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495 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In your region, lets discuss what Soft Baits, Plugs and tactics you'll use this spring and why?....discuss presentation, tackle you'll use and what influences these decisions. Most importantly, how long will you stick with something before making a change of tackle or location...

This should be a real learning experience for all in this forum as the LI Sound has some great spots to sling a variety of of my favorites is to toss a 3-4 inch Fin-S, unweighted on a real light spinning outfit...


612 Posts
North shore begins my year.I use mostly 3 Inch shads in different colors.I only fish a couple of spots and have been for over 20 yrs.For me its more of a tide thing which usualy is around high tides.I fish until my hands cant take it anymore or tides gets to low .I probaly average over 200 stripers each spring befors april comes to an end. Small swimmers at dark with a teaser if wind is at my back . Most yrs i get my first keeper by the 2 nd week of april.My setup is 7 foot ultra light St. Croix with 2500 stratic reel.Fish should be here in a mounth or so .See you out there ,"ON THE ROCKS" .Steve

424 Posts
i fish alot in oyster bay

i also like the fin-s or bass assasins in pink but i usually put them on a 3/8 or 1/2 oz head

but if things are slow on that i'll switch to a 4" pumpkin seed grub and a curly tail if i have any left...this usually works the best for me in dirty water

last year i didn't have any luck with the shad bodies, but in the past those were the only things i fished...

just have to see how it goes this year

770 Posts
In the spring fish the bays. there is action on the open beaches but not as much. look for shallow flats with a dark bottom because these places warmup the fastest and have lots of small cabs and grass shrimp which can be early season forage for bass. before the water reaches about 50degrees use small lures and keep a slow retrieve for bass are lethargic and wont chase a lure very far. If I dont see adult bunker or herring I rarly use plugs though I will keep a small metal lip and needle in the bag. I mainly use soft plastics, small plastic swimmers, and bucktails. For the swimmers keep them around 4-5 inches. bait in the spring is usually small and slim. try to keep your lures skinny to imitate sand eels and spearing. For the swimers I usually use a Yo-suri crystal minnow black and silver. bucktails in white, Chartruse if the water is dirty(it usually is in the spring)3/8oz-1oz. tip the bucktails with a skinny soft plastic like a slug-go, fin-s fish, or bass assassin. fish it slow on near the bottom. for soft plastics put the on jig head 1/4- 3/4oz sluggo shallow, assassins deep. 3-4in swimm shads from calcutta or tsunami in white or chartruse work well. another good search bait is a 3/8oz cast master with a small green tube tail. in the spring the water can be dirty for run off or crystal clear for the is no plankton in the water yet. I use florocarbon in the spring. I think it makes a difference. in dirty water use pink or chartruse because it is brighter and the fish can see it better. also bass sometimes fish by scent in murky water so coat everything with a thin layer of smelly jelly or tip it with some GULP! dont get the jelly on the buck tail for it kills the action for it matts up the hair. instead put it on the soft plastic trailer. pork works to but cut it down to give it a slimer profile in the water. when fishing the bucktails right a bove the bottom with the ocational flick of the wrist, if you get a bump and miss the hook set jerk it the let it sink the the bottom and sit for a second. repeat. if the bass doesnt hit it the second time resume your retrieve. most of the hits come on the first drop. this works about 75% of the time for me. most of these lures are small and are best fished on a light 7-8ft rod. Use a rod able to throw lures 1/2-2oz and get a good fight out of a schoolie but still capable of landing a keeper. distence isnt an issue when fishing around sod banks and creeks for there is usually at high tide a feww feet of water right there and the fish are usually up against the bank. try the mouths of creeks around the top of the out going. warm water and small bait gets pulled from the shallows into the creek. I have seen dozens of bass sitting in three feet of water a noon at themoth of the creeks feasting onall the small bait and grass shrimp that was being swept into there mouths. spring fishing can be hit or miss so dont get frustrated. The y time i use the mathods i just described are mid march through april depending on how fast the water warms. afteer that larger bait comes and the bass spread out into the rest of our waters. on the ocean front use bait, cut squid herring or worms or clams. some large bass are caught every spring by someone using a herring chunk or a hole squid. in the bays i like to use lures but sometimes a piece of clam or worm is all the fish will eat. I keep a few GULP! sand worms in my bag just in case. This is mainly a schoolie fishery so crush your barbs and get the fish back in the water as fast as possible to a void stress on the fish. I have also caught some nice weakies and flouder in the spring when bass fishing. bring a few flounder hooks in case the bass dont coroperate, it has saved the trip more than once. they will hit the gulp! or sand worms or a small peice of clam or mussel. for bass cover lots of water. go from creek to creek by boat or where waders and walk from the land. try this in the spring and you should get into some fish. as the season moves on increase your lure size to match the natural groth of the bait fish.

