We had the Fall migration of Striped bass starting mid October along the shores of New Jersey. They were following baits like adult Menhaden and their Juvenile ones aka Peanut bunker, Herring and Sand eel. We didn't have much Sand eel this year. When fish are on Sand eel, lures like needlefish and thin skinny metals like deadly dicks, T hex, Ava jigs with tube tails work very well. And sand eels usually camp in an area for weeks, which could mean productive fishing in the same area for weeks.
This year was more of Menhaden or Bunker run. Bunker move in big schools, and when fish are on bunker imitations like large popper, pencil poppers, rubber shads and bucktails work well.
I have a 200+ mile round trip from my fishing spots, so I try to get out once every weekend during the fall run, mostly fishing at night. I had a decent 1-5 fish on most trips. One morning while returning from a fishing spot I parked at a Park overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in North New Jersey, and wanted to see how the beach and structure looked for fishing. I didn't take my fishing rod from the car, and on reaching the spot there were fish feeding on bunker. Most of the action was beyond 150 yards from shore, and there were times when the fish was feeding so close. These striped bass could easily be in 30+lb range. I rushed back to the car and when I went back all the action was gone, and the bait had moved beyond casting distance. I tried for an hour without luck and left.
The next week on 11/24, during Thanksgiving holidays I went straight to that spot and it was non stop action from 11 in the morning till about 5 when I left. I caught about 20 striped bass anywhere from 5 to 13 lbs. The rapala Xrap SXR14 was very productive that day. The good thing was there were only another 5 or 6 other fisherman and there was action on the whole stretch of beach. Now thats rare when fishing in New Jersey, where it usually gets pretty crowded when there is some action.
Here are some pictures from different trips.
15+ lb Striped bass on a bucktail
I made a last trip on Dec 4th, and got a bluefish around 10 lbs. I think that could be my last trip for the season. Winter is here, and temperature is below freezing most of the time. I may wait till Spring and next fish the saltwater around April.. Till then will be hitting some freshwater fishing spots, I haven't done much freshwater this year, so could go for some carp, or do some small game and waterfowl hunting ..
Enjoy the holidays, and everyone have a great New Year !!