Due to their aggressive and hard-fighting nature, Striped Bass are known as one of the most fun game fish to catch on the fly. What makes these fish so fun is that they live in very diverse ocean habitats, and they can be caught on the flats, estuaries, or in deeper water. These fish are very accessible from shore, and they can be a very forgiving fish that provide a fun challenge for beginners. While these fish can be found all around the East coast (from Canada to the Gulf Coast), New England is the premier location to target them. Every spring anglers anxiously wait in excitement as the Stripers migrate back to the New England coast in droves. Here, we’ve compiled a list of gear items we believe you will need to catch these trophy fish.
Top 5 Pieces of Gear for Stripers:
1. 9 Weight Fly Rod and Reel
Due to the size of the fish and the pain of casting large flies in the wind, a 9 weight rod is the go-to rod for catching stripers. While stripers do run, unless you’ve got a very impressive fish at the end of your line, they typically don’t take you into your backing, so having a good drag system isn’t as important as other saltwater species such as bonefish or permit. For a rod we recommend the Orvis Recon 9 Weight due to its versatility and affordability, coming in at around $549. The Orvis clearwater pairs perfectly with the Recon rod and is very affordable coming in at $98. Due to the clearwater’s large arbor, it is very effective at fighting and helping you to land large fish.
2. Intermediate sinking fly line
When starting out striper fishing, an intermediate sink like is the perfect line due to its versatility. This fly line allows you to fish in various water columns using one line. This means you can fish anywhere from the beach to off of deeper rocks without changing your reel setup. While there are many lines that do a great job of this, the Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan Full Intermediate Sinking Line is by far one of the best, and gives you the most bang for your buck coming in at $89.95.
3. Stripping Basket
Whether you are fishing from the shore or are on the rocks, a stripping basket is essential in fishing for stripers. Stripping baskets allow you to keep your line organized and out of the water or rocks, so you are easily able to pick up and change the direction of your cast. There are many stripping baskets out there that are very effective and do very similar things. One I like is the Linekruv stripping basket, which comes in at $59.95.
4. Clouser Minnow
This epic fly pattern was developed by Bob Clouser and is a mainstay in all saltwater anglers fly boxes. What makes this fly so effective is its ability to imitate a variety of baitfish and other saltwater food sources. An assortment of this fly in various colors and sizes is essential for catching stripers on the fly. This was the very first fly that I learned how to tie and it was very easy, a link to a video on how to tie them will be attached.
A pair of pliers is a must-have and can be very helpful when saltwater fly fishing whether it’s to tighten knots, get hooks out or cut tag ends. Dr. Slick makes an awesome very affordable plier called the Squall plier that comes in at $65.
Finally, now that you have all the gear you will need, get out there and catch some stripers. Make sure to remember to experiment with the flies you are using and how fast you’re stripping until you find the perfect combination.