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    Mike Acosta Unfair Advantage Charters

Live bait fishing rigs for stripers

Saturday, April 13, 2019


It is that time of the year where live bait fishing for stripers is typically the norm.

I get questioned a lot about what to use for striper fishing. Fortunately, these tough fighting fish can be caught on a variety of rod and reel combinations, as long as they can stand up to the fight of these predators.

Many folks prefer spinning reels, and some prefer bait-cast reels. Whichever is your preference, just make sure that it is sufficiently sized to handle the fish.

Some diehards fish with heavy tackle and heavy rods. When that fish bites they are not going to miss them.

Others enjoy the fight and fish with lightweight outfits with light line that make the catch a little more interesting. If you do use a light outfit, make sure it has a good smooth drag; otherwise you can lose the fish and the terminal tackle.

In many cases it is cheaper in the long run to buy good equipment. Better equipment generally lasts longer and will hold up better against a large fish.

You know how the old saying goes, “penny wise, pound foolish.” If you buy an inexpensive outfit that may break, you may be buying another one shortly which may exceed the cost of a good one bought the first time.

I typically use 7-foot medium heavy rods fitted with Ambassaduer reels for most of my bass fishing. These are good outfits that are reasonably priced. You can spend a fortune on some really good quality reels and poles, so it may depend on your budget.

I like to use 15-to-20 pound Stren or Trilene Big Game for the main line for fishing our area lakes. I always choose a good fluorocarbon leader material, whether fishing with live or artificials.

I also keep a few lightweight spinning outfits with 10-to-12-pound test on board, as many days these smaller lighter outfits will put more fish in the boat.

For live bait fishing I use offset Eagle Claw L042 hooks in a 2/0 to 5/0 size depending on the bait. I will also use at times #2 to 1/0 treble hooks when the bite is finicky. I use Palomar knots all the way around.

My “Carolina” live bait rig with a lighter leader material consists of a 1.5 to 2-ounce barrel weight above a swivel with a 3-foot leader with one of those Eagle Claw L042 hooks tied on the end.

Depending on the season and the amount of people in my boat, I will carry numerous outfits. When the fish are really biting, you don’t have time to retie after a fish swallows a hook. You just grab another pole, bait it and put it out there. When the bite slows, then you can retie.

I try to keep those fish biting under the boat if possible. If you don’t have any baits out after a flurry of bites, those traveling stripers may move on.

By having several rod holders on the boat, you can also maximize the amount of baits in the water. With numerous baits down, your chances are better.

People ask me all the time, “What happens if all those poles go down at once? Won’t that be a mess?”

I always respond, “If there is a fish on, that is all that matters. “ Many times the predator fish will hit all at once, but that is what we are looking for.

I have had many requests on the bait tank and aeration system as I get most every year. I try to run that article once a year and it should be coming up shortly.


Water temperatures are in the middle 60s to even 70 degrees in the backs of creeks. Spring is here and the fish are biting most places. The water is warming fast.

Granbury crappie continues to be good to excellent on small jigs and minnows. Crappie are being caught in most every creek or slough on the lake.

Granbury catfish are good on jug lines baited with cut shad near creek entrances. Black bass to 6 pounds are being caught in most creeks and sloughs and on main lake points on soft plastics. Stripers are fair on the lower ends of the lake on live shad. Sand bass action is reported as slow to fair on the upper ends of the reservoir. | 817-573-7066 ext. 254



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