Peanut Bunker are one of the best striper baits to fish live. They are most likely to be available in the late summer or fall. You can also fish adult bunker live.
Peanut Bunker is the name given to juvenile Atlantic Menhaden. Atlantic Menhaden range from Nova Scotia to Eastern Florida. They can be found in coastal estuaries outwards to the continental shelf.
Menhaden are filter feeders, straining microscopic plankton, algae, etc. from the water they swim through open-mouthed. Due to their feeding habits, they must be caught by a cast net, by purse seining, or snagged. They will never bite a baited hook. Adult menhaden average 12 to 15 inches in length, and from two-thirds to one pound in weight.
These fish spawn in the open ocean. Their eggs are buoyant and don't hatch for about 75 days. Eggs and larvae wash into coastal bays and estuaries which provide nurseries for the menhaden. In the fall, after they have grown to peanut bunker size, they migrate out into the ocean in sizeable schools which attract gamefish like striped bass and bluefish. Blitzes seen along the coast are many times due to striped bass and bluefish feeding on the schools of menhaden.
Menhaden are the main source of protein for striped bass growing up in the Chesapeake Bay. However, commercial reduction boats operating out of Virginia, harvest vast amounts of menhaden from the Chesapeake Bay every year, creating a large decline in menhaden populations in these waters. It is believed that the present low numbers of menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay may be affecting the health of the bay's striped bass population. Striped bass presently found in the bay, weigh 30 percent less than the historic weight by the time they reach 18 inches in length.
A recent book " The Most Important Fish in the Sea " by H. Bruce Franklin states that Menhaden are the most important fish in the sea. This is because they are the main food source of our most valued saltwater food and gamefish, including striped bass.
Storm WildEye Live P'Nut Bunker
The Storm Swim Shad Series of fishing lures includes the The WildEye P'Nut Bunker model, that closely imitates a Peanut Bunker baitfish.
Follow this link to see photos of adult menhaden: Adult Menhaden