Roll With the Troll
The cold snap has jump-started what will be the final push of striped bass down the Garden State coast. This could last another couple of weeks, maybe a bit longer, but the wide mix of bass, from schoolies to bonus tag fish, and from the standard keepers to the last of the migrating cows, is indicative that what has been a wild and wonderful autumn run, is on the wane.
Yet, some of the best fishing awaits, especially if you have a bonus tag (allows one bass between 24 and less than 28 inches) and like to eat stripers via the 28 to less than 38-inch “keeper” slot limit.
Bait, primarily bunker, is still on the move, with the bass right behind and underneath. Sand eels, a favorite late-season entree, are also showing, and the stripers have the feed bags affixed.
The action in the surf is picking up, and there have been a few blitzes along the sands noted from Island Beach State Park south through Long Beach Island. Swimming plugs, poppers, divers, paddle tails, Smilin’ Bill bucktails, fresh cut bunker or fresh clam...that’s another game in itself.
From the boats, it’s transitioning to the troll. Yeah, when the bass are busting on top or schooling just below they can be picked off on poppers, paddle tails, plugs, stretch 25 plugs, and weighted shads. However, overall, when it comes to searching, finding, and connecting with late-season linesiders, gotta roll with the troll.
Mojos (8oz. to 32 oz. in white or chartreuse), umbrella rigs with either shads (pearl/blue, pearl/black, white or chartreuse) or eels (natural or black), and also bunker spoons (Nos. 2-4 in either white, chrome or chartreuse) will prove the most effective when it comes to decking Yule Month stripers on a consistent basis as per conditions.