What Is A Striped Bass – Everything You Need To Know

By Get Fishing •  Published: 01/21/23 •  11 min read

Sports fishermen get excited when they see a Striped Bass on the line, and there’s a good reason. These fish are fun fighters. Despite their smaller (for saltwater species) size, they really pack a punch. 

What is a striped bass
Courtesy of @609.fishing

What is a Striped Bass?

The Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) is a fish often caught in saltwater, however you may see them in freshwater sources as well. There are countless reasons why Striped Bass are considered a favorite by fishermen along the Atlantic coast, including its meat. If you’re interested in saltwater fishing you’ll undoubtedly hear about the Striped Bass from shore or deep sea fishermen. 

Why is it Called a Striped Bass?

The Striped Bass gets its name from horizontal stripes, usually 7-8 of them, running along their body. These stripes are often a dark green to gray in color. This species also goes by the nicknames Striper or Linesider, both due to the stripes on their bodies. 

What Type of Fish is a Striped Bass?

Commonly thought of as a saltwater species, the Striped Bass can actually survive in fresh water as well. They are anadromous, meaning they’re born in freshwater and travel to saltwater. Juveniles and adults will spend most of their lives in saltwater and return to rivers to spawn. 

What Does a Striped Bass Look Like?

striped bass

The body of a Striped bass is a light silver in color, turning to a darker blue/gray along the dorsal side. These fish have 7-8 stripes running horizontally down their body. They have a long shape and two separate dorsal fins. The lower jaw protrudes further out than the upper jaw. Juveniles are very light gray/silver in color, with faint barring along their body, if any. 

Where Can I Find Striped Bass?

The native habitat of the Striped Bass runs along the Atlantic coast of the United States. They can also be found naturally in areas of the Gulf of Mexico, more toward the Florida side. Due to their popularity, these fish have been introduced along the West Coast as well. 

Freshwater sources where Striped Bass can be found include rivers, lakes, and reservoirs where they may get stuck due to damming. Striped Bass travel into freshwater in the spring to spawn.

Striped Bass Habitat 

This species prefers rocky areas and shoals (areas of shallow water) along the coast. During spawning season, they can be found ranging upriver, anywhere where their preferred prey may be. It’s possible to catch Striped Bass off the shore or on a boat in deeper water. 

What Do Striped Bass Eat?

Striped Bass aren’t picky and will go after many different kinds of bait. Here’s a list of just some of their favorites:

How to Catch Striped Bass

There is no “right” way to go about catching Striped Bass, which makes them really fun to go after. These fish are often caught jigging, trolling, and surf casting. That means if you aren’t up for getting out on the boat, there’s a good chance you can still catch a Striper. 

Shore Fishing for Striped Bass

While shore fishing might seem like a leisurely option, keep in mind that Striped Bass can get big. You need to have the right gear for shore fishing and make sure it can handle bringing in a 20-40lb fish with no problem. A great casting reel is also important, as you’ll need to get the bait far enough out to where the fish are. 

Many fishermen love shore fishing because it allows them to kick back and relax. Poles can be propped up and left alone, however, keep a close eye on them – it wouldn’t be surprising for a Striper to rip them right out of the sand. 

Offshore Fishing for Striped Bass

Offshore fishing options for Striped Bass usually involve trolling or jigging. Both are very effective with this species. You can take your own boat out, schedule a charter, or go on a party boat – all are viable options. Charters and party boats are usually familiar with where the fish have been hitting, and can also provide the preferred bait as they’re out almost daily. You also have the option of bringing your own gear or using whatever is available on board. All charter and party boats provide gear that will hold up to the type of fish you’re going for, so you don’t need to worry about line weight or an appropriate pole. 

When To Catch Striped Bass

The usual time to catch Striped Bass along the east coast is during the spring and fall. In spring, these fish are coming in to spawn, meaning they’ll be close to shore. Further north along the east coast, June – August is prime Striper fishing season. Water temps should be between 50 – 70F. In fall, they’ll feed more readily, meaning you won’t have to try as hard as long as you know where they are and have the right bait. 

What Are the Best Baits for Catching Striped Bass?

There are two camps when it comes to bait: lures vs. live. Live bait is often available in bait shops and they’ll have some of the species’ favorites on hand, including bloodworms and clams. 

However, artificial lures are usually more eye-catching when it comes to Striped Bass. Metal lures and poppers are both flashy and very active when jigging or trolling, exciting the prey drive of this carnivorous species. Some fishermen choose to go a hybrid route and pair fresh bait with flashers. 

What Tackle Do You Need for Striped Bass Fishing?

With Striped Bass and many larger species of fish, it’s important to make sure you have the right gear. These fish get big, so making sure your rod and line can hold up to their weight and fight is what will get them in the boat. 

Recently, many states have made the circle hook a regulation for saltwater fishing with bait. There are many benefits to the circle hook. For anglers, you don’t need to jerk the line to set the hook; circle hooks set naturally. They are also easier to remove from the fish’s mouth and hold bait well. 

