April 24, 2024

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The Best Striped Bass Baits – An Angler’s’ Guide

Reading Time: 7 minutes

A part of the Moronidae – or “temperate Bass” – family, Striped Bass are among the largest Bass species. Larger species can grow to over 50 inches, weighing well over 50 pounds. And while it’s more common to catch ones around the 35-inch and 20-pound mark, these are still decent-sized creatures.

Photo courtesy of Rock On Fishing

Anglers both young and old have fun catching these exciting fish and feel rewarded once they get their hands on them. However, there are a few key components to successfully catching a Striped Bass. Of course, the most important factor is knowing the best bait to do so. And that’s why I’m here today. I’ll shed light on the tips and tricks for fishing for this species, covering everything including the best bait for Striped Bass. Let’s get started:

The Basics: Striped Bass Characteristics

Striped Bass are thick, meaty fish, no matter their length or weight. They come with sharp fins to warn off predators, and they’re light in color. They have hints of dark shading throughout their fins and towards the top of their bodies. But the factor that sets them apart from other Bass species – besides their size – is the horizontal stripes along their bodies, hence the name “Striped Bass.”

Where to Find Striped Bass

Striped Bass are located in various areas across the world. They’re commonly found in the United States in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. The outlet of the Mississippi River as well as the river outlets in the Northeastern US are home to many Striped Bass. Indeed, Striped Bass migrate annually to the latter, creating a spawning frenzy in Delaware and New York, in particular! 

A group of male anglers aboard a fishing charter in the Chesapeake Bay with a large bridge visible behind them, as they all hold a Striped Bass each on a clear day
Photo courtesy of Mallard Charters Charter Fishing and Cruises

In addition to the United States, Striped Bass also swim near Canada’s coastal waters, as well as some areas near Mexico. No matter the region they’re in, you can find them in both saltwater and freshwater. Why? Well, they spend most of their lives in saltwater but they migrate to inshore, brackish, and freshwater regions during spawning season! And there are even a few lakes, such as Lake Texoma, where they thrive!

The best areas to go Striped Bass fishing are ones that have plenty of surrounding bait fish, shelter, deep cuts, and currents. Examples of areas you will want to try out include rivers, jetties, shallow waters, bays, beaches, estuaries, deep ocean water, and more. The good thing about Striped Bass fishing is that you can fish whether you’re on land, on a boat, or even a small non-motorized craft.

If you aren’t sure where to begin or don’t live in an area where you have access to the above-mentioned and need to travel, don’t worry! Your best option is to book a fishing charter and let the experienced guides do the work for you. Fishing Booker can help you find the perfect guide for your Striped Bass fishing needs. Just filter down your search and take a look at all the skilled captains.

Striped Bass Fishing Seasons

Two adults and a young girl aboard a fishing charter in Delaware, each holding up at least one Striped Bass with a lighthouse visible across the water behind them on a clear day
Photo courtesy of Tight Times Charters

Striped Bass prefer water temperatures on the cooler side. That’s why you’ll find them in greater numbers in northern areas. Going along with this, the spring and fall months will provide the best opportunities to find larger quantities of them, as well as more success at getting them to bite. These months are perfect because it’s not too hot but it’s not too cold either. It’s also the time when they migrate in high numbers, meaning they’re more active and searching for food.

In most areas, you’ll have opportunities to catch Striped Bass all day, year-round, but the best chances are in those cooler months during the morning or evening hours. Nighttime, as well as overcast and slightly stormy weather, provide good opportunities, too. This is because there is more “lowlight” which Striped Bass prefer.

Experienced Striper anglers recommend fishing around new or full moons because the tides will be larger and the currents will be stronger. Striped Bass like to hang around currents because they kick up nutrients and push bait around. But, truth be told, any time during the season will yield results.

The Best Baits for Striped Bass

Here we come to the most anticipated section, the best baits for Striped Bass! These fish grow to large sizes, fight hard, and can be aggressive. Providing prey they love will up your chances of hooking into a good one. There are numerous options for bait that Striped Bass are favorable to – both live and artificial. Let’s check them out…

Live Striped Bass Baits


A view of the waters near a marina with the edge of a boat visible and a large number of Menhaden fish swimming around, ready to be caught as bait

Menhaden are thick, little bait fish that work well for Striped Bass. You can throw these guys down with sinkers, freeline them in currents, or even use them as dead or cut bait. They’re also pretty abundant in northern areas.


As gross as it sounds, Striped Bass love to slurp down eels. You can try catching small ones near rocks or jetties and use them as bait. You can use small fish or crustaceans to get them to bite. Just be careful when using them for prey as they have sharp teeth!


