to store live eels:
Find a five gallon plastic bucket with a
locking top. Drill 7/16 holes approximately every two inches in the walls,
top and bottom. Place about 3 inches of golf ball size stones in the
bucket for ballast. The eels really like to wiggle in between the rocks.
Tie a line to the handle and suspend the bucket from a dock or your boat.
Keep it down near the bottom where the water is cool. Donít worry about
feeding them. Lots of little tasty creatures will drift in through the
holes and provide them with snacks. I have kept eels this way for up to
How to keep an eel
from tying itself in a knot while on your hook:
Before you hook the eel, give it an
attitude adjustment. Grab the eel by the head with a dry towel or piece of
burlap. Smack the tail against a stationary object like a cutting board or
a railing. The eel will now have a different attitude. It will not attempt
to use its tender tail and tie itself into a ball on your fishing line but
will still swim enticingly.
Catch your own Fresh
Nothing catches fluke better than fresh live bait. It is worth the effort to catch some before fishing. Purchase a small seine net and drag it along the edge of any beach. You should be able to capture a nice selection of killies, spearing or other small offerings that fluke canít resist. A small cast net with ľ inch mesh will also work well for those a little more adventurous and it works without having to get wet.
WATER? MAKE IT SMELL
When fishing in dirty water, (brown-tide or
wind churned) fresh dead or live bait will produce better than artificials.
In these conditions the fish will feed by smell rather than by sight.
Natural bait produces the scent to attract the fish. If you insist on
using artificials, then add a scent to them. Bunker oil is a good one to
try. Chumming also will bring the fish to your offering. Anchor and chum
with bunker or clam. Use fresh bait on the hook. You can catch any kind of
fish that swims using this technique.
FLUKE BELLY DANCE
After catching your first legal size fluke,
fillet the white belly side. Cut this fillet into strips about 5 inches
long and tapering to a point on one end. Use these strips in combination
with spearing or smaller strips on a bucktail. Fluke belly is an excellent
fluke bait. Its is really tough and will last for quite a while on the
hook. For added attraction, split the tapered end to create a fluttering
EMPTY SODA BOTTLE ICE - KEEP THE CATCH COLD
During the hot summer weather it is very
important to keep your catch on ice. They will spoil in the heat and could
actually get you sick if the heat damage is severe. The quality of the
meat will diminish rapidly upon heating. I fill empty soda bottles with
water and freeze them. They are reusable and this saves on the cost of
ice. It is also very convenient. When filling them, squeeze out an ounce
or two of the water to allow for expansion and cap them tightly. You can
put a bunch in your cooler and add them to the container in which you keep
your catch. I put two or three into the fish-box on my boat. I stopper the
drain, and a couple of gallons of sea-water. The water will stay cold for
several hours. Fish kept this way will be in excellent condition.
Try using "bunker oil" to add
scent and flavor to the waters and to your baits and jigs. "Bunker
oil" is a natural scent of the Atlantic menhaden fish. I dip
my bunker chunks in the oil to add extra flavor and scent. When I chum for
bluefish or sharks, I add a few drops to the water to create a better
smelling slick. I put some in a small squeeze bottle with a dropper tip
and add a bit to my artificial lures. I really think it makes a
difference. Give it a try.
MOVE TO GET THE BEST WIND/TIDE CONDITIONS
Work the tides and the current. The worst
situation to have is a wind directly in-line or directly against the tide
if you are drift fishing. Working with the wind will move you too fast and
make it difficult to hold the bottom. Drifting against the wind will slow
the boat so much that you will not cover ground. When this situation
occurs, consider moving to and area where the wind will be at angles to
the current. For example, if the wind is due west, it would be difficult
to fish in front of Ocean Beach. You will move too fast or too slow. If
you move to West Channel, the current moves north and south. With a west
or east wind, your drift will be angled across the channel and you will
drift at a moderate pace which is best for catching fish.
