Leprechaun· Premium Member
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
But several subjects have been on my mind, and up until now I've just lacked the time to fire up my trusty (crusty?) Win98 MSWORD and put them to paper. So the following is my attempt to categorize and verbalize what?s been floating around in my head as of late. It'll be in a kind of "BLOG" format, because that's kinda how I think, and so that's how I'll write it out. Maybe there'll be a few "nuggets" that can help a member or two.
This Year?s ?First? Bass Season and Some Tackle Talk
So we officially wrapped up the ?Spring? season of bassing on the Lep and some other of my friend?s boats a week or two ago. One word comes to mind to describe the bassing in 2008: ?Exceptional.?
Whether it was the clam chumming up on the flats early on ? which though failing to yield very many of the larger schoolie and mid/high-teens fish we are used to seeing, certainly did not lack for action; or the later-on casting, bunker dunking and late night-tide eel pulling, it?s been a super bass season.
I finally got up the nerve to try using braid for the bay flats clam chumming ? and the good news is that it worked GREAT!! I?m very impressed! Near-instant hooking reaction resulted in far less deep hookings. And the fight of even a smallish schoolie on what amounts to FW largemouth bass tackle loaded with that zero-stretch line was much more spirited. Old habits die hard ? and this one took a LONG time, but right now I?m almost 100% switched over to braid, and this clam chumming scene was one of my last holdouts.
Later on we went to the casting tackle for the better bay fish. Again going to the braid for the first time, this season I spooled my two hot-rodded Abu BG6500C?s and Curado 300D with braid, using Stren Superbraid in 30lb test ? bright yellow orange was the color. What terrific stuff. In truth I was always put off braid for this application because I was under the impression that braid on a high-speed revolving spool reel was difficult to control, and impossible to clear if backlashed ? especially at night.
Wrong, wrong and wrong. This Stren Superbraid is so incredibly caster-friendly that in more than 12 trips I never experienced a single serious backlash that I could not pick out. In fact, thinking back, I don?t think I had a single backlash at all!!! Just amazing. I highly recommend trying it out on your baitcasting/plugging setups. Its so darn easy to cast that I would say to those that have stuck with spinning gear over the years, in the belief that its easier to cast plugs with spinning gear ? not anymore, not with one of the more modern braids on a decent baitcasting reel.
Anyway, back to the bassing. Once we got word that the bunkies were running the beach, me and a few buddies were on ?em like flys on, well, whatever it is that flys gravitate towards.
Just terrific fishing from mid-June to the last week of July, right along the beaches East and West of Jones Inlet. We were fortunate to have had a few days that we limited out with quality fish right off the bat ? sometimes before the clock struck 7 A.M. Great stuff if you have to be at your desk at work by 9 A.M. sharp.
I got to really hone my bunkerin' skills, which though pretty decent to begin with, needed a wee bit of finessing. And I got to go out quite a bit with a very good fisher that like me got his bass hunting training from some true old timers that were pros at it ? his even more so than the guys I learned from.
The tough news is that continuing a long-standing tradition, again this Spring the BIG bass gods didn?t really help out. Though we regularly saw fish into the low 30?s, the true LARGE are still batting a 1000 in successfully avoiding me. Hah!
Fifteen years ago I redid my home?s den, setting up the longest wall specifically with room for my "first" 50. Well, there?s still a very nice nautically themed picture hanging there, all these years later. I?m not too proud to admit that maybe I?ll just back off on the 50 to, oh, I don't know, say, 45lbs. But it sure would be nice if it would happen soon. I ain't a'gettin' any younger and who knows if I could stand the excitement of seeing that fat 50 laying alongside the boat, just waiting for the gafferoo.
And hopefully it'll come prior to my eventual move off of "Taxation Island" and on out to the Mid-west - and then I'll end up having to catch it in some God-forsaken FW impoundment. FW 50lb striped bass. Who'da thunk it? Just doesn?t seem right to me. Perhaps its not too late for me though. Maybe this Fall will be ?my? time. Darn, I certainly hope so.