A view across the water towards a man clamming, looking for bait, as his small boat is anchored up on a clear day in the shallow waters

Another popular menu item for Stripers is clams. You can place the hook through the belly of a fresh clam for some intense Striped Bass action. Dead or frozen clams work too, but fresh ones are the best choice.


Striped Bass aggressively attack worm baits, and they tend to suck them in and swallow them. Be sure to hook your worm strategically so the fish doesn’t easily pull it off.


A closeup of a hand holding a shrimp between its fingertips, ready to be used as Sheepshead bait, with water visible in the distance

Shrimp species like grass shrimp are commonly used for Striped Bass fishing. These guys are scattered all around the waters of the Northeastern US, where you can attempt to scoop some up. Alternatively, you can purchase some at a local bait shop.


Using squid around the 2–5-inch mark is perfect for Striped Bass. They’re softer and easier for Bass to get down and the fish simply can’t resist the taste. You may find it difficult to find squid on your own, and most bait shops don’t sell them live. The best bet is to buy some frozen squid at a bait shop or a local grocery store.


A crab being suspended mid-air from a fishing line, as it's being used as bait in an inshore fishing area

These small crustaceans provide more snacks for hungry Stripers. It’s best to find crabs with soft shells as they’re easier for Striped Bass to feast on. You can even catch crabs yourself by looking around beaches and shallow, rocky regions. If not, don’t worry. Plenty of bait shops sell crabs and may have the perfect size for your fishing needs.


Mackerel are another option for Striped Bass bait because of their oily, smelly meat. You can freeline these guys live or you can use them for cut bait. The smell of freshly cut meat will attract nearby Stripers. Local bait shops and grocery stores will have frozen ones, which can work too, but it’s better to use a fresh one, whether it’s alive or cut. 


While it definitely isn’t the most popular choice, lobster is also a possible bait for Striped Bass fishing. Stripers like the taste and crunch of crustaceans, and when they can get a piece of thick meat out from their shell, it’s a delicious journey. I think I can say the same when I eat lobster!

Artificial Striped Bass Baits

A red and green topwater lure being dragged across the water in an attempt to attract a fish on a bright day
  • Topwater lures are great for Striped Bass, especially in early morning or sunset conditions. You just need to “walk the dog” as you jerk your pole, causing a zig-zag motion of your bait along the surface of the water. You’ll hear a little clicking sound as your bait maneuvers around. The best part about using a topwater is that the fish will break through the surface to eat it, creating a heart-racing moment. 
  • Soft plastics paired with jig heads are another popular artificial bait option for Striped Bass. The idea is to get a lure that imitates a real creature that Stripers eat. Look for some that may resemble eels, crabs, shrimp, small fish, etc. When you place these in their direction… well, just one glance and they’ll be chasing your bait.
  • Jigs are another successful option. These baits go beneath the surface and make lots of movement and noise, attracting nearby Stripers. They may also shine or glimmer a bit as the plastic skirts dance around.
  • Similar to topwater lures and jigs, spoons also entice Striped Bas thanks to their shine, movement, and noise. These can be casted and reeled in quickly, which is a reason why a lot of anglers enjoy using them. Treble hooks are in place to also give further chances at a successful hookset.

Striped Bass Fishing Rules and Regulations

As already mentioned, you can expect to see Striped Bass in various countries and states. With that being said, regulations will vary depending on the region you are in. For example, states within the United States require fishing licenses at all times when fishing for Striped Bass. While countries like Canada do not require fishing licenses in certain circumstances. Be sure to check with your local area to see if you need one or not.

When it comes to open seasons, minimum and maximum lengths, and bag limits, this is also something you should check with the local government agency of the region you’re fishing in. This varies as well depending if the area is overfished, if it’s a high spawning area, and more. Each region has its own type of fish or wildlife conservation agency that can direct you to the proper regulations

Striped Bass Baits: The Key to a Successful Fishing Trip

A group of eight anglers of all ages aboard a fishing charter, each holding a Striped Bass on a bright day
Photo courtesy of Reel Attitude

By now you should have a solid understanding of the best baits for Striped Bass fishing, along with some insight into how to fish for them. Whether you’re new to Striped Bass fishing or have been catching them for years, I hope you’ve gained some knowledge by reading this article. After all, you always need the right bait to catch a fish!

Are you a Striped Bass angler? What bait do you like using? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

The post The Best Striped Bass Baits: An Angler’s Guide  appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Caitlyn Gatrell
Title: The Best Striped Bass Baits: An Angler’s Guide 
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/best-striped-bass-baits/
Published Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2023 14:35:43 +0000

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