How-To: Open Water Trolling for Striped Bass | Deep Diving Plugs

Capt Mike from Salty Cape and Hogy Lures is joined by Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters. The crew steams out from Sandwich Marina into Cape Cod Bay in hopes of finding big Striped Bass in open water. The goal was to put the new Hogy Charter Grade Swimming Plugs to the test in an open water trolling scenario for big Striped Bass. The name of the game was utilizing the RayMarine radar to locate flocks of birds diving on bait with the big Striped Bass holding beneath. If you like big Striped Bass then you’re in for a treat with this video. Enjoy!


The approach today is trolling for big Striped Bass in open water.

  1. Using our radar, we were able to locate large piles of birds congregating on the surface. This was a tell tail sign that this was the area we wanted to be in.
  2. With the fish being down deep and scattered, trolling was the name of the game. It can be intimidating covering a vast area of deep water. With trolling these deep diving swimming plugs, we are able to cover a huge amount of water and vector in on the areas holding the most amount of fish.
  3. Match the hatch! With an abundance of large mackerel and adult bunker around, we wanted a bait that has a similar profile to these larger baitfish. We opted for the 7″ Hogy Charter Grade Swimming Plugs due to their large body design and ability to swim to depths of about 25′-30′, exactly where these fish were holding.


  1. We were making big circular patterns around a concentrated school of fish. It was important to be letting our our swimming plugs while being on the outside of the turn. This insured once we turned inwards, we wouldn’t be tangling any of our other lines.
  2. We were letting out around 150′-200′ of line between us and our plugs. This is something you’ll want to experiment with, as sometimes you may want your plugs a bit closer. We found most of our bites were coming on plugs that were farther from the boat.
  3. The beauty of trolling is the simplicity of it. There really isn’t a whole lot to it. Simply let out your plugs in a somewhat strategic fashion, engage your reels, stick your rod in the holder, and you’re ready to go!


This the same outfit you see me using in so many of our other jigging and trolling videos. I use this exact outfit for everything from jigging for cod and haddock, trolling for schoolie bluefin tuna, and in this case trolling for large inshore striped bass.


  1. Match the hatch! In this case, we were trying to imitate the large mackerel and adult bunker that these fish were feeding on. A large bodied lure, like this Hogy Charter Grade Swimming Plug, was ideal for not only matching the size profile of the forage, but also for matching the action and depth the baitfish were holding at.
  2. Locate the life and stay with it. The birds on this given day were a tell tail sign that fish were in the area. Although none of these fish were feeding on the surface, the birds could see something that we couldn’t.
  3. When fish are scattered, trolling is the name of the game. Although trolling may not be as exciting as seeing a fish blow up on your topwater plug, it is an extremely effective technique, especially when fish are scattered. If we weren’t to have deployed our trolling plugs, I would be willing to bet we would not have found anywhere near the success we had found on this day.

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