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Striped Bass Surf Fishing

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Striped Bass FishingFor catching striped bass in the surf, we recommend an 8′ to 10′ surf  rod and spinning reel combo rated for 30lb braid and capable of handling lure weights up to 4 ounces.  There are reels for every budget.  A reel with a sealed (or at least water resistant) drag is preferred.  Sooner or later the spinning reel is going to get dunked.  Fortunately most reel manufacturers focus on keeping the drag dry and free of debris.

Recommended Line, Leader, and Terminal Tackle

We recommend loading the reel with 20-30lb fused line as opposed to braided line or mono.  Fused and braided lines allow for much greater casting distance than mono.  This is because is the much smaller line diameter of fused and braided lines.  In addition, the fused and braided lines have virtually no stretch which allows the angler to carefully work even the most difficult lures, feel the softest hits, and easily set the hook.  Fused line is preferred to braided line because it has better abrasion resistance and is less likely to form a wind knot.  When casting distance is critical or when throwing lighter swimming lures we recommend using 20lb line.

The line should be attached to a 3ft length of 30-5olb fluorocarbon leader use a 100lb barrel swivel.  The small profile of the swivel virtually eliminates any chance of picking up debris and provides an easy connection point between the line and the leader.  The angler needs to be careful not to reel the swivel into the rod as it can damage the guides.  Some anglers use an albright or uni-knot instead of a swivel.  This knot can be tricky to tie properly with braided and fused lines.

Recommended Striper Surf Lures

A wide variety of lures can be effective for striper bass.  Bigger lures are typically preferred because some of the best action occurs when the wind is onshore and drives the bait into the surf.  Poppers are typically heaver than swimmers and provide extra casting distance and a better target in choppy water.  However, sliders can be worked very slowly and their subtle action can often draw strikes when poppers fail.  Pencil poppers have the best characteristics of both types (casting distance and subtle irresistible action), but take some practice before they can be used effectively.  Surf tins (metal jigs) always provide the best casting distance and are great for blitzing fish and fish that are just outside of the casting distance achieved with poppers and swimmers.  Bucktails also provide good casting distance and can be deadly when worked carefully through rips and across sand bars.

Popping plugs – Poppers are the best lures when the fish are visibly feeding on the surface, but are also effective when they are not visible. Big poppers as large as 9inch and 4oz are common.  Effective colors vary, but typically anything with a white or silver bottom is going to be effective.

Swimming (sub-surface) lures – These can be very effective when waves are small, winds are light,  and a more enticing presentation is required.  Swimming plugs up to 7inches are common.  Most of these swimmers are fairly light when compared to the poppers are can be a handicap in windy conditions or when extra casting distance is needed to effectively target the fish.

Surf tins – A wide variety of surf tins are available.  The best surf tins are designed to “match the hatch” and imitate the bait that is present such as sand eels, herring, bunker, and baby bunker.  Weights vary widely and a good rule is too use a weight that is just large enough to achieve the desired casting distance.

Bucktails – Bucktails are universally effective especially when fished with a strip of pork rind or a variety of soft bait-tails. These can be worked in any condition at a variety of speeds. Many “surf rats” claim if they could just have one lure, it would be a bucktail. The standard surf colors are white, yellow, and green (chartreuse).

Striped Bass Tackle Checklist – Surf Fishing

  • 8′ to 10’spinning rod
  • Spinning reel capable of handling 30lb braid
  • 30-50lb fluorocarbon leader
  • 100lb (or equivalent) barrel swivel
  • Popping plugs
  • Swimming lures
  • Surf Tins
  • Bucktails
  • Soft bait-tails

Contact us if you have questions about our recommendations


Tackle Recommendations
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Rods
Penn Battalion Surf Rods Penn Battalion Surf Rods
Surf spinning rod - 8' to 12' - two piece suitable for 12-40lb mono and 17-65lb braid - lures from 3/4 to 10oz - medium fast to fast actions
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Penn Battalion Surf Rods Penn Battalion Surf Rods
Penn Carnage II Surf Rods Penn Carnage II Surf Rods
Surf spinning rod - 8' to 12' - two piece suitable for 8-65lb mono and 12-80lb braid - lures from 3/4 to 10oz - medium fast to fast actions
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Penn Carnage II Surf Rods Penn Carnage II Surf Rods
St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rods St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rods
Surf spinning rod - 7' to 12' - one piece and two piece suitable for 6-60lb braid - lures from 3/8 to 16oz - medium to medium fast actions
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St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rods St. Croix Mojo Surf Spinning Rods
Shimano Tiralejo Shimano Tiralejo
Surf spinning rod - 7'6" to 12' - multiple models suitable for 8-40lb mono and 20-80lb braid - medium fast to fast actions - lures from 3/8-10oz - one or two pieces
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Shimano Tiralejo Shimano Tiralejo
Reels
Penn Spinfisher V Penn Spinfisher V
Spinning reel - models rated for 4-50lb mono and 10-80lb braid - 4.2:1, 4.7:1, 5.6:1, and 6.2:1 gear ratios - 5 ball bearings
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Penn Spinfisher V Penn Spinfisher V
Penn Clash Penn Clash
Spinning reel - models rated for 4-30lb mono and 8-80lb braid - 4.7:1, 5.6:1, 6.2:1 gear ratios - Full Metal Body, CNC Gear Technology, Leveline Oscillation System, HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers, 8 Sealed stainless steel ball bearing, Instant Anti-Reverse bearing, Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire, Braid ready spool and line capacity rings
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Penn Clash Penn Clash
Penn Torque Spinning Penn Torque Spinning
Offshore/surf spinning reel - models rated for 12-50lb mono and 20-100lb braid - 5.1:1  and 5.9:1 gear ratios - 7 ball bearings - waterproof drag
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Penn Torque Spinning Penn Torque Spinning
Shimano Spheros SW Shimano Spheros SW
Spinning reel - models rated for 6-30lb mono and 20-100lb braid - 4,4:1, 4.6:1, 4.8:1, or 4.9:1 gear ratios - 4 ball bearings, Hagane body, Hagane gear, X-shield, cross carbon drag, and CF aluminum cold forge spool.
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Shimano Spheros SW Shimano Spheros SW
Shimano Saragosa SW Shimano Saragosa SW
Spinning reel - models rated for 6-30lb mono and 10-80lb braid - 4.9:1, 5.2:1, or 6:1 gear ratios - 5 or 6 ball bearings - waterproof drag
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Shimano Saragosa SW Shimano Saragosa SW
Line
Berkley Fireline Fused Berkley Fireline Fused
Fused line - more resistant to nicks and abuse than braided line - blaze orange, flame green, or smoke colors - available in 6 to 30lb test and 125, 300, 1500, and 3000yd spools
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Berkley Fireline Fused Berkley Fireline Fused
Lures
Charlie Graves Surf Tins Charlie Graves Surf Tins
Multiple size variations of long/narrow, short/broad, and broad/deep shapes designed to imitate every baitfish found in the surf -weights from 3/4 to 4oz