What is the Best Striped Bass Fishing Rod?

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

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Ugly Stik is a well-known name among sports fishermen. This company does an amazing job of creating long-lasting products, and their Tiger Elite rod is no exception. The rod is made of a blended material that will stand up against plenty of rough and tough days out on the water. Ugly Stiks are virtually unbreakable even when going up against big fish.

There’s graphite added to the mix for extra sensitivity, if you decide to switch things up and fish for more gentle species that you’ll need to really feel on the line. Everything about this build is simple and straightforward; for fishermen who appreciate simplicity, the Tiger goes a long way. This is a 7’ one-piece rod with a conventional reel outfit. 

What is the Best Pound Line for Striped Bass Fishing?

The best weight to buy when looking at fishing line will be 30lb, for Striped Bass. As you’ll see below, this species varies in weight-but as they’ve been making a comeback up and down the east coast, fishermen are pulling up sizeable fish.

A 30lb line guarantees you’ll be able to bring your haul to the surface before netting or gaffing it. The last thing you want is for the line to snap as you’re reeling in a trophy fish. 

What is the Best Hook Size for Striped Bass?

Most fishermen use an 8/0 or 9/0 circle hook for bass fishing. This gives you enough room to get bait on the hook, and still keep that hook in the fish’s mouth once they hit. Circle hooks of this size will also be easier to remove from the fish and cause minimal damage.

What is the Best Reel for Striped Bass Fishing? 

Daiwa BG8000 Saltwater Spinning Reel

Daiwa BG8000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Daiwa BG8000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Buy Now Disclaimer – This website uses affiliate links and get a small commission at no additional cost to you.

While this reel is a bit on the pricier side, Daiwa has outdone themselves in its design. The BG8000 has an aluminum housing and waterproof drag system that can handle 33lbs. Customers love how smooth the drag is and that it can hold up against larger line weights as well. 

This reel also has great line capacity, meaning you’ll get good reach when surf fishing. It’s a great option for rods ranging anywhere from 6’ – 12’ and has been tested against many different line types and weights. 

Do Striped Bass Taste Good?

The answer to this question is all about preference. Some people believe saltwater fish taste too ‘fishy,’ however the Striped Bass is known as a good eating fish. The white meat is flaky and sweeter in flavor than other saltwater fish like Bluefish or Salmon. 

How to Clean Striped Bass

Cleaning a fish correctly can have a big effect on how good – or bad – they taste when cooked later. There are some key steps to cleaning a fish after you catch it, so let’s take a closer look. 

How to Bleed Out a Striped Bass

One of the most important steps in prepping a Striped Bass after you catch one is to bleed it out. Bleeding a fish will kill it quickly and also leave the meat tasting better. To bleed a Striper, once you have the fish secure, make sure you have a knife at hand. All fish have an artery right below where their gills meet. Take the knife and, holding the fish securely, slice down through both gills where they meet. 

How to Filet a Striped Bass

To filet a Striper, after they are bled out, gutted and put on ice, take the fish out of your cooler and lay them on a flat surface. Make sure you have a sharp filet knife. Your first cut should be behind the head, cutting at an angle toward the head, and cutting toward the bottom of the belly. Then, beginning at the spine, make a cut and follow the spine down toward the tail. You shouldn’t need to press too hard as you’re skimming the bone. Once you reach the tail, cut through the meat. 

Bring the knife to the top of the fish once more and cut deeper in, raising the meat carefully with your fingers so you can see where you’re cutting along the spine. Continue cutting back and forth, tight against the ribs (not under, but over). Once you reach the belly, you can cut the filet free. 

How Big do Striped Bass Get?

Striped Bass vary widely in size, but on average can be anywhere from 16-36 inches. Each year the “keeper” size will vary depending on where you live and what the local population looks like, so check in with your fish and game department to find out how big a Striper needs to be in order to keep in. 

The average weight of a Striper is 7-20lbs. 

What is the World Record Striped Bass?

The world record Striped Bass was caught in August, 2011 by Gregory Myerson, in the Long Island Sound. This fish weighed 81 lbs 14 oz.

Do Striped Bass Have Teeth?

Yes, Striped Bass have small, inward-facing teeth. However, you can still hold a Striped Bass by the mouth if you do so carefully. 

Are Striped Bass and Sea Bass the Same Fish?

No, these are two different species, although they get confused due to the similarity in name. Striped Bass and Black Sea Bass are both saltwater fish, but they look nothing alike. Black Sea Bass are dark gray in color with black scales, and do not have the horizontal lines that Stripers do.


If you’re new to saltwater fishing, we hope you’ll give Striped Bass a shot. They’re a fun species to catch with a lot of fight and a voracious appetite. Whether you’re looking to fish from the shore or on the deep sea, you can find this species relatively easily given the right conditions and gear.