7 Essential Striped Bass Fishing Lures
This post will list the 7 essential striped bass fishing lures. Striped bass are a very popular game fish. While anglers certainly catch plenty of fish using live and cut bait, many anglers prefer to use artificial lures.
Striped bass fishing lures – the 7 essential baits
- Spro bucktail jig
- Kastmaster spoon
- Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait
- Atom Popper
- Diamond jig
- Bunker spoon
Striped bass are a bit unusual in that they thrive in both freshwater and saltwater. In the oceans and bays, striped bass migrate up rivers to spawn. In many cases, they go way upriver to where it is totally fresh water. Consequently, striped bass have been stocked in large reservoirs with great success!
Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.
Striped bass feed mainly on bait fish, though they certainly happily devour crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp as well. Most striped bass fishing lures imitate bait fish. The main lure types are plugs, spoons, jigs, metals, and soft plastic baits. All of them will produce fish when properly presented.
One of the most confusing aspects of using artificial lures in the selection. In this article, Capt Jim will list his favorite lures in each category. These are time proven striped bass fishing lures that will catch fish anywhere. This will help simplify the process of stocking the tackle box while having a striped bass fishing lure for every situation than an angler will face.
Striped bass tackle
The tackle required for striped bass fishing varies greatly depending on the size of the fish, water depth, current, and bait size. Both spinning tackle and conventional tackle are used successfully.
Anglers can click this link to read a comprehensive article by Capt Jim on striped bass fishing tackle
1) Spro bucktail jig
Jigs are the oldest artificial lure used by humans to catch fish. A jig is a hook with aq piece of metal, usually lead, molded near the head. This weight provides for casting distance, depth control, and it gives the lure it’s erratic action. Jigs can be bare with a soft plastic tail or can have some synthetic or natural hair tied on.
The Spro bucktail jig is number one on the list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. In fact, it is Capt. Jim’s favorite. The main reason for this is the versatility of this lure. Bucktail jigs can be fished effectively throughout the entire water column, from the surface all the way to the bottom. It can be cast, trolled, or vertically jig.
White bucktail jigs have been very effective striped bass fishing lures for decades. They are simple yet very productive. White is the most popular color as it matches most saltwater forage species. However, often times the jig is tied with a contrasting darker color such as olive or purple. Many bait fish species are silvery or white on the bottom and dark along the top.
The Spro bucktail jig is available in a wide variety of sizes in several colors. As mentioned, is hard to go wrong with all white. Anglers should match the weight of the jig to the depth of the water, current, and size of the locally available forage. This bait is made from quality components which will hold up under harsh saltwater fishing conditions.
2) Kastmaster spoon
Spoons are another simple yet extremely effective striped bass fishing lure. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. The size and shape of the metal will determine the action in the water. Slender spoons have a tight wiggle and are generally work quickly. Wider spoons are worked more slowly and have a more distinct wobble.
The Kastmaster spoon is second on Capt. Jim’s list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. Once again, a key to its effectiveness is the versatility of this bait. The cast master spoon is a bit more slender and has an excellent action in the water when trolled, cast, or fished vertically over structure. It is a dense bait that cast a long way, making it a favorite of surf anglers and those fishing from other shore locations.
The spoon puts out a lot of flash and vibration as it is worked through the water. As with jigs, this type of spoon can be worked throughout the entire water column. It is extremely effective when striped bass are found feeding on the surface. Long casts are often required in this situation. It is also very effective when trolled and is often heavy enough to be trolled without any additional weight. When striped bass are holding over deep structure, the Kastmaster spoon is an excellent choice.
The Kastmaster spoon is available in several sizes and many different color patterns. The all silver with a white bucktail dressing on the hook is an extremely popular and effective combination. The spoon is available with a single hook which facilitates an easier release. The silver with a neon blue finish is also an excellent color choice.
3) Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait
Hard bodied plugs are extremely effective lures for striped bass and just about every other game fish species. These lures come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. However, they all basically fish the same. The size and shape of the body along with the size and shape of the lip will determine the action and the depth that which the lore will dive.
Plugs put out a lot a flash and vibration. Bass fishing circles, they are known as jerk baits. These lures can be cast out and retrieved back in using an erratic stop and go action. Many strikes occur on the pause, as the bait sits there motionless. Wounded baitfish wobble from side to side and put out flash and vibration, which these lures imitate very realistically.
The Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait is Capt. Jim’s favorite jerk bait. It is a must have lure for every serious striped bass angler in both freshwater and saltwater. They come in a wide variety of color patterns and several sizes. The number 10 and number 12 sizes are excellent choices for most situations. White and olive are excellent all round color combinations.