I've finally settled on what I think might be the last rod and reel setups I will use for this bunker drift fishing ? a pair of ?L? and ?ML? custom Calstar GF700?s, with two of the excellent AVET MXJs on them ? carrying, can you believe it? Power Pro in the yellow 50lb test. Those that have read this board over the years already know that I?m highly allergic to PP, due to some catastrophic fish losses over the years . I was repeatedly subjected to the dreaded ?Mystery Breakoff? ? which no one has ever really explained to my satisfaction. But that?s a subject for another thread altogether. What I can report is that the 50lb PP I used this early summer really showed its stuff ? not a single problem, despite multiple husky bass hookups. It is interesting that even though one of my spools of 150yds was absolutely perfect, the other had many of those cruddy little line nits that users of PP have come to recognize.
I did pick one of them out, under a low-powered stereo microscope no less, (I AM in that business, you know) and I found that those bumps are NOT globs of the line?s coating, as has been the popular Internet thinking for years.
What they actually were made of was little bits of loose fibers that appear to have been grabbed up in the line weaving process and then mixed with and covered over with the same coating as the rest of the line. I went on to pick it all out of the weave of that ?bad? spool ? no small job because there were quite a few of the little bumps, but I got it done and that spool of line performed no worse than the other, nearly perfect spool. Interesting because I don?t really know if it?s a production issue, or a quality control problem. But either way, that 50lb PP came through big time for me.
Later on, with the water continuing to warm, we tried the night time Inlet eeling thing, which also worked out quite well indeed. Though the average size of the fish we put in the box was not of the quality we saw fishing under the beach-running bunker schools; doing this fishing under the cover of darkness, not seeing the fish ?til the last moment, trying to net or gaff a good fish with not a lot of light burning - in an attempt to conceal our activities ? it was all good, exciting stuff. Nice, nice fishing.
One last tackle thought. After watching several of my crew fishing on the bunker schools, I?ve come to the conclusion that the closest-to-perfect factory stick I?ve ever seen for this application is the Lami BL7030C, or something custom built on the matching CGBT841ML blank. Never have I seen anything better in my years of fishing this area.
Fluke, Fluke Everywhere, but where are the ?Double Ds?? ? Mid Summer Fluking out of the Inlet called "Jones"
While I stuck with the bass fishing 'til late July - in hopes of at least glimpsing "my" 50, I had been watching the fluke reports here on Noreast and listening to the stories of my closest fishin? buddies about the off the hook fluking happening right off my home inlet. Wow, hunt the fish down? No problemo. Limits? Not an issue. PLENTY of fish out there since early June and they?ve been both good sized and very hungry. The bait was stacked in the usual haunts ? the water N of the McAllister came up big for the second year in a row ? and the immediate surroundings of both the Atlantic Beach and Hempstead Reefs were right there as well.
Plenty of posted reports of fish to 7lbs or so ? but the what of the DDs in my area? You can count them on the fingers of one hand.
O.K., for our resident site comedians, I HAVE seen what appear to be "Double Ds" regularly on the Reports Board. But they certainly are of the more warm blooded variety than the ones I hunt for every weekend.
Hey, maybe that's my been my problem all along. Ya think? Naaaah, probably not. God bless member 19Pro for making my miserable every day existance at the office just a little bit brighter.
And yes, the boss knows I log onto Noreast - and approves. Especially when I show him 19Pro's catch d'jour. For a non-fisherman he's certainly taken a much greater interest in the local fluking scene this season. Keeps mumbling something about the **** fish always getting in the way though.
Anyway, back to the fluking. So far this is has turned out to be the year of the massive fluke invasion ? with TONS of 19-20.49? fish out there to pick through, with a good supply of keepers in the 3.5-6lb range mixed in. No big issue finding fish to drop on, just look on your bottom machine, the bait readings have been massive ? in water up to say 60? or so. No need to even avoid the fleets, if you don?t mind the company. Plenty of fish for everybody! It now seems that EVERYONE is ?in? on this fishing ? in fact I counted 78 boats fishing just in the immediate area of the Hempstead Reef this past Sunday. Looked like the invasion fleet off Normandy, circa 1944.
I consider this the ?Inshore? phase of our local Jones Inlet fluke fishery. Once the water warms, the bait is supposed to begin showing up in the deeper water ? I?m talking depths of 75-100?. But not this season. Not consistently and not yet. I?ve spent a good part of my past two trips probing the deeper grounds that were totally off the hook for us last season ? for a grand total of one moderate keeper, that looked totally confused by his surroundings. Frankly, I think he was lost. Naturally, that didn?t stop us from adding him to my fishbox, and I'm far from ashamed to tell you that he tasted great.
