Striped bass swim freshwater and salt, from Canada to Florida and west to California. The andromonous fish spend their lives in the ocean, then return to their natal rivers to spawn. For many anglers, striper are the ultimate sport fish. They eat almost anything, fight hard and taste delicious. Best yet, fall is the hottest time for striped bass fishing wherever they swim.
Meet Our Striper Experts
A professional fishing guide and pro staffer with KastKing and Hobie, Vaisberg lives and fishes in coastal New York.
A pro staffer with Power-Pole, Bending Branches and Jackson Kayak, Howard fishes the Chattahoochee and Coosa rivers.
Fall Fishing Tips for Striped Bass
How to Find Striped Bass
Elias Vaisberg: “Birds, birds, birds. Look for birds working over feeding fish. Or find large schools of menhaden on the surface. Focus on the back bays, inlets and along the beach.”
Evan Howard: “I launch my kayak in small feeder creeks, then float out to the lake. Shad are often found at the mouth of the creeks or on the large flats where the creek enters the main lake. Striped bass will follow the schools of shad.”
Ideal Striper Conditions
EV: “Water temperatures in the mid-60s, overcast sky and light east wind. October and November are prime time. Weekends can be crowded.”
EH: “Striped bass are light-sensitive so they typically stay deep on bluebird days. Wait for overcast weather before a front for the striper to put on the feedbag.”
What’s in Your Tackle Locker?
EV: “KastKing Sharky 3000 series spinning combo with 15-pound KastKing. Add a few feet of 25-pound fluorocarbon leader in clear water.”
EH: Dobyns Fury 795 swimbait rod with a Daiwa Lexa 300 reel loaded with 25-pound-test Trik Fish camo monofilament line.
Striper Lures and Rigs
EV: “A 5.5-inch EliasVFishing swimshad. Match the size, shape and color of bunker and mullet. If bunker schools are showing, snag a bunker with a treble-hook rig and feed it back to the fish.”
EH: “Striped bass key in on schools of shad, so my favorite lure is a six-inch, slow-sink, Mike Bucca Bull Shad. I bump up to a nine-inch Bull Shad when gizzard shad are around. I also use a cast-able umbrella rig with five-inch shads on 1/4- to 3/8-ounce jigheads to imitate a school of shad.”
Best Striped Bass Story
EV: “Halloween weekend in 2014 was epic. My biggest fish was 49 inches, almost 50 pounds, caught on a live bunker deep in the back bay.”
EH: “My biggest striper on conventional tackle is a 40-inch striper that smashed an umbrella rig. It took me three years to catch a big striper on fly rod. The strike and initial run is so violent and powerful that striper fishing becomes an addiction. Chasing any other species of bass pales in comparison.”