Striped bass are big and beautiful gamefish that many anglers dream of catching. I can’t blame them, having reeled in a few big striped bass myself.
They are a challenging catch with a fierce, fighting bite, but it can be done, so long as you have the right equipment setup. So what is the best size fishing line for stripers? On average you will want anything from 12 to 30-pound line for stripers.
Here’s what I learned throughout my striper fishing adventures along the Atlantic seaboard.
What Size Fishing Line for Stripers?
If there’s one thing I know after reeling in a few impressive stripers, it’s that the right size fishing line and rod make all the difference.
Pay attention to the pound or line test so you know how strong the fishing line is and what pound striper it could hold. This is especially important for striper fishing because these big, feisty fish have been known to snap the line right off.
Follow these general recommendations based on where you’re fishing for striper.
School Bass Inshore Freshwater
Use a 12 to 20-pound line on a 7-foot light or medium rod. If you’re fishing near the bay and chasing a school of stripers, anywhere from 12 to 20 pounds is adequate for casting and drifting. I tested this with both lures and natural baits and lucked out with a big catch.
Open Saltwater Casting
Go with a 20 to 30-pound line on a 7 to 10-foot rod. A medium or heavy rod is best when out on the open water and using striper swimming plugs or large live baits. Make sure the line and rod can handle 3-ounce lures and you should be all set.
Opt for a 30-pound line with a 7 to 10-foot rod. You need a slightly higher pound test for slow trolling motions in open saltwater, which should attract larger stripers.
Try a 30 to 40–pound line with a 9 or 10-foot pole. Standing in the surf while fishing for striper means you need extra resistance against a hard-hitting fish.
Finding Your Striper Fishing Line
Of course, you should choose a line and rod that you are comfortable operating. There’s no sense taking on a 25 or 30-pound line if it’s too heavy for you to reel in.
If it’s your first time striper fishing, it’s probably best to start inshore on a lighter or medium rod and work your way up from there. If you have lots of open sea fishing under your belt, a medium or heavy rod should be just fine.
Best Types of Line For Striper Fishing
So how much line do you need for striper fishing? Aim for at least 4 to 8 feet of leader line attached to the main line and tied to the lure at the terminal end. Braided line is extra strong for striper fishing, but many anglers use monofilament lines too.
You should also consider where you’re fishing and the current conditions when deciding on your line and rod. Here’s what you can expect from the different types of lines for striper fishing.
The standard fishing line is mono, which is made up of one strand for simple handling and knot tying. Mono line has been the traditional choice for anglers over the last 50+ years, especially with plug or spinning tackle.
Mono line has the most stretch, so you can use larger motions when reeling in a big striper or another large fish.
With that in mind, the hook needs a solid setting so it’s driven deep into the fish to ensure you don’t lose the catch. Most anglers prefer mono for fishing striper with the rod in a holder or during slow trolling.
Braided line is tough but extremely easy to cast, with almost no stretch at all. That means braided lines are highly sensitive, so if you’re fishing for striper in deep water and wanting to wait out the slightest bite, braid line is your best bet.
The one downside is that no stretch can result in a lost striper if you overcompensate on the line and accidentally straighten the hook or pull it out altogether.
If you can use softer action and want to hold the rod in your hand, then braided lines offer superior strength than mono lines of the same size. Braid is seen as better for casting compared to mono that suits a line in a rod holder.
A newer kind of fishing line, fluorocarbon is a single strand line similar to mono. It has more stretch than braided line but less than mono, with impressive abrasion resistance. It doesn’t absorb water either.
While you can use it for 12 to 20-pound striper fishing if you want, keep in mind it’s stiffer and harder to tie in knots than mono or braid line. Fluorocarbon is usually more expensive too.
How to Hook a Striper With The Right Line and Rod Setup
Hooking a striper is no easy feat, but it’s a great feeling once you get one on your line. Follow these steps to hopefully hook a big striped bass on your next day out.
- Decide on your bait – live or lure. When in doubt, bring both along and see whether worms and clams or colorful lures draw the stripers in.
- Use a monofilament or braided line up to 20 pounds to pull in a striper of the same weight. Increase the line pound test size if you want to catch bigger fish.
- Make sure there’s at least 1/2 inch between the shank and the point to prevent undersized bass from jumping on the line.
- Find your desired fishing spot, set the hook, and cast the line. Try and keep the bait around 3 to 7 feet deep. You could catch striper up to 20 feet deep, so feel free to experiment and let out more line to adjust the depth as needed.
- Try trolling around 2 mph. This is especially useful for live baits like eels and worms, as it mimics the natural movement and entices stripers to chase potential prey.
- Set the line drag around 10 pounds and keep the vessel moving slowly just after the strike. This allows you to get the best hook set before reeling in the fish with a calm, steady hand. As long as the striper doesn’t weigh more than the line pound test, you should get the fish up and out of the water with no major issues.
Striper fishing is fun and exhilarating, especially if you have the right size fishing line and equipment. If there’s one thing you remember for your next striper fishing excursion, it’s to use a 12 to 20-pound line for a school of stripers inside the bay or near the shore, and reserve 20 to 30-pound lines for open water fishing.
If you’re okay with a bit of stretch, use mono line, otherwise, go for braided. A 7 to 10-foot rod is your best bet, and a light or medium rod is fine for shallower inshore fishing.
Once you hit the open seas, switch to a medium or heavy rod to accommodate heavier lines for the best chance of reeling in arguably one of the Atlantic’s best-eating fish.