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The Best Bait for Striped Bass Fishing

Talk to any angler who knows a thing or two about striped bass, and they’ll probably have something to say about what they think is the best bait for striped bass fishing. Many people will debate the topic, but there are a few types of bait that are universally accepted. 

Striped bass caught with bait

If you’re new to the striped bass game and looking to get an edge over your angling competition, we also have a thing or two to say. Here, we’ll go overwhich baits to use for striper fishing, including a couple of lures while we’re at it. 

What is the Best Bait for Striped Bass Fishing?

Not everyone agrees on the best live bait for striped bass fishing, but here are some of the most commonly used with success from anglers throughout North America. 

Bunker and Herring


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We’ve grouped bunker and herring because of how similar they are. Simply put, striped bass love eating these tiny fish year-round. You can find these fresh or frozen in most bait shops, but finding live ones may be unreasonably expensive. However, you can catch them yourself to use as bait if you’re keen for some extra work. 

Bloodworms and Sandworms


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Striped bass go absolutely nuts for worms of all kinds, but bloodworms and sandworms especially. They might be the most suitable bait you can use if the cost isn’t an issue for you. They tend to be very expensive in bait shops. You can trawl for them yourself, but this is time-consuming and often requires costly equipment. 

Surf Clams

fresh surf clam for bait

Clams are a classic striper bait especially when fishing from the beach or chunking off shore in a boat.  Buy the clams at your local bait shop or shuck them yourself using large surf clams


eels used for bait

Eels are like striper candy.  They love eating these slimy critters, but you will have one hell of a time getting them on to your hook.  They also twist and move a lot in the water which sometimes tangles your line.  Sand eels are the best, but hard to come by.  Common American eels are more typical and available in your local bait shops.



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On the East coast of the US, the stripers migrate from spawning ground in the major rivers to their summer time homes in New England.  One of the most abundant baits in the colder waters off Cape Cod and Maine is the Boston Mackerel.   These fish are 4 to 12 inches and a delicious treat for any hungry striped bass looking for a meal.  Try to catch some live using a sabiki rig and live line them to a school of stripers.  Then hold one for one heck of a fight.  This is my favorite way to fish!


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With any of the baits mentioned above, you can get them fresh, frozen or even artificial life like baits and lures to match what ever the local stripers are eating.

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