This section provides some suggestions for choosing tackle for boat fishing for striped bass.
Saltwater Fishing Tackle
There are so many ways to fish for striped bass from a boat, no one type of rod or reel will work for all. You have to select the proper tackle to perform the job at hand.
You don't need a real long rod to fish from a boat. The boat will allow you to avoid long casts by taking you close to the fish. A rod of 6 to 7 feet in length will work for most boat fishing.
If you are going to be casting lures from a boat, select a rod appropriate for casting lures. Either a spinning or casting rod will work, whichever you prefer. A medium-action, 7-foot rod is a good choice, and it should have a fast tip. It should be capable of casting lures of various sizes, e.g. from about 3/4 ounces to 3 ounces.
If you are going to anchor, drift, or jig, a medium/heavy action rod should work for all these fishing types. Some may prefer fast action tips for jigging, but if you are going to use braided line with little stretch, a soft tip may be better. Most prefer conventional rods and reels for these types of fishing.
If you are going to troll, select a heavy action rod. If you are going to be using wire or lead core line, or trolling heavy lures like bunker spoons or multiple lure umbrella rigs, you might move up to an extra-heavy action rod.
If you are going to use braided line with any of these rods, make sure the top tip guide is hard and durable. Silicon Carbide tips are best. Braided line can cut grooves in soft guides.
You can also fly fish for striped bass from a boat. The same 9 weight gear you use from the surf can be used from a boat.
For casting, select a reel to match the rod, spinning or casting. For striper fishing the reel should hold plenty of line, at least 250 yards, in case you hook a cow capable of making a long run.
For chunking, drifting, and jigging, most fishermen prefer conventional reels as they provide more precise control of the line
Select a conventional reel for trolling. The reel should be capable of handling the type of line you are using: mono, braid, wire, or whatever.
The reels should be corrosion-resistant and capable of handling the line of your choice. Braided line can be tough on reels. If you are going to use braided line, make sure the reel specifications say that the reel is rated for handling braided line. The reel should have a very good drag that is easily adjustable.
You can go lighter or heavier than the recommendations made above depending on the situation. If it is early spring and you are mainly going after schoolies, you might go lighter. It is not much fun catching schoolies on a heavy stick. However, if you are going for a trophy size striper, you could go heavier, particularly in the reel. Choose one that can manage a higher test line, and more of it.
For dunking, drifting, and jigging, braided line can get your bait or lure close to the bottom quicker and with less lag. But if you use braid, make sure you use a 3 or 4 foot mono or flourocarbon leader of at least 40 pound test. When you get a fish near the boat and you have to grab something, grab the leader, not the line. Braided line has small diameter and can easily cut fingers.
See more on the advantages and disadvantages of braided line on our
Braided Line page.