Recent Articles for striper
fishing by the Pro Staff at Core Fishing Tackle:
Live Baiting for stripers
By the Pro Staff at Core Fishing Tackle
Most seasoned freshwater striper
fishermen know that live-bait is definitely the best technique
for catching the big stripers. Live baiting for stripers is not
hard, but for those who are just starting it can be a little overwhelming,
so we would like to provide some tips for those just getting started.
Terminal Tackle - To begin
with, the right terminal tackle is essential for presenting live
bait, hooking up and actually landing a monster striper.
What's the best rod
for live bait fishing? A 7 foot medium, medium-heavy action
rod is the norm around the freshwater striper arena, but there's
so many different ways of live baiting that each technique can
require a different rod. These techniques include; down-lines,
planer boards, floats, free-lines, light-lines, etc.
For down-lines, we've learned
that by having a rod that has a fast action tip will allow for
many more hook-ups. When a striper hits a down-lined bait, a fast
action tip will allow the striper time to get the bait in its
mouth before the rod loads completely up and then yields resistance.
When down-lining and you're having a lot of misses, it could be
from using too heavy of a rod because it will actually jerk the
bait and hook out from the striper's mouth before it had a chance
to get it in its mouth. We prefer 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot medium,
medium-light rods for down-lining stripers.
For planer boards and floats,
many people use a stiffer rod in order to get a quicker hook-set
since there is so much line between the rod and the fish. When
using monofilament, you have a lot of stretch that needs to be
compensated for, so a stiffer rod will play well into this technique.
For free-lines and light-lines,
a very long, limber rod is the ticket. Most of the time when free-lining
or light-lining, the striper will chase the bait for awhile before
eating it and the limber rod will allow the bait the most range
of motion. The fast action rod will also allow the striper to
hit the bait and arrange it in its mouth before the rod loads
up and sets the hook.
We've tried many rods and
our sponsored guides have used many rods, and the new Ugly Striper
rod from Shakespeare has been the top choice for all-around bait
fishing. This rod has a very light action tip that allows for
perfect down-lining, but has a strong backbone to get a hard hookset
when using floats and planers. Core Fishing Tackle carries these
7 foot, Medium-Light Ugly
What's the best reel
for live baiting? For reels, this will be mostly a user
preference, but the prerequisites are
1. a large spool of holding at least
150 yards of 20lb monofilament,
2. a bait clicker and
3. a smooth drag.
An extravagant braking or anti-backlash system is not necessary.
Striper fishing with live bait requires simply a TOUGH reel that
can take a ton of punishment. Abu Garcia were probably the most
popular striper reels up till now, but now there are two other
players that have begun to take the confidence of striper fishermen.
The Okuma Magda Pros are
very nice reels that incorporate a line counter. The Magda Pros
are very affordable which allows a striper fishermen to rig out
their boat with many rods and reels. The Okuma Magda Pro is a
big favorite of striper fishermen who use Umbrella Rigs and need
to load up a reel with braid and need to know the amount of line
that is out for determining depth.
Our new favorite live bait reel is the Pflueger®
Trion Machined 66. We've become huge fans of Pflueger reels
because of their smoothness and reliability. The Pflueger Trion
66 reels have 5 ball bearings and an INSTANT anti reverse which
to us is critical. They've also got a bait clicker which was a
great step by Pflueger.
We hate to turn our backs on Abu Garcia, but they've come out
with new models in 2006 in which we had problems with each reel,
especially the brake and drag systems. They're not the same reels
that we grew up with, that's for sure.
For the best monofilament
line for you main line, well, that's a beast that we'd rather
not tackle, because each fisherman has their favorite and they
will fight to the death defending that line (which is great!).
Some of our Pro Staff love Stren and some love Trilene, but we
believe stick with whatever you have confidence in. There's a
new player in the monofilament game and its called Sufix.
They are gaining a lot of respect from striper fishermen everywhere.
Sufix isn't as expensive as the other brands and it's a very dependable
line. Regardless of the manufacturer, the general pound test of
main line is 20-25lb test for filling your reel.
Now for your leader material. Fluorocarbon is it, period. Most
freshwater fishing guides now have switched to using fluorocarbon
for their leaders. Fluorocarbon is virtually invisible underwater
which leads to many more strikes. It's a fact. Again, there are
many manufacturers of fluoro, but we stand behind P-Line
and Yo-Zuri fluorocarbon
line. The most popular of the two is the
Yo-Zuri H.D. Carbon Disappearing Pink. Yes, Fluorocarbon is
expensive, but since you're only using 3 feet at a time for your
leaders, then its not a bad investment. IMPORTANT, fluorocarbon
is very susceptible to the elements and its critical to keep your
line out of the sun, cold, etc when possible.
