Tackle for Striped Bass Fly Fishing

This section provides some suggestions on fly fishing tackle for striped bass fishing.
Fly fishing is more fun if you have good reliable equipment sized for the job.

Fly Rod and Reel

Fly Rod, Reel
and Stripping Basket

Fly Rods

If I know I am going to be fishing for schoolies in the surf or along sod banks, I normally use an 8½ foot, 6 weight Fenwick fiberglass rod I've had for years. Catching schoolies is more fun on a light-weight rod.

When fly fishing in the surf for larger stripers, I use a 9 foot 9 weight rod with intermediate 9 weight line. My favorite fly rod in this size is a graphite Lamiglass, shown on the right. Bo uses Sage Fly rods for both fresh and saltwater fishing. His saltwater Sage rod is a 9foot, 9 weight. Bo also uses his Sage 9 weight fly rod for salmon fishing on the west coast.

Fly Reels

For saltwater fishing choose a reel that is durable and corrosion resistant.
Saltwater fly reels are sized to hold line corresponding to rod weight. A 9 weight rod requires 9 weight line, or even 10 weight. Some fishermen prefer a slightly heavier line to fully load the rod on the backcast. Heavier lines are thicker so you need a larger reel. A saltwater reel must also hold a significant amount of backing,
in case a fish you hook is big enough to make a long run. At least 150 yards of 30 pound test dacron backing is normally recommended. The reel should have a good drag that is easily adjustable.

Fly Line

When on a boat if the fish are deep use a sinking line. If they are on the surface use a floating or intermediate weight line. From the beach, because of wave action you may have to do some mending to keep drag from affecting the fly. For this reason some fisherman prefer a floating line, but most compromise and use an intermediate weight line.


For a stripers in the surf, I use a three section leader. The first, or butt section, is made from a 3 foot piece of 30 pound test monofilament material. The mid section is made from a 2 foot piece of 20 pound test monofilament material. The tippet section, is made from a 2 foot section of 15 pound test monofilament. If you are also after albies make the tippet section from flourocarbon. I attach the sections with loop knots. This makes it easy to replace tippet sections as they wear back. You can also use a single section tapered leader. An example is the Scientific Anglers Mastery Series 8 ft. 16 lb. Striped Bass Saltwater leader. This leader has a butt diameter of .026 inches and tapers to to a .015 inch diameter tippet. With a single section leader you have to replace the whole leader as the tippet wears back.

Stripping Basket

When fly fishing in the surf, use a stripping basket to collect the striped line. Using a stripping basket prevents the stripped line from sagging down into the water, where it would be pulled here and yon by wave action. If fishing where the water is calm, like from a sod bank, you may not need a stripping basket.

Fishermen have numerous ideas on tackle. The above is what works for me. There are a wide selection of rods, reels and lines available from the different manufacturers. Most are very good.

Whichever equipment you choose, take good care of it. Lightly rinse off your equipment with freshwater after every use in saltwater.