How to Hook an Eel for Striper Fishing: Striped Bass and Fish with Eels

As long as I have been fishing fresh or saltwater the one creature no one wants to deal with is an eel an eel just happens to be a favorite food for striped bass but getting it on the hook to serve it up to a big Striper is a job all by itself. How do you hook an eel for striper fishing?

  • Take a big towel and cut it into many small towels to remove the slime from the eel
  • Grab the eel just behind the head and put the hook a 5/0 or 6/0 offset-style circle hook through the lower lip and out through the upper lip.
  • Be careful not to set the hook too far back or you may kill the eel.

With these guide tips, striper fishing with live eel will soon become second nature to you. And who knows? Maybe, you’ll even have your own obituary to submit someday, immortalizing your legend as the striped bass master!


Understanding Striped Bass Fishing: The Role of Live Eels and Water Conditions


Hey there, fellow fisherman! The reason you are here I reckon, is you’re wondering how to hook an eel for striper fishing. Now, that can be really fun if you get it right. But, man, let’s face it, fishing ain’t all about the line you’re tossin’ into the water, nor all about the fish you’re aimin’ to pull out. Let’s talk a little bit more about understanding striped bass fishing and the role of live eels in that process.

First off, let me tell you, there ain’t nothing live eels love more than a bit of salt water. They’re practically made for it. That’s why you’ll always find ’em squirming around after you have been fishing in water for a while.

You see, most fish, especially striped bass, are pretty picky about the water they’re in. Some will only bite in fresh water, others prefer slightly brackish water, and some – like our friend, the striped bass – well, they fancy a blend of both.

Next up, I’m sure you’re anxious to hear about eels, live eels to be exact. Why live eels – is what you’re wondering right? Well, it’s simple, really. You see, striped bass have a certain appetite for live bait and eels… well, they fit the bill perfectly. A live eel wriggling on the line acts like a dinner bell for striped bass. They just can’t resist getting a nibble.

That’s where the fun starts, mate! Hooking an eel – live, ain’t just about sticking it and chuckin’ it in the water. You’ve gotta handle it just right, let the eel feel alive, wriggly, enticing. And that, mate, can give that striped bass real pause for thought!

So if you’re all set to go fishin’, get some live eels, gear up, mind the water you’re steppin’ into, and the fish… well, the fish will pretty much handle themselves. Striped bass fishing ain’t a cat-and-mouse kind of game. It’s about learning the water, understanding eels, and using your line just right.


Tackle Techniques for Hooking Live Eels when Fishing for Striped Bass


Striper fishing’s a thrill, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet till you try hookin’ a live eel. It’s like nothing else, I tell ya! Now, to those lookin’ to get your hands dirty, here’s the way to hook an eel. Now, it ain’t for the faint of heart, it takes a bit of practice but once you get the hang, boy oh boy, it’s a game-changer! Whether using spinning or conventional tackle we strongly suggest using circle hooks Eels are a very easy bait to swallow and indiscriminately target fish of all sizes.

First things first, you need to get your hands on some live eel. Where you gonna buy ’em, you ask? Look for the closest tackle directly in your area to find some wrigglin’ eels. It’s best to directly learn all the nuances from these fellas. For an eel, hook it right through the bottom jaw and out one eye. 

  • Whenever fishing with live eels it is important to have a big supply of dry towels.
  • Take an old big towel and cut it into many small towels and put them in a dry place.
  • Once the towels get wet and covered with eel slime they need to be washed and dried before they can be used again.
  • Grab the eel just behind the head and put the hook through the lower lip and out through the upper lip.
  • Be careful not to set the hook too far back or you may kill the eel.

It seems harsh, but trust me, you need those hooks in right if you want to catch a striper. Fish gear ain’t complete without a sturdy tackle. Rig ’em right and your eel’s ready to entice a hungry striper. A word of caution, though, the order of the day is to smack them eel hooks in fast, the quicker, the better as eel, as eels aren’t exactly known for their patience.