JUST A PLAIN OLD KILLIE
When fishing for fluke I usually add a
squid strip with a live killie or spearing. I have found however that in
areas where crabs are plentiful such as the sand bar areas near the Moses
Bridge, the squid will attract more crabs than fluke. Consequently, I have
been using just a plain live killie on the hook and if they are small, I
put on two. Fluke seem to have no trouble locating that live killie. This
past week also I have noticed that a plain hook with killie has caught
more fish than a rig adorned with spinners, beads etc. This technique has
really produced fish.
A SEA ANCHOR WILL SLOW YOU DOWN
Excessively strong tides and wind can make
a boat drift to rapidly for productive fishing. I find this is a problem
when fishing around the full or new moon when tides are strongest. When
wind and tide are running in the same direction it is really a problem.
There is something that can be done to slow the drift so that the bait is
presented in an enticing way. A sea-anchor is one solution to the problem.
A sea-anchor is a triangular shaped bag attached to a line. It is put
overboard and fills with water. It acts as a drogue and will slow the
movement of the boat through the water. It is very useful when drifting in
deeper water where a lot of lead weight would have to be used to hold
bottom. When drifting for fluke in the ocean in 60 feet of water, the use
of a sea-anchor can reduce the needed lead weight from 8 oz. To 3 oz..
Less weight will allow you to feel the bite of a fish and make for a
better fight when you hook up to a good fish. In addition, a sea-anchor is
also a good piece of safety equipment. If a boat loses power in rough
seas, a sea-anchor can be let out off the bow. It will keep the bow of the
boat pointed into the seas and prevent swamping of the boat.
FLUORO-CARBON LEADER WORKS
When fishing artificials, try using fluoro-carbon
leader material. It is almost invisible underwater. It will reduce the
chance that the fish will see something that does not look natural and
this is most important when fishing in very clear water.
TWO CHUM POTS
ARE BETTER THAN ONE
When porgy fishing I use two chum pots.
These fish are attracted to the chum and will only be caught when fishing
directly behind the chum pot. Anyone fishing on the other side of the boat
will hardly catch at all. By using two chum pots, one on each side of the
boat, the fish will get spread across the entire area between the two pots
and everyone will get in on the action. Another benefit is that when
refilling the chum pots, one can remain in the water while the other is
being filled. This will produce non-stop action and prevent the
possibility of losing the school of fish.
SMALL LURES FOR TUNA
If you troll for tuna on the near-shore
grounds, in the area from 20 to 40 miles, make sure that you have some
smaller lures in your trolling spread. Bonita, small tuna and dolphin like
the smaller lures. One ounce feathers in red/white and cedar plugs are
real hot. I fish them in the second and third wake behind the boat and
troll at 8 knots. This combination has worked very well. I also troll a
few big lures farther back and they have accounted for most of the bigger
fish. However, if you donít troll the small stuff you will miss out on a
lot of action.
WHAT SINGLE TOOL
CAN BE USED TO HANDLE FISH, LAND FISH, WEIGH FISH, AND SET DRAGS ON YOUR
The answer is the BOGAGRIP. This is the
niftiest tool in my fishing arsenal. It is made of machined stainless
steel, will not corrode and is almost indestructible. Its locking
mechanism will attach easily to the jaw of any fish and will not let go
until you hit the release. It has a precision built in scale for weighing
fish or setting drags. It comes in two sizes; small will weigh up to 30
pounds and large that will weigh up to 60 pounds.
CAN YOU GET
BACK TO THE FISH IN THE DARK?
When drifting for striped bass at night it
can be pretty tough to get back to the exact beginning of a productive
drift. This is especially true if visibility is reduced by mist or fog or
if the area has no convenient structures or lights nearby for taking
visual ranges. Be prepared and always store the start of a drift in your
LORAN or GPS. I always hit the "quick save" button when I begin
a drift. If I catch fish I can get right back to the original starting
point and repeat the same drift under any conditions.
The "Petri-Fish" is proving
to be a very productive lure. It is an imitation flounder made of rubber
with a lead head. It is comes in three sizes 8 inch, 6 inch and 3 Ĺ inch.
