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Fish of the Month: Striped Bass (morone saxatilis)

Striped bass (aka Atlantic striped bass, aka striper, aka linesider, aka rock, aka rockfish) is a North America Atlantic Coast fish, streamlined to swim fast and furiously. It has a silvery coat with lengthwise dark stripes and can range from eight to forty pounds. It’s the state fish of Maryland, North Carolina and Florida, and the state saltwater fish of New Hampshire, Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Fishing for striped bass dates back to written recordings from the colonial period when European settlers observed and described their habits along the Northeast Coast.

September through November is the best time to catch striped bass in the waters around New York City, especially Jamaica Bay. During the fall, stripers are abundant and can reach 30 to 40-inches long. (The world-record striped bass was caught on the night of August 4, 2011 in Connecticut waters by Greg Myerson and weighed in at 81.88 pounds, which edges out the previous record of 78.8 pounds caught in 1982) You can still catch blackfish, bluefish, flounder and maybe a dogfish shark or Atlantic sturgeon, but stripers should dominate.

If fishing for striper by boat, trolling live bait or artificial lures is the best technique. Stripers will strike at live herring, menhaden, mackerel, eels, squid, clams, anchovies, bloodworms, shad, nightcrawlers and sandworms. They’ll also go for lures that resemble the plant base in the spots where you fish for them. Kayak fishing has become hugely popular in Jamaica Bay.

Photo: Marina 59

As far as the right equipment for stripers this time of year, a good fish finder will help if your fishing by boat. Stripers will swim at different depths and in unpredictable places depending on the season, weather and time of day. So a fish finder would be helpful. Make sure you or someone you’re fishing with has read the manual in depth and can operate the fish finder like a pro.

The right rod and reel will depend on the how you’re fishing--by boat, from shore, freshwater or saltwater, off a jetty or pier. A sturdy saltwater spinning reel with a 10 to 20-pound test monofilament line or something heavier could handle a 20 to 25-pound striper.

For more information or to rent a skiff or kayak contact Marina 59.

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