What's this leader you're
talking about? The leader is simply a barrel swivel with
about 3 feet of line that is tied to a hook. If you're using a
sinker or a bead, these will go on your main line above the swivel.
Now on to hooks. Everybody
knows these days that Gamakatsu
makes the sharpest hooks out there. They're not cheap but they
are the best. If you're getting hung up a lot, say in submerged
trees or on the bottom, then you may be looking for another hook
that is cheaper. We love the LO42
Bronze hooks by Eagle Claw. Many conservation-minded fishing
guides are using Bronze hooks because they will rust extremely
quick. This is a Pro and Con of the LO42 Eagle Claw Bronze hooks.
The Pro is obviously that it will rust out in a fish's mouth if
the fish swallows the hook or line breakage occurs. The Con is
you can't leave these hooks out in the open because if they get
damp they will rust, and quickly at that. Our Pro Staff use the
100 pack of Eagle Claw LO42's and just grabs a dozen or so keeps
them in a spare hook box/bag and leaves that on the boat for a
period of time. Core carries the 2/0 and 3/0 version of these
hooks and these are specific to big bait. These hooks are too
big for using with Alewives or other small baits, but they work
perfectly with medium and big gizzards. For using Alewives and
other small baits, we've noticed over the years that most stripers
will not swallow these because they don't have to hit these little
baits head-first in order to eat them. For smaller baits we like
to use Eagle Claw's O85 Classic
hooks in the 1/0 and 2/0 size. These are Nickel plated hooks
that stay extremely sharp and do not corrode any. Again, these
Eagle Claws are very inexpensive and very dependable.
What's the best way to hook
a bait? All of our Pro Staff agree that when pulling baits or
putting downlines out, the best way to hook a bait is up through
the mouth and out through just 1 nostril. Some fisherman hook
a bait through the lower and upper lip. We have noticed that this
will drown a bait, or simply kill it quicker than the through-1-nostril
method. The other method that we don't like is hooking the bait
through both nostrils although we do have to do this method sometimes.
We've learned that by hooking through both nostrils, it increases
the chances of the hook getting turned back into the bait which
means many more missed hook ups. The only time we hook through
both nostrils is in the spring when stripers are so aggressive
that they will slap a bait many times before actually eating them.
When this happens we'll hook through both nostrils to ensure the
bait stays on the hook longer, even though we will have to check
our baits more frequently when using this method.
What's the best weight to
use when bait fishing? Our simplest answer is to use the lightest
weight that you can get away with and still keep the bait at the
Obviously if you're running 6-10 downlines around the boat with
big gizzards, then you're going to need 2-3 ounce weights to keep
the baits from getting tangled in each other. Baits have a need
to school up, and believe us, they will try to even when on a
hook. But generally speaking whenever using downlines, we use
2 ounce weights for medium to large gizzards and 1 ounce weights
for alewives. But when using Redi-Rigs and planers, try to use
the lightest weight you can. A typical spread of 8 planer boards
(4 on each side of the boat) will be; 1. Outside planer will be
freeline 2. Next to outside will have a 1/8ounce weight 3. Next
to inside will be a ¼ ounce weight and 4. the inside planer
will have a 3/8 ounce weight. This allows you to cover the entire
water column and using lighter weights near the banks will keep
the lines from getting hung up on the bottom. When running Redi-Rigs
our farthest Redi-Rigs will have no weight or a 1/8 ounce weight.
Then we add heavier weights to the floats that are closer to the
boat. Here's some selections of available
Staff at Core Fishing Tackle
Jigging up freshwater stripers
By the Pro Staff at Core Fishing Tackle
Jigging has been around for along time, but still
alot of striper fishermen do not utilize this technique. During
some times of the year, jigging can be much more productive than
live baiting, trolling and casting. Jigging up stripers isn't
hard, its easy and really fun, but it does take some time in order
to be confident in jigging.
When's the best time to jig? The 2 best times for
jigging is the dead of winter and the middle of summer. In these
2 times of the year, the stripers form very large schools and
will stay schooled throughout the day. During these two times
of the year, the stripers aren't feeding as heavily as they are
in the spring and fall, but you can use this to your advantage.
How do I get started? Well, first and foremost,
a good fish finder will be first necessity. If your freshwater
striper lake has submerged timber, then a really high-end fish
finder will be crucial. A high-end Lowrance fish finder would
be the Lowrance 25, 26, 27,
28, 104, 110, 111, 112 and 113 models. If your lake doesn't
have submerged timber, then a standard sonar will be fine. To
see stripers in the trees or on the bottom, make sure you have
your sensitivity turned up to near its highest point before the
screen gets totally cluttered. Also make sure that you have any
Noise Rejection or Surface Clarity settings turned to the OFF
or LOW position. Noise Rejection/Surface Clarity will try and
make your fish finder paint a pretty picture and it'll blend fish
into the surroundings, which isn't what we're looking for.
