Archive for January, 2011
I flat out LOVE fishing for striped bass with plugs. While it is true that I spend the majority of my time targetting bass with live baits, there is no method as much fun as taking them on artificials. There is a great sense of accomplishment in knowing that fish at the end of your line is there simply because you fooled it into believing your presentation of a piece of plastic or wood was something it would love for dinner. Bucktails, leadheads adorned with any of the popular trailers and the diving/swimming plugs all account for fantastic catches but I prefer another option.
For my money, none of these afford the angler the thrill of seeing the fish explode on your offering like top-water lures do. While maybe not as productive as the other types of lures mentioned above (although they can be at times) I believe the top-water plugs provide the most fun. You make your strategically placed cast so that the retrieve will bring the lure over the piece you anticipate to be holding fish. As the plug crawls lazily along the surface, the excitement builds as it closes in on the target area. Then it happens, the fish you had planned on being there blows up the surface, spraying water everywhere and is off to the races. You just can’t beat that!!!
There are as many different makes and models of top-water lures as Carter has liver pills but over the years I have narrowed my favorites down to the three I am going to describe in the following. Some may agree with these and others will wonder why I may have left a particular type off my list. I would just reply that in the area I fish I have had my best results with the set mentioned below. To be sure, others DO get tossed into the mix as well but I always comeback to these three favorites.
At the top of my list is the Gibbs Danny Plug. Nowadays there are any number of custom plug builders making these lures and their creations are beautiful and also work well. I pretty much stick with Gibbs just for the simple fact I can walk into just about any tackle shop here on Long Island and find the size and color I want. The Danny is built in such a manner that it swims (wiggles) on a point in it’s center. The front and back will both swing side to side in a fairly equal manner. This plug does it’s best for me while slowly crawled along, the retrieve is just fast enough to keep slack out of the line and the plug wiggling. Since the plug will ride on the surface the angler can adjust his retrieve speed to get the plug working properly. The eye of the plug where the line is connected can be bent up and down to control the plugs depth. Bend the eye UP to have the plug dive, while bending the eye down will make sure the plug rides up top where we want it. Don’t overdue the eye bending and I NEVER mess with the metal lip itself. I have done that experimentation in the past and messed up the plugs ability to grab the water and swim correctly.
Next in line is another lure with a metal lip but it swims in an entirely different fashion. The Pikie type lures feature a metal lip that can be tuned similar to the Danny. However these plugs also feature a cupped head and the weighting is forward to change the swing point on the lures body. Whereas the Danny plug can be tweaked to have it dive down a couple of feet, the pikies can be set to get down MUCH deeper, especially in a fast running current. They also do very nice on the surface which is where I fish them just about 100 percent of the time. The Danny generally rides in the water fairly flat front to back while the pikie can be swam along having the nose dig just under the surface with a tight wiggle as the tail flaps back and forth in a wider manner. It is the different weighting in the plugs body that accomplishes this. These things REALLY make a commotion on the surface that seems to tick off the fish as strikes on these plugs can be vicious.
The final plug I want to mention is the Super Strike Little Neck Popper. These come in two models, a floater and a sinker. I strongly prefer the sinker model for my purposes. The Little Neck can be fished as a standard popper where the lure is retrieved and “popped” with the rod tip causing the cupped front of the plug to throw water and causing a disturbance. This works very well but there is another way to fish this lure that I prefer that is really a mix of two retrieves. The plug is cast and reeled back fast enough to get it on the surface. Once up on the top I retrieve the plug very similar to a Danny plug, however in this case my retrieve is just fast enough to keep the lure on the surface. Done in this manner, the cupped face will cause the plug to wobble on the surface like the metal-lipped lures. Every so often the retrieve speed is picked up just fast enough to cause the plug to jump up a bit throwing a small bit of spray. A lot of takes occur just after this.
I am not a fan of having lures in every color of the rainbow and I carry these three lures in two colors only. White and Yellow are my color choices. If you would like to see more information on some of these plugs check out the following lure makers;
After much thought on the subject I have come to the conclusion that winter STINKS! This comes following the cleanup of the latest foot of snow dumped on my driveway as the result of the 7th snowstorm to bury us since the day after Christmas. Now I realize that there are parts of the country where this stuff is a way of life but not here on Long Island. You can be sure that we have had some huge blizzards across the area over the years but the past does not compare with the winter of 2011 to date. Backaches and overall soreness are the order of the day this year and I am beginning to feel as though I should be attending the shareholders meetings for Tylenol corporation.
I’ve decided that I need a fix of something fishing related. With that said I am happy to announce another lure giveaway. The 2011 Winter Stinks Giveaway is offering another of my favorite top-water lures, the Super Strike Little Neck popper. This little beauty is deadly on striped bass and bluefish populations. The plug is made of high impact plastic and features through-wired hook holders to stand up to the beating these fish can put on a lure.
To take your shot at this lure post your very best fishing action photograph. Let’s see some bent rods and anglers straining against a fish screaming the drag off. Basically, let’s see you HOOKED UP!!! Bluegill or bluefish, it does not matter. A little detail on the picture would also be nice but definately not required
As with my previous giveaways, there is nothing hidden here, no strings attached or obligations. You post your HOOKED UP submissions and a I will pick a winner from them. Plain and simple, that’s all there is. The winner gets the plug and the others can take solace in the fact that they helped the Captain to temporarily forget about the nasty old winter.
