Bay and lower tidal river bass, also.
Oh yeah, it’s that time during the building autumn striper season that spot, that palm-size member of the drum family also known as Cape May Goodies” cupcakes and Lafayettes among other monikers, are absolutely irresistible to hungry stripers of all sizes.
This is soon to be joined by the eel bite (more on this in a later blog), and when the two overlap, it can be pure rod bending bass mayhem. For the next few weeks when spot are still around before inevitably heading south, they’ll be the entree of choice for sure.
If you’re into catching your own bait, spot will oblige if you can find them. Sabiki rigs or small hooks baited with bits of clam or Fishbites will work. They can then either be put in the boat’s livewell if heading out or kept in a pen in a lagoon.
Or, much easier, they can be purchased singly or by the half-dozen or dozen. This is a premium bait that demands premium prices, but all things considered, it can be a break-even dealio if factoring in time and effort, not to mention if your quest to catch them with hook and line draws a skunk.
Inlets in particular are our go-to when it comes to “spotting” stripers. Drifting in close to the rocks while live lining a spot will get the immediate attention of any linesiders in the vicinity. These will be close to the structure ambushing peanut bunker and mullet and also poking around for crabs. A violent death is assured any spot moving by.
Remember when using natural bait for stripers, in-line circle hooks are the law.
Some of the shops, south to north, selling spot include Sea Isle Bait and Tackle (Sea Isle), Chestnut Neck Boat Yard (Port Republic), Absecon Bay Sportsman Center (Absecon), and Creekside Outfitters (Waretown).
Oh, yeah...only a couple of weeks remain to get your striped bass bonus tag. Visit njfishandwildlife.com, click the saltwater fishing link, and go to the Striped Bass Bonus Program section.