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How-To: Tournament Winning Techniques for NEKF Striped Bass

How-To: Tournament Winning Techniques for NEKF Striped Bass

We spent 15 minutes on the phone with New England kayak angler, Carl Vonnegut, to discuss the best tournament techniques for the New England Kayak Fishing Mass Bay Striper Shootout using the Hogy Original Series. Here's what we learned.. 

Location:  New England Kayak Fishing Mass Bay Striper Shootout, Boston Harbor

Approach:  This was the 10th year for the annual NEKF Mass Bay Striper Shootout, one of the biggest kayak fishing tournaments in the Northeast.  I was entered in the artificial-only division and I stuck with plastic baits the whole time.  I fished primarily at night, and focused on areas with rocky structure and current.  I like to drift and cast in likely holding areas, and then troll as I move from spot to spot.

Rigging Selection: Hogy 14″ Original Series rigged on 1/2oz or 3/4oz Barbarian Jig Heads (size 10/0). Besides using superglue to secure the body to the jighead, I also glue the rigging channel closed for a more durable connection.  I use a heavy duty backlash-style snap for the jighead-to-leader connection.  This “hinged” connection gives the bait more action when pausing or twitching.

Why This Bait? The 14″ baits have that great serpentine action and are very versatile. 

Colors: Black/Pearl, Pink

Retrieve: Moderate swimming retrieve with an occasional pause or twitch.  Fishing in 10-15′ of water, I typically start off trying to keep the bait in the lower half of the water column. I had a couple fish follow the bait right to the kayak and try to hit it just as it was coming out of the water.  After seeing this, I picked up the pace of the retrieve a bit and it seemed to trigger the bite better.


Rod: 8’2″ Phenix M1 Inshore SMX82H.  I really like this line of west-coast style inshore rods.  Designed for casting swimbaits, they are lighter in weight than most musky rods but still have a lot of lifting power.  The longer length helps me reach around the bow of my 16′ kayak.

Reel:  Shimano Calcutta 400D

Line: PowerPro 40lb

Leader: 7′ length of 50lb mono

Reading next

How To: Rig Jigs for Tuna
How-To: Cape Cod False Albacore Fishing with Epoxy Jigs

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