You say striper. I say rockfish….As you have probably gathered, here Hogy HQ, we call ‘em stripers. And soon our beloved “stripers” will migrate south to spend the winter in the Chesapeake; changing their name to rockfish… What you may not know is that rockfish, stripers, striped bass (or by whichever name you choose) are actually found from coast to coast and all points in between.
West Coast Salt Water Stripers
West coast anglers have been targeting stripers in the San Francisco delta area for years. Though population numbers has dropped, a dedicated group of anglers continue to pursue their favorite species. Through conservation efforts, populations are on the rise. In estuary areas, stripers commonly feed anchovies, herring and shrimp. While fishing with natural bait may be the most common fishing method, many anglers troll jigs, spoons and plugs as well. Recently, the ability to present large style soft baits in almost any situation, has helped develop the popularity and techniques for this unique fishery. Favorite Hogy baits for delta stripers are the 7inch Original and 10inch Original rigged weight less on swim bait hooks.
Inland Fresh Water Stripers
For points in between, stripers and hybrid stripers can be found in nearly all large reservoir systems across the interior states. The cool, deep, oxygen rich waters offered by these bodies of waters can support abundant shad populations (the most prevalent bait fish) and plenty of hungry stripers. Several fisheries frequently produce trophy size specimens, upwards of 60lbs each year. River systems in California, Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia produce some of the largest specimens. In the spring time, casting large unweighted or lightly weighted soft baits can be extremely effective for targeting large spawning fish in shallow water. While in the summer, trolling umbrella style rigs or plugs in main water bodies locate schooling fish. Larger soft baits, like the 7inch and 10inch original series in natural shad colors mimic their favorite forage.
What is a Hybrid Striper?
Wipers or Hybrid Striped bass were produced by breeding striped bass and white bass together. Initially developed for aquaculture in the 1980’s, these smaller cousin’s of the striped bass feed voraciously and can bite readily available when other fish have gone dormant. Targeting these fish with smaller baits ( like the hogy swimbait series and the 6inch skinny ) can provide constant action when a feeding school is located. Pursing open water schools with surface baits and jigs is popular across the country, while casting jigs and spoons tends to be the most productive for fishing the outflow behind hydroelectric dam’s or tail races.
Gulf Coast Stripers
A little known striper fishery even exists along the Florida Gulf. There are a series of rivers in North West Florida that support populations of stocked stripers. Although usually much smaller than their northern cousins (10-15lbs). There are two river systems that have produced fish in the 40lb-60lb ranges. Most Gulf striper anglers target their fish by throwing buck tail jigs or weighted soft baits in deep holes or river bends.