When targeting schoolie or “slot-size” stripers, downsize your tackle and baits. Since you’ll be doing plenty of catching and releasing, consider switching out trebles for inline single hooks and crimping down your barbs.
Schoolie stripers can’t help but attack a small, paddle-tail plastic like the Z-Man PaddlerZ. This type of lure can be slowly retrieved in back bays and inlets where smaller bass prowl for spearing, mullet, and peanut bunker. An added benefit of Schoolie stripers can’t help but attack a small, paddle-tail plastic like the Z-Man PaddlerZ. This type of lure can be slowly retrieved in back bays and inlets where smaller bass prowl for spearing, mullet, and peanut bunker. An added benefit of the PaddlerZ is that the ElaZtech material is more likely to survive any unintended bluefish encounters.
Few sights bring a bigger smile to striper anglers than the first topwater strikes of the season. A small soft-plastic bait like the Albie Snax (don’t let the name fool you) can be fished on a weightless swimbait hook to call schoolies to the surface, creating fun and exciting light tackle fishing.
A straight-tail plastic, like the Z-Man StreakZ, can be bounced along the bottom or fished with the current to provide a more precise presentation when schoolies are glued to the bottom hanging tight to structure.
Sometimes, schoolies can be amazingly picky, especially with small spearing, anchovies, or sand eels. In these situations, a lure with some flash, like the Hyperlastics DartSpin, rigged on a weighted swimbait hook can trigger reaction strikes when more traditional lures get snubbed.
Retrieving a smaller swimming plug, like the smallest size Rapala X-Rap Long Cast, along backwater current seams is deadly on schoolie bass.
Many Rhode Island anglers catch their season’s first schoolies on the H&H Lure Company Cocahoe Minnow rigged on a jighead, and this lure is just as effective for spring schoolies all throughout the Northeast.
In Southern New Jersey, however, anglers are more likely to seek schoolie bass in the backwaters with the Zoom Super Fluke.