June 21 2023

3 Simple Tips For Catching Stripers From Shore On A Bucktail Jig

by Ryan Collins

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.

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.

Surfcasting Mastery

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. ?

In Conclusion

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!

I have not included my favorite Cape Cod jigging locations and spots, but 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 🎣

About the author 

Ryan Collins

I'm fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I've been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!

  • Great article! Do you still use a mono leader with a buck tail on braid? And if so, any preference on a braid to mono knot vs. a barrel swivel?

    • Hi Mike!

      Yes I use a 3-4 foot long mono or fluorocarbon leader of 30 pound test for most situations. I like the Slim Beauty knot for connecting the leader to the braid.

      LMK if I can help with anything else,


  • Using Jigs from shore as you mention above is at times very productive for a variety of fish, from striped bass, fluke , sea bass, blue fish and even scup at times.

    I see that you are using the NO Alibi in your tutorial above which is an awesome jig head along most beach fronts , not recommended to be used in the big ditch . The hook up to the eye and the open mouth are designed to dig into the bottom and stir it up which leaves a trail and puts out a chum line of whatever is in the sand. The fish will go into the sandy bottom and take the hook .

    Using trailers like pork rind or even felt cloth will add to the effectiveness of the lure you use. Color can make a difference depending on if day or night fishing . Red and white , Red On one side and white on the other side , White along, yellow alone and black when fishing at night can be very productive.

    The Bill Upperman style of jig is also a very good jig head along most beach fronts. If one can find the Popeye style that is also a jig head that will get you hits. If the bottom is clean do not be afraid to simply drag the jig through the sand in a very slow-motion reeling exercise.

    Once you learn how to fish the jig head being used , you will be able to find the holes along the bottom and allow the jig to drop into them and come back over the edges where you should get a hit if any fish are hanging in the hole. Braid line on the reel has its advantages over mono in this case. It is more sensitive. You can get lucky at times and need a lot of patients at other times. The extra patients at time can be a very rewarding experience once you hook up. Any time anyone would like to actually see the many types of jig heads available you can stop by the house and i will more than glad to show you. As an extra added attractor when using jigs in the sand is to place a small spinner attached to the shank of the hook . Peace and Prayers

  • Hello there! Just getting back into the sport. My son (6) loves to fish and it’s something fun we can do on the regular, together. We are up in Scarborough Maine about 5 minutes south of Portland. I’ve never really fished salt water but we just bought a house down the road from the water. Anxious to start fishing with him for Stripers. Any tips or advice for a rookie? Anything would help! Thanks!!


  • I’m a novice when it comes to boats and fishing but ready to learn. I just bought a boat to take to a local island beach from our home in Chatham, MA. I would love to fish while on the beach. Can you recommend what I need…….rod, reel, jig, bait, tools, etc.

  • A true beginner here but very anxious to go surf casting next week while down in Yarmouth for vacation. I have a top and bottom rig ready to go but not much else. Where do you suggest I go to fish and what do you suggest I use for bait/tackle.

    • Very nice! Sounds like fun.

      The top bottom rig with some fresh squid would work well for fluke, scup and sea bass, if fishing off the south side in Nantucket Sound. I would bring some topwater plugs as well for bluefish.

      For striped bass I would recommend fishing Cape Cod Bay or Outer Cape beaches at night with swimming plugs, live eels or fresh dead sand eels.

      Gluck and let us know how it goes!

  • I truly enjoy reading your articles and watching the videos !! Grreat info for those of us who visit the Cape, but don’t live there. Keep up the great job, It’s very much appreciated.Tight lines and bent rods !!

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