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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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October 02, 2016

Crankbait Transitions from Sweetwater to the Suds ~ A Colorful Array of Keen Killers ~ Part II

by Bob Banfelder

We are continuing from yesterday's report of Berkley's pro-design dream team referencing Fishing Evolved crankbaits. We'll lead off with the Pitbull, following up with Wild Thang, and finally three (3) Cutter models: Cutter 90+, Cutter 110+, and the Skinny Cutter 110+. David Fritts, Justin Lucas, Josh Bertrand, Garry Klein, and Scott Suggs comprise this awesome group of professionals. Be reminded that these lures, designed but not necessarily designated to sweetwater, are proven to be deadly in the suds as depicted throughout this two-part report. The five designs are tough on fish but prudent on the pocketbook—$6.95 each for the Pitbull and Wild Thang models; $7.95 each for the Cutter series.

The Pitbull is a broad-lipped, erratic, floating slayer that comes in three sizes and weights: Pitbull 3.5, 2", ¼ oz., diving to depths of 2–5 ft.; Pitbull 5.5, 2 3/8", 3/8 oz., diving to depths of 3 to 6 ft.; and the Pitbull 7.5, 2¾", 5/8 oz., diving to devilish depths of 4 to 8 ft. Shown below is the Pitbull 5.5, Gilly color; 18 deadly colors from which to choose. These three crankbaits are a serious breed, exhibiting powerful predator-like action, flash, and tail wag—which is no indication of its friendliness. In short order, the predator fish will become the predator.

Pitbull 5.5

Pitbull 5.5 ~ Gilly color ~ bests cocktail blue


Wild Thang 8.5 is a rattling lure sporting a longer and far broader bill than that of the Pitbull. Wild Thang demonstrates a ‘wild' aggressive tail-thumping action, irresistible to predator fish. The lure comes in two sizes and weights: 2", 3/8 oz., and 2¼", ½ oz. Shown below is the 2¼", ½ oz. Wild Thang in a Ghost Green Craw color; 18 deadly colors from which to choose. The lure dives to depths of 6 to 9 feet on retrieve, slowly rising when paused . . . triggering an instinctive strike from predators. In other words, if the ‘wild' aggressive tail-thumping action doesn't get ‘em, the sluggish ascent shall. Alternate the actions—descend … ascend—and you will connect.

Wild Thang 8.5

Wild Thang 8.5 ~ Ghost Green Craw color ~ hoodwinked this 19½-inch fat flattie

Berkley's stout-bodied, wide-lipped, deep-diving hardbaits go down to where the flatties flourish. Donna casted the lure but three or four times when she suddenly connected with this fat flattie in 14 feet of water, which tells you this hungry fish rose to the occasion to meet its maker. Donna was wild with excitement, especially when I missed it with the fist swipe of the landing net. However, a nice dinner was not to be denied.


Last but not nearly least in this lineup of lethal lures is a trio of Cutter series suspending hardbaits:

The Cutter 90+ model is 3½" in length and weighs 3/8 oz. Shown below is the Yellow Perch color; 18 colors from which to choose. Its ¾" coffin-shaped bill foreshadows what lies ahead . . . predators awaiting a supposed easy meal. The Cutter 90+ is aerodynamically designed to ensure long-distance casting. In the water column, it is a suspended jerkbait that begs a variety of actions, diving to depths of 4 to 6 feet. As the company's instructions suggest, "twitch, jerk, pause, rip, burn, and/or employ standard retrieves." You will drive fish into frenzy. Note two needle-sharp Fusion19 trebles for a solid hookup.

Cutter 90+


The Cutter 110+ model is 4 3/8" in length and weighs 9/16 oz. Shown below is the Chartreuse Shad color; 18 colors from which to choose. Similar in shape and bill as the Cutter 90+ model, it differs in that it rattles noisily and sports three treble hooks in lieu of two. Its coffin shape bill gives it a darting action, creating an enticing side flash with minimum rod movement. Engage it as you would the Cutter 90+ model; that is, "twitch, jerk, pause, rip, or burn" as it dives to depths of 4 to 6 feet. The trio of needle-sharp Fusion19 treble hooks ensure effortless hookups.

