The Striped Bass is a typical member of the Moronidae family. Striped Bass spawn in fresh water, and although they have been successfully adapted to freshwater habitat, they naturally spend their adult lives in saltwater. Striped Bass have also been hybridized with White Bass to produce hybrid Striped Bass. These hybrids have been stocked in many freshwater areas across the US.
Striped Bass have stout bodies with seven to eight continuous horizontal stripes on each side of the body, from their gills to their tail. Their coloring can be light green, olive, steel blue, black, or brown, with a white or silver iridescent underside. Common mature size is 120 cm (3.9 ft). Striped Bass are believed to live for up to 30 years. The maximum length is 1.8 m (6 ft). The average size is about 67–100 cm (2.2-3.3 ft) and 4.5-14.5 kg (10-32 lb).
Striped Bass can be caught using a number of baits including: clams, eels, anchovies, bloodworms, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, menhaden, herring, shad, and sandworms. At times, Striped Bass can be very choosy about the baits they take. Because of the wide variety of baits that are known to work and their finicky nature, they are considered among fishermen as being an opportunistic or "lazy" feeder. However, it is estimated that 90% of their diet is fish. Fishing for Striped Bass can be a rewarding experience for the experienced fisherman. Keepers caught from the surf commonly weigh in from 10 to 30 pounds(5-15kg). But they can grow much larger. The current IGFA World Record Striped Bass weighed in at 81.8 pounds(40.6kg) caught off the coast of Connecticut by angler Greg Myerson in August, 2011.
Striped Bass are migratory, and will move up and down the coasts and into river systems to spawn, and back out to sea throughout the year. But close in to the shoreline, the bite begins when the water reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring, tapers off as the hot summer approaches, and returns in force in the fall. The bite activity then dies down again as water temperatures drift back down to the forties in late fall and early winter.
Fishermen often use flourocarbon leaders when fishing for Striped Bass so that the fish can not see the fishing line in the water. Successful Striped Bass fishing from the surf comes down to equipment, timing, structure and bait.
Basic equipment for surf fishing includes a surf rod and reel (either conventional or spinning), a sand spike, appropriate terminal tackle, appropriate line, and appropriate clothing. A typical surf rod is 8–12 feet(3.6m) long, and after casting, is held vertical in a sand spike. Typical line is 10-20 pound(5-10kg) test monofilament line. Terminal tackle includes a large array of devices, each a variation of the same theme: the thing at the end of your line with the hook on it. Baits, lures, plugs, poppers, and artificials all have their place in fishing for stripers in the surf. Each has their advantage, depending on conditions and fish activity.
Timing is a rich subject amongst fishermen. High tide, low tide, dawn, dusk, lunar phases, water clarity and temperature, barometric pressure, storm fronts, these are all subjects that the Striped Bass fishermen will familiarize himself with, regardless if fishing from the surf, jetty, boat, or bridge.
Structure refers to the physical structure of the bottom of the ocean along shore. Sand bars, washes, holes, points, cuts, sloughs, pockets, rips, and the drop off are all structures. Most cannot be seen from line of sight, since they are under water. Striped Bass love three things: moving water, structure, and food. All three can be found within yards of the shoreline. And since Striped Bass and their food sources have tendencies to hold to certain types of structure at certain times of the day and year, it becomes important for the fisherman to learn how to read structure.
Striped Bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately Louisiana. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water. Striped Bass have been introduced to the Pacific Coast of North America and into many of the large reservoir impoundments across the United States by state game and fish commissions for the purposes of recreational fishing and as a predator to control populations of gizzard shad. These include: Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico; Lake Ouachita, Lake Norman in North Carolina, Lake Norfork, Beaver Lake and Lake Hamilton in Arkansas; Lake Powell, Putnam Illinois (Lake Thunderbird) Lake Pleasant, and Lake Havasu in Arizona; Castaic Lake and Lake George in Florida, Pyramid Lake, Silverwood Lake, Diamond Valley Lake, Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama, Lake Cumberland in Kentucky , and Lake Murray in South Carolina; Lake Lanier in Georgia; Watts Bar Lake, Tennessee; and Lake Mead, Nevada; Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Whitney, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Lake Buchanan in Texas; Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania; and in Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake.