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Live Bait Rigs -- Livelining Stripers and Blues

Striper bait presentation
live bait rigs bait and tackle shop

Live bait striped bass

Striper live-lining in saltwater

Down Lining: (Weighted Rigs)
This is probably the most common rig used for fishing with live bait. This rig consist of, a 2oz. slip-sinker threaded onto the line, held with a glass bead. Tie on a good heavy-duty ball bearing swivel. Then a 3 foot "leader" of either 40 pound Monofilament or flourocarbon line . Hook on your live bait to a good heavy duty hook, they are sold as live bait hooks. Your live bait might be gizzard or threadfin shad, shiners, herring or menhaden. (aka bunker). Then lower to the desired depth. You can fish more than one rod, some guys fish several. Vary your depths you determine the stripers strike zone. Ask other anglers how deep their holding. One of the most important aspects of fishing striped bass or other bass for that matter is what depth they are at. You can locate fish with a fish finder, but what fish are they? Stripers school so usually their are several waiting to be caught. Leave at least 1 rod deeper than the rest, because sometimes the bigger stripers have a tendency to hang out below the main schools of stripers. Bigger Stripers are sort of lazy and will lay underneath a boil for morsels that fall to the bottom

Float Rigs: (Ballooning).

You can also just use a bobber
In the cooler weather months, stripers tend to feed near the surface. This is when you need to fish your live bait rigs more shallow. That's when float rigs work really well. A float rig consists of a small party balloon, blown up and tied to the fishing line, about 6 to 10 feet above the live shad. You dont have to weight the line. Use a barrell swivel to prevent your line from twisting. The balloon floats on top of the water, creating less resistance than bobbers. You can also use different color balloons, to tell your lines apart or bright color balloons to see your lines better from a distance. Put your first bait out around 30 yards behind the boat and stager the others at 5 to 10 yard intervals, to prevent tangling. A good floating devise is the corks with lights in them that are used for night striper fishing.

Flat Lining or freelining (A hook and the Bait -)
This Method is as simple. With nothing more than a hook on the end of the line, you attach the bait fish and let "em" swim.You can learn to direct the way your bait swims by where you place the hook-- the further toward the head they tend to swim down--- the future toward the tail they tend to swim up. Use more of a swing when casting live bait as not to damage or pop them off your hook with a little practice you will have no problem.

Using Cut Bait for stripers andf bluefish
A fishing technique we haven't talked about is 'cut bait fishing' (sections or filets of baitfish).Some of the biggest stripers ever recorded were taken on cut bait fished on a bottom rig. (My personal Favorite, I use Bunker heads and cast them from shore at high tide).This method is similar to live bait fishing except that the boat is positioned over a likely spot and moored with a bow and stern anchor. The second anchor keeps the boat from swinging and tangling the fishing lines. Dead baits, such as shad or bream are hooked to lines and cast around the boat. Baits are fished on the bottom while others are suspended at various depths. When available, live bait is used in conjunction with the dead bait. The bait can be cut into various shapes or slashed to give off more scent. Larger baits can be cut in half to make two baits. The head section will be used on one line while the tail section is hooked to another. Fresh dead bait will attract more fish than frozen bait.

Equipment necessary for catching and keeping the proper bait for a days striper fishing is:
Cast net.
Larger is not necessarily better.When bait is scattered or scarce, a 6 foot radius cast net is the bare minimum.

With bait species that do not school tightly like herring, up to a 12 foot net is necessary.

With bait which can ball up very tightly like threadfin shad however, you may get away with using only a 3 or 4 foot net.

Check your local cast net regulations, some areas restrict net sizes.
Bait Tank
Aerated, filtered round bait tank. (min 15 gal)

The tank makes or breaks the fishing trip. Most cases, striper are looking for the most frantic, excited bait they can find. A poor tank will certainly deny you the quality bait necessary for catching striper.

Helpful Hints for a days striper fishing with a properly treated and aerated bait tank:
Use salt to prevent slime loss. 1- 1 1/2 cups per 20 gallons.

DO NOT overcrowd your bait tank.
A guide is to keep smaller bait (5" down) @ 1 for every gal.
For bait fish 5" to 10" and up 1 for every 2 gallons

Cooler water keeps bait alive longer than warmer water....
60 - 70 degrees preferred. It holds more oxygen.

IMPORTANT!! Don't change the temperature by more than 10 degrees from the water the bait comes WILL die.

Keep your filter cleaned out.

Minimize handling of bait and the time bait is out of the water.

