Bfun

Striper Feeding Habits in the surf?

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In the surf, what do Stripers feed on during the beginning, middle and end of their season?

 

Secondly, what approaches work best for you and your approaches change throughout the season?

 

Thank you in advance ——— Tight lines!

 

SB

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First and needless to say--the West Coast is a different game than back East. South of Big Sur where I am, the season usually runs about March - August. Striper stomachs usually contain mole crabs or bait fish. Rather than change my approach seasonally, I adapt my gear in response to the size of the surf. Big surf, I use heavy spoons and bucktail jigs. Medium surf, I throw Flashminnow or SP Minnow plugs. Small surf, I throw Clouser flies with a two hand fly rod. Bait chuckers do well with live sand crabs for both perch and stripers. Hope this helps.

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I don't chime in much here but I am hoping to change that more this year. With my experience around here, early in the season I definitely notice a good bite on buck tail jigs... which does to carry to the end of the season nut definitely most pronounced at the beginning forsure. Come summer anything top water is worthy! Micky jigs or something that resembles that seems to work in mid - later summer. Above all though if you can work any lure through moving water, you can catch stripers. I don't find super calm days to be as productive for me personally. I live in SMC ... my best days are small surf with some white water... and calm wind. Tide is huge and specific to each beach. Also, dawn and dusk both seem to produce. Once the fog burn off it gets harder to find them! Hope this helps. Overall put you time in!

Luke

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Here are my 2cents, no one wants to hear it, but at least it is cheap!

 

Early season- Jan-Mar- bucktails as mentioned, especially if squid or smelt (not jack smelt) are in, smaller swimbaits 3-5", Sandcrabs can be king if your a bait guy, and smaller tins & spoons. Usually the first of the year bait can be smaller with the exception of Jacksmelt so I like using smaller baits and the striper are usually schoolies. 

 

Early Mid-April-May - topwaters come into play, a little bit bigger baits, SP minnow Joe Baggs, and start throwing some wood; metal lips, darters, needles, etc. Medium sized spoons, Kastmasters, Mickeys, Bigger swimbaits 5-7". Surf perch can be spawning live babies this time of year so a Rattle Trap can produce or anything that can match thier profile. 

 

Summer-June-Aug- topwater and don't be afraid to go big if your arm can handle it. Also think nighttime sesssions, as the fish like to cool off and feed at night. Just about any plug especially ones that move alot of water. Of course always match the hatch, if there are still small chovies or just hatched Jacksmelt or if there are some Mackerel around mack pattern plugs in the 5-8" can also produce well. Sardine patterns in same sizes if they are around. Squid should be in by now so larger pork or even squid strip tipped bucktails and squid darters can be very productive. 

 

Late Season- Sept-Nov and if warm even Dec- Before winter sets in and the fish mostly go up freshwater & delta, this can be a great Big lure = Big Fish time of year. Although the fish seem fewer and far between, this is when I see the biggest fish of the year being caught at random. The larger fish are trying to put on the lbs before winter and want usually a super sized Big Mac of a meal. They have also seen it all season, so showing them something different can also give you an advantage. Also a great time of year to soak chunked baits, whole macks, larger sardines, Big Sandcrabs in the 2-3"size, etc. the fresher the bait the better. Big plugs, large Pikies, Big Poppers, 7-10" swimbaits, Size 17 SP Minnows, Large Spoons and Krocodiles, etc. I am not saying discount the smaller baits if that is what is still around though. 

 

Edited by Linesideslayer

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Great stuff UncleS, LocalG, & LineSS.  Hope u don’t mind the abreviations.

 

UncleS, Big Surf has always interest me... I’m in San Jose but looking to move out towards Monterey... Great point on adapting to the surf rather than changing seasonally.

 

LocalG, like u I’m hoping to chime in more as well.  I noticed u also mention the surf a couple times.  That idea of swimming the bait in the strike zone is key...  gotta get better at that.

 

LineSS, your 2 cents is priceless!  Love the tip about not being afraid to try big baits late in the seasons.  Definitely looking forward to chasing those big boys.

 

Being new to targeting surf striper (a couple years in), I’m looking forward to learning new methods.  Most of the few stripers I caught were on BTs, primarily because I decided to learn that first.  SP & flash minnow have gotten me a handful.  Looking forward to another year of learning.

 

T-Lines, Sbent

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14 mins ago, Bfun said:

LineSS, your 2 cents is priceless!  Love the tip about not being afraid to try big baits late in the seasons.  Definitely looking forward to chasing those big boys.

 

Yeah the late season is kind of like deer hunting in my opinion, you can sit in the stand and sit and sit and cast and cast and just about the time you are about to hang it up a monster walks through or smashes your plug and makes all that work worth it, then your out there in your stand/beach the very next day at it again. 

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