Once the big chill hits NJ saltwaters, striped bass will enter the twilight of their fall run, but make no mistake, there will still be pig bass around pushing the 30 to 40-pound caliber.
These late season bass always have a hankering to pounce on slow moving bunker spoons. Spooning for stripers is a little more technical based than simply dragging a shad bar or Stretch Plug. Legendary NJ angler Tony "Maja" Arcabasio has mastered the system of spooning. First off, grab some EZ Outrodders to stick in each side of the gunnels to hold the rods at the appropriate perpendicular angler you need when trolling. Set up with 8 foot Maja Custom Spoon rods or Seeker brand rods will also do as both rods have a fairly soft tip to allow the spoon to work its magic.
Reel wise a Shimano TLD 25 or Penn 113H2SP have always been standard. For line, start with 200 feet of 50-pouund mono backing, then 300 feet of 40-pound Monel wire line, marked every 100 feet with colored thread, to which is haywire twisted a 300-pound Spro barrel swivel then a 15-foot section of 60-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon or monofilament leader, then a 200-pound Sampo snap swivel to a size #3 to #4 Tony Maja Bunker Spoon. Chartreuse, white and silver have always been top color choices for spooning stripers.
When spooning, a rule of thumb is every 100 feet of line let out drops the spoon 10 feet. So dumping the wire at 300 feet will get the spoon down to 30 feet. Troll at a pace, usually between 2 and 3 knots, that shows the tips of the rods pumping like a steady heartbeat. The key to spooning correctly is to see that perfect rhythm to the rod tip as the spoon waffles from side to side down below. If you don't have that heartbeat, adjust your speed or check the spoon to make sure it isn't snagged up on any debris. Spooning claims more 40-pound plus stripers than virtually any other tactic, especially during December. Try it out and see what pigs are still lurking about.
- Penn 113H2SP Special Senator Reel
- Tony Maja Pre-Marked Monel Trolling Wire
- E-Z Out-Rodder Rod Holders
- Tony Maja Custom Bunker Spoon Rod