TIME Three days before and after the full moon TIDE Outgoing WEATHER Light wind, overcast skies ROD/REEL Seven-foot, medium-action spinner with Shimano 3000 series reel, 30-pound braid, three feet of 20-pound fluorocarbon
TACKLE BOX Six-inch swim shad, six-inch Viper, nine-inch Slug-Go or a seven-inch Hogy
GO-TO TACTICS To find the fish, first look for birds. Groups of diving terns can mean bait, and bait usually means stripers. Be careful not to paddle into the middle of diving birds and spook the fish feeding below. Make a long cast with a shallow swimming lure. Try to land the lure past the school and drag through the fish. When you hook up, try to get the fish out of the school before other fish can break the line or grab the lure.
Use tackle that is tough enough to beat these fish quickly. Not only to reduce catch-and-release mortality, but the faster you land the fish, the faster you can paddle back to the moving school. If you don’t find surface activity, look for rips created by underwater structure. Cast a weighted swim shad or vertical jig into the current seams. Paddle to the head of the current rip and drift beside it while jigging or casting.
TROPHY TIPS Big stripers are territorial, but they are also lazy. The largest fish will often be found hovering below schools of smaller striper. To get a shot at a cow, drop the jig below the little schoolies. I send a heavier swimming jig or a vertical jig to the bottom and work it up through the feeding fish. Try not to drift directly over the rip or eddy that is holding striper. You might spook the fish. Instead, drift as far away as possible and cast to the structure.