Charlie Graves Surf Tins
HookUp SynTail Bucktail HookUp SynTail Bucktail
SynTail Series w/premium Mustad hooks and synthetic skirt for durability - available in 1/2oz to 6oz in a wide variety of colors
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HookUp SynTail Bucktail
Hookup Big Bucktail Hookup Big Bucktail
Classic bucktail w/premium Mustad hooks available in 1oz and 1.5oz in a wide variety of colors
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Hookup Big Bucktail
Yo-Zuri Surface Cruiser Yo-Zuri Surface Cruiser
Popping plug also capable of stop and pop, walk the dog or skipping actions. Available in 6inch-1.625oz and 7.5inch-3oz sizes with color change technology, stainless wire-thru construction, extra large eyes, 3x strong trebles, and 3x strong split rings
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Yo-Zuri Surface Cruiser Yo-Zuri Surface Cruiser
Yo-Zuri Bull Pop - Floating Yo-Zuri Bull Pop - Floating
Popping plug available in 6inch-2.5oz and 8inch-5oz sizes with stainless steel wire-thru construction, 3X strong trebles, 3X strong split rings, extra large eyes, and color change technology
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Yo-Zuri Bull Pop - Floating Yo-Zuri Bull Pop - Floating
Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper
Popping plug available in 3.5inch-7/8oz and 4.75inch-1.5oz sizes with thru-wire construction, 3X strong trebles, extra large eyes, extra wide mouth, heavy duty split rings, and 8 different colors
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Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper
Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil
Surface lure available in 5inch-1oz with internal rattle, walk-the-dog action, thru-wire construction, 3X strong treble hooks, heavy duty split rings, and extra large eyes
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Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil
Yo-Zuri 3D Popper Yo-Zuri 3D Popper
Popping plug available in 3.5inch-7/8oz and 4.75inch-1.5oz with internal prism finish, color change technology, thru-wire construction, extra wide mouth, 3X strong trebles, heavy duty split rings, and thru-wire construction
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Yo-Zuri 3D Popper Yo-Zuri 3D Popper
Yo-Zuri Diving Slider Yo-Zuri Diving Slider
Slow sinking lure available in 5.5inch-2.5oz stainless wire-thru construction, extra large eyes, 3x strong trebles, and 3x strong split rings
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Yo-Zuri Diving Slider Yo-Zuri Diving Slider
Berkley Gulp Mullet Berkley Gulp Mullet
Gulp Alive! Soft bait - 3" - GSSM3 - available in 12 colors - natural, action, scent and taste - irresistible swimming tail action.
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Berkley Gulp Mullet Berkley Gulp Mullet
Berkley Gulp Sandworm Berkley Gulp Sandworm
Gulp Alive! Soft bait - 6" - GAPSW6 - available on bloody, camo and natural - looks and feels like natural sandworms - rig and fish like live bait.
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Berkley Gulp Sandworm Berkley Gulp Sandworm
Berkley Gulp 6" Grub Berkley Gulp 6" Grub
Softbait - 6" - GSG6 - available in 6 different colors - tough and durable - fish at depths up to 300 feet - wide swimming tail for greater action and visibility
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Berkley Gulp 6" Grub Berkley Gulp 6" Grub
Terminal Tackle
Mustad Rolling Swivel Mustad Rolling Swivel
77900 - Black Rolling Swivel w/round eye - available sizes/rating: 4/144lb, 6/118lb, 8/104lb, 9/77lb, 10/70lb, 12/49lb, and 14/42lb


Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Fluorocarbon leader  - invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear  and disappearing pink colors - 4-200lb test and 30/100yd spools
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Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader
Fluorocarbon leader - additional abrassion resistance, lower diameter, invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear and disappearing pink colors - 8-200lb test and 30/100yd spools
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Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader
Berkley Prospec Leader Berkley Prospec Leader
Fluorocarbon leader - invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear, blue, pink, brown colors - 20-200lb test and 25/33/75/100yd coils
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Berkley Prospec Leader Berkley Prospec Leader