Cutter 110+


The Skinny Cutter 110+ is a sleek, thinner version of the Cutter 110+, also measuring 4 3/8" in length, but shedding 2/10th of an ounce; that is, weighing in at 7/16 oz. Negligible? Yes—yet noticeable different in the water column. As with the Cutter 110+ model, the Skinny style has three needle-sharp Fusion19 treble hooks ensure a solid hookup. Shown below is the Chartreuse Shad color; 18 colors from which to choose. Work it as you would the Cutter 90+ and the Cutter 110+ models.

Skinny Cutter 110+

Skinny Cutter 110+ Chameleon Pearl color (left) and Cutter 110+ Chartreuse Shad color (right) capture good-size snappers


What would take a good many words along with a fine understanding of physics and geometry is the engineering expertise that goes into crafting these refined favorites shown throughout this two-part report. At Berkley, the company kept good company with consummate crankbait design engineers coupled to a dream team of professional-anglers in order to create lures that result in your success on the waters virtually everywhere. To quote the company, "These hardbaits capture the essence and action of artfully handcrafted wooden baits with exactness and durability delivered in a synthetic bait. The balanced designs throw straight and far."

For continuous use in salt water—like any lures' hardware—the crankbaits' ultra- sharp treble hooks need only be upgraded when showing signs of exposure to the elements. You can either replace them with Berkley's new Fusion19 Treble 1x hooks, or simply affix your favorites with new split rings and a pair of split-ring pliers. After a full season of field-testing these hardbaits in the suds, I did not need to change any hardware. After every trip, whether fishing fresh or salt water, I thoroughly rinse all rods, reels, and tackle with fresh water. Good to go.

In the near future, I'll be covering several of Berkley's new Fusion19 swimbait hooks (et al), along with soft plastics. In the meantime, visit Berkley at for a full description of all their crankbaits and hooks. They are winners; not only in terms of producing sharp results, but in terms of pricing, too. You'll thank me later. Another nice touch that Berkley provides is that rather than have their hooks laying around helter-skelter in your tackle box, Berkley's sharp Fusion19 hooks come clamshell-packaged in resealable plastic containers for your protection and convenience. Neat? You bet.

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

October 01, 2016

Crankbait Transitions from Sweetwater to the Suds ~ A Colorful Array of Keen Killers ~ Part I

by Bob Banfelder

If you're angling for some of the best synthetic hardbaits and penetratingly honed treble hooks available in today's highly competitive fishing industry, allow me to lure you in and hook you up solidly. You won't be disappointed with the following offerings, for you will save money, time, and frustration. You will steadfastly attract and confidently fight fish. What kind of fish? Answer: virtually all kinds of fish referencing freshwater, brackish, and, yes, saltwater applications. Designed by David Fritts and his dream team for freshwater fishing—but not necessarily limited as such—the following selection of crankbaits is positively deadly in the suds. Therefore, do not shortchange yourself. Too, their devastatingly chemically-sharpened treble hooks may surprise you.

Here in Part 1, we'll take a good look at a few of Berkley's assortment of proven Fishing Evolved crankbait designs: Bad Shad, Digger, and the Warpig models. These designs are hard on fish but easy on the pocketbook—$6.95 each. When you team up professional design engineers with professional anglers in state-of-the-art testing facilities, the results are awesome as you will soon see. David Fritts, Justin Lucas, Josh Bertrand, Garry Klein, and Scott Suggs comprise the Berkley pro-design dream team referencing these Fishing Evolved crankbaits.

First in the lineup is the Bad Shad 5, shown below in the Black Gold color; 18 killer colors from which to choose, available in 2", ¼ oz. It is a dynamite lure, diving from 5 to 7 feet. This crankbait is lethal on walleyes, muskies, trout, crappies, smallmouth and largemouth bass, stripers, bluefish, and weakfish.

The design features a lifelike side-to-side roll and simulated tail wag that drive fish bonkers. Within an hour, Donna caught and released a few schoolies. Not to be upstaged, I headed our boat toward a neighboring bay, grabbed another rod set up with the slightly longer, heavier Bad Shad 7, which you will see momentarily, and went to town on a good many schoolie bass and cocktail blues.

Bad Shad 5

Bad Shad 5 ~ Black Gold color ~ gets belted by 15-inch cocktail blue

Note: Both the Bad Shad #5 and #7 (shown below) dive on retrieve, slowly ascend the water column when paused, and remain afloat at rest. Employing a variety of rod-action techniques, the fishing action for both Donna and me was nonstop.

The Bad Shad 7 is shown below in Irish Shad; 18 colors from which to choose, available in 2¾", 1/3 oz., diving from 6 to 9 feet.

