Strategy: Fishing Estuaries for Striped Bass from Shore #160

Fishing Estuaries for Striped Bass from Shore

Estuaries are great for a lot of reasons.

Approach:  First step is identifying tide direction. You want to fish on the side the tide is moving toward. Although this is a light tackle fishery, big fish do move up into protected water, particularly in the spring and fall.

“If I Had Just One” with Capt. Mike Hogan
LOCATION: Cape Cod
TARGETED SPECIES: Striped Bass
LURE: 7/8oz Hogy Epoxy Jig Lure
COLOR: Olive, Silverside, Pink

“I would grab the 7/8oz Hogy Epoxy Jig Lure. I regularly carry olive, silverside and pink.”

  1. PROFILE: The 7/8 Hogy Epoxy  Jig Lure is 3.5″ so it imitates a wide range of forage found in estuaries.
  2. WEIGHT: The length of the weight ratio for the Hogy Epoxy Jig Lure allows for long casts but will maintain it’s strike zone in shallow water at slow to moderate speeds. The castability comes in handy on windy spring days where distance might be a challenge with small lures. The low density of the resin used allows for a slower retrieve speed which is essential on cold sluggish days where frigid fish don’t want to work very  hard.
  3. TRANSLUCENCE: The clear coat associated with the resin used for the Hogy Epoxy Jig Lure mimics the gel-like appearance of many baitfish including sand eels, silver sides, bay anchovies and peanut bunker.

Playbook

  1. Just as the fish will be moving from the entrance to the estuary, salt pond, or bay to places well up inside based on the stage of the tide, you want to follow the same pattern. At the beginning of the incoming current or rising tide, concentrate on the areas closed to the channel that feeds the protected water; later in the tide, you can work up inside. On incoming water, bait is typically swept in through the entrance channel, with fish taking up ambush locations. As the tide drops, the opposite will take place, as the fish follow the tide and current towards the entrance to the estuary, often moving into and even through the entrance.
  2. Since estuaries typically feature plenty of structure and changes in water depth, it is not unusual for one side or the other to fish better. With experience, you will be able to determine which side that is.
  3. Even if a side or section of an estuary isn’t accessible by foot, you can use commotion producing plugs such as Hogy Poppers and Dog Walkers to reach these areas and draw the fish out from the marshy cut banks and creek entrances where they often hold. Don’t forget to leave a floating plug motionless after it hits the water; let the rattles make some noise and the rings spread out, drawing attention to the plug before moving it slowing away from the target area.