How to catch more striped bass!
better results with schoolie striped bass
in the spring time, use a whole sandworm on a 1/0 or 2/0
Put the hook's barb in and then out of the worm's head.
The worm’s head is the toughest part of the body and the worm is
less likely to break off when casting.
If you feed the worm up the hook's shaft, the barb will protrude
out of the worm's soft belly, and the worm will break off when
I've also found that a small float placed a few inches from the
hook will keep the worm off the bottom and will make a better bait
presentation. The bass
are very finicky this time of year, so you must hold your rod.
As soon as you feel a pick up, set the hook. You'll catch
more fish this way!
work pretty during the spring and the fall (for that matter, all year long). A whole clam on a 2/0 or
3/0 bait holder hooks works best. I suggest you tie the clam onto
the hook, otherwise it may fall off during the cast. There's a
pretty good elastic tread on the market, or you can use a small rubber
band. Feed the clam onto the hook, by sticking it through the barb
several times. Then secure the clam to the hook's shaft with the
elastic thread or the rubber band. Don't bunch up the thread, and
obscure the bait. That won't work either. Just use enough to
hold the clam onto the hook during the cast, exposing as much of the clam
is definitely the bait of choice for the larger striped bass during the
late spring and fall months (and don't forget live eels also during the
fall months). Cut the whole bunker is 1-2 inch steaks, cutting top to bottom (you
should get 3-4 good sized steaks). Stick
a 6/0 to 8/0 wide beaked hook in then out of the top of the bunker steak,
making sure that the point of the hook protrudes from the bait.
Now as to the fresh versus frozen bunker debate!
There is no denying that fresh
bunker lasts longer on the hook than frozen bunker, but both fresh
and frozen bunker will catch fish. When
fresh bunker is not always available,
don't be afraid to use frozen bunker - you just have to change your
bait more often, that's all!
How to catch more fluke!
Fluke are very inquisitive. If you want to catch more fish, you must
satisfy that curiosity. Bait presentation is the key. You must
attract the fluke's attention, getting it out of the sand so it can attack
your bait. The key word is attack. Fluke are very aggressive
predator fish and will attack several feet off the bottom if attracted to
your bait. A 2/0 or 3/0 hook on a 36 inch leader is the
preferred initial set-up. Just putting a Kellie or spearing on the
hook is usually not enough to attract the fluke's attention. For
best results, you should also use a strip of squid at least 4 inches long.
The fluttering movement of the squid strip will attract the fluke's
attention to the bait fish on your hook, and will increase your chances.
Remember, you must attract the fish's attention! Another neat trick
is to use a teaser on your hook. Bucktail teasers and rubber
squid heads work the best. Alternate the colors. Some colors
work best during different lighting conditions-white, green, silver and
yellow work the best.
Boaters should drift along channel
edges. Fluke tend to bury themselves along the channel edge, waiting
to ambush an unsuspecting baitfish coming over the ledge. Sandy,
flat bottoms, where a lot of baitfish congregate produce also. Surf
fishermen should look for the same structures, however, instead of
drifting, try to slowly drag the bait along the bottom. You'll cover
more ground that way, and you'll present the bait better (remember the
fluttering squid strip).
How to catch more bluefish!
key to catching more bluefish is simple. First, use the right bait. That's bunker. Second, use
the right equipment. Smaller,
lighter fishing tackle often used for fluke, flounder, weakfish and
even schoolie striped bass, will not hold up to the beating that bluefish
can give. Fifteen to twenty pound fishing line should be used off
the beach. Anything lighter will snap under the pressure of a
fighting bluefish (except for you sharpies out there). Anything
greater than 20 pounds with severely restrict your casting distance
(remember, you have to reach the fish before you can catch them).
Boaters should use at least 20 pound test line, 30-40 is better.
hook must be large enough (5/0 - 8/0) to penetrate through a piece of cut
bunker. Stick the hook in and then out, making sure that the point
is sticking out. The point of the hook is what catches the fish.