Gently dip your bait from the tank and avoid violent swishing with the net and dont I repeat dont, get bug spray on the bait or your hands.



The Atlantic menhaden, which is more commonly called mossbunker or pogy, is a little-known fish outside of the recreational and commercial fishing communities but, in spite of this lack of notoriety, is one of the most important fish species found off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The fish seldom exceed a pound or so in weight and have extremely oily flesh. Because of their oiliness they are not considered to be fit for human consumption.
Menhaden are found in very large schools in the warmer inshore and near shore waters, following an annual coastal migration each year. Their habit of traveling in large, densely-packed schools makes them a ready quarry for purse-seine equipped vessels. Their vast number support a very large fishery, providing both fish oil and meal for industrial/agricultural uses and bait vital to a large number of commercial and recreational fisheries.

More on Menhaden

Where are Atlantic menhaden spawned,
Where do they go after hatching?
Spawning is in the ocean. One important spawning site is at Onslow Bay, North Carolina. Some spawning takes place along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Florida. The young menhaden first drifts with currents until it reaches an inlet, then works upstream to live for the summer near freshwater. In fall, schools move downstream to permanent ocean residence.

OTHER COMMON NAMES - pogy, mossbunker, bunker, fat-back, bugmouth and shad


Other common names include pogy, mossbunker, bunker, fat-back, shad,
bug-mouth *59*


(Clupeidae: subfamily Alosinae) constitute a cosmopolitan group of fishes that exploit a wide range of habitats worldwide. Many of the 30+ species in this subfamily currently support or have historically supported important commercial fisheries. Now, in the 21st century, as the mounting pressures of human population growth and pollution continue to impinge on natural ecosystems, many of these alosine species are experiencing serious declines. Some are locally extinct in large areas of their historic range and are threatened in the remainder. The triumvirate assaults of habitat loss or degradation, pollution, and overharvesting could eventually result in global extinction of many species.

Gizzard Shad

Gizzard shad are found in schools and prefer calm, productive, warm waters. Although they can be found in rivers and streams. Their habitat also includes natural lakes and ponds. They feed almost entirely on microscopic organisms. They are widely abundant in all of the larger streams and lakes. Gizzard shad range in length from 2 to 14 inches, and are harder to catch than Threadfin shad. You will usually only be able to catch them 1 or 2 at a time in your cast net. Large Gizzard shad are one of the best live baits for catching trophy stripers. Tip. Cut the gizzard out and try the gizzard by itself without the fish.

Threadfin Shad

Threadfin shad are your most common shad. Therefore they are the easiest to catch. They live in lakes, large rivers, and reservoirs . Although this fish is probably not native to most reservoirs, it has been widely introduced into them as a forage species. Threadfin shad feed on plankton and range in size from 1 to 6 inches. Threadfin shad are sensitive to cool temperatures, and decrease swimming and schooling abilities at temperatures of 45 deg. and below.

Golden Shiner

The golden shiner is a lake species, preferring clean, clear, shallow, vegetated areas of lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams. It eats algae, plankton, flying insects and occasionally small fish. It averages 5 inches in length and ranges between 3 and 12 inches. Shiners are probably one of the easiest baitfish to use. Because you can buy them at most bait shops, and they are easier to keep alive than Gizzard or Threadfin shad.


What is a herring?

Herring feed at night in the upper water column, following the massive vertical migrations of zooplankton that inhabit deep waters by day and surface waters by night. Research has shown that herring feed on zooplankton in several ways. Much like the way a whale strains zooplankton from the water with its baleen plates, herring are able to use their gill rakers to filter-feed. Herring can also visually detect larger prey, such as an individual copepod or a mysid shrimp, and execute directed attacks on these targets. Certainly it is no exaggeration to call it (Calanus finmarchicus) the most important single planktonic animal, probably more important in the gulf in its relation to both larger and smaller organisms than all other copepods combined. It is the basic food for the local mackerel, and is certainly a major article in the diet of herring, alewife, and shad while these are at sea. The ]copepod is vital to the success of Atlantic herring populations. Atlantic herring time their migrations around the presence of this copepod. The herring are dependent on these food sources to such a degree that herring scientists have proposed that information on prey species may provide a method to predict the location of herring stocks. Alewife and Blueback Herring Alosa pseudoharengus and Alosa aestivalis (A.K.A. - River Herring , Alewives) Key Distinguishing Markings:


To test whether they could use low-frequency sonar to identify fish, the scientists targeted schools of Atlantic herring in deep water over Georges Bank. (Photo courtesy of Tim Stanton, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)



Alosa pseudoharengus Better known as Herring

Native to Atlantic costal waters:
In its native habitat, the alewife is an anadromous species, spending its adult life in saltwater and spawning in fresh or brackish rivers and streams. Eggs are broadcast and no parental care is provided.
They have been introduced into inland systems where they've established landlocked populations.