But, I am getting a bit concerned that the deep drops off Jones ? NOT including the rubble-strewn areas like Cholera, but the open bottom deeper troughs and gullies I enjoy and specialize in fishing, might not come through for us this season. That would be a problem. Once the water really warms and all that bait in 50-60? disappears, where will we fish if the squid doesn?t materialize in the deep?
This is becoming a bit reminiscent of 2006, during which the deeper fishing over the sand never really got going, forcing us to fish the many rubble bottom and scattered-wreck grounds in my area. That type of fishing can have its moments, but even at its very best, its just a shadow of the lock and load catching of open-bottom jumbos that we had in 2005 and 2007. Wow, now that I think about it, last season we had a period from the last week of July thru the third week of August in which we boat-limited on every single trip, and did it before lunch every single time! Simply the best large fluke season I can recall.
So far this season is shaping up very differently ? not much in the deep as yet and tons of smallish to mid-sized fish around the 60? depths. Its gonna be interesting to see how this plays out. It?ll get expensive if we have to burn all kinds of fuel zipping here and there to put together a catch, as we did in 2006. But interesting, nonetheless.
I do believe that we will soon begin to see an uptick in the landings of DDs, and I do hope at least one finds its way into my boat?s fishbox, but so far, not the case.
Hey, I?ve already committed to Capt Neal that I?ll do my best to find him a biggie, so you can bet I?m sweatin? just a bit. CN never fails to please and I?d like to return that favor. We?ll see.
Berkeley GULP! really does work!!!
Last season I spent a good amount of time test-fishing the squirt-on scent called ?Tuna-X.? Although I did have some days that it looked to make a significant difference, it wasn?t really all that often enough to convince me to stick with it into September. So I?ve been not more than moderately interested in other scents and scented products since then.
But after listening to quite a few of my pals that have been using this Berkeley GULP! product since the beginning of this season, I had to break down and head over to Causeway to check it out for myself. The reports were just too strong to ignore, and after all what the heck else do I have to waste my money on? Wouldn't be the first "hot tip" that turned out to be a clunker.
But after speaking with Causeway?s Big Mike and Chris on the subject, I went ahead and (somewhat reluctantly) sprang for a pint tub of the white 4? ?Mr. Twister? type baits, the ones that Berkeley calls ?Swimming Shads.? Initially I felt that the tub was a bit too pricey at $20, but Mike and Chris assured me that the tub?s worth of baits would more than outlast a similar dollar amount in fresh bait. I had in fact heard that from my friends as well, but frankly, I was skeptical. Both of the synthetic lure?s overall efficacy, as well as whether it could truly keep up with natural bait in fish catching.
I am a skeptic no longer. This stuff works, and works well. I've been using those shads on the back of my TRT/teasers and not only had very steady action, but those fish came to the net with the shad all the way down their gaping throats. They REALLY must have been fooled.
Not only that, but should the twister tail eventually get bitten off, no problem, on the advise of Chris/Causeway I kept right on fishing. The scent trail of the grub-like body still pulled fish to my hook.
Additionally, I was under the impression that the baits were made of plastic, like well, a Mr. Twister. I was wrong again. They actually appear to be made of some form of acrylic ?fabric like? stuff. It is much tougher than plastic and here?s the interesting part ? when you finally do take it off your hook, you almost cannot see the hook hole. It can be returned to the bait tub to re-impregnate it with whatever scent is in that fluid. Use that same bait again next trip ? it?ll work as new.
Ideally speaking (and in my opinion), the Gami Octopus hooks that Tommy and many other teaser tyers like to use for their lures are NOT the ideal candidates to construct teasers on, if you want to use those GULP! 4? swimming shads. There?s just not enough hook shank to hook the shads very far along in their bodies, resulting in having to stick it into only the very ?head? of the shad. Still works very well, but you do need to hesitate for a 3-count or so when hitting a fish that?s sucking on the GULP!, if only to be sure that the hook and not just the flippy-tail is in the fish?s mouth. Not a big deal, but certainly a contrast technique-wise to using a spearing or two on that same hook.
