When fishing for striped bass from a boat, you are not dependent on the stripers being in close to the shore. You can go where they are. The boat takes you to the fish.
Boats fishing a blitz at Montauk Point
There are a lot of boats on the market that would be great for striped bass fishing. Promotional material for the 2007 Providence Boat Show included an article by Leo Bedard that describes what he suggests would be the close-to-perfect family fishing boat; his own boat. A picture of his boat ,which is a cuddy cabin, is shown on the right. Excerpts from his article follow:
Assuming you will be fishing for stripers and bluefish close to shore (not making runs to the canyons), your choice should be no smaller than 20 feet and no larger than 25 feet. Leo's boat is 23 feet in length. This size boat takes the water well, yet can still be trailered. The boat should be a modified V-hull with sufficient flare to deflect water away from the boat. It should have a hard chine to minimize roll in a beam sea.
A center-console or walk-through may be great for fishing, however a boat that would better provide for family members should have a cuddy. The cuddy offers shelter and storage space, and can accomodate a portable head with some privacy. To provide for protection from the wind the boat should have an extended roof and side windows. A cutaway in the starboard side of the wheelhouse allows for the captain to fish while simultaneously controlling the boat. The boat should have bow and side rails.
The boat should have a livewell with at least 15 gallon capacity, that has raw water circulation. The boat should have a fish box at least 36 inches long. The boat should have rod holders, and many of them.
Electronic equipment should include a VHF radio, a color fish finder, and a color chart plotter that includes GPS. To avoid problems with fog the boat should have a radar.
If you don't need the services provided by a cuddy, then many consider a center-console the best boat for striped bass fishing. I agree, except I found the protection provided by the windshields of a walk-through a welcome feature when running in the open ocean in the late fall, or when the weather is not so balmy.
Grady White 225
For years I fished with my father-in-law on his 19 foot walk-through Grady White. It was a great fishing boat, but just a little small for the ocean. I would select a larger boat, at least as big as the Grady White 225 Tournament shown at the right, for striped bass fishing in the ocean.
Grady White 330 Express
One of my friends has an even larger Grady White, a 330 Express. This boat is great for striped bass fishing and you can also use it to run to the canyons and catch some tuna.
The most common and popular method of powering recreational fishing boats is with outboard engines, with the most recent trend toward four-stroke outboards. The major outboard manufacturers provide powerful yet fuel-efficient engines that are for the most part reliable and quiet.
Many of the boat fishing techniques require a great deal of seamanship and experience to work effectively. For example, trolling umbrella rigs is pretty tricky, and can easily foul. An alternative is to hire a qualified charter captain. There are many excellent qualified charter captains that have perfected many of these striper fishing techniques through years of experience. They also know where to fish.
Kayak at Montauk
Link to larger image
Sometimes the bigger fish are just beyond the breakers, or maybe just on the other side of a bar, and beyond the range of both flycasters and surfcasters on the beach. Some have found an answer to this. They unload their kayaks and go out to where the fish are. They use light-weight spinning gear or fly rods. Kayaks have the advantage of being quiet. They don't disturb the fish or put a blitz down.
In 2004 a 15 year old boy caught a 52.8 pound striper from a kayak off of Surf City New Jersey. This experience included what they called a sleigh ride, as the striper towed the kayak around for more than an hour. In his book On The Run, David DiBenedetto relates his experience in catching stripers from a kayak.
John and I were considering getting kayaks until someone sent us the picture below over the internet.