Bad Shad 7

Bad Shad 7 ~ Irish Shad color ~ is clobbered by cocktail blue


Next are the Digger models. The lures come in three sizes and weights: Digger 3.5, 1¾", ¼ oz. ~ Digger 6.5, 2", ½ oz. ~ and the Digger 8.5, 2½", 7/16th oz. Shown below are the 6.5 Digger in Red Craw color and the 8.5 Digger in Brown Mustard; 18 colors from which to choose. The lures present a stocky profile with a downward angled bill. These crankbaits are lethal lures for both saltwater and freshwater applications. The action is awesome, a truly deep-digging descent on retrieve while displaying an aggressive wobble and seductive side flash—then a slow ascension when paused. The lures rattle to draw attention, and two needle-sharp Fusion19 treble hooks ensure triple, terrible trouble for predators.

Digger 6.5 ~ Red Craw color ~ fools small fluke

The Digger 6.5 dives and covers the water column from 5 to 8 feet. This bantam-sized fluke did not just strike the lure, it inhaled it. The Digger 6.5 drove steadily toward the floor when suddenly a summer flounder hit the Red Craw color crankbait in 7 feet of water, both fish and artificial rising to the occasion with a vengeance. Just short of performing radical surgery, I had all to do to remove the lure from its mouth and release the small fry, unharmed, to swim away and fight another day. Cocktail blues and schoolie bass, too, saw ‘red,' smacking the devilish Digger in a maelstrom of sheer madness. I am very impressed with these lures. The power you feel on the retrieve, coupled to the action you see in the suds, are absolutely awesome . . . and when a strike does occur—stand by! You'll positively dig this crankbait.

Digger 8.5

Digger 8.5 ~ Brown Mustard color ~ dupes this 19-inch keeper fluke

The Digger 8.5, diving from 7 to 9 feet, is designed to drive a bit deeper into the water column than its 6.5 cousin. Where my go-to Glow Squid plastic lure rigged with a strip of fresh/frozen squid and a feisty (live) mummichog (killiefish) failed to attract any attention, Berkley's Brown Mustard-colored 8.5 Digger flimflammed this respectable keeper. On my first cast, the fluke smacked the crankbait in 9 feet of water.


The following is Berkley's Warpig. The lures come in two sizes and weights: 2 3/8", ¼ oz. and 3", ½ oz. Shown below are the Cream Pie and the Vintage Craw colors, respectively; 18 colors each from which to choose. The Warpig is a fast-sinking, bluntnose, lipless, noisy rattling rascal that exhibits aggressive action. The heavier 3", ½ oz. lure allows you to cover a lot of water faster and deeper. The pair offers realistic appeal, acoustical allurement, and absconding action throughout the water column. Predator fish will be on the warpath for Berkley's Warpigs . . . until that final moment.

Warpig ¼ ounce Cream Pie color

Warpig ¼ ounce ~ Cream Pie color ~ garners all-you-want bluefish

Donna caught and released a score of cocktail-size blues with Berkley's Cream-Pie colored ¼ ounce Warpig; that is, until a BIG chopper came along and chomped through the line. I'll only have to go into my piggy bank to replace that lure, whereas I'd have to delve deep into my war chest for a hopefully similar replacement via another brand. Another way of putting it is that Berkley lures are to be viewed as inexpensive, not to be labeled cheap.

Warpig ½-ounce

Warpig ½-ounce ~ Vintage Craw color ~ has schoolie bass succumb

Now shy one Cream Pie color ¼-ounce Warpig in my arsenal, Berkley's Vintage Craw color ½-ounce Warpig has done double duty in annihilating schoolies, both cocktails-size and chopper-size blues, too.


Tomorrow, October 2nd, we will continue with five additional Berkley crankbait designs. Stay tuned.

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

December 02, 2015

Indian Island County Park

by Bob Banfelder

This is the final report in a six-series installment referencing Suffolk County beach access areas. Indian Island County Park in Riverhead offers RV trailer and tent campsite accommodations, picnic tables, grills, playground, and good fishing. Among angling opportunities, set your sights high for striped bass chasing anything from peanut-size (baby) bunker to nineteen-inch adult-sized prey. Stripers love bunker (aka menhaden). During the height of the season, it is not uncommon to take 40-plus inch linesiders by live-lining bunker, tossing tins, poppers, or any number of lures. Big blues in the 12- to 17-pound category may also be found in the mix. Fluke, although mostly shorts, are caught periodically. Of late, nice weakfish ranging from 3 to 5 pounds for the past three years have invaded these waters. So, too, have blowfish made a nice comeback. Porgies have always been around the area; however, jumbo-sized scup have also been a tasty treat for the past few years.

