Striped Bass Rod and Reel Setup – 2021 Beginner’s Guide

Jeff
| Last Updated April 5, 2021

Figuring out what rod and reel setup to pick for Striped Bass fishing can be tricky.

After all, what equipment you need changes with the size of fish you want to catch, where you are, and what technique you use. 

However, some rod weights, rod actions, reel sizes, and lines work in more situations than others. Let’s discuss which setups work in what scenarios. 

Striped Bass Setup Terminology and Common Concepts

Before we get into what setups you should use for Striper fishing, let’s cover a few terms you should know beforehand: 

Striped Bass

Large bass that has dark horizontal lines on its sides; also known as Stripers 

Rig

A setup used for fishing made of one or more lines, hooks, sinkers, bobbers, lures, or other fishing tackle and held by a rod, by hand, or attached to a boat or pier 

Fly Fishing

Fishing with an artificial fly on a rod and reel setup that has a heavily oiled line 

Artificial Fly

A single hook that imitates natural fish food with fur, feathers, hair, silk, or other materials

Trolling

Pulling a lure behind a boat at various speeds and depths 

Photo credit: onthewater.com

Night Fishing

Fishing between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise 

Sight Fishing

Seeing a fish in the water and then targeting it and trying to coax it towards your bait 

Vertical Jigging

Using a jig and keeping the boat stationary or slowly moving to keep the lure vertical 

Power

How much weight a rod can handle; categorized into ultra-light, light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy, and extra-heavy 

Action

Where and how a rod bends; separated into fast, moderate, and slow 

Photo credit: onthewater.com

What Are the Components of a Good Striped Bass Setup?

Now that we've covered some basic terms, let's discuss the best components for catching Stripers.

What Weight Rod for Stripers?

When considering rod weight, look at the power. For Striper fishing, look for a medium. These poles are the most versatile and can handle keepers. You can use anywhere from small to medium size lures with these rods. 

Remember, you can use other power settings to catch these fish, depending on the size you’re going for. If you’re trying to catch smaller Stripers, consider picking a light power rod. When fishing for monster catches, go for a medium-heavy or heavy rod. 

What Action for Striped Bass?

How much bend do you want when Striper fishing? Well, this decision depends on what type of lure you’re using. However, the most adaptable action is moderate. 

Moderate rods are fantastic for catching Striped Bass. Fighting large fish with this setting allows you to feel more. This factor increases the excitement. Plus, these poles can handle both smaller and larger lures, including jigs and plugs. 

If you’re targeting smaller Stripers, consider using a fast action rod. These rods work well with a smaller bait. For vertical jigging or trolling, go for slow. 

What Size Reel for Striper Fishing?

Reel sizes can be confusing because they are categorized using two different systems. But, these systems correspond. A size 10 reel is the same as 1000, a 20 the same as 2000, and so on. 

The best reels for catching these bass are in the 4000 to 5000 class. This size corresponds well to the ideal Striper rods, which have medium power with moderate action. 

Photo credit: sportfishingmag.com

What Line Do You Use for Striped Bass?

What line you need depends on what other equipment you have. When using a medium rod for these bass, your line should be 12 to 20 pounds. This equipment will handle most casting and drifting techniques. 

Common Striped Bass Rod and Reel Setups

Striped Bass equipment depends on what type of fishing you're doing: fly fishing, trolling, night fishing, or sight fishing. Below we explore typical setups for each of these techniques. 

Fly Fishing

Stripers are stronger than most other fish that fly anglers target. So, catching these fish requires a heavier rig than usual. Fly rods have designated weights, and for Striped Bass, you want a 10 to 12. 

These fish tend to be deep in the water, so you want to use a fast-sinking line. As for bait, look for flies that replicate food they like, such as herring, squid, and eels. Lures with built-in swimming motion also work well. 

Trolling

There are a few different rigs for trolling for Stripers. 

Photo credit: thefisherman.com

In shallow and warm water, a tube-and-worm rig works best. This setup consists of a sea worm attached to a tube with a hook on the end, which attracts fish by slowly wobbling in the water. Attach your tube-and-worm to 15 feet of 50-pound fluorocarbon on the end of your main line.  

Another standard setup is the umbrella rig. These lures have wire arms with multiple baits. Striped Bass love this setup because it resembles the schools of shad they feed on. Attach this lure to six feet of 80 to 100-pound monofilament on a ball-bearing swivel. 

Night Fishing

Most anglers who night fish for these bass use live bait. Attaching halogen or fluorescent lights to your boat will help attract fish. To catch your bait, cast jigs, stick-baits, or diving plugs in dark colors. 

Rig up your live fish with a light leader and thin hook, then throw your line out just past the line of light. Stripers tend to feed a few feet past this division. 

Sight Fishing

Anglers enjoy sight fishing for these bass in the Northeast, where they frequent shallow, sandy waters. For this technique, we recommend an eight to nine-weight fly rod with a floating or slow-sinking line. Fish love sand eel and crab flies in these areas. 

Conclusion

A universal Striper setup is a medium power, moderate-action rod with a 4000 to 5000 reel and a 12 to 20-pound line. You can find common rigs for fly fishing, trolling, night fishing, and sight fishing. 

The diversity in tactics makes Striper fishing exciting for any angler. So get out there and try catching one of these bass with your favorite technique! 

Photo credit: onthewater.com

People Also Ask

Have more questions? Find answers below!

What’s the Best Time to Fish for Striped Bass?

The best time to fish for Stripers is just before sunrise and just before sunset. These fish feed during dusk and dawn, so most bites occur at these times. 

Where Do Striped Bass Hang Out?

These bass hang out near the edge of turbulent waters. Stripers have strong tails and large fins that can handle fast currents that disorient their prey. 

Photo credit: ChesapeakeBay.org

What Color Lures for Striped Bass?

You can catch Stripers with a variety of lure colors. However, the four go-to colors are white, black, chartreuse, and yellow. 

What Size Hooks for Striped Bass?

Ideal hook size changes based on what size Striped Bass you’re fishing for. For smaller Stripers, use a 2/0. For larger fish, go for a 7/0.

Can You Buy an All-in-One Setup for Striped Bass?

You can buy a Striper setup that works for most scenarios. When looking for versatility, go for medium power, moderate-action rod. Use a 4000 to 5000-class reel and a 12 to 20-pound line.

Jeff

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.