With a powerful rig, you’d be pulling stripers out like nothing at all. When drifting live eels for striped bass in fast currents, or on fast drifts when sinkers are needed, we recommend a 6’6″ to 7′ conventional rod with a fast to extra-fast action.

We recommend loading the conventional reel with a 30lb braid attached to a 5ft length of 30-50lb fluorocarbon leader using a 75lb barrel swivel. The rig is completed with a 5/0 or 6/0 offset-style circle hook.  An egg sinker just large enough to allow the angler to keep the eel just off the bottom should be used.

Patience is crucial, especially when you’re on the lookout for the perfect hook. The anticipation is tangible as your eel sways in the water, and then BAM! You feel it, the pull of a striper caught on your eel hook, and it’s quite the adrenaline spike! But don’t rush, let your live eel do its wonder and watch the magic happen.

In all sincerity, no other bait can match the enticing charm of a live eel for striper fishing. The thrill that comes with each hook and the raw connection you feel with the sea is incomparable. Makes you appreciate the sport and respect the creature at the end of your line. So, next time you think ’bout striper fishing, remember the words of an old salt, me. Eel fishing ain’t just ’bout the catch, it’s ’bout the experience, too.

Preparing Eels for Striper Fishing

Navigating the Current: Rod Usage in Striped Bass Fishing with Eels


Listen, there’s nothin’ quite like striper fishing, especially when you’re using eels. It’s all about knowin’ your current, your rod, and your drift when you’re tryin’ to hook that striped bass.

Where To Buy Live Eels For Bait Near MeFirst off, catching those stripers means understanding’ your environment. The current plays a key role in where those stripers are likely to be. Stripers are smart, they hang out in the current where the bait is most likely to drift their way.

Remember, you’re fishin’ in their home, not yours. You gotta think like the current, sure as the tide rises and falls. It’s not just about tossing your rod in and hoping for the best. No, sir. You gotta read that current and consider your drift. See, drifting your boat along the current allows you to cover more area, which means you’re likelier to find these stripers. So, understand your current, navigate it well, and get your drift right.

Now, let’s talk about the fishing rod. A proper rod is vital for landing striped bass. When you’re striper fishing, you need something with enough backbone to handle the weight of the eel and fight off the fierce striped bass. But it’s also gotta have just the right amount of give to allow the eel to swim naturally.

Otherwise, those cunning stripers might get suspicious. Don’t forget, the eel’s not dead. It’s swimming and moving, and your rod needs to handle that. Finding that balance in your rod is critical in striper fishing.

Then we’ve got the drift. Driftin’ is all about lettin’ your boat flow with the current, it’s what lets you cover more water and find those stripers in their hiding spots. Get it right and you’re more likely to come up with a striper at the end of your rod. But, get it wrong, and all you’re doin’ is scaring them off. They might be fish, but stripers aren’t stupid. They can sense when things ain’t right, so make sure your drift is smooth and unobtrusive, just like the natural current.


Fishing Strategies: Leveraging Fish Behavior for Successful Striped Bass Catches


So, you’re geared up and ready for some real action, eh? Striped bass fishing at night isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it sure gets the adrenaline pumping! We’re gonna dive deep, and I mean real deep, into the cold, dark bottom of the sea. Why you ask? Well, that’s where our pal, the striped bass, likes to hang out. At least, most of the time.

Knowing how fish behave during sunrise, daytime, sunset, night-time, and every single time, in between, will give you a huge boost. Paying attention to the structure of their habitat can help you anticipate their movements. It’s like being a football coach, studying the opposing team’s strategy before the game. Know their game, and you’ve got ’em in the bag!

Now let’s talk eels! Ever watched an eel swimming? Notice how it flows with the current, like a wisp of smoke in the wind? That’s your ticket to striped bass fishing success man! A swimming eel at night is like a magnet to our striped bass. It’s like ringing the dinner bell at a campsite! All we gotta do is capitalize on that fact and up our fishing game.

