Fishing for Striped Bass With Live Bunker

In the Spring, and again in the Fall, striped bass can be found along the Long Island and New Jersey coasts feeding on schools of adult bunker.

Snagged Bunker

Snagged Live Bunker

Bunker in Livewell

Bunker in Live Well

Hooked Live Bunker

Hooked Live Bunker

John's Striped Bassr

John and his Striper

Fishing Live Bunker

My friend John has a 34 foot Grady-White boat that is great for striped bass fishing. John's boat has a live well with circulating saltwater. With this, snagged bunker can be put in the live well. Then they can be fished on other rods rigged with circle hooks. Then if you want to release a striper, you can do it with less chance of harming the fish.
John berths his boat in a Manasquan River marina.

On a October morning we headed out of the Manasquan inlet then turned north up along the coast toward Long Branch. We soon saw birds working, and upon approaching them we saw a school of bunker. A large commotion indicated that fish were in their midst, probably striped bass.

We moved up close to within easy casting distance from the school of bunker and cast into them using bunker snagging rigs. In short order we caught a dozen or so of bunker that we but in the live well.

We fished the live bunker on rods fitted with bait runner spinning reels and rigged with circle hooks with sinkers about 2 feet above the hooks. We took live bunker from the live well and hooked them in the back slightly ahead of the dorsal fin. We then cast them slightly out and let the live bunker swim back toward the school of bunker.

Soon John got a hit and after a vigorous fight, we netted the 43 inch striped bass shown on the right.

We were not alone. Other boats also found the school of bunker. They were catching striped bass as well using the same techniques. Then it got so crowded the bunker school broke up. We headed home, but we had our striper.

Follow this link to see Fishing Live Bunker From the Beach.