Since we’re in the summer season, and top-water/boil action will become more common, I thought I’d share helpful tips with everybody.
Here we go:
Top-water feeding frenzies
These occur because 50 to 5,000 striped bass roll and porpoise in sync. These “boils” can simmer, or boil over, as striped bass trap shad schools against the surface.
Water attacks and crashing splashes mark the area. Disturbance by fishing boats cause striped bass schools to sound and then reappear a few hundred yards away as feeding resumes in a different direction.
As shad grow in size and develop stronger swimming ability, the surface action gets more intense as striped bass corral shad against the surface or trap them near the shore or structure. The tendency for shad to “ball up” in a tight school when predators approach allows striped bass to round up and trap shad schools.
The trapped shad school is repeatedly probed by striped bass working together to eat, injure and kill as many shad as possible. Shad are often slashed by the jaws and stunned by the powerful caudal fin during such encounters.
Striped bass capture most shad at the surface, creating a highly visible disturbance with water splashes and a boat’s wake-like wave as stripers line up shoulder to shoulder to feed.
When the attack commences, the surface activity is intense and visible for many hundred meters as water is thrown high in the air.
A striper bite window: narrow to wide
Surface feeding boils last from a few seconds to as long as hours. Duration is probably determined by shad abundance. Many shad allow a longer feeding period while few shad may be consumed or lost from sight in a few seconds
Boil etiquette: get some
Once we get father into hotter weather, the fish will go deeper and the boils will be more common and luckily longer with duration.
If you see a great top-water boil, and fellow fisherman fishing that boil, never drive into the boil with your boat.
This can risk the fish moving on and also make it difficult for other fisherman to cast into the boil area. Also try to use your trolling motor, or drift your boat to the outside edge of the boil. The noise from the boat motor can reduce the length of the boil.
Working the striper frenzy
Cast your lure over the boil and work it into the feeding frenzy area. In general, silence is golden and less boat noise will generate more success with a striper boil.
Jerkbaits, Rat L Traps, Kastmasters, swimbaits and Zara Spooks make for great success when fishing boils. I would also recommend having a rod with your favorite lure ready to grab and cast in the boat at all times.
Since these boils are unpredictable in length of time, take advantage of the opportunity as long as you can. Have the equipment ready to go. I hope we all get to fish these exciting boils together.
Good luck fishing!