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.
I think what draws me the most to bucktailing is that this one simple lure consisting of little more than a hook, a little lead, and some hair can catch just about anything that swims and in just about all conditions that we face from surf or boat. Even though the open beach bass I was catching in October and November were focused on sandeels, they almost always responded well to bucktails. Given that the fish were around for more than a month, I was able to get video of catching bass on bucktails across pretty much the whole progression of conditions. Starting with calm wind and surf, to a stiff rising wind-driven chop, to a rough and windy blow, to the aftermath of the blow with the residual swells and sweep. Below are those four videos in order. Enjoy. It beats watching or waiting for snow.
I just cleaned out my truck, which is how I formalize the end of a season. I literally had to get the sand out with a small shovel. I'm happy about that. It means I spent a lot of time on the beach. I'll do a season recap at some point, but I guess a lot of us can't complain about the 5 or 6 week stretch when there were fish on a fair portion of Long Island's South Shore. The nice thing about having a relatively long period of time with fish on the beach is that the fish are there through a variety of conditions. This was an extremely calm fall, with no significant effects from named storms and really not too many days with winds over 20 knots. There were some exceptions, and the video below was shot on one of those days where you might step out of the truck, take three casts that fall well short of anything but white water, and then get back in the truck. I'm not sure if that's why no one was fishing this particular trip that started around 4 pm on an early November day. The wind was strong onshore, and much of the beach was whitewater. For whatever reason, I was able to drive for several miles over sand that had been fished heavily for the preceding couple of weeks without seeing a single angler with a line in the water. There were a few trucks, but no one actually fishing. It all looked good to me, and the fish were happily taking my bucktails in the turbulence. The video below is #3 of a 4-part sand bucktailing video series. The other two on my YouTube channel cover bucktailing calm wind and surf, and then calm surf but a strong onshore wind. I've posted them in earlier blog posts. The 4th one will be the day following this trip when the wind was on my back but there were sizable swells.