Live Bait For Stripers
Fishing multiple rods at multiple depths allows you to cover water and locate striped bass quickly.
The man-made reservoirs located throughout the southeastern United States have a common trait, in that they all have an older, deeper main river channel running through them. For fish, those channels are the main travel arteries of any reservoir. Fish like to be in or near the channel. But, they won’t be found everywhere. As anyone that has driven through North Dakota can attest, Interstate 94 can be a lonely place. But if you find yourself on I -94 a little further upstream, say in Minneapolis, things get a lot busier. Reservoir river channels are just like the interstate – some sections will have more traffic than others. So where do we look?
The first thing we need is a good topographical map, either electronic or paper.Look for S-turns in the channel. since these are the some of the best places to find stripers. If there are shallower flats and structure near these sharp turns in the channel, they will typically hold fish.
The baitfish will live predominately shallow, while the bigger fish will live a bit deeper. When they’re feeding, stripers will move across the high and low spots just like the vertical line going through a dollar sign ($). This allows the fish to quickly move shallow to hunt, and then retreat to deep water if they sense danger.That being the case, covering the water column with bait is key to finding and catching fish. We are fortunate in Tennessee to be able to fish as many rods as we can afford, so I use at least seven. I troll with the electric motor at between 0.6 to 1 mph.
On all lines the bait is hooked straight up through the lower jaw and out the top of the nose. I’ll set one line with a float and no additional weight approximately 75-100 feet directly behind the boat. Next, the rear left and right planer boards are set up similarly, except I’ll add a small split shot about 2 feet above the hook to run them a bit deeper. The forward planer boards get 2 split shot on each line to fish a little deeper yet. Finally, the Carolina rods are set to the deepest depth with the most weight, and are set the furthest forward.
This set up lets me cover a range of depths as I work across those S-turns. It’s simple, and effective.