If you bury the hook, you'll come back with just air when you
try to set the hook. Bluefish
have very sharp teeth, and will cut through a monofilament leader. The
hook must have a wire leader. 18 inch wire leaders work
the best off the beach. A short 6- 8" wire leader can be used
from a boat.
Use a medium to heavy duty rod and
reel. An 8' to 11' fishing rod, with a matching good quality
fishing reel is best off the beach. The length of the fishing rod
will dictate how far you can cast and how much bait you can use.
larger fishing rod also allows you to control the fish when reeling it in.
Boater should use a medium to heavy 5'-7' fishing rod with a matching
reel. While casting for distance is not an issue from a boat,
controlling the fish is just as important.
A 3 oz. sinker usually is sufficient.
Go heavier if needed. From the beach or boat, use a 3-way swivel rig
or fish finder rig (stop in, we have several examples in stock).
Since beach fishermen are using long 18" wire leaders, here's a tip
for you boaters. Tie a 2 foot 50 pound test monofilament leader to
the shorter wire leader (it should come with a barrel swivel).
Tie a barrel swivel and fishfinder at the other end of the leader or tie a
3-swivel. The bluefish will not bite through the short wire leader,
and the 2 foot monofilament leader will give you a heavier line to
grab onto than the lighter line on your rod. The additional 2 foot
leader also makes a better bait presentation, allowing your bait to move
with the current.
Now for the fresh versus frozen
bunker debate (again). There is no denying that fresh bunker stays on the
hook longer than frozen bait. Don't let anyone fool you, though, you
can still catch tons of fish with frozen bunker when fresh is not
available. There's a secret though... Just change the bait
more often. I've heard some fishermen claim that they don't catch fish with frozen
bunker. Fishermen in New Jersey and Brooklyn do not have the
availability of fresh bunker as we do in Staten Island. Does that
mean that we catch more fish then them? Hogwash! Frozen
bunker, yes, will come off your hook quicker than fresh.
And without bait on your hook, you're not likely to catch any fish. The
answer is simple, just check your bait more often. If the frozen
bunker on your hook becomes too soft to stay on your hook, change it -
that's it! For you nay sayers that claim they don't catch fish with
frozen bunker, my answer to them is "when was the last lime you
checked your bait?".
For those of you who prefer not to use
bait, then surface poppers and metal lures also work for both boaters and
beach fishermen, especially in the middle of a bunker school. Here,
smaller (7’ to 9’), lighter fishing rods with lighter fishing line is
ideal, allowing you to cast the lighter lures farther. Don't forget
to use a wire leader, or you'll loss your lure to a hungry bluefish with
its very sharp teeth.
How to catch more weakfish!
presentation, when fishing for the smaller weakfish that we've seen here
for the past few years, is also very important. The bait of choice
for these weakfish are sandworms. Boaters should be prepared to drift
along channel edges, because large schools of fish tend to
congregate along the slopes waiting to ambush unsuspecting bait fish
swimming over the ledge. By far, the most productive set up for
boaters is a high/low rig. We have several varieties in stock.
An other rig that can be used is made with a 2/0 or 3/0 bait holder hook
with a 36" monofilament leader tied to a 3-way swivel. Add, to
the 3-way swivel, a 3 foot length of lighter pound test
monofilament leader (in case you get snagged on the bottom, you'll just
lose the sinker) with a loop at the end for the sinker. You've just
created a 3 by 3 rig- three foot from the bottom and three foot out.
Bait the rigs with just one sandworm per hook. In and out of the worm's
head (see How to...Striped Bass above, where we discuss feeding a
worm onto a hook). Now here's the trick. Use a heavier
that normal sinker (4, 5, 6, or even 8 ounces if necessary).
Use just enough weight so your fishing line will be kept
vertical to the water while drifting.
By keeping your line vertical to the water with a heavier sinker,
the bait will be kept at an ideal 3 feet from the bottom.
Try it. You'll get more strikes this way.
Beach fishermen should
always use a float when worming
for weakfish. See "How To...Striped Bass", above.
Use the same technique when fishing with sandworms for schoolie bass.
If you choose to use bunker for
weakfish, use the same technique as for chunking for bass or bluefish.