Update from the 2020 season after fishing for stripers twice a week October through November. I tested all the products on this list and others to see which performed best.
We trolled, jigged and cast on the surface, all with success this year. My tests were on the migrating saltwater bass in the ocean along the New Jersey coast.
Striped bass are typically the largest of all bass, making them a prime target for anglers. Stripers can grow up to over 70 pounds, so it takes a big lure and strong bass rod and reel to pull them in. Not all lures will work well, so take our advice and find the right ones for your next fishing trip. I prefer to use lures over live bait especially if you have other species around like dogfish.
Sand Eel Umbrella Trolling Rig
By far this sand eel rig outperformed all other trolling lures 3 to 1 this bass season. The main reason I bought this rig was based on catching a few bass and when I was cleaning them, their bellies were full of sand eels. So it made perfect sense to find an umbrella with life like eels and this one was the match.
I like this much better than the tubes because the eels swim better and look more realistic. I also used a 16oz trolling weight to get the rig closer to the bottom which helped get more strikes. That is me with one of the bass above from this year.[amazon box=”B08P61NJ64″]
Shad Umbrella Rig
My #2 best performing rig for striper trolling. These are preferred by fishermen from Cape Cod to the Chesapeake Bay with much success. We trolled with both the white and charteuse colored rigs at the same time. Both caught fish every trip, but the green colors seemed to catch more. I won’t leave home without one of these.[amazon box=”B0084EH4FS”] [amazon box=”B0084EH4JY”]
Mojo’s are a very effective way to target large bass and it’s very common to catch a 40 or 50lb class bass with these lures. Mojo’s, feature custom shads which are proven up and down the East Coast and Chesapeake Bay to catch fish consistently. I like these lures because they are heavy and get you to the bottom where the big bass are hanging out.
Think of mojos as a really big and heavy top and bottom bucktail jig. The difference is, you don;t need wire line to get them deep. I suggest trolling these slow and on the bottom between 2 – 4 knots.[amazon box=”B07CNG9D3B”]
Bunker Spoons for Trolling Striped Bass
Bunker spoons are tried and true for most fishermen on the East Coast. They work well when properly rigged. You will need a proper rod, and use wire line or braided to get the spoons low in the water column. Tony Maja or the M3 Tackle are my recommendations.
I would go with sizes 1, 2 or 3. #4 seem to be too big for ever catching and with the new size regulations you can’t keep the big bass anyway. Troll them slow speeds. You need to watch your rod tip to make sure there is a bouncing motion as the spoon sways back and forth under the water.[amazon box=”B06Y1T7H2S”]
Casting Lures and Poppers
Yo-Zuri 3D Popper Floating
My favorite topwater popper for catching bass on the surface. These are by far one of the best lures for catching bass feeding on top in open water or even getting them to swim to the surface to eat. The weight balance in this popper really helps me make long casts to where the fish are feeding. I always have one of my spinning rods set up with this striper fishing lure on the boat.[amazon box=”B014UX65JC”]
Bomber Saltwater Grade Magnum Long A
The supersized version of the Bomber Long A, the Bomber Saltwater Grade Magnum Long A is known for catching stripers. This lure is saltwater tough, so it can withstand corrosion. It’s made with strong polycarbonate, so it can hold up against even the toughest fish. It is a shallow diving crankbait, so when retrieved at the correct speed it will run at a depth of 2 to 3 feet.
The Bomber Saltwater Grade Magnum Long A is 7 inches long, so it can reel in big and small stripers, but is known for catching trophy fish. Despite its larger size, it still has the classic strike-inducing “death wiggle” that lures in bass. This lure’s minnow profile mimics a baitfish, and come in a variety of colors that are sure to trick fish into biting.
Storm WildEye Swim Shad
The Storm WildEye Swim Shad is a favorite among anglers. This soft-bodied swimbait feels life-like, so when you get a bite they’ll hold on. Made with bio-salt impregnated tails, these surface swimmer lures are built to last even the strongest teeth. With an internal lead head, the Storm WildEye Swim Shad is already weighted for you and rigged with a super sharp VMC hook.
