AKA: rockfish, rock, striper
Description: Striped bass have a large mouth with a long body and head and slightly forked tail. Their color on top varies from a dark olive-green, to steel blue or gray black. Their sides are silver with seven or eight black, horizontal stripes, one of which follows the lateral line. They have one soft and one spiny dorsal fin, separated at the base.
Size: Striped bass are typically 18 to 24 inches long in estuarine waters and between 30 and 40 inches long in ocean waters. Citations are given for fish weighing 35 pounds or more and for the live release of fish measuring 45 inches or longer. Refer to current version of the recreational guide for latest regulations.
Sometimes confused with: hybrid striped/white bass
Habitat: Striped bass are distributed along the Atlantic Coast from St. Lawrence River, Canada, to St. Johns River, Fla. They are anadromous and therefore found in both freshwater and saltwater, often around piers, jetties, surf troughs, rips, flats and rocks.
Eating habits: Striped bass are carnivorous opportunistic predators that feed heavily on menhaden, anchovies, flounder, weakfish, herrings and many kinds of invertebrates.
Life cycle: Females reach maturity at age 4 or 5 and move from the ocean up rivers to freshwater spawning grounds in the spring. Water currents carry the eggs or newly-hatched larvae downstream to the estuaries, where they spend the first few years of their lives. As they mature, some striped bass leave the estuaries to join a migratory population and others remain. They reach a maximum age of 18 years.
Fishing tips: Fishermen catch striped bass by trolling, casting or jigging with artificial baits or floating or bottom fishing with natural baits. They also surf fish with spoons or heavy lures. Anglers land more large striped bass in North Carolina during the winter than in any other state.