770 Posts
Sod Bank Bassin?
By DJ Muller
The arrival of spring is welcomed by the stir crazed surfcaster. The cold winds of winter
don?t bite so hard, the layers of clothing and jackets start peeling off. Green vegetation
begins to sprout up all over the place and it is finally time to get your equipment in line
for some of the great spring bass fishing along the sod banks and beaches of the Raritan
Usually by the time April rolls around I am raring and ready to catch some bass. Actually
by that time, I am ready to catch anything that swims. I have all my rods and reels ready
to roll; after all, I have had all winter to ready them. I make sure all my line is fresh. I
have enough rigs tied up to carry me through the spring run. I go through my bait-fishing
bucket and make sure everything that I need is in there; sinkers, clam knife, pliers, extra
rigs and hooks, my digital scale, a tape measure, head lamp, and elastic thread. I then dig
out my home-made sod-bank buggy, one I made a couple years back for humping all my
fishing rods, spikes, bait, chair, and what ever other good stuff that I could fit into it,
down to where the fishing is good. I then load all the stuff into the back of the truck and
head off to the bait store for some fresh clams on my way to the honey hole. It is spring
and it has been too long since I actually felt the weight of a bass on the line. I have
dreamed about it all winter but it just isn?t the same, of course.
Shallow waters always heat up the fastest in the spring. Bass, like any animal, gravitate to
warmth. At this time of year the bass are also moving into the warm shallow creeks and
rivers to spawn. This is what makes the back bays good spring locations for catching
bass. The more I fish the shores of the Raritan Bay, the more good places I find to fish. If
you want a little tip on a spot that is hotter than all the rest, I would like to inform you
that there isn?t one. Any of the bay beaches are capable of producing bass in the spring.
From Morgan Creek all the way out to the backside of the Hook, you can find productive
water. It may depend on the time of the season and the water temperatures, but by mid-
April, take your pick. Last year for example, there would be a good number of bass
caught one day in Union beach, and the next day it was hot in Keansburg. The bass cruise
the muddy flats in search of forage, when they find it they indulge, when there is no
forage, they move on. It is not too much more complicated than that.
The Set-Up.
When fishing the sod-banks I have found a nine foot rod teamed up with a reel equal to the Penn 5500SS, to be the perfect combo for what I am doing. Most of the bass that you
catch will be 15 pounds and under, but every once in a while a heavyweight will come for
dinner. It is not unusual for a 20-30 pound bass to be caught from the area. Remember the
pre and post spawn bass swim these shallows. I like to spike my rod as opposed to
holding it for long periods of time. I use a custom made hi-low rig, and I bait it with fresh
clam. Not frozen, not salted, fresh. I just hook the clam on and cast it out and wait for the
action to begin.
A Bay Tip. When it comes time to fish clams, as a rule I don?t usually tie my clam on. A
fresh clam usually stays on the hook while casting if put on correctly. However when
fishing the bay I have had trouble with the clam staying on the hook while in the water. I
have yet to figure out why, perhaps it is small predators, maybe flounder of crabs, or
maybe strong current, but it is has become advantageous to tie the clam on with some elastic thread. Plastic thread is available in just about any tackle shop. Put the clam on
like you normally would and then wrap it with the thread about 10-15 times. Keep the
thread and the clam up around the shaft of the hook. The barbs on the shaft of the
baitholder hooks help the elastic keep the clams up on the shaft as opposed to sliding
down to the bend. Remember, you want to keep the hook concealed as much as possible.
When you begin to experience the inability of your bait to stay on the hook, be prepared
by having some thread ready to wrap up Mr. Clam.
Tides. The bay is big, and the bay is wide. The bay is also shallow. The sod banks of the
bay sit high. Higher than the sand and mud that sits down below the top of the banks.
Any one that has fished the banks knows what I mean by a drop off, or step down. The
drop off varies of course but once you step down off the bank the bottom gradually
descends. At low tide you can walk below the sod banks, and you can wade out quite a
distance before getting to deep, fishable water. Fishing on the top of the banks at high
water gives you 3-4 feet of water right in front of you. This is why you want to fish the
banks at high tide. High tide offers you plenty of water to accommodate the desired bass
activity. Many a cow bass cruise just off the drop off at high water, this gives you, the
shore based angler, a considerable shot at a trophy.
Make Haste. The time to begin is now! Don?t wait till June to start fishing for bass. Find a spot that you feel comfortable with on one of the bay beaches or banks and go put in
your time and see what you can come up with. You usually get some good action
throughout April and early May. Time on the water is what will get you both fish and
fishing experience. Not sitting home reading about how others do or have done it. In
closing, while fishing the Bayshore areas, please, please, clean up after yourself. I see
way too much ?fisherman?s refuse? left behind. In many cases these areas are not
publicly maintained areas, and future repercussions could be suffered if fishermen
continue to leave their junk and not take responsibility for their garbage. I would not want
to lose one of these great bay access points because of carelessness.

