A lot of it depends on the time of year and where you're fishing. While luck does certainly play a part, knowing the fish's habits helps more.
In the spring, anglers almost exclusively use bait. The fish are cold and lethargic and much less likely to strike a fast-moving lure than they are in the summer or fall. Bloodworms are the choice bait in spring. Peeler crab, which is a favorite bait all year long, also works well. Some also use clam snouts and cut bait, usually bunker.
In the summer and fall you can also use baits, but most stick to lures because it's more fun and more sporting. Lures like bass assassins and Mirrolures that mimic the striper's natural prey are favorites. In the fall lots of anglers in the Atlantic also use big eels.
Finally, location is important. Piers and surf spots up and down the bay are producing pretty well right now as the big fish head to the bay's headwaters in the Susquehanna to spawn. In the spring, put out a bait at Sandy Pt., Matapeake, IRI or Ocean City's inlet and you'll have a good shot. In the fall, get near fast-moving water under bridges and you'll clean up.
Don't give up just yet. Now's the time of year to catch the cows.
Finally, there's a secret ritual you have to undergo to get the fish to bite. Buy me a beer and I'll tell ya' what it is
Yes to all that SandFlea, but often I am on a pier or beach and we are all soaking the same bait about the same distance out with similar rigs and hooks.
Yet person X catches the striper. Next time its person Y.
knowing where they gather is critical. i almost always use a white bucktail and white worm, but switch off when it warrants. at night black or purple do well but you have to be careful at night because trout like those colors to. also if you hear them breaking water, get out your best top water orshallow runners, but make sure you have a good hold on your rod cause if a big one hits, he ain't gonna ask if are holding on tight.
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