The large size is good for big striped bass while the smaller sizes will
catch smaller bass blues and weakfish and large fluke. I work the lure by
jigging it just above the bottom. I had an excellent catch of school bass
and weakfish using the 3 Ĺ inch version during the past week. Give this
lure a try.
Whole clams threaded on a hook will catch
striped bass. Many tackle shops sell shucked whole skimmer clams for bait.
The problem is however, when clams are frozen and then thawed, they become
soft and are easily torn off the hook. I like to thaw the clams a day
before fishing and mix them with a good helping of Kosher salt. The salt
will toughen the tissue considerably making it very difficult for the fish
to steal your bait. The salt does not seem to reduce the attractiveness of
this bait. Any leftover salted clams can be refrozen and thawed again
without seriously hurting the quality. I always have a couple of boxes of
Kosher salt handy for this purpose or just for making up a brine solution
for rinsing fillets. Some bait and tackle shops do carry salted shucked
FOR FISHING MEMORIES
How do you keep memories of a great fishing
day? With a camera of course. But now there is a new twist that I find
very convenient. I purchased a digital camera, an Olympus D 400 zoom and
can save all the good moments in digital form on my computer. The price of
digital cameras has come way down and most people have access to a
computer at work or at home. What I find most convenient is the ability to
immediately see how good the picture is and delete what is not just right.
It also eliminates the hassle of going to the photo lab and the results
are immediate. You can then e-mail pictures to your friends and family or
with a good printer and photo quality paper, produce excellent quality
prints. You can also view the pictures on your TV set. If you are one that
likes to capture the moment, then this is worth a look.
WITH MULTIFILAMENT LINES
I use multifilament line on many of my
fishing outfits. Berkley "FireLine" and Innovative Textiles
"Power Pro" are my choice in this type of line. One problem that
exists with such lines is being able to cut them when rigging. The cutter
on a set of fishing pliers or a nail clipper will not cut them properly if
at all. A sharp knife will cut them but it is dangerous to use on a
rocking boat or when near others. I find that a good sharp scissors works
best. Many of the available multi-purpose tool manufacturers make a model
with scissors. I use the Leatherman "Micra" and "PST
II" which both have scissors. They easily cut through these extremely
tough lines quickly and safely. I like the "Micra" because it
can be kept in my pocket and I wear the "PST II" on my belt in a
leather pouch. The "PST II" also has a diamond grit hook
sharpening file with groove. These tools are an indispensable part of my
fishing gear. I recommend strongly that you get hold of such a tool with a
scissors feature if you use multifilament lines.
When fishing in an area such as Ocean Beach
that holds both fluke and weakfish, use a "hi-lo" rig. Set up a
regular fluke rig but add another hook about two feet above the fluke rig.
Fish killies or spearing on the fluke rig with a piece of squid or sand
worm on the high-hook. The high-hook will catch weakfish and the fluke rig
will catch fluke. Itís the best of both worlds.
SMALL BLUES FOR SHARK
If you are going shark fishing, make a
quick stop in the inlet on your way out and troll an umbrella rig to catch
small bluefish. A small bluefish rigged whole or a bluefish fillet is
absolutely the best bait for Mako sharks. In the early morning the blues
should be plentiful and a short stop to catch bait will be well worth the
Fluke should be landed with a net. Fluke
have a bony mouth and very often the hook will not penetrate or encircle a
bony area but be lightly embedded in soft tissue. If you try to lift the
fish into the boat, the hook will surely pull out. A net is therefore a
must when trying to boat a large fish. The trick to netting a fluke is to
net it headfirst. A fluke looks like a clumsy fish but is capable of a
great burst of speed. If you try to net it from the tail end it will
rapidly swim away from the net and probably pull the hook. To net it
properly, the angler should steer the fish toward the boat allowing it to
stay submerged about 1 to 2 feet below the surface. The net should be kept
at ready just above the surface of the water. As the fish is pulled
headfirst toward the boat the person with the net should quickly thrust it
into the water and scoop the fish headfirst. Do not put the net into the
water as the fish is approaching or it will see the net and dart to the
side to avoid capture. When the net is in the water it produces so much
drag that it cannot be moved quickly enough to catch up to the fluke. Next
time you hook a big one remember, a quick scoop headfirst will put it in
When the water is murky the way it is now,
I always add an extra attractant to my lures. I usually tip-off the lure
with a piece of pork rind or strip of squid or fluke belly. I also split
the strip from the middle to the tail to create a fluttering action. This
definitely will improve your catch in cloudy water.
