Kayak Striped Bass Fishing: Full-Guide

by Tim Mueller

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Navigating the waters of fishing equipment can be as challenging as reeling in a striped bass from your kayak.

The right guide, however, can turn this challenge into a thrilling adventure, which why I decided to make this one.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explore the unique characteristics of striped bass, the strategies for catching them, and the advantages of having the right equipment, comparing various options along the way.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice, this guide is tailored to make the experience of fishing for striped bass from a kayak, amazing.

So, grab your paddle and let’s embark on this exciting expedition!

About Striped Bass

Striped bass, often referred to as stripers, are a fascinating species that have captivated the hearts of anglers for generations.

They are a migratory species, which means their behavior and location can vary significantly depending on the season and the specific environment they are in.

Stripers are incredibly diverse, and their preferences for different types of lures or setups can vary widely.

This diversity is part of what makes fishing for striped bass such an exciting and rewarding experience.

It’s not just about casting a line and hoping for the best; it’s about understanding the behavior of the fish and adapting your techniques to match.

Their Behavior

One of the most important things to understand about striped bass is their migratory patterns.

These fish make long journeys to and from their summer haunts, and their feeding habits can change dramatically depending on the time of year. In the spring and fall, when stripers are making their migratory runs, they feed most aggressively.

This is often when you’ll see the most surface activity and have the best chances of catching them with topwater lures.

Stripers also follow the migration of baitfish, such as alewives, herring, and smelt.

Understanding the behavior patterns of these baitfish can help you predict when and where the stripers will be feeding.

For example, in the area north of Boston, an abundance of silversides, bunker (also known as menhaden and pogies), and mackerel often signals the arrival of stripers.

Tips for Fishing Striped Bass From a Kayak

Here are some tips for kayak striped bass fishing that I think are essential:

Timing is Everything

When it comes to striped bass fishing, timing is everything as these fish are most active during their migratory runs in the spring and fall.

This is when they’re feeding most aggressively, and you’ll often see a lot of surface activity.

So, if you’re looking to reel in a big one, plan your fishing trips around these times that’s how I’ve found that the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the early angler gets the bass.

Understand Your Bait

Another crucial aspect of successful striped bass fishing is understanding your bait as stripers follow the migration of baitfish, so knowing the behavior patterns of these baitfish can help you predict when and where the stripers will be feeding.

I’ve noticed that an abundance of silversides, bunker, and mackerel often signals the arrival of stripers.

So, keep an eye out for these baitfish when you’re out on the water. It’s like a dinner bell ringing, telling you that the stripers are ready to feast.

Choose the Right Lure

Choosing the right lure for striped bass can be a bit like choosing the right outfit for a special occasion. There’s no one-size-fits-all, and the best lure depends on a variety of factors, including the time of year, the specific environment, and the behavior of the fish.

I’ve had days when a topwater plug worked wonders, and other days when a soft plastic lure was the ticket to success.

In short, the key is to be adaptable and willing to switch up your tactics based on the conditions and the behavior of the fish.

Preparations for Kayak Striped Bass Fishing

With these preparations in place, you’ll be ready to tackle the exciting world of kayak striped bass fishing:

Know the Season

Before you even think about hitting the water, you need to understand the seasonality of striped bass which are most active during their migratory runs in the spring and fall.

So, planning your fishing trips around these times will give you the best chances of success.

Also, I’ve found that keeping an eye on the striper migration and presence of baitfish helps me determine the best times to target stripers. I follow several avid saltwater anglers on social media who fish along the striper migration route.

Their posts clue me into when the stripers might start arriving in my area. It’s like having a network of scouts, keeping me informed about the best times to go fishing.

Gear Up

Equipping yourself with the right gear is crucial which is why I always make sure to have a variety of lures on hand, as the best lure can vary depending on the time of year, the specific environment, and the behavior of the fish.

I’ve had days when a topwater plug worked wonders, and other days when a soft plastic lure was the ticket to success.

It’s all about being adaptable and ready to switch up your tactics based on the conditions.

Also, don’t forget about your personal gear, I mean, things like comfortable life jacket, a reliable kayak, and a sturdy paddle can make your fishing trip much more enjoyable.

Understand Your Environment

Understanding the environment you’ll be fishing in is key as knowing the specific characteristics of these environments can help you adapt your techniques and increase your chances of success

Stripers can be found in a variety of locations, from inshore river mouths and currents to offshore deeper waters.

I mean, inshore fishing often involves navigating around rocks and other obstacles, so a maneuverable kayak and a good understanding of the tides can be invaluable.

On the other hand, offshore fishing often involves dealing with larger waves and stronger currents, so a stable kayak and a good understanding of weather patterns are essential.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Lastly, always prepare for the unexpected as weather conditions can change rapidly, and you never know when you might hook a particularly feisty striper.

