Top Water Striper Lures: Floating Herring Patterns in Open Water

Written by Capt. Mike Hogan

Introduction: These baits were tested on striped bass feeding on herring in open water off Gay Head. Each Spring, herring invade our waters to on their way to their home rivers and streams to spawn. Needless to say, the striped bass show up shortly there after to gorge on the massive schools of herring. The herring usually hold deep, but you can still tease big bass to the surface with top water baits.

Location: Gay Head, Martha’s Vineyard

Season: Spring

Tide: Moving water, not slack. A west bound tide seems to fish better for me.

Approach:  Fish obviously hold in the rips, but large schools of early spring migration stripers can be found in open water. Obviously look for birds working, but also pay attention to birds that are sitting together on the water. They are expecting something to happen. Pay attention to your fish finder, you’ll be surprised how many stack of fish you’ll see when drifting around. Be sure to blind cast.

 Retrieve: There are three parts to this retrieve.

  • Part one is a relatively fast retrieve, where the bait will dive a couple feet below the surface.
  • Part two is to let the bait float to back to the surface, and part three is to twitch the bait for 5 to 10 seconds before retrieving again.

 

Bait Selection: 10-inch Double Wide Hogy: For this application The 10-inch Double Wide is the ideal choice. Its wide profile best imitates a herring and it weighs more than the Original series, so it allows for greater casting distance.

 

Colors: Our best color is bone when using a floating Hogy to imitate herring. Bubble gum is an excellent attractor color. A good third option is black on an overcast or rainy day.

 

Rigging: The 8/0 Soft Circle Hook: Simply twist the bait right onto the keeper on the hook. Big fish are on these baits and they hit the head. We developed the 10-inch Double Wide to have a wide profile and superior casting distance. The only downside is that this bait has less flex than others in our line-up. With only the keeper in the nose while using the Soft Circle Hook the bait has great action and will last longer too compared to using a hook rigged inside the bait