Scientific Name: Morone saxatilis
Ideal Temp: 55-68°F (13-20°C)
Environment: Lake, River, Inshore, Surf
Technique: Casting, Fly, Jigging, Trolling
Lure Type: Crankbaits, Flies, Jigs, Plugs, Soft Plastics, Spinnerbaits, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
World Record: 37.14 kg (81 lb 14 oz) Long Island Sound, Westbrook, Connecticut , USA
The striped bass, or “rockfish” as it is known in North and South Carolina, occurs from the St. Lawrence River to northern Florida on the Atlantic coast of the United States; off Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico; and along the U.S. Pacific coast from Washington to California. Striped bass were unknown on the Pacific coast until they were introduced there in 1879 and 1882. On the east coast they have been well known to saltwater anglers and one of the most important food fishes since at least the early 1600's. It is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater (marine) fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire. They are also found in the Minas Basin and Gaspereau River in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The striped bass' closest freshwater relatives are the white bass (Morone chrysops), the yellow bass (M. mississippiensis), and the white “perch” (M. americana). The striped bass is easily recognized by the 7 or 8 prominent black stripes that run along the scale rows on each side of its long, sleek, silvery body. One stripe runs along the lateral line, and the remainder are about equally divided above and below it. The first dorsal fin has 8 10 spines and the second, 10 13 soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines followed by 7 13 soft rays. The dorsal fins are completely separated. The striped bass is longer and sleeker and has a larger head than its close and similar looking relative, the white bass. The striped and white basses have been crossed to create a hybrid known as the whiterock or sunshine (in Florida) bass. Striped bass can be distinguished from hybrids by the regularity of stripes while the hybrid usually has interrupted or broken stripes.
Striped bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately Louisiana. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water. Spawning takes place in fresh water.
Striped bass have been introduced to the Pacific Coast of North America and into many of the large reservoir impoundments across the United States by state game and fish commissions for the purposes of recreational fishing and as a predator to control populations of gizzard shad. These include: Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico; Lake Ouachita, Lake Norfork, Beaver Lake (Arkansas) and Lake Hamilton in Arkansas; Lake Powell, Lake Pleasant, and Lake Havasu in Arizona; Castaic Lake, Lake George in Florida, Pyramid Lake, Silverwood Lake, Diamond Valley Lake, East Fork State Park Lake near Cincinnati Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama, Lake Cumberland, and Lake Murray in California; Lake Lanier in Georgia; Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee; and Lake Mead, Nevada; Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Whitney, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Lake Buchanan in Texas; Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania; and in Virginia Smith Mountain Lake. Striped bass have also been introduced into waters in Ecuador, Iran, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey primarily for sport fishing and aquaculture.
Striped bass spawn in freshwater and although they have been successfully adapted to freshwater habitat, they naturally spend their adult lives in saltwater (i.e., it is anadromous). Four important bodies of water with breeding stocks of striped bass are: Chesapeake Bay, Massachusetts Bay/Cape Cod, Hudson River and Delaware River. It is believed that many of the rivers and tributaries that emptied into the Atlantic, had at one time, breeding stock of striped bass. One of the largest breeding areas is the Chesapeake Bay, where populations from Chesapeake and Delaware bays have intermingled. There are very few successful spawning populations of freshwater striped bass, including Lake Texoma, the Colorado River and its reservoirs downstream from and including Lake Powell, and the Arkansas River as well as Lake Marion (South Carolina) that retained a landlocked breeding population when the dam was built; other freshwater fisheries must be restocked with hatchery-produced fish annually. Stocking of striped bass was discontinued at Lake Mead in 1973 once natural reproduction was verified.
Striped bass are of significant value as sport fishing, and have been introduced to many waterways outside their natural range. A variety of angling methods are used, including trolling and surfcasting, with top water lures a good pick for surf casting. Striped bass will take a number of live and fresh baits including bunker, clams, eels, sandworms, herring, bloodworms, mackerel, and shad, with the last being an excellent bait for freshwater fishing.
The largest striped bass ever taken by angling was a 81.88 lb (37.14 kg) specimen taken from boat in Long Island Sound, near the Outer Southwest Reef, off the coast of Westbrook, Connecticut. The all-tackle world record fish was taken by Gregory Myerson on the night of August 4, 2011. The fish took a drifted live eel bait, and fought for 20 minutes before being boated by Myerson. A second hook and leader was discovered in the fish's mouth when it was boated, indicating it had been previously hooked by another angler. The fish measured 54 inches in length and had a girth of 36 inches. The International Game Fish Association declared Myerson's catch the new All-Tackle World Record striped bass on October 19, 2011. In addition to now holding the All-Tackle record, Meyerson’s catch also landed him the new IGFA men’s 37 kg (80 lb) line class record for striped bass, which previously stood at 70 lb. The previous all-tackle world record fish that was unseated by Myerson's 81.88 pound fish was a 35.6 kg (78.5 lb) specimen taken in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 21, 1982 by Albert McReynolds, who fought the fish from the beach for an hour and twenty-minutes after taking his Rebel artificial lure. McReynolds all-tackle world record stood for 29 years.
A voracious and opportunistic predator, the striped bass will consume all types of fishes. A wide variety of fishing methods are successfully employed, including trolling, jigging, bait fishing, surf casting, fly fishing, and spinning. Baits and lures include mullet, squid, eels, crabs, clams, bloodworms, plugs, spoons, flies, and casting lures
Recreational bag limits vary by state and province.