Northeast striped bass secrets

I fish on the white sand flats near Monomoy, Massachusetts, and around Montauk, New York...

Q: I love fishing for striped bass on the white sand flats near Monomoy, Massachusetts, and around Montauk, New York, but I don't seem to have much success. Any suggestions on how to improve my odds?

Jay Sheppard

A: You didn't say how experienced you are at fishing these stripers. One of the best ways to learn is to fish with one of the great guides who fish those areas.

Tides are important and not just high spring tides; often a falling tide will concentrate stripers in the ditches or channels as the last of the water drains off the flats.

Another factor to consider is that much of the bait will wait until the last part of the tide to make a run for deeper water and will be forced into these trenches.

Stripers in many of these areas have become wary because of increased fishing pressure. Because of this - much like the challenging ocean-side tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys - it's a good idea to upgrade your tackle. Start by using a leader at least 12 feet in length. It also helps to fish one of the clear-tip fly lines. It can often spell the difference in success.