Bob trying for striped bass or bluefish off the beach at Indian Island on an unusually warm autumn day. The beach overlooks Flanders Bay.

Donna walked down the west end of the beach to fish the marsh area.

Indian Island County Park is a 275-acre gem located at the estuarine mouth of the Peconic River. From the campground, you can carry in your own kayak or canoe and travel these waters westerly, upriver, or easterly to the bays. Directly across from the park to the south is Reeves Bay. Heading a short paddle east will put you into Flanders Bay. Continuing east will take you into Great Peconic Bay. These three bays, including the Peconic River, depending on the time of year, hold the aforementioned species. As Donna and I live on and have fished the Peconic River for over a quarter of a century, we know the area quite well. Admittedly, most of our fishing is done from a powerboat, canoe, or kayak rather than from the shoreline. However, for Indian Island County Park, a small craft such as a kayak or canoe is the perfect vessel for the Peconic River and especially Reeves Bay and Flanders Bay. I should mention that canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals are available at Treasure Cove Marina, located next to the Hyatt Place Hotel, 469 East Main Street, 727-8386 and the Peconic Paddler, 89 Peconic Avenue, 727-9895.

It is, of course, not unusual to find folks engaged in other activities aside from—strictly speaking—fishing the park's beach. You'll perhaps see a person employing a seine (net) in order to catch baitfish for a later hour's angling outing, an individual combing the sand for treasure with a metal detector, or a family walking out to the sandbar at low tide, digging up clams.

At low tide, the east end of Indian Island beach reveals a sandbar; a favorite fishing spot.

However, it's not every day you spot a man picking, prodding, and probing the shoreline with a stick, searching tirelessly before carefully selecting several empty conch shells! Donna and I met up with Sean who collects them for his jewelry-making hobby. Sean uses the inner part of the shell to make necklaces—chipping, cutting, sanding, and polishing. Sean says it's a long and painstaking process, but he enjoys it and wishes that he had more time to devote to his hobby. Yes, there is almost always something new to explore and learn while traveling our local Suffolk County beach access parks as covered in this six-series installment: Cupsogue Beach County Park, Shinnecock East County Park, Meschutt Beach County Park, Montauk County Park, Cedar Point County Park, and Indian Island County Park.

Sean displays one of the conch shells he collected for his jewelry-making hobby.

Sean uses a handcrafted walking stick while wading and searching for conch shells.

Within the beach area, you will see a park bench lovingly dedicated to Caroljane Munzel. Caroljane was an avid walker and was often seen strolling the area's Sound and bay beaches. She especially enjoyed walking Indian Island Park and taking in its natural, peaceful environment.

Park bench dedicated to Caroljane Munzel.
Rod & reel setups: Donna wielded a Shimano spinning reel on an Ugly Stik with a Shimano Waxwing lure. For the entire season, I carried and will soon review a Penn Clash Model 5000 reel on a Penn Carnage II rod, spooled with Stealth Blue Camo-Braid SpiderWire.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the six Suffolk County beach-access areas that I covered. Get out there and explore these waters while the weather is still cooperating. Before long, we all will be armchair anglers via books, magazines, and videos—unless, of course, you're off to warmer climes.


Take the Long Island Expressway (495) east to Exit 73 (last exit). Continue straight to County Road 105 then make a right. Go approximately a quarter of a mile and exit at the County park entrance. You will see the office parking area to the right. During the in-season, you will need to register prior to driving into the park proper. Maps are available to lead you to the closest parking area for access to the beach.

Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna

December 01, 2015

Cedar Point County Park

by Bob Banfelder

Suffolk County's Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton offers camping, boating (boat rentals), picnicking, hiking (with splendid nature trails), hunting (in season) and fishing. Striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish are predominantly the name of the game from the shoreline. Six hundred-plus acres comprise the park with a view of Gardiners Bay. An eight-minute drive from the parking area along a sandy beach trail is permitted with a Suffolk County Park recreational vehicle beach permit. Four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles enable you to reach the park's historic decommissioned lighthouse, originally built in 1839. Now owned by the government of Suffolk County, the lighthouse is presently undergoing renovation. As Cedar Point County Park does allow hunting, access to the beach is limited Wednesday through Sunday until noontime during hunting season. As you drive or walk out to the lighthouse, you will note several duck blinds along the way.