770 Posts
Early Spring Back Bay Stripers
Article posted on: Apr/28/00
author: Bill Wetzela
([email protected])

I entered the water for the first time in over three months. My neoprene waders shielded me from the harsh reality of the early spring water temperatures, but the afternoon sun warmed the ebbing tide. I was fishing one of my back bay spots ? a shallow, shoreline area with submerged eel grass that can be productive from late March to well into the summer. As I worked a 3/8-ounce bucktail along the edge of the grass line, I felt the familiar bump. I put my rod tip down and reeled more slowly. Bang! I set the barbless hook when the feisty linesider made its second attempt to grab a meal. My 7-foot rod pulsated with a nice, 25-inch linesider on the line.

Early season light tackle fishing for striped bass is like no other type of shore angling. Besides the right location and the right conditions, you need different tackle, lures, and techniques.

The North Shore of Long Island comes alive with school stripers in the spring. Primarily, the bass are on their spring migration, and the western Sound is the first to see action. Linesiders will be on the move from west to east throughout the spring, taking up residence in some areas and continuing their migration from others.

Target back bay areas to locate fish. Back bay water temperatures will warm faster than more open areas due to their shallow water and muddy bottoms. It?s no secret that the back of Little Neck Bay is an early season hot spot and it?s for this very warming reason.

Linesiders prefer water temperatures between 55 and 68 degrees for optimal feeding, so, if it?s a cold, windy, rainy day in the early spring, I usually stay home. That?s not to say linesiders can?t be caught on a day like that, but the fish become less active when the water temperature stays low. Colder, overnight air temperatures make the shallows cool. Without a morning sun, the early spring waters remain cool and stripers are more lethargic throughout the day.

Ideal conditions are bright sunny days with little or no wind. Morning water temperatures will still be cool, so the mid-day to dusk period in conjunction with a good tide is the best time.

Early spring back bay surf fishing for me means fairly light tackle. I use a 7-foot rod with a quality reel spooled with 8- to 12-pound-test monofilament or an 8-pound-test braid line.

A 9-foot rod should be the maximum length because you?ll be throwing light plugs, maybe in some fairly tight spots. I tie a 40- to 60-pound-test rated barrel swivel to a 25-inch length of 30-pound-test monofilament as my shock leader. If the bass are spooky, I?ll omit the barrel swivel and tie the leader directly to my line with a Blood Knot.

