Northeast, The Striped Bass Highway.Ben Secrest
It’s cold, windy, the leaves are falling off the trees… and the striped bass are migrating by the millions!! Every year Fall and early winter mark a mass migration of these beautiful fish heading to their winter dwellings in Maryland and Virginia.
The western Long Island sound fish enter the east river making their way to NY Harbor and then out to the ocean giving anglers weeks of not months of excellent fishing as these fish are on the constant feed to fatten up for their trek to the Chesapeake and beyond.
While the fish are moving in the thousands and even millions through the east river it is time to target them with live eels! You definitely want some stouter tackle as these fish are routinely in the 40lb class. This season the “Valiant 300” did the job on fish to 40lbs no problem.
We used the Valiant and Fury reels while drifting eels, live-lining menhaden or bunker for these bucket mouthed fish. When we had a school of fish in our bays, throwing plugs and poppers to hungry Striped bass was best done with the SR-6 and SR-12 loaded with 30lb braid. We also got into a lot of snagging and dropping which involves snagging bunker with a treble hook and dropping them back down to hungry Striped bass the SR-12 were flawless for this!
If you haven’t gotten out yet for Striped bass in New Jersey the time is ticking down. There are still fish around but a nice body of fish has moved into the Chesapeake, so Maryland and Virginia are definite options for landing a trophy Striped bass!