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John Skinner

John Skinner is the author of Fishing the Bucktail and A Season on the Edge. He’s the creator of the fishing log software FishersLog. He’s a consistent producer of trophy striped bass and holds the current New York State false albacore record.

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January 28, 2015

Blizzard Bass??

by John Skinner

I would love to say that I was catching quality stripers on the recent snow storm, but I was trapped in the house like everyone else. The stripers remain on the feed in Canada where Andre Roy reports a huge increase in stripers being caught through the ice in northeast Nova Scotia. Here's the catch on video!

January 19, 2015

Staying Sharp

by John Skinner

I spent this past Saturday surrounded by fishing gear at the New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing (NYCRF) Annual Flea Market in Amityville. The fun part about events such as these is that they feature used gear as well as new. Do you want to buy a Penn Squidder or Penn Slammer? No problem. You can find them in good condition at reasonable prices. The same goes for rods from ultra-light to big game. After spending the entire day at the show, where did I stop on the way home? J&H Tackle of course, as if I hadn't looked at enough fishing gear for one day. For me, part of this is for research purchases. I'm giving a fair number of seminars this winter, and when I show video of me using my custom 11-foot rod, I'd like to be able to describe that rod in terms of an easily accessible and reasonably priced off-the-shelf rod. For example, the rod I use on inlet jetties is one that I built from a 1990 Lamiglas GSB1321M blank. It's a beast that easily handles the 3- to 5-ounce bucktails that I use frequently in the inlets. That same model blank that Lamiglas makes today is lighter in weight and power than the one they made 25 years ago. I've had a hard time finding a rod that is close in power to my jetty rod, but I finally found one at J&H. It was a Tsunami Airwave Elite 1142XH. It's 4 inches longer, but would be a good rod for working the rips with heavy bucktails.
So what did I actually buy after being surrounded by gear all day? I bought four hook files from J&H. At $4 each, I know I've just spent $16 in a way that will definitely increase my catch. I'm sure I have a half-dozen of these scattered around between my basement, jeep, and garage. Unfortunately, they rust after a while if you're not careful (I'm not), so it's wise to replace them periodically. I figure the more files I have, the easier I can find one when needed, the sharper my hooks will be, and that will result in catching more fish. I'm obsessive about hook sharpness. With months of winter ahead, now's a good time to check over your plugs and jigs and make sure your hooks are all dangerously sharp for the upcoming season. Replace the rusted out ones, and take a file to the hooks that are still good but can use a touch-up.
If you missed my surf seminar at Saturday's show, you can catch a similar presentation that I'll be giving at Campsite Sport Shop on Route 110 in Huntington Station this Saturday, January 24th at 1 p.m.

January 04, 2015

Show Time

by John Skinner

Happy New Year to all! This is a tough time of year for Long Island surfcasters as we're just about a month into four plus months of very little in the way of shore-bound fishing opportunities. I find the first month goes quickly, as it's a time to recover from the rigors of fall fishing and focus on the holidays. The months ahead are much more challenging. One of the best things you can do to prepare for the upcoming season is to make sure your tackle arsenal is well-maintained, stocked, and ready to go when the first stripers of the spring run arrive. Stocking up on gear and researching potential new purchases can be a little easier and lighter on the wallet by visiting some of the fishing shows and flea markets held in our area. These shows give anglers a chance to see a wide range of products and score some excellent deals on tackle purchases. The educational seminars that usually accompany these events provide nice learning opportunities as well. Spending a day immersed in fishing talk and tackle can be a nice little escape from winter. An event that's coming up soon is the annual flea market held in North Amityville by the New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing (NYCRF). This event features vendors with new and used tackle as well as a full day of fishing seminars. I'll be giving a seminar and manning a table with my books, so stop by and say hello. Admission is only $4. The event will be held at the North Amityville Firehouse at 601 Route 110 in Amityville on Saturday, January 17th, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
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