What's the Optimal Trolling Speed for Stripers

Does trolling speed for stripers matter? Yes, it does. 

A proper trolling speed can either make or destroy your wonderful fishing trip. Twisted lines, washed-out lures, and numerous headaches result from improper trolling. Similarly, a trolling speed is essential for fishermen because they rely on it for its trolling success. 

Is Striper Trolling Easy?

There are many ways to catch a freshwater striper such as fly fishing, using lures, and using bait. However, one of the best tactics to catch a striper is by trolling. 

Let me tell you, striper trolling has a bad reputation because it requires a massive gear, and many people consider it a “low skilled” technique. However, I beg to differ. Why?

The reason why gear for stripers is extremely heavy is that it has to go deep, mostly beyond 20 feet. You can troll for stripers at any water level if you put a little bit of effort and opt for heavier gear.  

Moreover, trolling does not need expensive equipment. One thing that is essential for striper trolling is that you will need the best depth finder. Buy yourself a good one, and thank me later for this piece of tip. 

Striper: An Open-water Fish

You will indeed find stripers in open waters. This fish is found in underwater islands, points, saddles, mussel beds, river channel edges, saddles, shorelines, drop-offs, and the water close to the dam. 

All these places are ideal to target stripers. They usually hang out in these areas because they like to stay close where there is ample food supply.  

Moreover, this trolling tactic may take your lure 15 to 40 feet deep into the water, where many stripers dwell and hang around most of the year. 

What is the Maximum Trolling Speed for the Stripers?

Let’s suppose your boat is launched, you’ve double-checked the tides and the weather, and are ready to fish. Now, head towards the spot where you think you can get a hold of striper. 

Several trollers use the main motor for trolling. It is better to start with a default speed, i.e., 2.5 mph. 

Moreover, it is better to stay between three to four knots or 1.5 to 2.5 mph maximum. The slower the speed, the more you will be able to get your lure at a deeper spot. 

Since striper is a slow fish and usually resides in cold water, it wants its bait to be slow as well so that it does not have to exert a great deal of energy in catching and eating it. 

According to the Fishaholics, when fish are less active, the ideal speed is about 2.0 to 2.5 mph. When the fish does not bite, or the bite is tough, it is better to go below to 2.0 mph. 

However, if striped basses are active, you can opt for a higher speed between 2.5 and 3.5 mph. They want their prey to move fast since they are actively chasing their bait.   

Furthermore, it is an ideal practice to test different speeds the entire day as it can change in an hour. Experienced fishermen reported catching most of the stripers in the range of 2.0 to 3.0 mph.

Best Lures and Baits to Catch a Striper

I have listed some fantastic lures and baits that you can use to win a trophy striper.

Eel

These eels are readily available, easy to store, and kept alive without much effort. Do you know what’s the best thing about eel as a bait? Stripers cannot resist them, and this bait works better at night time. 

A Diamond Jig

If you want to buy a basic lure, get yourself diamond jigs. These shiny lures mimic various prey such as squid, butterfish, and herring. This type of lure is remarkable because it can hold striped bass in deep water having strong currents.

A Parachute Jig

A parachute jig does not even look like a baitfish but performs remarkably underwater. To catch the striper, you must jig your parachute. It means that this soft body has to create vertical and jerky motion. 

When parachute jigs dart through the water, they look like squid or a large baitfish, thereby, trapping the striper. 

Mackerel 

It is an amazing bait to catch big stripers. It is better to rig mackerel on a 3-inch of 30 pounds of fluorocarbon leader to capture your target. 

Other Best Lures

Here are the best lures: 

  • Surface swimmer
  • Sebile magic swimmer
  • Strategic angler cruiser
  • Rapala skitter walk
  • Jigging spoons
  • Thin-minnow plugs
  • Tsunami talkin’ popper
  • Whopper stopper hellbender
  • Ron-Z
  • Slug-go

Tactics for Trolling

Here are some tactics you can follow to enjoy your fishing trip to the fullest:

Troll Along With the Currents

Want to know the secret that will keep your lure at the depth you desire? The most straightforward strategy is to troll along with the currents. 

In contrast, if you consider trolling in high tide, it will give rise to a water ski effect. Therefore, this method is ineffective in catching a striper because the ski effect will raise your lure, and it will not go as deep as you want it to be. 

Use a Kicker Motor

Kicker motor is one of the perfect alternatives to achieve a slower speed. 

This alternative increases the life of your boat’s main engine as you are not using it to troll. Another advantage is that it saves your boat’s fuel. 

To mount your kicker motor, you will have to purchase a mounting plate to place it at the stern or the back of your boat. 

The installation is very straightforward; you only need four bolts to mount a kicker motor.

Keep Your Trolling Speed Slow

The slower you will take your boat, the deeper the lures will drop. However, different speeds are mentioned above that you can use in different situations.    

Take Frequent Turns

While you troll, make sure to give your boat a lot of turns. By changing your position from time to time, you will fish around a wide area of water. 

Create Action

Create an action by changing the position of your fishing rig occasionally. What you can do is put the fishing pole tip to the sides or slightly upwards, or allow your fishing line to slack for one or two seconds.

These changes in action are all you need for a fish to hookup, and they can sometimes follow your rig too. 

No matter how strange it looks, I recommend that everyone should apply this action changing tactic while trolling, as it can entice a striper easily.

Adjust Depth

During your trolling journey, try to reach different depths. A striper can be swimming anywhere. Moreover, if you own multiple rods, place one rod at a shallow depth and another one at a much deeper depth.

Furthermore, follow a lazy-S pattern or slight curve to give your lure a better flexibility. It’ll also help you cover more water.  

You can start trolling whichever rod gets the bite first. Stripers are usually found at different depths the entire day, so it is better to try new ones. 

A Thin Braid Results in Fast Drops

If your rod’s braid has a thick diameter, i.e., 50 to 65 lbs, it will become too heavy. Thus, the spool will drop slowly. 

In contrast, several fishermen claimed that the 40-pound braid works perfectly because it comes off ten times faster from the spool. Hence, it allows you to drop more quickly. 

Use A Short Rod

If you have a short rod, the hook of your fishing line will be lower. Moreover, if the angle is lower, your fishing line will be less exposed to the wind drag. 

Therefore, it will require less time to drop the lure after taking your boat out from the gear. 

Have Patience

Trolling is a technique that enables you to cover a large surface area of water. You have to put a lot of time and focus on the minute details to achieve trolling success. 

It will not be a smooth beginning to catch a fish while maintaining a slow trolling speed, and you will feel like quitting it. But, once you put more effort and get the hang of it, you will become more consistent. Trust me!     

Conclusion

Who does not like to catch a fish? Trolling is one of the best techniques, and when combined with the right trolling speed, you can catch stripers more frequently. 

I know it is not easy to wake up at dawn, usually in the cold days of January and February. However, if you want a batch of stripers, you must have to sacrifice your comfort for it. 

Planning to keep striped bass instead of releasing it? Bleed it, and then place it on the ice. Moreover, the meat of a three- to five-pound fish is more firm and delicious compared to the larger ones.    

Apply these above-mentioned tactics to make the most of your trolling trip. More importantly, keep your trolling speed low to catch stripers for your delicious lunch or dinner.  

Now give it a try by using the right speed and get these stripers!

You might also like:   The Best Fish Finders: Reviewed and Rated