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Captain Pat

Popular Connecticut boat captain, outdoor writer and striper fishing enthusiast, Captain Pat is well known for his innovative light tackle trolling techniques. He is the creator and owner of T-Man Custom Tackle, LLC.

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February 23, 2012


by Captain Pat

No, I'm not going to go all John Lennon on you and ask you to consider the social and political ramifications of religion, war and love. But from a striper fisherman's perspective I guess I may be getting a little cosmic.
What I really want you to "Imagine" is what you can do differently in your 2012 pursuit of striped bass. Personally, I always want to get better at catching fish. Sometimes I just want to try and discover a new/different way to get the job done. What I'm suggesting is that if you want to catch more and even bigger striped bass this upcoming season, you might want to consider doing the same.
Let me try and convince you… Are you strictly a live bait fisherman? Do you only snap wire for linesiders? Are you exclusively a lure chucker refusing to even consider trolling for your dinner? Or how about this question, did you have days last season when you knew the fish were there but just couldn't entice them to eat? I already know a lot of you will answer yes to some of these questions. So then, you should be ready to admit that you need to strengthen your arsenal by adding or tweaking a technique or two for the upcoming season.
The options are virtually endless, but let me make a couple of suggestions:
Trolling: For those who have never tried it let me just say that there are lots of styles including my personal favorite light tackle trolling with braided lines. It's an easy technique to learn and relatively easy to get into. (Check my website @ Remember, trolling keeps the bait in the water at a high percentage of time and allows you to cover a large amount of water.

Light Tackle Trolling Rig

Tweaking Live Bait Rigs: Whether you're fishing eels, menhaden, scup, etc… 3-waying or livelining variations to your rigs can be key. As an example, a couple winters ago I got the idea to put an eel on a very light 5ft 20lb fluorocarbon leader with a smallish circle hook and suspend it below a large Styrofoam bobber. I envisioned pitching this rig into shallow rocky shoreline areas letting the bobber keep the eel just off the bottom and out of the snags. This rig has worked beautifully for me on several occasions with the visual effect of the bobber being ripped underwater making for a dramatic strike. One day last season when I couldn't get the stripers to commit to my live scup offering, I got them to stop mouthing and spitting the bait by trimming the scups dorsal fin with scissors. A trick I had read about and discussed with my fishing partner the previous winter.
You get the picture now don't you? Take the time this winter to "Imagine" and plan for something new to do this upcoming season. Trust me, it's a fun, smart and very satisfying endeavour.

Bass Caught on Live Scup
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