 30 to 50 pound mono line. The line should be any where from 15-36 inches long depending on you casting ability. The shorter rig will be for the novice caster and longer for the more advanced. The end of your rig will be a 6/0 or larger snelled or circle hook. The last thing left to do is hook on a nice chunk of bait and cast as far as you can without losing the chunk of bait. It takes practice to get a good cast down without throwing the chung off the hook. Well folks, Its that simple. Refer to the picture below for an example of the rig.
This technique can be used from a beach, a boat or a river shoreline. Just get yourself a sand spike, set your drag and let ‘er rip. Please remember - keep your lines tight and always keep bringing in your slack. Set your drag lose enough for the fish to pull but hard enough so that they can hook themselves. Good Luck email me and let me know how this set-up worked for you.
P.S. If you get a nice run and hear a good scream from your reel but don't hook into a fish. Do not reel in just yet. Give it five more minutes. Chances are that hog will come back for seconds.


  1. Very helpful for New surf fisherman. Many times the size of bait seems like overkill to someone who has never scene this kind of fishing.

    A few notes,

    don't use that kind of fish finder rig. Those little black plastic ones break under very little pressure. Best are the ones that have the twisting mechanism that can be attached to a line already rigged.

    Also not so important but if you are a knife guy like me... If you plan on cutting bait on the sand be ready for your knife to be totally dull within a few days. Sand is much harder than the hardest steel. Many fishing knives that doesnt matter, but if you like you knife, be careful. cut on wood or bring a chunk of cardboard and make a disposable cutting board.

    The Preacher

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