Getting your line to the right spot is a piece of work, but it’s worth it! Bottom structure? That’s your best friend. Your line, your rod, there the extensions of your arms reaching out into the depths. You gotta feel your way to that striped bass hiding in the structure on the bottom, just waiting for that eel to swim by. It takes time, patience, and a whole lot of practice. But let me tell you when you feel that first tug on your line, it’s all worth it.

The best spots for targeted trophy striped bass with live eels are rocky bottoms, boulder fields, ledges, and drop-offs.  Use your sonar unit to locate the best spots and hopefully to see some fish on those spots.  When fishing in strong current or wind-assisted drift it is critical to start the drift well above the targeted bottom.  This gives the eel a chance a swim down to the right depth and be in the hit zone as you drift across your target.

Sure, this might seem a daunting task. You might even face a few fishless nights. I have! But remember, Keep that line in the water, and keep your eyes on the prize. The fish are there, you just gotta reel ’em in! So, grab your fishing rod and get ready for some whopper fishing stories to share around the campfire next time with those striped bass on the line!


How to Rig an Eel for Striper


Captivating Eels: Live Bait Tactics for Attracting Striped Bass


You know, there’s nothing quite like a live eel when it comes to bait. I mean, it’s like striped bass candy!  That’s what we call it in New Jersey. They really can’t resist the ol’ slithery booty of an eel, day or night. If you’re new to eel fishing, no worries. You’ll be hooking ’em in no time! Take the eel, whether it’s fresh from the water or straight from your bucket, and get ready to send ’em off on their final mission – luring a striped bass.

fishing with live eels for Sale OFF 78%
fishing with live eels with proper rigging

Live eels, particularly, have proven themselves time and time again as top-notch bait. Just make sure you’re taking a safe hold on that eel near its eel jaw so it doesn’t flip out of your hand. Trust me, left to their own devices, leftover eels are just gonna squander around the boat. Not a pretty sight for us, nor good travel for them!

Ready your hook alongside the eel’s head and guide it right in there. It’s a bit like threading a worm, but a smidge trickier. Keep in mind, that it’s not what you’d call your everyday striper fishing fare. As with many fishing techniques, using live eel takes some practice. But hey, if you’re gonna bait, bait, bait, you gotta get your techniques down somehow, right? Next, keep your cool and let your eel swim around as it would naturally, mimicking its usual behavior.

It’s also crucial to be patient with striped bass when using live eels as bait. Remember to give them their sweet time to take the eel. While there are times when the bass might strike immediately, other times, they may take their own sweet day to warm up to the idea.

Don’t rush it, and don’t panic if you don’t hit it big immediately. The striper fishing reports and news aren’t lying when they say that eels are irresistible to striped bass. All good things take time, right?

Just make sure to be gentle with your eel when you’re handling it. I’ve seen enough eels turn into bait soup because some eager fisherman wanted to crank the bucket one too many times. And remember, the more natural your eel looks in the water, the better! So boats, fly your flags high and keep those rods at the ready! With these guide tips, striper fishing will soon become second nature to you. And who knows? Maybe, you’ll even have your own obituary to submit someday, immortalizing your legend as the striped bass master!



Well,  you’ve made it to the finish line of this tale, and if you’ve stuck around, it ain’t no accident. Now you know how to hook an eel well enough to satiate any Striper’s appetite. Grab your gear, bait up, preferably with live eel, and head out for some serious striper fishing.

  • 6’6″ to 7′ conventional rod or 7′ spinning rod
  • Conventional or spinning reel capable of handling 30lb braid
  • 30-50lb fluorocarbon leader
  • 75lb (or equivalent) barrel swivel
  • 5/0 – 6/0 circle hooks

Make sure you know how to rig the hook with the slimy critters. It will take a little practice. Hook it right through the bottom jaw and out one eye. 


Happy fishing, friends! Jim



JimGalloway Author/Editor


References: Saltwater Sportsman-How to Hook an Eel


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