Striped Bass Fishing From Shore

The Striped Bass is often the most frustrating, elusive fish to catch because of its size, smarts, and location. Striper fishing is a favorite trip for the East Coast sports fisherman like myself, who brave early spring and late fall temperatures to hit the beach to try and claim bragging rights to one of the best trophy fish in the ocean. To be successful, you need to know a few things. How to catch striped bass from shore?

You’ll need to know:

  • The Water Temperature
  • The Time of High & Low Tides
  • The right kind of Surf Equipment to Use
  • The right Bait the Striped Bass are hitting on that Day
  • The right colored lure they’re hitting on
  • A weight that holds the bottom
  • How to Read Surf
  • How to Set Your Hook to land your Bass on the Beach

We arrive at the top of the Island just below Seaside Heights New Jersey. There is always a Bait Shop opened up at the entrance where fishermen hang around telling stories of the Big Bass Stripers that they landed a few years ago.

They also have the information you’ll need to know for catching a striper that day. So grab a coffee and listen up!

Surf Fishing Striper


1.   Time-Temperature: 

Most guys I know agree on the two hours before and the two hours after high tide are critical. Bass starts to bite at 50 degrees and can stop if the water temperature slips up or down. Fish perpendicular straight out to the breakers, aiming in front of the sandbar which is where you will find a deep Trough where hopefully a Big Striper Bass will be hunting prey running horizontally through the channel.

2. Equipment:

You’ll need an 8-12 foot surf rod with a 20 lb. monofilament fishing line. You also need to use a 30-60 lb. test braided line which is better for casting.  Bass will bite on bait, lures, bucktails & poppers.

Your Surf reel like this one on Amazon can deal with sand and the fish needs a drag setting that works well. It needs to be enclosed. Striped bass will take the line out & run then hook themselves. You don’t set the hook like you would with most fish. If you try, you’ll lose it. Then again Striped Bass aren’t like other fish.

Most fishermen in New Jersey use a sand spike to set the rod down in the sand. But others say that Striped Bass bite so light you need both hands on the rod at all times when you are fishing. I think they are right. So set the beer down and fish with both hands.

3.   Bait:   

Stop in the Tackle Shop and find out what everyone is using. What size weight is holding the bottom? They will know. It’s their business to know. One day it could be clams the next bunker. The line sets could use circle hooks that will accommodate clam which in Jersey surf bait will be a bunker, live Eels, or clam.

Bait Finder is a popular setup for Bass. You will cast as far out as you can and let it sit on the seafloor while leaving the bait feeder or drag it open. Striped bass is considered finicky and somewhat lazy. They are kind of spoiled.  Some anglers use bloodworms and anchovies whatever they are hitting on.

4.  Read the Surf for Structures:  

Troughs are lanes of deepwater bounded by the beach and a sandbar. The wave will tell the tale. The Structures can be visualized by the whitewater on the wave.  If you can learn to do this, then you will be able to cast your bait into it, where you will catch predator bass called tide runners.

This is where they go to eat. There are a few other structures like Cuts-Points, but Troughs are the most important. Learn the Structures for that beach and surf.

5.  Land the Catch: 

Stripers are not like most fish. When the Stripe Bass takes the bait, you need to wait about five seconds then reel (pull lightly) towards the opposite direction that the fish is pulling the rod tip.  Don’t Set Your Hook. Let the Bass Set It. I can’t tell you how many of my friends lost Bass trying to set their hook. Yea me too!  That’s It Congratulations on your First Striped Bass. It’s a beast

Striper Fishing Report

East Coast Stripe Bass are found between the Carolinas and Nova Scotia. The Chesapeake Bay is a major producer of Stripe bass with The Hudson river being second. Spawning migration begins in March and it is believed that they stay in the ocean while they spawn.

The migration of the northern stock to the south begins in September beginning in Maine.  The bass is long silver-colored with dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail.

They inhabit rivers, inlets, bays and tributaries, and the ocean. They frequently run over 4 feet long and weigh over 50 lbs. The biggest Striped Bass ever caught was 81.8 lbs. caught in Connecticut.

Striped Bass has been found to swim 100 miles upriver. Abundant in the water around New York City and New Jersey and are considered freshwater sports fish down in Florida.


Fish Finder Rig For Stripers

Use Fish Finder Rigs for Stripe Bass always in the Surf Buy them at The Closest Tackle Shop. It’s a Must.

When Bass get extremely finicky fishermen to use what is called a teaser, a feather, colorful plastic, or bucktail in front of the main bait used to entice the Bass and help the confused picky fish with his lunch.

For some reason, this technique works super well and can account for a lot of trophy size fish. Other different ways to change the menu, soft shell crabs, or live eels.

With Live eels, it is important to let the eel swim to a strike zone. After a cast, an eel will head for the rocks on the bottom to keep the tension on the line. Lift and drop your rod tip and the eels will do the work. every time you drop your tip, the eel will head to the bottom creating a lot of excitement for the Bass to notice and enough time to engulf the eel.

