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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
July 01, 2009
Volume 20 � Number 7


Salt Lines
by Steve Byrne

The following discussions were taken from our website. With fluke regulations that make the odds of finding a keeper like hitting Lotto, more anglers are turning their attention to sea bass. Our first discussion has some tips for attracting the tasty critters. For our fly-casting readers, we have some tips for catching toothy without donating your fly collection. You can find these and hundreds more new discussions daily at .

Sea Bass Tips And Tricks?

I'd like to hear what you guys think are some secrets to catching more sea bass (techniques and not locating tips). I do almost all of my sea bassing on party boats.

1) Dressing the hook? Do you think jewelry like beads, plastic squids or twister tails help? Only under certain conditions and what are your favorite colors? Are they just doggy magnets?

2) How to work it? Do you always try to keep it as still as possible following the waves or do you do occasional bobbing and what kind of bobbing (little or wide sweeping motions, etc.)?

3) Your rig? Do you think that longer leaders of yours as opposed to super short hi-lo increase numbers of fish? Fluorocarbon? Doesn't matter? Not line shy at all even in inshore pieces?

4) When do you usually hook them? First hit immediately, or let him gnaw on it for a bit? On my last trip out of SHB it seemed that waiting for that 2nd, or sometimes 3rd hit, and at least letting him chew on it for a bit longer on a relatively slack line was the best way to hook them. If the line was "tight" when the hit came, they usually just let go and were not hooked.

5) Favorite part of the clam?


After reading all Kil's jigging stories, he has convinced me to jig for them. I have to say that I don't catch as many as the guys using bait, but I catch much larger fish the majority of the time, and I find jigging to be a more exciting experience.


In all honesty locking yourself into one way of fishing is not the best practice. What I do is try different things if my first plan is not working well. There are days when jigging or bait will work better as well as bait choice. In all honesty except for tuna I think Flouro is over-rated. Sea bass are plain dumb. If you miss them once they come back. I have seen different baits as well as jigs and color of the jigs work to improve a catch. I suggest finding what the fish want at the moment. To say jigging is better because of an article you have read is not 100% the right thing always. I have fished with Kil and he is determined to jig. It is his passion so he continues to do what he loves. There are days when he will not do as well as the bait guys, so being versatile is the key.


The first thing is to be well versed as to how hard a larger sea bass hits. The little ones will peck away, try to ignore them and wait for a couple of harder tugs. Hook the first fish, and then do it again to get a double. Beyond the first, it's obviously harder to determine how hard the second, third, etc. are hitting. At least try to get one large one and make your cranking worthwhile.

As far as jewelry, you need to assess the competition around you. Private boat with a few good friends, don't be a showoff, all will catch with simple rigs. Crowded party boat and lots of competition, things that may work are 1) a red bead above your hook 2) a glow bead above your hook 3) a red bead with green curly tail grub 4) a green silver squid with red bead in front, etc, etc. Sea bass do like THE BLING, look at some of the fluke rigs they gobble down ... but do wait for the good bight and avoid catching the "pin bass" all day long.


Help With Choppers

I hit a spot yesterday on the north shore around Eaton's Neck. The blues were in a feeding frenzy, to the point where they looked like a school of sharks that haven't eaten in a month tearing up a cow.

I was so excited I ran to the water like a little kid. I started with a half n half. Second cast fish on!!!! Rod bent in half then nothing..... Tied on a new fly... fish on!! Then nothing...

All in all 5 flies were donated to blue fish community. They were tearing through my tippet like a hot knife through butter. I had on 10-pound tippet, 10-wt. intermediate line, 9-wt rod.

Do you have any advice on techniques or line to deal with the blues? Or is it just better to bring the spinning rod down when the blues are hungry?

Thanks and any advice you may have will be very appreciated.


Try these:

1) Bite Tippet from Orvis
2) Knotable wire
3) Flies tied on long shank hooks.


Proven Bluefish Tippet

The tippet that I use all season long works well against bluefish and also will not spook stripers.

First, I use a length of 50-pound-test mono about a foot long. To this I tie a small snap (no swivel) using a clinch knot. I tie the other end to my leader using a surgeon's knot. If I have the time, I add a dab of "crazy glue" to the knots just to make sure they won't come undone.

This way, you can snap a new fly on or off in seconds without the trouble to re-tie. I tie up about 4 or 5 of these tippets and take them with me. If I get into a school of bluefish, I check the tippet after every hook-up. If it's frayed, I just cut it off and tie on another. I very rarely lose a bluefish with this setup and as I said, it won't spook stripers.

Give it a try. I've used it for years and I love it.......GHOST


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