The fall run is a chaotic and wonderful time to be a striped bass angler. Even though fishermen throughout most of the Northeast can count on about two solid months of fishing for migrating stripers between Labor Day and New Year’s, there’s a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” feel that causes us to cast with a sense of urgency that wasn’t present back when the bass were migrating north.
To help make the most of this year’s fall striper migration, we’ve compiled this “Survival Guide” by surveying some of the most dedicated surfcasters in the Northeast and sharing some of our favorite tips for the final months of the striper season. – Jimmy Fee
Find the Bait…
Right alongside the migrating stripers, a great variety of baitfish are also heading to their wintering grounds in the fall. With many calories needed to fuel their long swims south, stripers aren’t picky about what they consume. I’ve seen fall bass blitzing on snapper blues, northern kingfish, hickory shad, bunker big and small, mullet, anchovies, lizardfish, sea herring, and mantis shrimp, yet there is a clear hierarchy of baitfish that pose the greatest benefit to striper-seeking surfcasters.
Of the 30 hardcore surfcasters we surveyed, here’s the breakdown of the baitfish they are most excited to see in the fall.
“’Chovies! Everything of all shapes and sizes eats them. It’s so cool to see how they stain the water and spray like the gold coins from Scrooge McDuck.”
– Stephen Lobosco, New York
Related Article: Striped Bass on Rain Bait
Menhaden and Mackerel
“Bunker and macks because stripers like them even more than I like pot roast.”
– East End Eddie Doherty, Massachusetts
Related Article: The Bunker Handbook
“When the squid boats are dragging within site of the surf, the fishing’s usually pretty good.”
– Earl Evans, Van Staal Reels, Rhode Island
Related Article: Catching Calamari-Crazed Stripers
“Mullet. I get excited, because they don’t always show up. There are just a few spots I fish where they are a possibility, and if everything lines up right, it is almost guaranteed to be incredible fishing.”
– Jerry Audet, In Deep Outdoors, Massachusetts
Article: The Northeast’s Mullet Run
“Peanut Bunker. The absolute craziest blitzes I’ve seen have been fueled by peanuts.”
– Steve Gallant, Massachusetts
Related Article: The Peanut Bunker Boom
“This will sound crazy, but I don’t worry about bait too much in the fall. I search for the most productive migration highways and find areas that put me in the best position to intercept the bass on their way south.”
– Anthony Pizzella, Maine
The post Baitfish of the Fall Run | Fall Run Survival Guide first appeared on On The Water.
Did you miss our previous article…