Baits That Make It Happen
Two key baits, sand eels and Atlantic herring, determine where and when you'll find schools of migrating stripers. Sand eels usually show up first sometime in November, while herring make their appearance in December.
Sand eels, Ammodytes americanus, also called sand lances, are recognized by their slender bodies and pointed snouts. They have long dorsal and anal fins and are deep blue-green to bronze on the back, with a white belly. They grow as long as 15 inches but are commonly found in the 4- to 6-inch range. Sand eels are found in water less than 300 feet deep with sandy bottom and are one of the most important staple foods for striped bass.
Atlantic herring, Clupea harengus, also known as sea herring, are steel gray to greenish blue on their dorsal surface, fading to silver on their sides and belly. They have a dark, oily full-flavored meat. Small immature herring of one to two years are called sardines. Adults can grow as large as 17 inches and up to 112 pounds.