• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On April 26, 2019
  • Comments
  •  3

Striper fishing is lit up right now in New Jersey, and it’s just the start of the spring run.

While there are varied tactics to catch bass via trolling, livelining, snag-n-drop, etc. jigging bass with soft baits is always an adrenaline juiced affair with jarring strikes and high hookup ratios. Late April through June, stripers will be found anywhere from the back bays to the surf to the ocean.

Oceanside and inside Raritan Bay, where bunker are the prevalent baits, wide profile rubber baits mimic the bait body style best. Bring an assortment of 4 to 12-inch Storm Paddletail, Hogy Pro Tail Paddle or Tsunami Paddletail shads. The shads are normally pre-weighted with ½ to 2-ounce weights imbedded in the rubber mold of the hook shank. Shads can be dropped to the bottom and simply reeled in slowly to the surface, or they can be jigged in 2 to 3 foot swoops at the depth where fish are marking.

In deeper waters, when herring or eels are a main forage, Hogy Pro Tail eels or BKD 10 inch baits matched with larger Kalins leadheads of 2 to 3 ounces dopplegang the right profile. I’ve also recently had luck tipping A Band of Anglers 1-ounce Flying Bucktail with a Dartspin to jig up deeper water stripers from Raritan Bay in the past week as the flashing of the flicker spoon blade on the Dartspin incites the bass to commit. Slim profile rubber baits get the nod when sand eels or large spearing are around. Tsunami or Vision sand eel baits are lights-out offerings as spring turns into summer.

In the shallow bay and back river systems, set up with smaller rubber baits that mimic bay anchovies, rainfish and spearing. Break out the 4 to 5-3/4 inch Fin-S Fish, Bass Assassins, Zman Elaztech paddletails and DOA CALs. Match them with a lighter 3/8 to ½-ounce Kalins leadhead or bucktail. Bang them off the sodbanks and around bridge pilings where bass will lay under the overhangs or in the shadowlines of the bridges during dark hours. The key is to retrieve the rubber baits slowly or in a twitch-jerk reel type of retrieve. Spring striper fishing is firing on all cylinders. Reap the rewards with rubber baits!


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