I always make sure to have a first aid kit on hand, and I keep my phone fully charged in case of emergencies.

Also, I always bring plenty of water and snacks. I mean, kayak fishing can be a workout, and staying hydrated and energized is important for both safety and enjoyment.

Techniques for Kayak Striped Bass Fishing

In this section, I’ll share some of the techniques that I’ve found most effective in my own kayak striped bass fishing adventures.

Master the Art of Casting

I’ve found that a good cast can make all the difference between a successful day on the water and a frustrating one.

It’s not just about distance; it’s also about accuracy, you need to be able to place your lure exactly where you want it, whether that’s next to a rock, under a bridge, or in the middle of a school of baitfish.

So, I’d tell you to practice your casting skills regularly, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you.

Learn to Read the Water

Reading the water is another essential skill for kayak striped bass fishing. You need to be able to interpret the signs that the water is giving you.

For example, if you see birds diving into the water, that’s a good indication that there are baitfish in the area, which means there could be stripers nearby.

Similarly, if you see a lot of surface activity, that’s a sign that the fish are feeding.

So, pay attention to the tides, the currents, and the wind, as these can all affect the behavior of the fish.

Use the Right Lure at the Right Time

Choosing the right lure is crucial when you’re fishing for striped bass.

So, what is the best lire for catching striped bass?

The best lure for you will depend on a variety of factors, including the time of year, the specific environment, and the behavior of the fish. I’ve had days when a topwater plug was the perfect choice, and other days when a soft plastic lure was the way to go.

The key is to be adaptable and willing to switch up your tactics based on the conditions. Have fun with it, experiment.

Practice Stealth

Stealth in kayak fishing starts with your approach. When you spot a promising area, resist the urge to paddle straight towards it. Instead, approach slowly and quietly from the side, keeping your movements smooth and steady to avoid creating unnecessary noise or waves.

Once you’re in position, continue to maintain your stealth. Avoid dropping items onto the bottom of the kayak, as this can create a loud noise that can scare off fish. Also, be mindful of your shadow. A sudden change in light can alert fish to your presence, so try to keep your shadow off the water as much as possible.

Casting can also disrupt your stealth if not done carefully. A splashy cast can scare off fish, so aim for a smooth, quiet entry when you cast your lure.

Finally, remember that stealth isn’t just about being quiet. It’s also about being invisible. Wear colors that blend in with your surroundings and avoid sudden movements that could catch a fish’s eye.

Be Patient

Finally, remember that patience is a virtue when you’re fishing for striped bass as these fish can be elusive, and they won’t always bite right away.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch anything right away. Keep trying, keep learning, and keep enjoying the experience.

After all, fishing is about more than just catching fish; it’s also about enjoying the journey.

Now that we’ve covered some techniques for kayak striped bass fishing, let’s move on to the next section where we’ll discuss the best rod and reel combo for this exciting sport.

Best Rod and Reel Combo for Kayak Striped Bass Fishing

Penn Squall Rod and Reel Combo for Kayak Striped Bass Fishing


  • Rod: 6.6 Feet medium-heavy rod
  • Reel: Lightweight graphite frame and sideplates, forged and machined aluminum spool with line capacity rings
  • Handles: Ergonomic design, non-slip grip
Penn SQL50LD3050C66 Squall Lever Drag, Casting (6-Feet 6-Inches)

The reel is lightweight, thanks to its graphite frame and sideplates, but don’t let that fool you as it’s sturdy and built to last.

I mean, the forged and machined aluminum spool is equipped with line capacity rings, which I find incredibly useful for keeping track of how much line I have out.

Also, the stainless-steel main and pinion gears are robust and reliable, and the Duradrag system ensures smooth drag performance.

The rod, on the other hand, is a perfect match for the reel as it’s 6.6 feet long and has a medium-heavy power rating, making it ideal for battling those big stripers. It is responsive and has a good backbone for setting the hook and fighting fish.


  • Lightweight graphite frame and sideplates that make the reel easy to handle and reduces fatigue during long fishing sessions.
  • Forged and machined aluminum spool with line capacity rings that help you keep track of how much line you have out, which is especially useful when you’re fighting a big fish.
  • Stainless-steel main and pinion gears that provide durability and ensure a smooth operation.
  • Duradrag system offers smooth drag performance, which is crucial when you’re battling a big striper.
  • 6.6 Feet medium-heavy rod perfect for striped bass fishing, providing the right balance of power and sensitivity.


  • Not for beginners, drag system is tricky and requires experience

Other Gear for Kayak Striped Bass Fishing

Here is some info on other gear that I consider essential when it comes to catching striped bass from a kayak.

Safety Gear

Safety should always be your number one priority when you’re out on the water. This includes wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times.

