Cape Cod

How To: Top Three Trolling Lures for Spring Stripers

How To: Top Three Trolling Lures for Spring Stripers

We spent 15 minutes with Capt. Michael Hogan, owner and president of Hogy Lure Company, to discuss the top trolling lures for spring stripers on Cape Cod. Here's what we found out... 

 Capt. Michael Hogan
Instagram: @hogyfishing
Facebook: Hogy Lure Company

Rod: 7’ 8” MH Musky Rod A musky rod is very light and features a trigger grip, both of which allow you the ability to hold it all day. The high modulus graphite rods of today are so sensitive, you can feel every hit, weed, or tangle. They are both enjoyable to troll with and more effective than heavier outfits “designed” for trolling.

Reel: High gear ratio reels are suitable for reeling down on fish swimming toward the boat and fast lure checks. Reels should hold at least 125-feet of lead core and 200-yards of backing.

Line: Lead core. I am a huge fan of unweighted lures fished on lead-core. I strongly believe unweighted lures have more action, especially on the drop.

Leader: 8-feet of 40lb fluorocarbon

Connection: Lure should be tied directly with a loop knot. An extra swivel is recommended with tube and worm combos.

Approach: Troll down current and make a series of drop backs, turns and periodically take the boat out of gear. The key here is to troll with the current in search of big fish you can mark on the fish finder and then drop the lures in front of them. This technique works well in channels, rips, rivers or anywhere there is moving tidal water over structure.

Top Lures:

  1. Swim Bait Hook rigged 7” or 10” Original Hogy Lure
  2. SI Perfect Tube
  3. Skirted Barb Swimming Jig


Reasons to fish this lure:

  1. The rig is snag resistant, which makes it a perfect option for trolling around heavy cover or larger structure.
  2. The rig is highly weed resistant if you bury the point of the hook into the back of the soft bait. For me, this is a go to bait in the spring on Cape Cod when stripers are keyed in on squid. While this is a great time to fish, the water is very weedy from the draggers in the area stirring up the bottom while they target the squid. This is pretty much the only rig I know you can troll in heavy weeds.
  3. This rig can be fished at a variety of speeds from very fast to a slow drop while the boat is out of gear. I particularly like this rig when dropping to fish I’m marking on the fish finder.
  4. Mimics the large herring, shad and squid that large and hungry striped bass are keyed in on. 

The reason I especially like this rig is that it is so hands on. The best way to fish this lure is with a series of short, twitchy jigging motions. The bait will dance, dart and quiver with each pulse. Since you are holding the rod, it is easy to let line out and bring it back in. And more often than not, the extra motion associated with a fast retrieve speed will often draw strikes. 


SI Perfect Tube and Worm

Reasons to fish this lure:

  1. The large profile makes the tube an easily seen target and is big enough to be worthwhile for a large striper to go out of its way to eat it.
  2. The worm adds a little bit of scent, which can often tempt finicky stripers.
  3. This rig can (and should) be fished at very slow speeds, which is often key in cold spring temperatures where stripers are lethargic.

I like this rig because it produces some very large fish. Unlike the weedless soft bait, this rig is not hands on and can be fished from the rod holder. With an unweighted tube, you can still take the boat out of gear to drop the tube on targets found on the fish finder and still have a natural presentation. Unweighted tubes are far more effective for this drop technique.


The Jiggin’ Paddle Swim Baits

Reasons to fish this lure:

  1. The  soft bait has a very vibrant action that mimics a live shad or herring.
  2. The over sized paddle tail adds vibration, which helps large stripers to key in on your lure.
  3. This rig is highly versatile; it can be cast and trolled. When trolling the lure it can be jigged/trolled or fished from the rod holder.

The swimming Paddle Jig is a great alternative to the swim bait hook rig if the water is not too weedy or snagging bottom is not a concern. The color combinations are endless and the jig comes alive once the paddle starts kicking. The over sized paddle is so strong that it significantly slows the bait down on the drop.

Reading next

Pro Talk: Tips for Winter Charleston Redfish
Pro Talk: Slow Your Roll with Big Swim Baits for Spring Stripers

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