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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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March 30, 2014

Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow

by John Skinner

The video I've posted below of fishing with a Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow is a reminder to me to keep an open mind and not get too set in my ways. I can tell you the first time I saw one of these plugs I had no interest in it at all because it looked a lot like the other couple of hundred minnow plugs I own from companies such as Bomber, RedFin, Rebel, YoZuri, and others. I'm always interested in what other anglers have to say, and after hearing enough good things about the Salt Pro, I managed to pry a $10 bill out of my wallet to buy one. While doing so I really felt like the last thing I needed was another plug, no less a minnow swimmer. While the plug was still in the air on its first cast I realized it was unique to minnow shaped swimmers in one respect – this thing casts very well. Minnow shaped lures are deadly, but their casting distance often leaves much to be desired, and they can be nearly unusable when cast into a stiff wind. This one really flew. The plug has what Daiwa calls a "weight transfer system", which seems to me like nothing more than a few ball bearings rolling around inside the plug, but this is no gimmick. Those metal balls go to the tail of the plug on the cast so that it flies tail first, level, and without corkscrewing. The result is a surprisingly long cast. But as you probably know, there's a lot more to a good lure than its casting distance.
The next area in which this plug stands out is in its ability to handle turbulence. Whereas a lot of minnow-shaped swimmers might have their action upset in churning water, the Salt Pro cuts through it and keeps swimming properly. This is not to say that the Salt Pro is better than other lures in the same class such as a Bomber, it's just different. If I'm fishing calm conditions and want my plug swimming on or near the surface on a slow retrieve, I'll still reach for the Bomber or something similar first. If the water is moderately rough and I don't mind the plug swimming a couple of feet deeper, I'll take the Salt Pro. The Salt Pro is just another tool in the bag, and it takes a place right next to the RedFins and Bombers I've used for many years.
This all refers to the original floating Salt Pro. A sinking version came out last fall, although it's just slightly more than 1/8 of an ounce heavier. Still, in keeping an open mind, I guess I'll get a couple for the upcoming season, which will hopefully be just around the corner if this weather ever improves.

March 01, 2014

Access Rant

by John Skinner

Just a little bit of a rant. I've made a few trips to the Florida Keys over the last couple of winters and it strikes me how the powers that be down there seem to actually go out of their way to provide fishing access. It's as if a shore angler drove along the Overseas Highway and looked for places where people could shore fish or launch kayaks and then provided some parking room. You can fish channel after channel at night and park your car without any worries of getting a ticket. There are numerous places where they obviously invested some money to provide access and parking and these are marked clearly with signs encouraging you to park and fish. On most of Long Island's North Shore now, they might as well have big "Go Away" signs. There are fences, barricades, and no parking signs. I'm still amazed how many times I drive by Shoreham Beach during the day and the gates are locked. Other access points in Brookhaven that I fished with my father when I was a kid are all locked down as well. What can be done about it? Honestly, I think nothing can be done. Many have tried. I've tried too. It's just plain sad.

Fortunately there's still OK ocean access. It could be better, but it could be a lot worse too. Here's some beach plugging video from last fall so I can close this out on a positive note. The focus here was on bottle plugs in rough surf. Bottle plugs are a class of lure that includes Gibbs Casting Swimmers and Super Strike Little Neck Swimmers. I use the Super Strikes most of the time. Bottles are mostly nighttime lures but I managed to get some video at sunset and early in the morning. Enjoy.

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