Clam Bait for Striped Bass Fishing

Rigging Clams

Clam Bait High Low Rig

Clams on a "High Low" Rig.

Clams are one of the best baits to use when fishing for striped bass. A good rig to use is a "High Low" rig with circle hooks on dropper loops. With this rig your hook up rate will be high, and you will seldom, if ever, gut hook a striper. You can release the shorts you catch without injuring them.

An advantage of the High Low rig is that when it is cast, the sinker goes first, and the clams fall back along the line. This is somewhat streamlined, and avoids wind milling, and results in farther casts.

When using circle hooks the stripers will normally hook themselves when, after taking the bait, they turn to leave. They are usually hooked in the corner of their mouth. It is best not to grab the rod and yank to set the hook when using circle hooks, or you may yank the bait and hook right out of the their mouth. Rather, just pick up the rod and start reeling.

Clams exude an oily scent, specially when they are fresh. The scent attracts the stripers. After about 20 minutes much of the scent is washed out of your clam bait. It is best to change your bait after it has been in the water for more than 20 minutes.

Clam Bait

If you walk along the beaches of Long Island or New Jersey near the ocean edge, you will find clam shells washed up on the beach. If you walk out in the water and dig, you can dig up clams. Clams, clams, everywhere! Following a storm you will find even more clam shells. Some times you even find whole clams.

The striped bass know about the clams also. They love clams, and they come right in close to the beach searching for them. They also know that storms stir up and uncover the clams, and knock them around and even break some open. So during and after storms, the stripers are there in force.

It is not pleasant to be on the beach and fish during storms, however some do. But after the storm the fishing will be good too. Maybe even better, for a couple of days, as the water clears up some.

Boat owners, and especially charter captains, know where all the clam beds are in their local waters. Following storms they head for the clam beds, anchor over them, and catch striped bass using clams for bait.

Use fresh clams if you can find them. They are usually available from local bait and tackle shops. Frozen salted, already shucked clams, are a second choice if you can't find fresh ones.