These lures are extremely effective when trolled as well. The Rapala X Rap comes in a deep diving version which has a larger lip. This makes it very easy to present a bait in the 15 foot to 20 foot deep area of the water column. The standard version with the shallow diving lip is excellent when fish are feeding on or near the surface or when casting to shoreline structure.
4) Atom Popper
Some plugs are fished entirely on the surface. These are known as top water plugs. They come in different variations with a concave face which is known as a popper, conical plugs, and those with propellers. Poppers work very well and are easy to use for even novice anglers. It is very exciting to see a big striped bass take a top water plug.
The Atom Popper is number four on Capt. Jim’s list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. It is an established lure that has been around a long time. It is a favorite of surf anglers as well as those fishing from jetties and other shoreline spots. It is fairly heavy and cast a long way.
Top water lures are an excellent choice whenever striped bass and other species are seen feeding on the surface. The lure is worked fairly aggressively with hard jerks of the rod tip which results in a splash and commotion emitting from the lure. It is then allowed to set still for a moment. This is often when the strike occurs. Striped bass will rise up a surprising distance in order to attack a top water plug, especially when the water is clear.
5) Gulp baits
Soft plastic baits have revolutionized both freshwater and saltwater fishing since they were first introduced in the mid-1970s. There are several reasons for their effectiveness. Soft plastic lures come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors which allow anglers to easily and quickly match the locally available forage. They mimic both bait fish and crustaceans.
Most anglers fishing for striped bass and using soft plastics opt for swim baits or shad style tales. This is a bait that resembles a bait fish and has a paddle tail on the rear. When worked through the water, it puts out a very realistic action and vibration. As with all artificial lures, the best approach is to try and match the size and color of the soft plastic bait to the locally available forage.
Capt. Jim’s favorite soft plastic lure by far is the gulp line of products. These have a revolutionary design that has an incredible sent factor included. There are several different gulp baits which work very well for striped bass and every other freshwater and saltwater species. These soft plastic baits are most often fished on a bear jig head, which provides both casting weight and a hook in one tidy unit.
Gulp Jerk Shad
The Gulp Jerk Shad is a long slender bait that has a terrific action and the water. Like all of these baits, it is fished on a jig head, the size of which is determined by the depth of the water and current speed. White is an excellent all round color. The best retrieve is one where the lure is allowed to sink and then jerked back to the boat and in erratic manner.
Gulp Paddle Shad
The newest member of the Gulp line up is the paddle Shad. What makes this a bit different is the fact that it is offered in several sizes between 3 inches and 6 inches long. It is available and several very lifelike color combinations to match shad, herring, menhaden, and just about anything else a striped bass will feed on. Often times a slow steady retrieve works best to let the action of the tail attract the fish. It can be trolled as well.
Gulp Swimming Mullet
The Gulp Swimming Mullet has a curly tail or twister tail. This puts out a terrific, though more subtle action in the water. Is an excellent choice and just about any watercolor or fishing condition. The twister tale is very effective when jig off the bottom as in helicopters back down.
Eels are a favorite live bait in forage of striped bass. The Gulp Eel is a terrific bait for striped bass and were present cobia. Both of these species are known to have an affinity for eels. It is most effective when fished slowly on the bottom which is where eels live. This is more of a “big fish” bait for anglers seeking a trophy striped bass.
6) Diamond jig
The Diamond Jig is a relatively unassuming little lure, but don’t let that fool you. It is an extremely effective striped bass fishing lure that is been catching fish for a long time. It is a long and slender shiny piece of metal, usually led, with a hook in the rear. It can be cast out, trolled, or used in a vertical presentation.
The Diamond jig really shines when fish are a bit fussy and more reluctant to bite. It is number six on Capt. Jim’s list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. Anglers are often faced with clear water this bait has a much more subtle action. In ways, it really is a bit of a finesse presentation. When worked through the water, it does not put out a lot of flash or action. However, it is just enough to resemble a wounded bait fish.
This lure works best when striped bass are feeding on small, slender forage such as glass minnows, anchovies, and sand eels. While it can be cast out, it’s design works better for trolling and vertically jigging, especially while drifting over structure. Heavier models in the 2 ounce to 3 ounce range can certainly be cast out effectively by anglers using spinning tackle. Silver is the predominant finish.
7) Bunker spoon
The Bunker spoon is a larger and wider spoon with a very distinctive action. It is a bit of a specialty bait which was really designed for striped bass fishing in the Northeast off of the New England coast. Striped bass there feed heavily on menhaden. These are a wide bait fish species in the Bunker spoon does an excellent job of mimicking this forage.
In conclusion, this article on the 7 essential striped bass fishing lures will help anglers catch more fish!