Eels are expensive maybe 4 to 5 dollars apiece and hard to deal with. When you’re baiting them use a piece of burlap or sand and hold the eel around the neck. to set them on a circle hook pass the hook through the top of the eel’s mouth and out one of his eyes. Or set it through the bottom of his throat which may keep him alive a little longer. $4.00 a piece you want to keep him on the hook and keep him alive.

Growing up and fishing in New Jersey all my life, there are a few things that never change over those years when it comes to surf fishing and one of them is using the most popular tool in your tackle box is the standard reliable Fish-Finder Rig, a staple for Surf Fisherman especially for Striped Bass. Read my article from MyWaterEarth&Sky called   What is a Fish-Finder Rig for Stripers


Best Live Bait For Striped Bass


I fish on Island State Park in New Jersey twice a year and have been lucky using Fresh clam-like in this Video on the shell if you can shuck them and bait them

It seems to be better than buying them frozen. The Island in Jersey called Island State Park outside of Seaside is a haven for sportsmen lined up on the 10 miles of private beach to wait for the Stripers to come by.  Crabs or Eels are  good early Spring Bunker in the Fall

The place is loaded with all kinds of blue and shark but normally you’re there to catch Striped Bass. It has a few places to swim but 99% of the people who come here come here to fish for Bass.

The surf here is perfect for fishing and very happy successful anglers waiting to tell a story of the big one and if you come here you’ll hear all kinds of stories.

This is one of the best-known places in the Tri-State area to come in Striped Bass season. Anglers can get a permit to drive on the beach so there is plenty of access.

Most people here used fresh clam and bunker for bait.  Because the nature of the Bass is to hit the light on the bunker or clams it’s important to make sure that rough surf and other elements don’t knock it off and ensure you keep your fish on and if you’re lucky enough to catch one.

There is an art to baiting your hook for stripers.  Any kind of bait and tackle can be purchased that will have not only the fresh bait and the right color jigs you need but the right information and breakfast too.

They will take a picture and do an interview for their website.  Then they will know what the fish are biting on besides surf fishing lessons the weather conditions and wind-water conditions. The whole place is worth the trip.


The Striped Bass is often the most frustrating, elusive fish to catch because of its size, smarts, and location. Striper fishing is a favorite trip for the East Coast sports fisherman like myself, who brave early spring and late fall temperatures to hit the beach to try and claim bragging rights to one of the best trophy fish in the ocean. Read my article on MyWaterEarth&Sky called How to catch striped bass from shore?

Surf Fishing Accessories

The sport of surf fishing has taken off in the last 10 years or so with all kinds of products for day and night fishing. There are racks and carriers for your truck to carry rods and gear.

Headlampsglow sticks, and tips for your rod to spot hits in the dark on the beach. There is nothing cooler than landing a Big Bass of the Surf. Nothing.

Anglers fish tides and if the tide is at night then you fish at night. Striped Bass fishermen are loyal and committed sportsmen that will go to the most lengths to catch that Bass. The environment can be cold wet and harsh. The Striped bass sport of fishing is done from a Kayak or a beach or piling that is only accessible at low tide.

So there is an element of adventure to it. My buddy uses a kayak special made to sit high in the ocean water. It has running lights for night fishing. He takes it out at night dressed in a wetsuit with just a life vest and some other gear in it. Too adventurous for me.

 Island State Park in Jersey is beach access with some emergency equipment and class for the permit that will last the whole year. There are “Air Stations “ where you are required to take the air out of your tires to ride on the beach.

You can fish for 24 hrs. a day and have a campfire on the beach. Alcohol is illegal but most people are there to fish anyway. The beach mostly empties out at night and is so long you might not see anyone anyway.

Not Far away from Philly & New York is a Striped bass Heaven

 Island State Park NJ

 Striper Fishing New Jersey

The Island itself is a huge wildlife sanctuary for birds and wild foxes, hundreds of them live on the Island. I have been there overnight and have been woken up by these spooky critters. Their friendly and tame but you can tell who owns the place. Really Cool!

If you get a chance get some surf gear and take a visit to Island State Park for a Striped Bass Surf Fishing experience. You won’t regret it.  Before I forget I must say that Striped Bass’s fresh ocean-caught is incredible on the grill.

If you never had it. It’s a must. One of the best pieces of fish I’ve ever had. If it’s done right.  I’ll save it for another article.


In the US, Striped Bass inhabit waters ranging from Maine all the way down to North Carolina. Such a vast fishery can’t reasonably be managed by a single state. This is where the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) comes in because of the Striper’s dwindling population more stringent laws are put in place to protect them. If you fish Striped Bass you should be able to estimate the age and size using the Striped Bass Weight Calculator. Read my article called What is the Striped Bass Weight Calculator?



JimGalloway Author/Editor



Recent Posts