Wipers are odd fish. I’ve caught a good number, I wish to hell we had them in more places out here. They won’t take the place over, after all.
You have a few options. They follow their nose quite a bit, more than many gamefish, almost like a catfish. In fact, “catfishing” for them works pretty good if they are sulky, which they well may be if the water is under 50. They are low-light feeders, and you will probably do best fishing the hour before the sun comes up to an hour or two after first light, the bite lasts longer if it stays cloudy. PM last light type bites can be good too. We always fished through the night, until the bite fell off once the sun came up.
Circle hooks on Carolina Rigs. Crawfish tails, (most folks peel them) mussels, and chicken livers are the holy trinity of wiper baits. Chunked fresh shad, herring, alewife, smelt etc also works very well. Everything as fresh as possible, fresh baits will outperform nasty ones.
For lures, they will crush jerkbaits, slender minnow imitating spoons, grubs/bucktails, spinnerbaits, soft swimbaits like Keitechs and the like, and… topwaters, if it is warm enough. Walking baits like Sammys and Super Spooks in clear, chrome, and bone colors. Colors on everything else should be pearls/whites, silver/smokes, and your basic baitfish looking colored hardbaits with Ghost Minnow or Sexy Shad type colors. A splash of chartreuse is a very good idea.
I’ve caught a good number of them on four pound test, including some brutes in the mid to high teens, not because I enjoy that sort of thing, but because they can get terribly, terribly snotty at times. Way worse than any trout I’ve ever come across. I’d much rather use 10-15lb line for them, because they are nitro burning’ funny cars once you hook them. You will know it is not a trout.
And that leads me to another point… all your gear has to be right. Fresh line, smooth drags, good stout split rings, 2x or 3x heavy trebles, and check and re check your knots. They are just extremely good at making your gear explode if you aren’t careful. It’s not as bad in colder water, but they still let you know they hate your guts.
Also, again, not as bad in the cold water, but they don’t leave anything on the table. They will fight till they are totally gassed, and tend to die if you don’t get them back in the water ASAP and revive them. They are decent eating (cut away the red meat along the lateral line) but I respect them too much as a gamefish to want to kill them if I can help it. After all, they can’t replenish their numbers.
I love them to pieces and miss the heck out of them. I’ll probably get down that way at some point.
Good luck, I really hope you get some.