Striped Bass are a predominately saltwater gamefish native to the United States. Also known as the Atlantic striped bass, striper, linesider, rock, or rockfish, they are an extremely popular sport fish due to their penchant for striking at bait and lures alike and will put up a great fight when caught – often jumping out of the water as they are reeled in.
A member of the Temperate Bass family, they live predominately in saltwater however do venture into fresh water to spawn.
Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis)
Striped Bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to Louisiana. They can however survive in fresh water and will venture into these areas to breed which has led to them being introduced to both salt and fresh water lakes all over the United States as well.
They have also been introduced to waters in Ecuador, Iran, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey both as a sport fish and as a food source.
Striped Bass draw their name predominately from their six to eight continuous horizontal stripes on each side, from their gills to their tail. They have strong streamlined bodies that are generally light green or olive in colour although some can also be steel blue, black, or brown dependent upon where they live with a white or silver iridescent underside.
Striped Bass generally live for up to 30 years depending on their habitat and can reach sizes of up to 5 feet in length.
As above, Striped Bass can live up to 30 years with females starting to reproduce from 4 to 8 years.
Females usually like a to move into freshwater in late winter ready to spawn as the water temperature warms to around 60 degrees. This can range from late spring in southern regions to during early summer in northern locations.
What do Striped Bass Eat?
- Baitfish (bluegills, shiners, suckers, yellow perch, shad)
Juveniles will also feed on insect larvae, small crustaceans, mayflies, and other larval fish.
World Record Striped Bass
The biggest striped bass ever caught is 81 pounds and 14 ounces – caught in August 2011 in Long Island Sound by angler Gregory Myerson. It was 54 inches in length.
Striped Bass Seasons
Striped Bass can be caught all year round as follows:
- Winter –Striped Bass don’t tend to slow down as per other Bass species and hence can definitely be caught in the winter months. The best time for fishing here is the middle of the day when the water is warmest – usually from around noon until mid-afternoon. They are still around at other times but don’t tend to feed as much in cooler waters.
- Spring – Spring is for spawning and feeding. As the water temperature increases after winter, Striped Bass will start to actively feed and guard territory in the shallows as they prepare for the spawn. Just keep in mind that during this time you will need to venture into freshwater areas to find them.
- Summer – The general rule of thumb for summer is that Striped Bass tend to either go deeper to cooler water making fishing better early morning, late afternoon or at night when the water is a little cooler as well. If you are fishing in the daytime, leave the surface lures at home.
- Autumn – Autumn is considered another great period for Bass fishing for a number of reasons. Firstly, the water is cooling after the summer heat bringing the fish out of the depths and secondly, they are fattening up for winter.
It should be noted here that many jurisdictions implement seasonal restrictions and well as licensing and bag limit regulations – especially as stocks have been shown to be on the decline in recent years.
Best Gear for Catching Striped Bass
Fishers use both spinning and baitcaster reels effectively and successfully. In general, to catch Striped Bass you will need
Spinning reel – 4000 – 5000 – lined with mono or braid
Baitcaster reel – 100 – 400 – lined with mono or braid
Rod – around 7ft and matching of reel size
Striped Bass is an extremely popular table fish with a firm, flaky texture and delicate, mild taste. It is similar to most fast moving saltwater species in that the flesh is clean and not very oily.
It can be cleaned and cooked a number of ways including
- Pan frying
- Deep frying
It is also a very popular option served raw as Sashimi although it is recommended that you stick to smaller catches as larger ones can be susceptible to higher mercury levels.
Get your Striped Bass recipes here.