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First Timer Striper Guide

Want to catch a Striper?? Sure you do, but where do you start?


First, what tactic are you going to try. There are many different methods to catch Striper’s, but down lines are the most effective


How to set up a downline. Start by spooling your reel with 14lb/17lb line. Tie to a swivel 2 oz egg sinker. From sinker tie an 8-foot leader with 12 lb. fluorocarbon fc sniper line. Finish with a #1/0 octopus circle hook.  So now that you got your rig set up, let’s talk about bait. We recommend threadfin or gizzard shad or blue back herring. Make sure to put the bait in an aerated live well or bait bucket with a bubble box. Fresh, lively bait is extremely important.


Once out on the water fire up your bottom machine aka fish finder and start looking!! #1 tip I can give is learn how to read your electronics and don’t drop your bait until you see fish. I recommend running a split screen of your map and sonar. This will allow you to view the contours and depths of the lake and your sonar at the same time.


What to look for on your sonar?? Target humps, river channels, and deep structure(trees). As you idle. So now that your fishing here are some tips that will REALLY expedite your learning process while learning to striper fish. Although very simple, the tips I discuss below are very effective. I GUARANTEE you will catch more fish!


Tips I wish someone told me when I decided to try striper fishing


If you’re a beginner or novice these tips can help you catch more fish. 

  1. When Down lining, use long leaders. I recommend minimum of 8 ft and up to 10ft FC sniper fluorocarbon line. Tie leader to. 2 oz swivel egg sinker and then to your hook. When stowing these rigs, you will need to wrap the leader line around the reel and back to one of the eyes on the pole because they are so long.
  2. Small hooks-Look for a #1/0 circle or octopus circle. Striper have great vision, so the fluorocarbon leader coupled with a small hook will get you more bites.
  3. Use a reel with a line counter. This will allow you to drop to the exact depth that you want to. Make sure to put a full spool when lining the reel to ensure accuracy of the counter.
  4. Always use fresh, lively bait!! Don’t be afraid to swap your bait frequently. Obviously, you want the lines in the water as much as possible but checking them one at a time every 4/5 minutes can ensure your bait will be fresh and lively.
  5. Don’t set the hook!! When the rod bows over the natural reaction would be to grab it and yank up, not here. You want to reel 4/5 times with the rod still in the holder. Once the rod has a good bend to it and you feel the tension then pull the rod out of the holder.
  6. Don’t drop the lines until you see fish. Once you see a couple of boomerangs drop the lines. Put your trolling motor on speed 2 or 3. You want approx. .5 mph. If you get into a school hit your spot lock on your Minn Kota.
  7. Setting up your Lowrance. Just a few simple things will help you get it dialed in. Noise rejection off, fish id off, surface clarity to low. Scroll speed +2, ping speed up as high as it can go, and sensitivity plus 3 in touch screen units and approx. 80% in gen 1 Lowrance units.
  8. Bonus Tip: This is something that I just learned this past summer fishing with a guide. When you hook and land a fish before netting the fish let them kick and swim around the surface. The commotion of the fish in the water will make the other fish think it’s a feeding frenzy. They will in turn get fired up and more likely to eat. Remember striper typically travel in schools so this method is good to entice the other fish into striking.


These simple tips will help you find more fish, get more strikes, and ultimately land more fish! Check out for all the best products to help you catch more fish!

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