Best Striped Bass Lures

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There doesn’t seem to be a more prolific game fish species along the East Coast than the mighty striped bass. The best part about stripers is that they can be caught far up tidal rivers, off the beach, at the tips of jetties and in the open ocean during specific times of the season. This accessibility, combined with their sheer power and jaw-dropping aggression, put them at the top of the list for many Northeast anglers. With a fish that can be found in so many different settings, anglers must be prepared with a mixture of artificial offerings that can mimic a wide variety of forage and cover multiple parts of the water column. With that being said, let’s look at some of the best striped bass lures.



Like most predatory fish, stripers react very well to topwater presentations. I prefer topwaters for two uses: covering water to find fish and taking advantage of stripers blitzing on bait corralled against the surface of the water. 

Often, stripers can spread out across a piece of structure such as a flat or rock pile. A topwater offering will pick off super-aggressive fish or trigger them to chase the bait and show themselves. From there, a slower presentation can be used to target remaining fish. 

For those who have witnessed it, there is nothing quite like hoards of stripers blowing up on big schools of baits. While there are many tactics to dissect a “blitz,” topwaters are flat-out the most exciting for anglers.


First introduced for the pursuit of trophy Esox varieties, the Musky Mania Doc has proven to be the special sauce for large stripers as well. This “walk the dog” style topwater measures in at nine inches, creating a big profile. My favorite part about this bait is how easy it is to work, subtle rod twitches are all that is required to get a very wide gliding action. Additionally, the bait has a very uniquely pitched internal rattle system that helps seal the deal with trailing fish.

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Joe Baggs has long been a name synonymous with striped bass excellence. The Skipper is no exception, weighing in at 3-ounces and designed for long casting, this bait is perfect for land-based anglers needing to reach active schools of stripers. The skipper is also extremely easy to work and leaves behind a bubble trail, giving fish another reason to investigate.  

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As anglers, we all know that jerkbaits can elicit strikes from fish that are in funky moods. Stripers can certainly get finicky and in those cases, I tend to tie on a jerkbait. 

The only difference I find in jerkbait fishing for striped bass, as opposed to smallmouth or largemouth, is that aggression is key. This means cutting out cadences including long pauses and subtle twitches; big rips and lots of them is the key to success.


While the X-Rap Long Cast is effective when simply retrieved, powerful twitches of the rod tip give the bait that slashing action that X-Rap fans have come to know and love. This bait is also perfect for covering water as it can be cast a mile and worked very quickly. The high-quality VMC single hooks keep big fish buttoned up and make boat-side releases a breeze.

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A staple in the tackle boxes and surf bags of hardcore striped bass anglers for years, the Daiwa SP Minnow is a straight fish catcher. The bait can be “killed’” instantly if slight pauses are the prevailing pattern. The 3D eyes and realistic scale finish are also game changers when striped bass are extremely picky. 

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From bluegill to bluefin tuna, soft plastic swimbaits are effective thanks to their ability to perfectly mimic baitfish and be fished through the entire water column. Those two attributes in particular make them perfect options for striped bass in many scenarios.


All you need to do is open the package and get to casting, it is that simple with the Tsunami Pro Swim Shad. On a steady retrieve, the bait has an ultra-realistic swimming action punctuated with big thumps of the boot-style tail. The tail also swims on the way down, making it perfect for “drop and lift” or “yo-yo” style retrieves. Additionally, the vinyl body is very tough, making it a great pick when smaller stripers are out in force.

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The pro tail paddle from Hogy is a true Cadillac of swimbaits. From the top, the line tie and accompanying VMC Barbarian Jig Hook is extremely rugged and will stand up to striped bass of any size. The UV-infused soft plastic material is designed to be highly visible in even the dirtiest of water conditions and is ultra-dense, allowing the bait to be fished along the bottom in heavy current. 

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As big and bad as striped bass may appear, there are times when a touch of finesse is warranted to ensure a productive outing. For this application, it is tough to beat fluke and Slug-Go-style baits. Fished weightless or on a jig head, both types of baits have their place and can make for some exciting light tackle fun.


As classic as it gets, the Zoom Bait 7-inch Magnum Super Fluke is a great option for striped bass. Depending on rigging, the bait can be walked subsurface, slowly retrieved or even fished vertically on a snap jig cadence. Additionally, Zoom has a great selection of colors that mimic many common types of forage.

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Another variant of a soft plastic jerkbait, the Slug-Go is a bait that does not get the credit it deserves. With many sizes available from Lunker City, anglers can match the hatch to dial in on the presentation of the day. Aggressive twitches of the rod combined with long pauses give the bait the appearance of a wounded baitfish. Another tip is to rig the bait on a light jig head and cast right in the middle of schools of stripers, the seductive shimmy on the way down is always productive.

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