Striped Bass Fly Fishing Strategies

This section provides some suggestions on striped bass fly fishing strategies.

Check out the area where you are going to be fishing ahead of time; preferably at low tide. Note beach slope, drop offs, sand bars, cuts, etc.

Pick your time to fish when the stripers will be in close to the shore. This will probably be very early morning, dusk, or at night. However, during the fall migration if the baitfish are in close the stripers will be also, even during the day.

Pick times when the water is moving, not the slacks at the top and bottom of the tides.

Match the hatch. What bait fish are running? Silversides? Peanut Bunker? Sand Eels? Select the appropriate fly to match the prevalent baitfish.

Be stealthy - approach the water slowly and quietly. The stripers may be close in, right there in the wash. Don't spook them.

Fly Fishing With a Stripping Basket

Fly Fishing With a Stripping Basket

Don't overcast the fish on your first cast. Again, don't spook the fish. On the first cast assume that they are in close. If after a few short casts you get no results, then cast a little further out on subsequent casts, and so on. If you move down the beach , repeat this first try in close then far out sequence.

Use a two handed strip where you tuck the reel and rod butt up under your arm with the rod being across your body. This frees up both hands to strip the line into your stripping basket. With this method you can readily vary the speed of the strip and action of the fly, and you can set the hook with a tug of your hand if you get a strike.

The strip is what gives the fly action. Try different speeds and sequences. Try to make the fly have action like a wounded baitfish. A strip-strip-pause sequence often works well, with the stripers hitting the fly on the pause. Strip faster for bluefish, and slower for stripers.

If you find a tightly packed bait pod, your fly may be lost in the crowd. Do something to make it stand out. Twitch it to make it seem injured. Maybe try a larger or more colorful fly. Move to the edge of the pod, where there is not so much competition. Another trick to try is using two flies. Connect the second fly on a dropper loop located about 18 in. above the first fly.

If you are using weighed flies that are bumping the bottom, check your leader often. If you see wear, replace the tippet section.

If you are fishing from a boat and need to get the fly down deep, use sinking line and a shorter leader.