This will be open for submissions until February 14th at which time a winner will be announced here on the site.
If this sounds good then let’s see ‘em!!!!
The 106th annual edition of the New York Boat Show set anchor in the Javitts Center in New York City this past week (Jan 19-23). We made our yearly visit on Saturday. After a VERY chilly stroll to Manhattan’s West Side from Penn Station I could not wait to get inside to see what this year’s event had in store. After our ticket purchase we signed up for the complimentary magazine subscription that comes with your ticket. I was slightly disappointed to see that The Saltwater Sportsmen was not an option this year so I settled on Motor Boating magazine to keep an eye out for that next 100ft yacht I may need. HAH!!!
We were greeted right at the entrance by Boston Whaler’s new 340 Conquest. She was spectacular!!! While I didn’t particularly care for the color of the hull I have to say this boat was a tank and had all the bells and whistles you could ever wish for. The next Whaler we saw was the Outrage 370. This is a HUGE center console. Big and beautiful with a bunch of fancy items that caught my wife’s eye. Especially the large sun deck forward of the console.
Moving on we checked out the entries from Mako, Hydrasports and Robalo. Very nice center console and walk around models were there from each builder. Read More→
Every year here in the Northeast The Fisherman magazine sponsors a season long fishing derby called the Dream Boat Challenge. The largest 10 fish of each eligible species are entered into a drawing for awesome prizes of which the Grand Prize is a NEW BOAT!!!
This year Hydrasports was the title sponsor and they offered up a fully rigged, sweet center console package for the big winner. The final drawing is held every year at the NY Boat Show. Unfortunately for me I did not have any entries in the contest this season so I was just a spectator at this year’s drawing.
Fred Golofaro from The Fisherman was the designated “ticket mixer-upper” and ran into a little difficulty with an unruly cooler
This little volunteer pulled the ticket that mades someone from New Jersey a VERY happy camper
Congratulations to the winner, I hope you enjoy your new boat in 2011
There is a lot of buzz going around over the recent announcement by the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) regarding a new category for All Tackle Length Records. This essentially amounts to Catch and Release World Records. With so many anglers currently practicing catch and release this sounded like a very nice idea when I first heard of it. HOWEVER, as they say in the NFL, upon further review, I find myself questioning some aspects and can’t help but wonder if this could be detrimental in some cases.
I have pulled the text highlighted in blue directly from the IGFA announcement on their website. My comments for each section are in-line directly below each highlighted paragraph. I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well.
All fish entered for Length Records must be measured by anglers at the site of capture and released so that it swims away on their own and in good condition. Fish should be revived by moving it forward in the water to ensure a healthy release. Fish caught and entered for length records are not eligible for weighing and submission for other record categories.
Rules and Equipment Regulations
All IGFA rules and equipment regulations stipulated for fishing with conventional and fly tackle in fresh and saltwater shall apply with the exceptions below. All angling and equipment regulations shall apply until the fish is measured and released alive.
A. GAFFS & NETS
1. The use of gaffs to land fish is prohibited.
2. Nets used to boat or land a fish must not exceed 8 feet (2.44 meters) in over all length. (When fishing from a bridge, pier or other high stationary structure, this length limitation does not apply.)
3. The use of knotless, rubber coated nets or other similarly designed nets that minimize slime and scale removal is strongly recommended.
This all sounds great and makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t think anyone would question the advice of swimming a fish around to revive it before release and I have to agree that the use of a gaff is a BAD catch and release tactic.
B. MEASURING DEVICE
1. All fish must be measured using an official IGFA measuring device. (order yours at http://store.igfa.org/)
2. The measuring device mat may be shortened by cutting it, but it may not be rejoined after it has been shortened.
I start having SOME concern here as after checking into this I found the cost of the required approved measuring device is $50!! Read More→
My wife and I had a great time this weekend (Saturday 1/15/11) checking out the Long Island visitors from the North. This is something we have talked about doing the past few years but for one reason or another it just never happened. On Saturday we finally said LET’S GO!! We bundled up and pointed my 4×4 toward Cupsogue Beach on the eastern shore of Moriches Inlet.
Dune Road in Westhampton Beach terminates it’s western end right in the Cupsogue Beach Suffolk County Park. From the parking lot it is approximately a 1/2 mile walk to the area where the seals congregate. If you have a 4×4 with the proper Suffolk County Outer Beach Four Wheel Drive permit you can take the access trail, which is what we did. It is NICE being able to jump back in the truck to warm up. As you bounce down the trail there is an area that is used for campers during the summer that overlooks the bay and offers a very good location for spotting the seals in both directions, although on this day finding them was VERY easy
As we rolled into the overlook we spotted 8-10 heads bobbing around in the water. They would dive and surface in their search for their lunch. They are VERY aware of our presence in their domain and always keep a close watch on the shoreline to make sure nothing is getting to close to them. After their feeding session they drag themselves up on a sandbar located on the north side of the channel that runs through here and catch a nap. We watched long enough to see 6 or 7 haul up on the beach but I’ve seen pictures from other folks showing dozens of them lounging around.
I would suggest bringing some binoculars to give you a chance to see these guys close up. I used my video camera’s zoom which was shaky at best since. I would think guys with the fancy cameras and big zoom lenses would get some good views as well.
The Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI) offers guided tours through the area. Check out their website for some great pictures of the seals from recent tours.