Trolling is an effective way to catch fish, and striped bass are no exception. Mastering the best trolling speed for striped bass is a fantastic way to catch large fish in great numbers.
Trolling for Striped Bass
Striped bass swim in schools and tend to feed near the bottom, but are known to swim throughout the water column. When trolling for stripers, I use a four rod trolling spread and have my lures spaced out from bottom to near the top covering all aspects of the area.
Trolling speed is one of the most important factors in catching Striped bass, after finding the schools. The ideal trolling speed for striped bass in 2 to 4 miles per hour. This doesn’t mean they won’t bite at faster speeds. I have mistakenly caught stripers when fast retrieving my lures back to the boat and they haven’t been biting on the slow troll all day.
Ideally, you should choose a lure that can sink low and attract the fish there. You want to hit a depth that is a bit above your target so they can swim up slightly to bite. Your lure affects the speed at which you should move. A deep water lure where you let out 30 to 70 feet of line warrants no more than three miles per hour.
Even with lures designed for more shallow catches, you want to keep your trolling speed close to three miles per hour. Slowing your boat down to two miles per hour can work as well. If you go too fast, you are liable to scare the striped bass away or make them work too hard.
Most anglers use trolling weights, wire line or downriggers to get their trolling lures to the bottom. Weights can range from a few ounces to a few pounds depending on how deep you want to go and your trolling speed.
In the Chesapeake Bay, I troll in 30 to 50 feet of depth with 8 to 16oz weights at 2-4 mph speed.
Off the coast of New Jersey and Maryland, I troll the same 2-4 mph speeds and target depths of 50-70 feet
Umbrella rigs are my go to lures for catching striped by on the troll.
Deep diver or heavy-duty lures like Mojos and bunker spoons will help you achieve this depth. However, you can add extra weight or use wire line as well.