How To: Search and Drop for Striped Bass from a Boat
With the recent developments of fish finding technology, this technique is becoming more and more popular. In this technique, you are literally cruising around looking for targets to drop on. Search and drop is the most tactical variation of jigging in that the captain and crew work hand in hand ready to coordinate the drop. Each angler is poised, and ready for the drop at a moments notice. This is a handy skill to have mastered when there are fish in the area that are hesitant to eat. The more time spent with the lures directly in front of their noses, the more likely you are to hook up.
- Identify an active area.
- Find a happy cruising speed, maybe around 8 knots for searching
- Have anglers holding their rods at all times, ready to free spook their lure at a moments notice.
- Along with watching the electronics, constantly look for changes in the water and be ready to cast at any water that looks “pushed” or otherwise altered.
- Pin-point finicky fish.
- Steady RPM’s will not spook fish.
- You’re more able to cover ground while studying top-water activity and keeping your eyes glued to the fish finder.
Go-To Hogy Imitations: If you are dropping on fish that you are marking on the fish finder, you’ll want to get the lure down as quickly as you can to catch the fish while it is still close to being under the boat. That said, you’ll want to start with a very slow presentation and, chances are, fish that need this much focus are hesitant to eat. You’ll want your bait of choice to offensively hit their nose.
- Hogy Pro Tail Eel: Weight will obviously vary depending on the situation but I like eel tail softbaits for tactical drops, as you don’t want the “parachute” effect of a paddle to slow you down. I will fish a dropped eel softbait very slowly.
- Jig Head on a Slappy Eel: This rig is quite popular for anglers looking to substitute for a live eel. The bait is so long and slender, it has incredible action with hardly any rod movement. A simple rise and fall of the rod tip is deadly.
- Hogy Dancing Diamond Jig: The eel tail teaser is doing all of the work with this combination. It is so life, be sure to fish it very slowly.
- Hogy Sand Eel Jig: I like metal when the fish are extra deep or if you are drifting too fast due to the wind and/or tidal current. To fish a metal Hogy Sand Eel Jig slowly, the go-to method is the “twitchy retrieve,” in which you are snapping in very short, sharp rod twitches to make the jig vibrate in front of the striper.
(See chart below for other bait options and reference to sizes and weights)