Eddie - Now THAT'S a nice picture. That's right around the size we've been seeing here to the East. Fat, clean, beautiful fish. And their fillets do go so nice with Teriyaki on the hot griddle or B-B-Q!!!
Bucktailed - we've been doing our fishing in the early morning, but I have heard of some very good fishing after 4PM, both east and west of JI.
As far as method, first, I like a 3-hook snatch rig made up out of 100lb mono, each hook fastened to it with a loop of the leader and a crimp. Then I black electrical tape each hook shank back to the main leader - with some tight wrapping. Now those hook are pulling in a direct line. On the top goes a 150lb Crane swivel and on the bottom a #56 Duo-lock snap. The snap gets a big 5/0-7/0 weighted treble when snagging in less than 30' of water. Deeper than that I like a 4-6 oz bank sinker on that bottom snap. Of course every single barb on the rig is hand-honed needle sharp and that honing is then covered with black permanent marker to slow down rusting. This rig catches well. Not as well as a cast net of course, but pretty well for what it is.
I fish it on a very stout 7' Star glass spinning rod with a classic Penn 550 on it, filled with 30lb Big Game. Works well. Very efficient. I think I'll be switching to 50lb braid or 30lb Fireline shortly, only because those lines transmit more of my snagging swing into forward hook-driving energy.
For the actual fishing I am absolutely in lust with my new AVET MXJ reels. Prior to this season I had been using Shimano Tekota 500s for this application, and they were pretty darn good. But the AVETs are so much easier to use, with their set-able lever drags that there is really no contest. Just ri-dock-u-lous for this type of fishing. I owe my buddy CaptXXX for showing me the light here.
On the reels I've been trying out PowerPro 50lb braid in hot yellow. So much talk on this board that the 50lb size of PP is free from the notorious "mystery breakoffs" - and so far its lived up to my expectations.
Funny thing though, I bought two 125yd spools of it, one for each reel. One spool was perfect - couldn't tell the difference between it and Sufix or Stren Superbraid. The other spool has about 6 areas of lumpiness to it - but when I picked at them I found that they were not joinings. Rather, they appeared to be spots where excess stray Spectra fibers got caught in the braiding process and got sucked into the weaving. Not really acceptable to me, but like I say, I picked most of it out of and off of the line - and so far no strange unexplained breakoffs. Seeing that sort of thing doesn't exactly inspire confidence though . . . When will PP ever learn?
I like 10' of 50lb pink Ande as a shock leader and a 150lb Crane snap-swivel on its far end. To the swivel I put various sized trolling weights - in the 3/4 to 3oz sizes, depending on conditions and the voracity of the yellow-eyed demons. Gotta get those baits deep, below the bluefish and down in the area the the better bass like to browse.
As far as hooks go - this tends to create some lively discussion - but I prefer to use 3/0 3x-strong Mustad trebles - on 20" long 50lb leaders. Pointless to even begin comparing the hook-up ratio of these to either "J" or circle hooks - as it approaches 100%. That's the good news.
The bad news is that these hooks will absolutely, positively kill a fish which is gut-hooked. You are not retrieving it from deep inside a bass, period.
So what to do? I suggest that you do as I do and use the trebles early, get the fish (or two) that you intend to keep, then switch over to 9/0 Circles - and hook the bunker either behind the dorsal or just above the anal fin. This way the hook will most likely end up fair in the fish's mouth and can be removed from the fish relatively easily.
As far as rods go, I bring my Calstar 700L and 700M sticks and both work very well. In truth, I believe the rod is probably the least important part of this fishing - any good stout rod will work - something along the lines of a Lami BL7030, St. Croix PM66MHF/70MHF or any of the beefier Loomis Bucaras would be perfect.
A terrific alternative would be a Capt. Neil-built Long Islander in the MH power - good stuff from a good man.
Scott - those are great pix and who's the handsome young man? Yours or Big Joe's? Don't forget to feel him out about what I suggested to you this weekend.
This post edited by Leprechaun 09:48 PM 06/25/2008