• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On March 9, 2018
  • Comments
  •  2

Striped bass season reopened in Jersey’s backwaters on March 1st, and its been a bananas bite since the first minute. Don’t get hyped to catch any slobs though, as 95% of the fish are schoolie size of 18 to 26 inches long, but right now its about quantity over quality.

By far, the easiest way to score first of the year stripers is by bloodworming. Start by going with medium-light tackle rods like a 7-foot Shimano Teramar TMSE70M matched with a Quantum Iron 30 reel, spooled with 20 to 30-pound Power Pro braided line.

For rigs, scale down from a regular striper type rig with large hooks and grab a pre-packaged Fin Strike/Aqua Clear Hi-Lo Kingfish/Spot pill float rig equipped with size #2 Mustad Baitholder or Pacific Bass hooks and a 2-ounce bank sinker for weight. The pill floats allow the bloodworms to float just off the bottom a bit as the stripers patrol the mud flats to suck them down as if they just popped out of the muddy bottom. Rig a half bloodworm threaded onto the hook shank, leaving a good inch or two to dangle off the bend. When tides are ripping, a fishfinder slide rig will lay the bloodworm out better in the current, consisting of a braid-friendly slide sinker clip, a 75-pound Spro Barrel Swivel, 24-inch section of 25-pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon Leader and a size 2/0 Gamakatsu Baitholder hook on the end.

Hot spots for early season stripers are anywhere you can find water temps that are above 48 degrees. Annual Jersey producers are back bay areas as well as river systems such as at Graveling Point in Great Bay, Toms River, Absecon Creek and the Great Egg River. If the bite is fast and furious, hold the pole in your hand to set the hook, otherwise put it down in a rod spike and watch it closely as the scrappy stripers have the ability to pull the rod into the water if you turn a blind eye. I hit a night trip this week with five other friends while the low pressure dropped right before the Nor’Easter and a 5 hour session had us tallying up 109 stripers, and we left them biting. Don’t wait! The bass are already here, grab some bloods and hit it during the dark hours.

Gear Used


Teramar Inshore NE

In actions and lengths, along with special design features to tackle waters from New England down through Long Island and the Jersey Coast, Shimano introduces an extensive selection of Teramar ‘Northeast’ rods.


Aqua Clear

Kingfish Spot Perch Rigs

Aqua-Clear Kingfish Spot Perch High/Low Rig. The Rig comes with size 8 hooks with floats & red beads. Brilliantly colored beads and long sturdy hooks ensure catching and holding your fish. Be prepared with Aqua-Clear.



Bank Sinker

Bank Sinkers are typically preferred for bottom fishing applications, where its tapered hexagonal shape will help to prevent it from becoming snagged in wrecks, reefs, and other structure. Available ranging from 1/2oz up to 24 oz.



Iron Inshore

The Quantum Iron Inshore Spinning Reels deliver the best value in inshore saltwater reels. Borrowing features like TiMag from its big brother Cabo, followed by a 1-2 knockout in corrosion from the combination of aluminum and SaltGuard 2.0.



Well laid out and greatly appreciate details such as pics of tackle/gear.

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