ENGINES INCREASE RANGE FOR OFFSHORE FISHING
If you like to fish offshore you have
probably had concerns at times about having enough fuel to go the distance
to the fishing grounds and return with a safe margin for error. If you
have outboard power on your boat then there is a solution to this problem.
The answer is DFI engine technology. Direct Fuel Injection outboard
engines burn considerable less fuel compared to Electronic Fuel Injection
or Carburetor engines. My Mercury 225 hp OptiMaxô DFI engine burns
approximately 40% less fuel at cruising speed than my previous engine. It
burns 60% less fuel at trolling speeds. That translates into a
considerable savings on fuel bills and also means much greater range. If
you run long distances offshore and you are considering repowering your
boat I would give serious thought to going with Mercury OptiMaxô power.
BAITS FOR FLUKE
Fluke and searobin belly strips make great
baits. If Iím fluke fishing especially in the ocean where chances are
good for catching a big fish, I use a piece of fluke or searobin belly on
the hook with a killie or spearing. These are very tough baits and will
last quite a while before having to be changed. Even the crabs canít
tear it off the hook. When you catch your first keeper fluke or searobin,
fillet the belly side, slice it into strips and add it to your hook.
BUCKTAIL- JELLYWORM COMBO
An excellent artificial lure is a bucktail
tipped off with a jellyworm. Use a 1.5 oz. bucktail and add a 7 or 8 inch
jellyworm to the hook. Run the hook through the middle of the jellyworm
for about 1 Ĺ inches. Slide the jellyworm all the way up the shank of the
hook and expose the point. Bounce the lure along the bottom and strike
hard when a fish hits. This is a very productive lure. Give it t try.
AS LIVE BAIT
Live snappers are an outstanding bait for
big fluke. Before heading out to the ocean fluke grounds, take some time
to catch a few snappers. Keep them alive in a bucket or live-well. Hook
them through the hard part of the upper jaw or in the back just in front
of the dorsal fin. Fish them as you would any other bait, right near the
bottom. When you get a strike, give the fluke time to eat the bait. When
you set the hook, do it with authority.
Try fishing the "silver-bullet"
jig for big fluke in the ocean. Instead of using a sinker as a weight, I
use a 3 to 5 oz. "silver-bullet" which has an attached hook and
feathery adornment. I then tie a three-way swivel about 10 inches above
the ball and from this swivel I attach a three foot leader with a
teaser/fly hook. To the last eye on the three-way swivel I attach my
fishing line. I bait both the hook on the ball and on the teaser with a
spearing. With this rig you have two hooks fishing at all times. If the
big fish misses one it will come back for the other. It has been very
productive for me and Iím sure it will improve your catch.
SCENTS HURT FISHING
Fish like certain scents and dislike
others. Two scents proven to turn off the fish are insect repellent and
sunblock lotions. If you are fishing and apply these to your body, be sure
to wash your hands thoroughly before touching any bait or lures.
FLUOROCARBON FOR BONITO
The ocean is alive with bonito, false
albacore and some spanish mackerel but it is very difficult to hook up
with these fish due to their keen eyesight. Terminal tackle must be almost
invisible and the presentation must be perfect. I scored well this week
with these fish by using light fluorocarbon leader material. I used a 15
inch piece of 10 lb. test fluorocarbon leader tied directly to a Ĺ oz.
"Crippled Herring" lure and then to a small barrel swivel. The
fishing line is then tied to the barrel swivel. Carefully work the boat
ahead of a feeding school and wait till they are within casting distance.
If you can, throw the lure right into the feeding frenzy, let it sink for
a second and then begin a rapid retrieve. Keep reeling and strike hard
when you feel the bite and then hang on for a real thrill.