A PFD is not just a legal requirement; it’s a lifesaver. Even the most experienced swimmers can get into trouble in the water, especially if they’re injured or unconscious. I personally prefer PFDs that are designed specifically for kayak fishing, as they often have pockets and attachment points for gear.

In addition to a PFD, it’s important to carry a whistle or air horn. This can be used to signal for help in case of an emergency. It’s a small item that can make a big difference when you need to get someone’s attention quickly.

A first aid kit is another essential piece of safety gear. Accidents can happen, whether it’s a hook in the finger, a cut from a knife, or a burn from the sun. A well-stocked first aid kit can help you treat these minor injuries on the spot and prevent them from becoming more serious.

Navigation Tools

When you’re out on the water, especially in a kayak, it’s easy to lose your bearings. That’s why it’s important to have reliable navigation tools.

A GPS device can help you find your way, track your route, and mark productive fishing spots. I’ve found that using a GPS device has not only improved my safety on the water, but it’s also improved my fishing. By marking productive spots, I can return to them on future trips and increase my chances of success.

Fishing Gear

In addition to your rod and reel, there are several other pieces of fishing gear that can enhance your kayak striped bass fishing experience.

A good tackle box, for example, will help you keep your lures, hooks, and other gear organized. I prefer tackle boxes with adjustable compartments, as they allow me to customize the box to fit my specific gear. Plus, a well-organized tackle box can save you time and frustration when you’re out on the water.

A fish finder is another piece of gear that I’ve found invaluable for kayak striped bass fishing. A fish finder uses sonar to create a picture of the underwater environment, helping you locate schools of baitfish and potential hotspots for striped bass. It can take some time to learn how to interpret the images on a fish finder, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a game-changer.

And let’s not forget about a good quality fishing net. When you’ve got a big striper on the line, the last thing you want is to lose it at the side of the kayak. A fishing net can help you land your catch safely and efficiently. I recommend a net with a rubber mesh, as it’s gentler on the fish and less likely to get tangled with your hooks.

Comfort Items

Kayak fishing can be a physically demanding activity, so it’s important to take steps to ensure your comfort.

This can include things like a good quality kayak seat. Spending hours sitting in a kayak can take a toll on your back, so a comfortable seat is a must. Look for a seat with good padding and back support. Some seats also have adjustable straps that allow you to change the angle of the backrest for maximum comfort.

A hat is another essential comfort item. It can protect you from the sun, reducing the risk of sunburn and heat stroke. I prefer wide-brimmed hats as they provide more coverage than baseball caps. Don’t forget to secure your hat with a hat leash to prevent it from blowing away in the wind.

Staying hydrated is crucial when you’re out on the water, so a water bottle is a must-have. I recommend a reusable water bottle with a secure lid to prevent spills. Some water bottles also have insulation to keep your drink cold for hours.

Storage Solutions

Finally, you’ll need a way to store all your gear.

This can include a dry bag for your personal items. A dry bag is a waterproof bag that can keep your belongings dry even if it ends up in the water. I use mine to store items like my phone, wallet, keys, and extra clothes. It’s a simple item that can provide a lot of peace of mind.

A cooler is another useful storage item. It can keep your catch fresh until you get home, and it can also be used to store food and drinks. Look for a cooler that’s sturdy, well-insulated, and easy to secure on your kayak.

For your fishing gear, a crate or tackle box can be a good storage solution. Some kayakers use a milk crate with rod holders attached to it. It’s a simple and inexpensive solution that can hold your tackle box, extra rods, and other gear.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best lure for striped bass in a kayak?

The best lure for striped bass in a kayak can vary depending on a number of factors, including the time of year, the location, and the specific conditions on the day.

However, there are a few lures that consistently produce results.

One of the most effective lures for catching striped bass is the tube and worm rig. This odd-looking lure may baffle some anglers, but there’s no denying its effectiveness. The tube and worm rig produces explosive strikes from stripers of all sizes.

Crankbaits, gulp minnows, and shiny metal spoons are also excellent choices. These lures are great for trolling and can entice stripers to strike with almost no hesitation. If the fish don’t take the lure right away, try letting out some line and then reeling it in again.

What weight lure for striped bass?

The weight of the lure you should use for striped bass can depend on a few factors, including the depth of the water you’re fishing in and the current.

However, as a general rule, heavier lures tend to work better for striped bass.

Striped bass are strong fish that can grow up to over 70 pounds, so they can handle a larger, heavier lure. Heavier lures also tend to cast further, which can be an advantage when you’re fishing from a kayak.

That being said, it’s always a good idea to have a variety of lures in different weights in your tackle box. This will allow you to adjust your approach based on the conditions on the day.

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Hi, I’m Tim Mueller, a fisherman from Michigan. During all my life I loved fishing and everything that surround this activity. After many months of thinking about it, I’ve decided to create this website to provide the best advice for fishers all around the world.