The Storm WildEye Swim Shad has a natural swimming action and a holographic foil finish, both of which will lure in stripers. The 3D eyes make this swimbait extra life-like. The paddle tail kicks as it swims, creating motion that will entice a strike. These lures come in a few sizes depending on the size of striper you’re targeting, and various vibrant colors.
Super Strike Little Neck Popper
Poppers work well when fishing for stripers, but the Super Strike Little Neck Popper stands out. It is well known for catching even the most reluctant fish. The Super Strike Little Neck Popper has a unique popper design, with a smaller neck. This popper is versatile, and can work well popping on the surface or a swimming plug, both of which will attract fish.
The Super Strike Little Neck Popper is great for casting long distances, which is perfect if you’re fishing from the shore. This hard metal lure sinks and can withstand even the sharpest teeth and strongest fish. With a slow retrieve, it will swim while still chugging water. It comes in a few sizes and various colors.
Lunker City Fin-S Lure
If you’re looking for a soft plastic bait, many will recommend the Lunker City Slug-Go, which works very well. The Lunker City Fin-S Lure is the new and improved version of the Slug-Go, however, and anglers are picking up on its ability to catch stripers. This lure has a deeper body and thinner profile than the standard Slug-Go, along with a split tail.
The appearance and action of the Lunker City Fin-S replicates that of a wounded baitfish. Its forked tail gives it an extra swimming action so that it looks wounded, an easy target for fish. The Lunker City Fin-S comes in appealing colors that match local bait fish. It comes in a few different sizes, and can be purchased in a pack with multiple for a very low price.
Yo-Zuri Mag Darter
The Yo-Zuri Mag Darter works great for catching stripers. With an internationally patented magnetic weight transfer system, this lure can cast far distances and stays balanced on the retrive. It has a natural, suble swimming motion that is sure to get fish biting. The slanted head gives it a unique rolling and darting action.
The Yo-Zuri Mag Darter works great in fresh or saltwater, and is made from strong polycarbonate, so it is tough against strong fish. This medium diving crankbait is sure to trigger strikes, from its unique and realistic action to its reflective, like-like patterns and colors.
Spoons are another top striper lure that works well from the beach. If you’re looking for a spoon, the Acme Kastmaster is one of the best lures out there. This spoon is made of machined solid brass, so it won’t break or bend even against the toughest catch. It is saltwater corrosion resistant, and won’t lose its luster even after multiple saltwater uses.
The Acme Kastmaster has impressive balance both when casting and if you have a slow and steady retrieve. It is aerodynamically designed and can cast long distances. For big stripers, we recommend the 1 ounce size. Spoons work well when trolled or when casting into the surf, especially under light so that the reflections attract the bass.
Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow
The Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow is a topwater stickbait made for targeting bass. It has a life-like minnow profile that tricks bass into biting. The slender body will sashay back and forth, creating a realistic swimming action and a “walk the dog” motion. This lure also has an enticing rattle.
The Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow is made with premium components, including two strong treble hooks. You can twitch this lure the trigger strikes, or reel it in slower for the classic “walk the dog” action. For a tighter zig-zag action, reel this Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow in faster. This lure comes in two sizes and five appealing colors.
Creek Chub Striper Strike Lure
The Creek Chub Striper Strike Lure is made for catching stripers – it’s in the name. This slow sinking lure looks and moves just like a wounded baitfish. It has a cupped mouth that creates some noise and action, and a feathered tail that moves back and forth, enticing bass to strike. Its action drives stripers and other species into attack mode.
The Creek Chub Striper Strike lure was designed for long-distance casting, so it will go far if you’re surf fishing or need some distance. It is saltwater safe, made with top quality components that won’t corrode. This lure is meant to be retrieved quickly on top. The Creek Chub Striper Strike comes in a few sizes and twelve vibrant colors.
