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Striper Fishing – Ocean from the Shore

So…If you don’t know about the massive migration that happens in the late spring / early summer, it’s ok. Wake up though, because it is absolutely amazing. I have done extensive striper fishing, both fresh & salt water, and I can say with a great deal of confidence that the migration in the eastern states is where it’s at.

It all starts in April when stripers start making there way into rivers in NC & VA. Fishing these rivers is much different, but eerily similar to fishing in the ocean. Stripers in the rivers stack up behind rocks, current breaks, logs, etc… Pretty much anything that has still water next to moving water. As a fly angler, we have to pick a spot and hit it hard to get the fly down to their level…or wait for a top water bite early or late in the day.

Take it to the Salt

Fishing in the ocean is much easier, in my opinion of course. If you have access to a boat, your main target is finding bait fish; the stripers will be nearby. The largest striper of my life was caught drifting a shallow reef <4′ of water, but there was a lot of bait around: mackerel, crabs, lobsters, etc.

Fishing from shore is slightly different, but again, similar. The main difference are that you can’t move spots to find bait. Primarily, I focus on rock piles, current breaks on moving tides from estuaries, and surf casting during a tide swing. All of these areas concentrate bait and make it move. This, to me, is the key to striper fishing. Still water allows the bait to relax, but a bunker, silver side, etc. does not like being swept out by a tide swing. So, find a nice jetty that has an outflow from an inshore pond. Then fish the current break or fish near structure under the water: bridge, rocks, sand bar, etc.

Fishing from shore is slightly different, but again, similar. The main difference are that you can’t move spots to find bait. Primarily, I focus on rock piles, current breaks on moving tides from estuaries, and surf casting during a tide swing. All of these areas concentrate bait and make it move. This, to me, is the key to striper fishing. Still water allows the bait to relax, but a bunker, silver side, etc. does not like being swept out by a tide swing. So, find a nice jetty that has an outflow from an inshore pond. Then fish the current break or fish near structure under the water: bridge, rocks, sand bar, etc.

Surf casting… wait for a wave to break and cast into the wash. Bait fish are disrupted during the wave break and striper eat them up. I’ve found early morning and evening to be the best, but don’t shy away from fishing during high sun. I tend to focus on surf casting with high sun.

Hit the Spots at Night

Night time = large fish. Any hardcore striper fisherman will tell you large fish are caught at nighttime. This is a fact. If you caught smaller fish around structure earlier in the day, head back at nighttime. That means it is a hot spot for bait and a good place to stage up. Full moon equals more light at nighttime for the fish to see. Typically, stripers feed at night more during full moon periods and the daytime bite slows down.

Lastly, don’t try to time tides, weather, etc. Just go fishing when you can. You’ll be surprised at the willingness of striper to continue to eat, especially the schoolies.

Flies:

Clouser minnows (char/white, olive/white, black), Bunker flies for nighttime, surf candy, really any bait fish (size is most important!!!), crab fly for reefs if keyed in on crabs (again size is important), poppers early morning 2hrs before sun up

Rod:

8wt-10wt

Line:

I like intermediate line. Carry a few different ones as stripers feed throughout the water column. If they are deep, I like to add a Scientific Angler sonar leader to get down quick.

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