top of page


Some of us have made it to Striper Season in the northeast with the New Jersey Striped Bass season open. I’ve been getting some good reports already from some of the more dedicated anglers who brave the cold to take on those early fish. The rest of us in the northeast are just anticipating the where and when of our first surf fish of the year. The worst of covid-19 seems to be behind us, and most states have opened, including my own New York- which allowed us to hold a few shows- at least a few more than the last couple years. Hopefully you have taken advantage and attended a few to pick up some tips in seminars and perhaps some new gear as well.

If you have been following my articles here with iBass360, you are ready to get out there. So, where are you most likely to grab that first fish? The best place to begin is the back bays and creeks where the water tends to be shallow and will warm up at a faster rate than the deeper bays, oceans, and inlets. The fish in these areas are predominately holdovers and should provide you with some early spring action until the migrators show up. The holdover fish begin to get active and forage on small baits that make these backwaters their home until the larger baits such as bunker begin to find their way into these areas as the season progresses.

When planning to get out and grab that first fish, you will want to target these shallow areas late in the afternoon when the sun has warmed the water and the tide is dropping. This is when the small baits will be forced out to become easy prey for waiting stripers. Sunny days are always a bonus early in the season as the water heats faster and begins to turn on the bait and the predators.

Under these conditions, lures with a thin profile to match these baitfish will be most effective. You want to adhere to the “match the hatch” mentality- always a great starting point during this time of year. Some of the “go to” baits that have produced consistently for my guided clients over the years are mag darters, slim profile soft plastics, SP Minnows, and of course my all the time lure, the S&S Bucktail Rockhopper with Greenhead Baits’ Twerk Tailz or a Fat Cow Fishing Jig Strip. Time and again bucktails produce during any part of the season. The versatility to match different bait profiles as well the versatility to fish it anywhere in the water column always makes it a “must have” lure. We all know the longer we can stay in the strike zone, the better the chance of having consistent bites. When going out for early season bass, make sure you carry various weights of bucktails so you can stay in that

strike zone as the depths and current speed change throughout the tide.

In closing, the Spring is a new beginning and a time to set new goals. Make this Spring your most productive yet. Do your homework, get out there as much as you can, and you will be rewarded. Wishing you all the best as you embark on this new season. Hopefully it will result in you scoring a personal best and “Marching” off the beach with that fish picture of a lifetime. Here’s to it being a 50# Striper! Live the Passion! Tightlines! features a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt , a NYS Certified Fishing Guide with over 30 years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast, and now he has a podcast HOOKED ON SURF FISHING WITH BERNIE BASS where he offers his listeners the latest in gear reviews and techniques for the surf fishing scene. Contact Bernie for details on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass, and through his website at


bottom of page