Where do I look to jig up some stripers? Trees,
trees, trees. If your lake has submerged timber, then this will
be the first place to look. During the winter and summer, stripers
will retreat to the trees during the daylight hours to cruise
around and relax. The best spot to look is near the mouth of a
major creek or cove that you know stripers are feeding in during
the morning, evening and night. The stripers shouldn't move too
far from their food source during the day, but they will want
some deeper water to relax in and get down away from the sun.
The next place to look is on main channel points. As everyone
knows, stripers don't really associate with structure for feeding,
except for points. Stripers use points like a pathway to drive
bait up and coral them between the bottom and the surface. During
the daylight hours, some stripers will still continue to feed
and main channel points are a great location to look. A clean-bottomed
point will be best. Start at the deepest part of the point, say
around 50-60 feet deep and work your way shallower by dropping
your jig to the bottom and just jigging several inches above the
bottom. If you have a high-end fish finder, then you should see
some 'suspicious bumps' on the bottom, which if you're used to
seeing them, will be stripers cruising the bottom. 90% of the
time, if you're seeing fish cruising the bottoms around points,
then they're in the feeding mood.
Alright, what's the right tackle to use? We'll jump
right into the baits, because its pretty simple. You'll need a
soft-bodied plastic on a jig head and a spoon-type bait of some
sort. For the soft-bodied baits, we've found the Zoom
Super Flukes are the best, hands down. They're not elaborate
or expensive, but they will catch some serious fish. The reason
we believe they work so well is that they're pretty simple in
body style, which allows the fisherman to fish it in any way they
seem suitable. Next you'll need a jig-head in which to thread
the fluke onto. We like ½
& ¾ ounce jig heads for jigging up stripers because
they fall quick enough to feel a quick bite and the quick fall
allows you to get down to fast moving stripers very quickly. If
you're using monofilament or fluorocarbon, they you'll need to
rig your jig head with a
barrel swivel and a split ring
in order to alleviate any line twist. Line twist will definitely
occur when jigging for stripers if you do not have the swivel/split
ring combination. Here are the rigs that we use:
When jigging flukes try different types of jigging
motions to find out what the stripers are looking for. There's
no wrong way to work a fluke. Most of the time when we're jigging
for stripers, we'll use a fairly long jigging motion until we
see active fish on the sonar in which we'll switch to a very quick,
short erratic jigging motion to seal the deal on the striper bite.
Most of the time the long jig will get the stripers attention
and they'll come up and look at it, but sometimes they won't hit
it unless you switch to that quick, erratic jigging motion which
simulates a fleeting baitfish. A striper will hit a jigged fluke
on the fall, the rise and anywhere in-between
For spoons there are many types, sizes, colors and manufacturers.
We're big fans of Hopkins
Shorty Spoons and Acme Kastmaster
Spoons. Hopkins Shorty Spoons are cheaper, but don't have
the bright finish that the Kastmaster Spoons do. Stripers love
each, so we'll use both. The ¾ ounce spoon by both manufacturers
are the best. We rig our spoons just like our jig heads, by using
a barrel swivel and split ring to alleviate line twist. To jig
a spoon, some people like to do short, small jigs, but we found
it better to use a long up motion to allow for more drop-time
which is where the stripers will hit a spoon 9 times out of 10.
After you pull a spoon up with your rod, let the spoon fall back
down without any line tension. If you have tension on the spoon,
then it will not flutter down, it will fall vertically without
any motion. While you're letting the spoon drop, follow the falling
slack line with your rod tip so that as soon as you SEE a twitch
in your line, set the hook! When a freshwater striper hits a spoon,
most of the time they're coming up on it which means you won't
feel the striper hit, you'll just see the line make a quick jump
since its being pushed up.
What kind of rod and reel should I use? Any type
of standard bass rod and reel will work as long as you have some
decent line that is 12-17lb test. Don't try to fight a 20lb striper
out of the trees with 8lb monofilament, it won't work most of
the time. The Pro Staff at Core Fishing Tackle have tried countless
types of rods, but we're all huge fans of the Airrus
Co-Matrix 457 Medium Action 7 foot casting rod. This rod has
a very comfortable grip with a long butt which allows you to 'bounce'
the rod off of your forearm in order to jig without much effort.
These Airrus Rods have a fast action tip which allows for easy
jigging, but they also have a tough backbone to horse a striper
up out of the trees.
For reels, we like any type of reel that has a fast gear ratio
and can hold a fair amount of line. You will need a fast gear
ratio in order to get a striper out of the trees as fast as possible.
Pflueger Trion baitcasting reels
are perfect because of their high gear ratio and their wide
spools. With a Pflueger you'll be confident in its drag and the
high gear ratio and large line capacity are great added benefits!
Now go get jiggin'.
Staff at Core Fishing Tackle