Bob wetting a line while working his way toward the lighthouse at Cedar Point Park.

Enlightening Info:

Lighthouses have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. When Donna and I moved from Queens to Long Island in 1991, I read up and truly appreciated what historical and traditional roles lighthouses played in the area of commerce. The Cedar Island Lighthouse had been a beacon for mariners entering Sag Harbor since 1839, when Sag Harbor was . . . "home port to 29 whaling ships and 20 ships used for fishing and transportation." The original lighthouse was replaced in 1868. Sag Harbor had become one of the most important ports on the East Coast of the United States. Whaling ships and other vessels depended upon the lighthouse when sailing from Sag Harbor to all areas of the world and back again.

The Cedar Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1934, having passed through private hands and, as mentioned initially, is now part of Suffolk County's Cedar Point Park since the late 1960s. The hurricane of 1938 created a sandbar connecting Cedar Island to the mainland of East Hampton, which is now known as Cedar Point.

The strip of land connecting to the lighthouse, where you will notice duck blinds along the way during hunting season.

End of strip leading to Cedar Island Lighthouse.

Inside the park, signs lead to various fishing, boating, hiking, and camping areas.

There is a method to my madness for pointing rod and reel at the above County sign. If you have been following my Suffolk County Parks beach-access blogs through these five reports thus far (the sixth and final shortly on the horizon), you may have noticed that I have been toting (and now touting) Penn's new Clash 5000 Model spinning reel paired with a Penn Carnage II 7-foot spinning rod. The reel is spooled with 300 yards of Stealth Blue Camo-Braid SpiderWire. Having spent the entire season fishing with this outfit, working shorelines, jetties, inlets, and bays, the combination is a winner—holding up to a harsh marine environment. I used this setup primarily for casting 1 ½- to 3-ounce lures. Incidentally, yet importantly, the Penn Clash 5000 Model spinning reel won Best Saltwater Reel at the 2015 ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show. This all-around tool-combo belongs in your arsenal of fine weaponry. I will be talking extensively about this rod/reel/line setup in the near future.

Over the course of time, the Cedar Island Lighthouse's granite facade has been severely weathered. Additionally, vandalism has taken its toll on the structure. In1974 a fire gutted the interior of the lighthouse. Hence, the building was closed as it is currently. As time dragged on, the Long Island Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society raised funds to restore the Cedar Island Oil House, the small structure next to the lighthouse where oil to light the original beacon was stored. After almost fifteen years, Suffolk County Parks has given the Society the go-ahead to restore and "Relight the Lighthouse."

Directions to Cedar Point County Park:

Traveling east on Sunrise Highway (Route 27), take Montauk Highway east. Turn left onto Stephen Hands Path in East Hampton. Continue straight to Old Northwest Road. Turn left at Alewive Brook Road. Take the first right into the park.

Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna

June 01, 2012

Fluke Lure, Lore and Technique

by Bob Banfelder

For some of the best fluking along the North Fork from May to September, set your sights on the Southold Bay area. The Green Lawns (literally two huge lawns not indicated on the charts) mark a hot location on the west side of Shelter Island in Southold Bay. Many of us know the area. A good many of us know the standard baits to employ for good results. Far too few fishing folks seeking serious-sized flatties are aware of the lure and bait combination with which to rig so as to give you the added edge.

Donna and I learned this so-called secret one Fourth of July weekend while fishing aboard an acquaintance's vessel. The space that Donna occupied from sun to sun, with an occasional break from hauling in fluke after keeper fluke, was at the stern of the captain's Baha Cruiser. Donna found her own little corner off to starboard across the eleven-and-a-half foot beam and was having the time of her life, learning, for the first time, how to really nail big fluke. It wasn't her first time fluke fishing, mind you. Nor was it mine. However, what we learned that day proved invaluable. The occasional luck we had was gradually being transformed into lore. Donna was pulling in flatties hand over fist, mastering the art under the tutelage of our patient, personable and knowledgeable captain.

Both Donna and I were sworn to secrecy. Secrecy as to the so-called secret weapons we employed. Secrecy as to how the rig was fashioned. Secrecy with regard to technique. And especially secrecy with respect to the spots we fished. Donna and I take secrets very seriously. We can be trusted. We'll take those confidences that are entrusted to us to the grave. We have a few fishing secrets of our own.