I would suggest that if you do get jiggy with the GULP! Swimming Shads, either fish them on a ?nekid? hook, or look for the teasers in you box with the longest shanks, so to position the hook?s turn a bit further back in the shad?s body.
I do think this minor issue could also be addressed by Berkeley making a smaller, 3? version of the Swimming Shad, immersed in the same SW formula fluid, of course. So far I?ve been unable to find such a size shad, but if I do, I?ll let you know where I found it.
My further studies on this subject, along with my co-moderator Flukerr?s enthusiastic input, have jointly caused me to start rethinking a few points of how I fish GULP! on my teasers. I have located another GULP! Product that I believe will be a big plus for us ? and that?s the same material, but available in 2.5?x7? flat sheets, if sheets is the proper word. I think that cutting a bunch of 3? thinly tapered strips that can be fished just the same as squid strips might just be the hot tip. Maybe even hotter than the shads.
Additionally, the flat GULP! material comes in some interesting ?flavors,? and colors ? like white-ish colored ?squid? and red-ish colored ?Bloodworm.? I?ve gone ahead and secured a few packages of the squid stuff and will report on its fish-catching ability in due course.
I guess what I like best about using the GULP! on the back of my teasers is that unlike a large spearing or strip of squid, the fluke have a much tougher time stripping it from the hook. They normally cannot steal it. Get a bump, miss the fish, and you can be very confident that the GULP! (or some good portion of it) is still on the hook; still there to entice a fishie to come back and take another wack at your rig.
Contrast this with what typically happens when you miss a good solid hit with a natural bait on the teaser. Hit comes, you miss, the fish does not return ? you reel up and have to rebait your stripped teaser. Drop back down and start over. How many darn times a trip does this time-wasting happen to all of us? A P.I.T.A., at least compared to using the GULP!
I think what I save on replacement Abu and Shimano reel gears alone ought to make the GULP! a pretty fair investment! Much less reeling a bait-stripped teaser back to the boat will mean less wear and tear on both me and my reels.
Like I wrote, more investigative trials are in order, but as of now, what I?ve read and been told by those whose opinions I trust is certainly in agreement with my own findings.
Captain Neal makes one HECKOVA nice custom rod! (As if you didn?t already know!)
So this season?s OUTSTANDING bass fishing kept me off the flukies ?til the just the past few weeks, as I?ve written above. But now that I?ve had a chance to really get going with this fishing, I had to give my new 6? ?Capt Neil DNY Impact? H-action fluke jigger a good workout.
And a workout its gotten, for sure. For those that do not know of this blank, it?s actually a Japanese home market product, very thin in blank diameter, but very powerful. A nice fast-ish taper, it?ll take up to a 4oz bucktail without complaining. This makes it ideal for the type of hand-jigging I like to do here off Jones Inlet. This of course is in contrast to my B/S rig fishing ? which as described elsewhere on this board I like to use somewhat heavier rods for; typically fishing them out of a rodholder or two ? with a bit more sinker weight holding it tight to the bottom.
This new rod is so light in weight that coupled with the Shimano Curado 200D (carrying 20 yellow Sufix Braid) it feels like no more than an extension of my arm. And a very sensitive one at that.
Truthfully, the Long Islander 6.5? baitcaster he also built for me, on the old Lami XC blank is good, very good in fact. But this DNY Impact ? WOWSIE, WOW, WOW!! Is it special! Neil talked it up to me over the past several seasons, but it took a while for me to come around and for Neil to put it together, given his somewhat problematic health issues over the past year or so. Not so different than mine actually ? we're sort of kindred spirits with this PC stuff. Now that I can reflect back on it, of all the possible terrific things I'd like to think I have in common with the Capt, it kinda figures it would be this. Just plays right into my fatalistic sense of humor. But it is what it is and like Neil, I'm determined to not let it slow me down.
Anyway, if you?ve of a mind, and if you are in the market for an EXCEPTIONAL top-shelf fluke stick, I THINK Neil might have a few M and H Impacts still floating around in his downstairs inner sanctum. Take look and see if you don?t agree with me that these blanks are truly special.
So that?s my latest somewhat disjointed rambling on a variety of subjects that have been on my mind. If you care to discuss any of the above, you can certainly do it here, or feel free to start your own thread.
Best, your pal, Lep
This post edited by Leprechaun 11:53 AM 09/07/2010