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Bait for Stripers and Bluefish
Keep it as simple as possible!
Standing line - sinker slide with sinker - barrell swivel - leader
- snelled hook
Many tackle shops sell the pre packaged bass hooks snelled to
monofilament leaders. You can also purchase the hooks snelled
to flourocarbon for a dollar or two more.
I will begin by describing an approach
to the surf. I wont spend any time on choosing a spot to fish
here, but the most important thing in catching a fish at all is
to find productive water. A place where the predators are likely
to ambush prey or show up at feeding times to forage and or hunt.
This information can be found in another article titled reading
Once you have found your place to set up camp, your ready to steak
up some pieces of bait and get a line in the water.
All that is involved with chunking
bait is steaking the bait into sections. Pogie (bunker,
menhaden, mackeral, herring, shad, Spot, porgie, and snappers
(small bluefish) can work equally
well. You can also chunk eels. Chunking implies the animal is
dead already. If still alive this tactic would be livelining.
Presenting the bait.
Most chunkers (bait
fishermen) fish the surf, but there are many boat fishermen
that will use cut bait as well. Most will also chum the water
they're going to fish. (loading
the water with small pieces of bait for scent)
The set up is a 6/0 (O for Ocean)
or larger wide gap hook or wide gap circle hook attached to anywhere
between 18 and 40 inch leaders. Many use a flourocarbon leader.
(flourocarbon bends or refracts the light
close to the index of water making it more difficult for the fish
to see) Not always necessary but a good idea in clear water.
For bluefish you have to use at least 50 pound mono leader or
wire for these are toothy critters that will mangle your leaders
and or lures. They will also bight right through a mono leader.
Tackle shops sell blue fish rigs. Hooks attached to wire leaders
little on equipment
good stout rod and decent sized reel are needed for this. You
can be tossing upwards of 10 ounces with the lead and the bait.
A good sturdy rod rated medium heavy to heavy should be chosen
and be at least 8 feet long. 10 foot is comfortable for many
surf chunkers. Others use 11 and 12 foot rods and others even
bigger. The longer rods allow for more casting distance. Longer rods
can be weildy for the newcomer to the surf however.
The reel should be large enough to hold at least 2 to 300 yards of 20 pound
monofilament line. I personally like to use the spinning reels for this application.
Others like to use conventional baitcaster type reels. Using the conventional
(multiplier) type reels takes a higher casting skill level and is generally more difficult
for the newcomer when it is windy. The line knots (birds
nests) can ruin your outing.
Your reel will hold much more braided line due to the smaller
diameter of the braids. Fill the spool with some monofilament as a backing then tie a good knot for the two different diameter lines.
There are better knots but this
one will do fine for a start. A good fisherman will know many
knots. Knot instruction can be found in the forum or by searching
the site map.
Again braid can present problems
for newbies with wind knots. My favorites are the open
faced reels like the Penn Z series and the the larger spinfishers, Old
style Mitchell eggbeater types, Daiwa emblems and the shimano baitrunners.
Bait is always best.
I find that it best to steak it
in 5 or 6 pieces and cut away the belly of the fish keeping the
head and discarding the tail fin. Cut the piece directly in front
of the tail fin into an inch or 2 inch chunk. This piece will
stay on the line the longest. The other pieces i like to fillet
in half. The presentation of the flash in moving water seems particularly
enticing to the fish. The head is my favorite piece as stripers
prefer taking the bait head on and a blue fish the opposite end.
(>any end really) I like to toss
the heads at the top of the tide, you need not get them out no
more than 30 feet. Another way to fish the heads is to find a
spot near deep water toss them as far as possible and reel them
two setups that I like to use are the fishfinder rig and the
dropper loop or a 3 way swivel.
The fishfinder is a plastic sinkerslide
that you clip or tie a sinker on.
is on the standing end of the line before the barrel swivel and
your tied on leader and hook. Choice of sinker is dependent on
the current, tide and surf conditions. I usually bring 3 to 6
ounces where I like to fish around New York. I bring heavier
lead when out in a rip (a change in the
bottom surface that causes the water to upwell turbulently)
or heavier seas.
The second setup is a bit different.
I use this on the fast dropping tide and fast current. The 4
or 5 ounce sinker is attached to a the front end of the 3 way
swivel tied to about 18 inches of line and the leader and hook
with a filletted chunk tied to the middle of the 3 way with
a longer leader 24 to 36 inches. The line from your
reel known as the standing line is attached to the remaining
part of the swivel. This presents the bait in such a way as to
flutter in the turbulent water flow. It is extremely useful in
one particular spot I like to frequent. Another way of doing
this is to tie a 60 inch leader to a barrell swivel. Halfway
down, form a dropper loop of about 20 inches. Attach to the dropper
loop to a wide gap hook using a palomar knot. At the terminal
end tie on your weight. This will act in the same manner as the
Hi Low rigs
These are just what they sound
like. One hook is placed about 18 inches above another one via
a dropper loop. Now you have two offerings attached as your bait
Sinkers: Pyramid - Bank - Egg
Pyramid sinkers are shaped like a pyramid and are effective in
sandy bottoms. Bank sinkers are aerodynamic and are better for
rocky areas as they dont get hung up as much. Egg sinkers can be
used to slide up and down the line. The advantage to the eggs
and the fishfinders is that when the fish picks up the bait
and swims off with it, she is less likely to feel the weight
of the sinker as the line is running through it rather than
These techniques can be used from
lake and river shorelines as well. Just get yourself a lawnchair
and maybe a sandspike and a cold drink and get ready.
Also try fresh clams and seaworms
especially in the early spring. Good luck and have fun.
All Stripers All The Time!!