Alewife's prefer water temperatures around 60 degrees and may be killed by water temperatures above 84 and below 37 degrees. Alewife's are suited to lakes that remain cool or that thermally stratify and maintain cool middepths with sufficient oxygen. They feed primarily on zooplankton - small, often microscopic animals. Adults can reach lengths of 8 to 10 inches.

Stocking alewives as a pelagic food source has met both success and failure. Although alewife's have provided an important food source for pelagic predators, and sometimes for near shore predators as well, this small fish has been identified as a key factor in changing the entire dynamics of lake ecosystems. Because alewives feed efficiently on larger zooplankton species, they can restructure zooplankton communities to the point where only smaller zooplankton exist and in fewer numbers, leaving less food for other species that eat zooplankton. Reduction in sizes and numbers of zooplankton also can harm species that rely on large numbers of zooplankton early in life, such as largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappies and white bass!

Phylum Chordata -- chordates

Class Actinopterygii
Subclass Neopterygii
Order Clupeiformes -- anchois, anchovies, harengs, herrings
Suborder Clupeoidei
Family Clupeidae -- aloses, harengs, herrings, menhadens, pilchards, sardines, sardines, shads, sprats, sprats
Subfamily Alosinae -- shads
Genus Alosa Linck, 1790 -- river herrings
Direct Children:
Species Alosa aestivalis (Mitchill, 1814) -- alose d'été, blueback herring, blueback shad
Species Alosa agone (Scopoli, 1786)
Species Alosa alabamae Jordan and Evermann in Evermann, 1896 -- Alabama shad, Gulf shad, Ohio shad
Species Alosa algeriensis
Species Alosa alosa -- Alice shad, allis shad
Species Alosa braschnikowi Caspian marine shad
Species Alosa caspia- Caspian shad
Species Alosa chrysochloris -- blue herring, golden shad, green herring, river herring, skipjack, skipjack herring, skipjack shad
Species Alosa fallax
Species Alosa immaculata
Species Alosa kessleri Caspian anadromous shad
Species Alosa killarnensis
Species Alosa macedonica
Species Alosa maeotica Sea shad
Species Alosa mediocris bonejack, Fall herring, freshwater taylor, hickory jack, hickory shad, shad herring
Species Alosa pontica Pontic shad
Species Alosa pseudoharengus -- alewife, bigeye herring, branch herring, freshwater herring, gaspareau, gray herring, grayback, kyack, sawbelly, white herring
Species Alosa sapidissima alose savoureuse, american shad, American shad, Atlantic shad, common shad, white shad
Species Alosa saposchnikowii Saposhnikovi shad
Species Alosa sphaerocephala Agrakhan shad
Species Alosa suworowi
Species Alosa tanaica, Azov shad
Species Alosa vistonica
Species Alosa volgensis

American Eel

American Eel

Adult American eels migrate to the Sargasso Sea, a calm area in the southeast section of the Atlantic Ocean, to spawn and then probably die. After hatching, young eels migrate toward North America and enter freshwater systems to mature. Male eels remain near river mouths or in brackish water, but the females migrate upriver until they run into an impassable object. While in fresh water, eels are secretive and hide in deep pools around cover and then feed during the night. Adult eels primarily eat fish or crayfish, but will feed upon anything they find. Females spend between 5 and 20 years in freshwater.

ADULT SIZE: Male eels grow to about 18 inches, but females can reach up to 52 inches in length.

american eel


PHYLUM AND SUBPHYLUM - Chordata, CLASS AND SUBCLASS - Osteichthyes, ORDER AND SUBORDER - Anguilliformes, FAMILY AND SUBFAMILY - Anguillidae, GENUS AND SUBGENUS - Anguilla, SPECIES AND SSP - rostrata, SCIENTIFIC NAME - Anguilla rostrata

The specific distinctness of American eel and European eel
is still being questioned *3104

Crustaceans (lobster Shrimp and crabs)All crustaceans are suitable as striper bait such as many species of shrimp, crab and Lobster especially. Grass shrimp is a comon striped bass and hybrid bait.


Dont forget these guysstriper smiley

big clam belly

Bloodworms - Sandworms


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