I have fished for striped bass from shore using bucktail jigs for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I would often cast bucktail jigs from the beaches of Cape Cod Bay before and after school.
Bucktail jigging is a technique that's been used on Cape Cod (and all around the world) for many years. The bucktail jig has literally been a staple "go-to" striper technique for generations.
This article was originally published here on My Fishing Cape Cod way back on May 28th of 2014, immediately after I returned home from this striper fishing trip. Today I wanted to re-publish this article with new information, videos, and links to other helpful resources about catching stripers from shore with bucktail jigs.
I really recommend always having at least one bucktail jig in your striper arsenal at all times! In this post I will share with you 3 simple tips for catching stripers from shore on an old classic - the bucktail jig.
Tip #1 - Fish The Jig In Current
Bucktail jigs work well in areas of no current, however they really shine in spots where the current is ripping. Often times, but not always, I find these current-laden areas are in close proximity to points of land, navigation channels, or other odd pieces of structure.
Stripers seem to enjoy current, and where you find current, you can normally find at least a small striper or two. A bucktail jig cast upcurrent, and then slowly worked down along the bottom as the jig tumbles with the tide, is a great way of catching bass holding in the current.
Below is a video clip I filmed way back on May 28th of 2014. This quick 47 second video outlines the simple jigging technique.
Additional Resource #1
During the 2019 Cape Cod fishing season I jigged the same spot shown in the above video, with My Fishing Cape Cod member and US Navy veteran Anthony Besaw. We captured the entire trip on film and it was broadcast as a TV show episode on NBC Sports Boston.
This TV episode would be a great watch for anyone interested in learning more about jigging for striped bass from the beach. I've included a preview of the episode below. If you're a member of My Fishing Cape Cod and would like to watch the full episode, then please click the blue button beneath the video.
Tip #2 - Add A Trailer
To increase the effectiveness of the bucktail jig, consider adding a white curly tail grub. This combination works very well on schoolies and it will also entice a larger striped bass if there is one in the area.
Red pork rind and various other soft plastics can also be used in place of the white curly tail grub. In general I would say I've caught more big bass by using a red pork rind as a trailer, then by using a white curly tail grub.
Often times, but not always, a white bucktail jig tipped with a curly tail grub will outfish a naked jig. When fishing in areas of current, the slow up and down rod motion will cause the curly tail grub to flutter and "kick" through the water as it tumbles with the tide.
When fished in calm areas with no current, an angler can make the lure flutter and kick by "swimming" it through the water column by consistently reeling the jig towards shore at a moderate speed.
Additional Resource #2
Our surfcasting mastery course is 100% free and delivered every Tuesday via email. Lessons were created to help you become more adept at catching striped bass (and other species) from shore. Included are lessons about jigging for stripers, as well as lessons about plugging for stripers, and much more. Click below to signup for free and get immediate access to your first email lesson.
Weekly surfcasting lessons delivered via email to help you catch stripers and other species from shore.
Tip #3 - Use Braided Line
As mentioned above, bucktail jigs do catch plenty of fish in calm areas devoid of strong current. However I feel that bucktails really shine in spots where the water is moving.
Because braided line does not stretch, it is much more proficient at detecting bottom than traditional monofilament. To detect bottom (and bites) keep the line taught as the jig free falls through the water column.
Depending on the strength of the current and how deep the area is, the jig will require varying amounts of seconds to reach bottom.
Because braid does not stretch, the sensation of the jig impacting bottom will travel better along the braided line, and you will be able to "feel" the jig hitting bottom. This feeling of the jig hitting bottom is often just a small tap and it is an easy feeling to miss.
Braid also helps to make it easier to detect bites when bucktail jigging. Often the bite comes as the jig is falling and braid makes it far easier to feel when this occurs.
Additional Resource #3
Throughout this website you'll find dozens of posts about jigging from shore, jigging at the Cape Cod Canal, and jigging from boats. To make it easier to navigate, I've gone ahead and included links to some of my favorite jigging from shore posts below.
Jigging with bucktail jigs is one of the most effective ways to catch striped bass here on Cape Cod and throughout the striper coast. Bucktail jigging is a great way to target stripers in the midwater column and along the bottom.
In addition the resources included above, one of the best places to ask for information about jigging is our members' forum. We have loads of helpful posts about the best equipment, jigs and techniques inside our forum, and I've included links to some of my favorite jigging threads below.
Thanks again for checking out this post! As mentioned at the beginning, I first published this article way back in 2014. I hope you've found the new additions and resources which I just added to this post to be of good value.
For obvious reasons I have not included my favorite jigging locations and spots here in this post for the entire world to see. However I am always happy to help members of My Fishing Cape Cod discover new areas and productive spots, so if you are a member, then please don't hesitate to ask.
Tight lines! 🎣