Saturday, October 9, 2010

Morone Saxatilis or The Striped Bass : Part 2

Here on Smith Mountain Lake we have a decent population of Striped Bass. While there are several popular ways to catch these fish , my favorite has always been the use of live bait. I use a casting net to catch 6-8 inch gizzard shad here at the lake. They can usually be found in shallow water at the back of small coves.

I use two simple rigs when live bait fishing for Stripers. The simplest one is what I call a " Free Line ". To tie this , attach a barrel swivel to a 3' length of 20 lb. fluorocarbon , then tie this to the main line. Tie a 3/0 hook to the leader and you're done. Hook a shad through the nose and fish this rig straight behind the boat , letting the shad swim freely. The other rig I use is called a " Down Rig " and it is tied the same as the free line  , with the addition of a 2 ounce egg sinker and a glass bead on the main line. This rig is fished off of the sides of the boat. I watch the depth finder and if I am seeing fish 20 feet deep , I'll put out two or three of these rigs 15-18 feet down.

I fish these rigs in the main channel of the lake. I try to find areas with points and steep drop offs and position my boat so that the wind and current will push me across the points.

Another popular method of catching Stripers here on the lake is trolling. You can troll with a variety of baits , one of the most popular being the Sassy Shad. These can be fished on large jigheads or umbrella rigs and can be very effective in the summer.

Also worth mentioning is the use of artificial bait. Bucktails are a great option. Fish them slowly so they are just off of the bottom. Other good choices are shallow running crankbaits and jerkbaits. One of my favorites is the Storm Thunderstick. I have had a great deal of success fishing this lure parallel to the bank at night.

In saltwater , anglers targeting Striped Bass use Fish Finder rigs and cut bait similar to what is used when Drum fishing. Live eels are also a popular choice. Stripers can often be found around pier and bridge pilings at night , especially in areas where bait fish are drawn to lights. These fish will also hang out under the cleaning tables at some of the piers , especially when a lot of fish are being cleaned.

No matter how you catch them , Striped Bass always put up a good fight. They are also excellent table fare when cleaned properly. To clean a Striper , scale and fillet one side , then place the fillet skin side down. Hold the fillet by the tail end and run the fillet knife between the skin and meat , removing the skin. Turn the fillet over and cut out all of the red meat along the center of the fillet. Now cut the fillet into chunks and cook it using your favorite recipe.

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't really go into fishing for saltwater Stripers because it's something I don't do much of. Why fish for them in the ocean when I can catch them in my back yard?

    I welcome any comments related to catching Stripers in the surf!


Let's hear what YOU have to say...