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Saltwater Fish - Striped Bass

Striped Bass

Morone saxatilis

AKA:  Rockfish, rock, striper

Distinguishing Markings:

Striped bass is a silvery fish that gets its name from the seven or eight dark, continuous stripes along the side of its compressed body.  Dorsal fins are well separated and the caudal fin is forked, olive green, blue, or black dorsally.



Striped bass can grow as long as 60 inches.



On the Atlantic coast, striped bass range from St. Lawrence River, Canada to St. Johns River, Florida, although they are most prevalent from Maine to North Carolina.  Striped bass tend to move north to nearshore waters of the New England coast during the summer, and south to the North Carolina/Virginia Capes during the winter.  The east coast migratory population is composed of three major stocks - Hudson, Chesapeake, and Roanoke.  There are also landlocked striped bass populations.



Striped bass inhabit coastal waters and are commonly found in bays but may enter rivers in the spring to spawn.


Food Preference:

Larvae feed on zooplankton.  Juveniles take in small shrimps and other crustaceans, annelid worms, and insects.  Adults feed on a wide variety of fishes, crustaceans, squids, mussels, and worms.  A voracious and opportunistic predator, the striped bass will consume all types of fishes.



Female striped bass can mature as early as age 4; however, it takes several years (age 8 or older) for spawning females to reach full productivity.  Males can mature as early as age 2.  Once a mature female deposits her eggs, they are fertilized by milt ejected from a mature male.  Spawning is triggered by an increase in water temperature.


Fishing Tips:

Stripers are one of the most prized marine sport fish.  Methods for taking them are legion and include everything from casting flies to trolling large “spoons” and other lures to fishing with complex “umbrella” rigs.  A wide variety of fishing methods are successfully employed, including trolling, jigging, bait fishing, surf casting, fly fishing, and spinning.  Baits and lures include mullet, squid, eels, crabs, clams, bloodworms, plugs, spoons, flies, and casting lures.


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