Striped bass, scientifically named Morone saxatilis and nicknamed the rockfish, are school moving fish. They migrate in packs for their whole lives. The first two years of their lives are spent in small packs, but they migrate in larger school groups during adulthood.
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Striped bass normally live in the east coast of North America, ranging from Canada all the way down to Florida. They were introduced to the Pacific coast in the late 19th century, so they can now be found from Washington down to California. They like to live inshore along reefs and other areas that create constant movement. They are anadromous and migratory, never staying in one place for too long.
They are easily recognized because of the seven or eight black stripes they have down their bodies. Their bodies are silver with two dorsal fins and one anal fin. They are sleeker than other closely related fish, and their most distinguishing trait is the even spacing of their stripes. Striped bass can live up to around 40 years and can weigh an enormous 140 pounds. Most striped bass only grow to about half that size.
Females are usually the bigger members of the species. The bigger the female, the more eggs she will produce. Striped bass like to reproduce in rivers, most famously spawning in the Hudson River. They lay their eggs in waters with temperatures around 65°F. Eggs flow down stream until they hatch around three days after their release date.
Striped bass eat a variety of different foods. They feed on flounder, eels, sea herring, crabs, sea worms, squid and anything else they can get their mouths on. They are successful hunters, eating usually in the mornings and at night. They do some hunting throughout the day, but an angler won’t get much activity then. They feed more at night during the summertime when the water starts to cool down sooner.
The best time to hunt these fish between April and October. The most successful anglers catch them in the dawn when the bass is just starting to feed, though night fishing during the summer is also successful. A fisherman can easily find the striped bass along the shorelines where the waves makes choppy waters. Striped bass like moving water, so active tides draw them in.
There are many different techniques for catching striped bass, including trolling, bait fishing, surf casting and spinning. Since they’ll eat almost anything, striped bass respond well to almost any bait used. They come to eels, worms, jig, lures and almost anything else. As long as they have food in front of them, they’ll bite.
Catching stripers can be fun for people of all ages.
If an angler is lucky enough to catch a school of striped bass, he is almost assured a boat full of fish to take home. The are relatively new for freshwater gaming, but that certainly doesn’t diminish their value. A fisherman can take advantage of the opportunistic nature of striped bass to get a bite with almost any bait. Under the right circumstances, they can be quite productive.