FISH STORY: Striper Candy

For big bass, bait is key.

Critics say that live baiting big stripers is easy: " It's like shoving a double whopper under a starving person's nose," they decry. Pro's like Capt Tim Hermus, an expert striper angler, knows different. Live baiting slob bass is as detail-oriented as marlin fishing and requires as much technique as fly fishing for rainbows on a heavily pressured stream.

It starts with healthy bait. Since he's a professional baymen as well as a charter skipper, Hermus can use a gill net to gather the bunker his clients feed to big, Long Island, stripers. Laymen need another way to "make bait." You can use a snatch hook to snag bunker shad or herring, but baits gathered this way often don't live long. Instead, learn to throw a cast net , you'll have baits that will live for a whole tide in your livewell. Shad and especially herring can also be caught using small darts and with bait "trees" or "sabiki rigs." Handled as quickly and gently as possible between hook and livewell (shaking them off the sabiki rig directly into the livewell is better than handling them), baits gathered by this method will stand up and be at the ready for a day's fishing. In essence, you need to go fishing before you go fishing.