Bunker is one of the best baits to use when fishing for striped bass. Cut the bunker into chunks. Use all but the tail. Do use the head. Some of the biggest striped bass have been caught on bunker heads. If really large stripers are around you can use the whole bunker for bait.
A fishfinder rig is a the most popular choice for fishing with bunker chunks. Hook them as shown in the photographs below.
Bunker chunks exude an oily scent, especially when they are fresh. The scent attracts the stripers. After about 20 minutes most of the scent is washed out of your bunker bait. It is best to change your bait after it has been in the water for more than 20 minutes.
Bunker is the name given to Atlantic Menhaden. 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 as they swim through open-mouthed. Due to their feeding habits, they must be caught by a cast net, or snagged using a weighted treble hook. 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.
The menhaden 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.