The late summer striper bite off the northeast coast can be absolutely insane. But while many rely on the completely legit cut bait and eel go-to, others, like New Hampshire guide Tim Moore, would rather sling some plastic and metal at ’em.
“I prefer casting lures to stripers because it’s a more active way to fish, and it allows me to cover more water,” Moore said. “I find that stripers caught on lures typically fight harder too.”
His favorite striper lures: 6-inch Storm Wildeye swim shad, 6-inch Daddy Mac Viper swimbait, and a 9-inch Slug-go rigged on an 8/0 offset hook. Moore suggests a 7-foot medium or medium-heavy rod and a 4000 class spinning reel like his Shimano Teramar.
“This outfit is plenty strong enough to handle striped bass up to 40 inches,” Moore said. “If you want to downsize even more you will have to spend a little more money and get something like a 6-foot-3 Shimano Trevala jigging/spinning rod, which can handle jigs up to 6 ounces and braided line up to 80 pound test.
“This rod is great because if the fish go deep, and you need to go vertical, you can do it with the same rod.”
Moore stresses the need for a fluorocarbon leader to hide the braided main line. Fool a big fish on this kind of tackle and it’s game-on.
“You will lose a bit of distance with the shorter rod, but when you hook that 30-pounder you will have quite the battle on your hands,” Moore said. “You’re going to want to make sure you eat your Wheaties that day.”
Moore’s advice on fighting stripers balances dual objectives: fish control and fish survival.
“There is a delicate balance when fighting stripers on light gear,” Moore said. “You don’t want to horse the fish too much, but you need to be mindful not to let the fish take you into line-cutting obstacles such as rocks, pilings, or lobster gear.
“Take as much time as the fish and the environment permit, but don’t fight a fish any longer than necessary just because you can or you will overly stress it, and possibly kill it.”
Then when Spring rolls back around and the striped bass return, it’s time to switch back to live baits.