There is a large array of artificials you can use. I suggest you check the shoreline to see if any bait is present and try to match it with what you have in your surf bag. Generally, the dominant early spring baitfish are Atlantic silversides (spearing). Small Bombers, Hellcats, and Redfins match this baitfish well. My money lure for the early spring is a 3/8-ounce Kastmaster. I remove the treble hook and small bucktail, and replace it with a 1/0 O?Shaughnessy hook dressed with a white or green tube. Small bucktails are also deadly and will imitate a host of baitfish. Teasers can be all-important. White Deceivers, epoxy fly patterns, Redgills, and 3-inch Slugg-Os will do the job nicely. Tie the teaser to a 6-inch length of 30-pound-test mono and add it to the barrel swivel so that it swims ahead of the main lure. Many anglers will tell you that a teaser set-up will imitate a larger baitfish chasing a smaller one, and a linesider will hit the teaser because it wants to get to that meal first. I don?t believe this is the case. I believe that the larger lure is simply a weight to put the teaser in the strike zone and it?s the teaser itself that can better match the prevailing bait. It?s one of those things to debate on the beach.

Another way to fish teasers is to cut a .75-inch diameter dowel into a 3.5-inch length. Put a screw eye in both ends, as close to dead center as possible. Attach your line to one eye and your leader with teaser to the other. Adjust the length of the leader to suit the water depth. This will enable you to cast your teaser to the strike zone and keep it off the bottom where it can snag. This set-up works especially well in rocky areas.

You can carry all the plugs in the world, but if you don?t present the plug properly to the fish, they will not touch it. There is no exact science to a retrieve, but several techniques.

Early spring or not, I make my first twelve to eighteen casts from the beach without entering the water. Many times I have had fish within 10 feet of the shoreline, and I would have missed them if I had entered the water too hastily. Last year, I took a 33-pound bass only about 9 feet from the shore.

I fan my casts from left to right, using fast, slow, jerky, and stop-and-go retrieves. A bucktail or tin will cover water nicely and one of them is usually my first lure choice. If I believe the fish are spooky, I let my lure sit for about ten seconds before starting the retrieve. You are often fishing waters that are below 50 degrees during the early spring. Stripers metabolisms are slower, so they feed less frequently, are more lethargic, and usually will not chase a fast-moving bait.

Most back bay areas have a mud bottom with little or few places to snag, so I like to let my tin or bucktail hit bottom, and retrieve slowly right on the bottom with tiny, subtle jerks. There are always exceptions, so try different retrieves, but, when the water temperatures are below 50, it?s a slower retrieve that works more often than not.

As the water reaches that magical 55-degree mark and the fish become more aggressive, I use a much faster retrieve.

Don?t forget that the New York striped bass season doesn?t open until May 8. Using barbless hooks and releasing the fish promptly will cut down on mortality rates.

495 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One other way I enjoy fishing for Bass is with a Float Rig, Old Bayside/Lindy Little Joe makes a variety of these and it is a sliding float with a few brass beads on a titanium wire. Tie your running line to the top of the float rig and based on the depth of the water you are fishing make a leader and then tie on a fly, a Gulp Sandworm, small plastic, cast it out and jerk the rod tip from 10 to 12. This keeps the bait suspended in a particular depth and you establish the action.

The Float will splash, the beads will send off a vibration and the bait will dart and then sink slowly. I have taken a lot of Bass, Weakfish and other species using this redfish style rig.

99 Posts
black sluggos at night

If you want to have some crazy fun, try some of the skinny water flats off Stony Brook, Mt Sinai or even Moriches at night with unweighted 7" or 9" Sluggos. I rig them with the "texposer" hooks lunker city sells. Just twitch them slowly across the top and watch them get slammed!

Also a big fan of the white or alewife sluggos with a Kalin jighead (3/8 or 1/2 oz) fished in a rip during the day.
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