Top Lures for Catching Winter Holdover Stripers

The water temperature along the oceanfront has dipped into the mid-forties. That spells the end.

However, lots of stripers that winter over are now in those backwater places where they will stay throughout the winter. It’s tough fishing. You’ll find few guys willing to go out on a cold, below-freezing night in search of stripers in the middle of winter. Yet, for those who do venture out, the fishing can be surprisingly good.

I have been fishing my winter spots for the last two weeks and it is one of the best winter starts I have ever had. On Nov. 28 I was out with only a few other guys. We had well over a hundred hefty schoolies among us. The temperature was a cold 28 degrees, but the fishing was hot.

So if you are looking for stripers, your best bet right now is to fish the winter holdover spots. A lot of fish are now moving into those locations. Places like the CT rivers, the backwater ponds of the south shore in RI, and rivers of upper Narragansett Bay. These are the places that will produce all winter long if you want to continue catching stripers.

Selecting the lures and plugs to use for winter holdovers is not complicated. Unlike the rest of the year, when you just can’t fit enough in your surf bag, most of what you need in the winter game can fit into your coat pocket. For the most part, this is a jigging game on light tackle. Work the bottom slowly because that’s where the fish are holding.

There are three main jigging lures that are “must have” for winter fishing. The first is the ol’ reliable bucktail jig spiced with a curly tail. Next is the Cocahoe mounted on a jighead. And, finally, the hot producer in the upper Bay is a Zoom fluke mounted on a jighead. All of these lures should be in a light color. I also like to carry a small swimmer or two like a 4 inch Rapala X-Rap. The small swimmers tend to produce in shallow water when the fish are fussy.