Bucktails have been catching striped bass for many years. They still do. You can fish them plain, or add a trailer to the bucktail. Both plastic curly tails and porkrind trailers are used. They both work. Porkrind trailers are more durable.
For years, fishermen have been catching striped bass using Bucktail lures. On a recent trip to Montauk, many fishermen were fishing the surf using bucktails; and they were catching stripers. The bucktail is a favorite lure at Montauk.
Bucktails have many advantages. They are made of lead, so they can be made heavy enough to be cast a good distance. They have only one hook so that, if you catch an undersized fish, it is easily unhooked and released. If you catch a bluefish it can be unhooked much easier than if the lure had multiple treble hooks. You can fish the bucktail at different depths in the water column depending on how long you wait to begin your retrieve. You can vary the action with your retrieve. You can retrieve it smoothly, or use an accelerate then pause sequence, making it dart and flutter like a wounded baitfish.
Bucktails can be dressed up in all sorts of ways. Plain they imitate a short baitfish. Add a curlytail or a porkrind trailer to make them a little longer, as shown in the picture below. Try replacing the bucktail hair with maribou feathers. Add some flash. It is fun to try new things.
Bucktails are good lures to use for fishing in canals and inlet channels. Throw the bucktail up current, let it sink and let the current swing the lure back past you. Choose the weight of your bucktail depending on how fast current is moving. It is important to get the lure down deep, where the fish are.
This striper caught on a bucktail with a red and white porkrind trailer was unhooked and returned to the water.