Cotton Cordell Red Fin
The Cotton Cordell Red Fin is great for covering a large surface of water quickly. Fish this lure when you’re looking for stripers, and you’re sure to find where they’re hiding. It works for a variety of gamefish in fresh and saltwater, but it’s known for catching bass in the surf. This lure is best for triggering aggressive topwater strikes.
Reel the Cotton Cordell Red Fin in straight for a wide searching wobble, or run it with a twitch and pause retrieve for erratic movement. Either way, this lure gets bites. It is made from high quality components, and has a small diving lip that lets it run at 0 to 2 feet. Its red lip also attracts bass, who will see this as a wounded minnow. This lure comes in 3 sizes and 5 colors.
Bass like to swim near the bottom most of the time, so get a quality jig and try bottom fishing.
Ava Diamond Jig
The Ava diamond jigs with split tail tubes are a must have for striper fishing lures. Mark fish on your sonar and drop these to the bottom. reel up and drop again. You’ll catch if they are around.[amazon box=”B06XRYWT1G”]
San Eel Jig
Sand eels are one of the favorite things bass like to eat. I always have a jig like this in my tackle box. You should too.[amazon box=”B01NANWT80″]
Spro Bucktail Jig
Bucktail jigs work well as striper fishing lures because they mimic many of their natural prey like shrimp, squid, and other small baitfish. If you’re looking for a high quality bucktail jig, Spro’s Bucktail Jig is the way to go. This jig is made with premium components, including super sharp Gamatsaku hooks. The Spro Bucktail Jig is safe in fresh and saltwater environments, and the heavy weights can take on big fish in deep water.
This jig is extremely life-like, with big bulging eyes, a holographic finish, and vibrant colors to lure in bass. When jigged, its body stays balanced for a realistic presentation. It can also be cast and retrieved, and has a great swimming motion that glides through the water. The Spro Bucktail Jig comes in 15 vibrant colors, each with a colorful feathered skirt.Check Prices on Amazon
Best Striped Bass Lures:
- Sand Eel Umbrella Rig
- Shad Umbrella
- Mojo Rig
- Bunker Spoons
- Yo Zuri Floating Popper
- Bomber Saltwater Grade Magnum Long A
- Storm Wildeye Swim Shad
- Super Strike Little Neck Popper
- Lunker City Fin-S Lure
- Yo-Zuri Mag Darter
- Acme Kastmaster
- Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow
- Creek Chub Striper Strike
- Cotton Cordell Red Fin
- Ava Diamond Jig
- San Eel Jig
- Spro Bucktail Jig
How to Catch Striped Bass
Certain styles of lures work better than others when it comes to catching stripers. These are big bass, so generally speaking you should use stronger lures.
If you’re fishing in saltwater, the lures should also be corrosion resistant so they don’t wear down from the salt conditions.
Many anglers believe that to catch bigger fish, you need a bigger lure; this is often true, which is why many of the lures on our list are larger, but a small lure can still catch a big fish.
There are a few bass lures that work particularly well for striped bass. These include bass poppers, some topwater bass lures, bucktail jigs, spoons, striped bass crankbaits, and swimbaits made for bass fishing.
Each of these styles are featured on our recommended list, but if you have a preferred type of lure there are plenty more out there.
What Color Lure for Striped Bass?
A common rule of thumb for striped bass lures is to use light colors during daylight hours and dark colors at night. While it may be hard to believe, it is easier for bass to see a black lure in the dark as opposed to a white lure.
Many anglers use white or black lures exclusively for stripers. Despite this rule, white lures can catch stripers at night and black lures can catch stripers during the day.
Baitfish have white bellies, which is why a white lure is often very effective. When fishing for stripers, black, white, and yellow are known to be the best colors.
They are easy for stripers to see and have worked well for fishermen everywhere.
Generally speaking, the best color lure you can use is one that matches the natural prey of the fish.
They’ll be more likely to strike at a lure that looks like their normal meal. Study what baitfish you see or research ahead of time to find out what stripers feed on in your area.