Occasionally, we share a secret. Our very own. Case in point. During last month's blog, I wrote about upping your score for striped bass by way of tying mantis shrimp imitations. This month I'll share how to catch fluke ranging from respectable keepers to doormats if you'll employ lore, lure and bait that may not be familiar to you.

So, why am I about to reveal such clandestine information for annihilating fluke, especially after both Donna and I were sworn to keep those secrets under wraps? Apart from the captain's sacred fishing ground, I can openly divulge this furtive matter for two reasons:

One reason is that as a past member of the board of directors for the New York Sportfishing Federation, Donna and I had attended seminars on fluke fishing at our annual forum at the Freeport Recreation Center on Long Island. During one particular seminar, presented by two brothers, Pete and Tom Mikoleski, both highly respected Montauk charter boat captains, Donna and I learned that our own captain's so-called secret rig and technique for fishing was no secret any longer. The second and most important reason as to why I'm imparting this invaluable information is that I have the captain's permission to do so.

Although it's no longer a secret, few fluke fishermen I've come to know utilize this deadly lure, bait and technique, limiting themselves to the more traditional approach of using a squid and spearing combination.

For openers, part of the magic lies with Steve Sekora's Glow-Squid Lure, a green glow bead fixed above it. Purchase a few packages from your local tackle store then go home and fashion your own according to specific requirements. We'll cover that momentarily. You'll find the bodies and beads you'll need sold separately in most well-stocked tackle shops. Be sure that both the lures and beads are the fluorescent type. In lieu of monofilament, pick up a spool of fluorocarbon for tying the rig. The line offers the advantage of virtual invisibility within the water column, so whether you're fishing in crystal clear conditions, the suds, or murky waters, you're covered.

The nice part about rigging your own terminal tackle is that you get to select what you wish, such as the type of hook. There are many on the market. Gamakatsu in Octopus-Red in #1 to 2/0 is a favorite of mine, along with Owner, Mustad or Eagle Claw.

Besides bringing a boatload of confidence aboard, knowing what bait to take along is of paramount importance, too. Take the squid along; leave the spearing in the freezer at home. More on bait, too, in a moment. Your new presentation will be deadly when rigged properly. Just how deadly? Let's examine one scenario that occurred on that July 4th weekend:

Plying their local trade along the waters off Moriches, several veteran charter boat captains who our own captain knows personally and spoke with in code via VHF radio during the course of the day, as well as immediately afterward—all having fished the same waters as our captain, Donna and me—were nowhere near as productive as the three of us. Whereas we had caught and released scores of fat nineteen- to twenty-four- inch fluke, the other boats were averaging two and three keepers—not per man—per boat. Not one customer in their parties was rigged with the secrets of success.

One of your best baits for fluke is, of course, fresh squid, if you can get it. Not unlike us humans, those flatfish love fresh calamari—hold the sauce. Live mummichogs (killies) is to be your second hat trick. Coupled with the squid and the Glow Squid combination, you are in for a surprise. For fresh killies instead of frozen spearing, a killie trap is the ticket. Set one overboard from your boat or dockside with the head, tail or remains of any fish you've cleaned. If killies are in the area, you'll have enough for a day's outing within minutes. Hook on a half-inch wide by approximately four-inch long strip of squid (pennant shaped but not pointed at its end). Cut the strip three-quarters of the way up the middle in order to create a nice undulating action in the water column. When threading the strip, avoid creating a crease near the top of the flesh. Nice and flat for that flatfish, I remind myself. Hook the live mummichog through the eye and out its mouth.

In setting up your terminal tackle, you don't need barrel swivels, three-way swivels, or fancy hi-lo spinner rigs with a multitude of beads. A single hook with a single fluorescent bead will suffice. However, I do prefer a bead above and below the Glow Squid: one on the bottom to prevent the lure from working itself down along the shank of the hook, thereby thwarting the skirt from fluttering freely. The other is placed atop the artificial, serving as an attractor.

A forty-inch length of 20- to 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader with a single or double knotted surgeon's loop on one end and a large dropper loop to accommodate sizable sinkers tied just above middle will work well. When you've finished snelling, looping and knotting the rig, approximately four inches will have been taken up, leaving you with a perfect three-foot leader. Snell a #1 to 2/0 fluke hook utilizing a Uni-knot, or use an expeditious Palomar knot, and you're good to go.

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