Saltwater Fishing Tips Articles
Eels are the quintessential striper bait. Recently there has been a lot of talk about imposing strict limits on possession of eels and possibly putting them on the endangered species list. There has been a dramatic decrease in the American eel population over the last few years and there are fingers being pointed in all directions. I tend to believe that it is a combination of things occurring. The American eel is born in the Sargasso Sea and makes its way back up the rivers and streams all up and down the East Coast. The eel takes nearly 15 years to mature sexually and to return to the Sargasso to spawn. Many people feel that over the last 15 to 20 years the increase in the numbers of hydro electric dams has taken a huge toll. Others feel it has more to do with the sale of glass eels in fish markets over seas. Studies are being done on just what is happening and for now the ASMFC has decided not to recommend any changes in the laws regarding eels until more information is gathered, so it appears that we are safe for the next few years anyways.
Stripers are all about structure. Find the structure and you will find the bass. Boulder piles, wrecks and reefs are all magnets for these fish. I fish several well known reefs on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound. A reef is nothing but a hill underwater. The relative height of the top of the reef doesn’t matter at all. I fish some areas that come up to as little as 10 feet of water and other days I can be in over 80 feet of water. Generally speaking, the steeper the hill the better. Reefs are the perfect ambush point and act as funnels, concentrating all the bait scattered across the entire water column and squeezing it into much skinnier water as it flows over the crest. As the tide flows up the hill, it carries bait to stripers that have taken up feeding stations near the crest of the peak. The crest of a reef can be 20 or 120 feet deep, it’s not the depth that matters as much as funnel it offers. The rip line marks the approximate crest of any reef.
Big stripers are caught every year up and down the East Coast on all kinds of tackle using all kinds of methods. However, if you want to maximize your chances for a striped bass over 40 inches, then live bait on a 3-way rig is the way to go. The most popular baits in the New England area are eels, hickory shad, scup and everyone’s favorite the menhaden AKA porgy or bunker. Live baits work well 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’ll start fishing in earnest for stripers in May and continue till ice becomes a problem on the deck of the boat in late November. Day or night, it doesn’t matter. I’ve taken bass over 60 pounds at night and I’ve taken bass that big during broad daylight.
Sounds like a big undertaking, huh? Not really. A lot of information has been published about saltwater fly fishing and its accessories that it is often times quite overwhelming to someone who has never picked up a fly rod. Like any type of fishing, fly fishing can be as simple or as complex as one would like to make it. But, to get yourself started you do not need excessive amounts of knowledge or equipment. Nor, do you need to spend your life savings on the equipment that will put fish in your boat. Let’s run down through the necessary equipment that will get you started.
Blackfish, also known as Tautog, are one of tastiest and hardest fighting fish found in the North East. They are relatively easy to catch but also provide the angler with a battle that will put their skills and tackle to the test. From boat, jetty or shoreline blackfish are readily available throughout the reefs and rock piles from Massachusetts to New Jersey.
The beaches and shorelines of the northeast are what you would call rocky terrain. Much of the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts coastlines are covered in boulders, rocks and gravel which creates fantastic habitat for the predator fish and their table fare. While fishing the immediate beaches and their associated rock piles, another man-made rock structure must never be overlooked by the angler.
After many years of relentlessly chasing the summer flounder, I have come to accept my status as a certifiable “flounder pounder”. Fluke are one of the few species I catch that I keep for the table which is one small reason for my interest. Additionally, they are a summertime species that can readily be caught during the daytime in bright sunny conditions.
During the winter months in the Northeast, there are not a lot of opportunities for catching saltwater fish. Most anglers either wait out the cold season in the warmth of their homes or some others may venture inland to ice fish on the frozen lakes and ponds in pursuit of sweet water species. Tidal rivers begin to see an influx of schoolie sized striped bass as March rolls through. As March gives way to April the winter flounder, or fluke, returns to the coastline to spawn.
Fluke. The summer flounder. The toothy cousin of the northeast’s smaller winter flounder. A flatfish with a real attitude. They lie flat against the ocean floor, camouflaging themselves in the sand and they ambush their prey with lightning fast reflexes. Few fish on the east coast are as sought after for their delicate white fillets and their fighting ability as the summer flounder.
Spinning reel repairs and maintenance are generally best left to the professionals. An assortment of necessary tools, oil, reel grease and some mechanical know-how are required to be successful in completing the needed maintenance. But, there may be times when you just can’t wait for someone else to fix your reel. You may find yourself in a far away location (like on a Fly-in Canadian fishing trip) and you just have to get that reel working again right away. The following information will give you some guidance and confidence in cracking open that pesky reel and getting her back into fish-catching condition. This information will also aid the beginner in learning the ins and outs of spinning reel repair. Most spinning reels work on the same basic gear drive design. There may be some parts variations on some reel models that are not mentioned in these procedures. But, they mostly all work in the same general fashion.