The Summer of Striper: Tips For A Perfect June

98 days. That’s all you have between Memorial Day and Labor Day to pack in your vacations, barbeques, trips to the ballpark and, of course, your summer striped bass fishing. Big schools of striped bass spend the summer in the cool, baitfish-filled waters of New England.

June is a great month for striped bass fishing in the Northeast and the best part is that fishermen don’t have to make a distinction between fishing for numbers and fishing for a trophy.

The best part about June is that fishermen don’t have to make a distinction between fishing for numbers and fishing for a trophy.

The Menu

Bunker

Bunker
South of Cape Cod, bunker are the bait of choice for bass settling in for the month of June. The bunker will be holding in harbors, bays, and river mouths, and bass will be haunting the schools, picking off bait from the edges, and sometimes staging an all-out blitz.

Sand Eels

Sand eels
In the open waters of Long Island Sound, off Rhode Island, and on the back side of Cape Cod, stripers will be wallowing in schools of sand eels. While the bass may occasionally work the baits on top, most often the action will be below the surface. Using your fishfinder, look for schools of sand eels in rips and around depth changes, and drop metals or troll parachute jigs along the bottom.

Scup

In Long Island Sound, these saltwater panfish will be easy targets for fishermen and stripers alike. Scup will school around reefs in 15 to 50 feet of water, where stripers will be hunting—especially after the sun goes down.

MUST-HAVES

In The Surf…

On any particular night during the season, you could lift the flap of my plug bag and see a mix of the surfcasting’s four “primary” colors.
Pencil Popper – This long-casting, big-splashing topwater is a surfcaster’s best friend for imitating a flipping bunker and for reaching bass that are a long way off the beach.

weighted treble
Snag Hook – Always have a weighted treble in the bag, even if you don’t expect to run into bunker. Use it to procure fresh bunker for chunking, or to snag and drop live baits.

On The Boat…

BigFish Pencil Popper
Pencil Poppers – Just as in the surf, fishermen in boats can bring big bass to the top with pencil poppers cast along the periphery of bunker schools or into boulder fields.

Striper candy! Captain Mike Bousaleh attaches a Butterfly-style jig to the end of a Sabiki rig and will often troll to top off his live-well full of mackerel.

Striper candy! Captain Mike Bousaleh attaches a Butterfly-style jig to the end of a Sabiki rig and will often troll to top off his live-well full of mackerel.


Sabiki Rig – A well full of live mackerel can save the day when fishing the waters north of Cape Cod. Keep some light spinning rods ready to go with Sabiki rigs and start the day making some drops for mackerel. Then, take the baits and slow-troll, chunk, or live-line them around structure.

Bunker spoon
Bunker Spoon – When trolled on wire line, this dinner-plate-sized lure will swim just off the bottom while the side-to-side kicking action mimics a wounded bunker that has lost its school. Though specialized equipment is required, trolling bunker spoons is a tough-to-beat tactic for big stripers.

A well-thrown cast net can quickly fill a livewell with enough bait for a full tide of fishing.
Cast Net – Fishermen who want to spend more time fishing and less time getting bait will cast-net a day’s supply of bunker in the harbor before heading out to the fishing grounds.

TOP SPOT

• Full Moon: June 9
• New Moon: June 24
In The Surf…

Quality – Long Island Sound has produced some monster striped bass during June in recent years. (In June 2016, Jolyn Wiggin caught a 51-inch striped bass with a 33-inch girth.) Big bass hang over the reefs, feeding on scup and lobster, and a fisherman three-waying eels, scup, or bunker has a good shot at the fish of a lifetime.

Quantity – Narragansett Bay boasts big numbers of bass in June. Fish from 15 to 30 pounds will be working bunker schools throughout the open waters of the bay, while smaller fish will be feeding on silversides, sand eels, and herring close to shore.

  1. David Bradshaw

    Not from the area I fish Chesapeake Bay. What is an average charter cost. Any good names and numbers

    Reply
    • Ned M

      Obviously depends on how many people/what you want to go out for… But Wild Bill’s in Noank Ct.

      Reply
  2. noone

    hey, now that flounder season has opened up, can we get an article about flounder fishing, rig/jig selection, and baits that work best?

    Reply
  3. Jim Ronsivalli

    Stripers are here in Southern ME. What this means is that Stripers can be found in places other than southern New England. Why aren’t there any articles on Fishing for Stripers in ME? A 40 lb. Striped Bass was caught in Kennebunk Me from shore.

    Reply
  4. Sfk

    There once was a man from Maine
    who, on the water, did complain.
    He once reeled in a cow,
    crying “Oh wow!”,
    But nobody cared because it was in Maine.

    Reply

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