Colors Matter!

Hello Surfcasters,

I just got back from 5 nights on Block Island. We were hampered by 2 nights of violent thunderstorms, but the fish co-operated and it was a great trip (see pictures on site). A couple of the guys from our group were fishing the Island for the first time. There is no place like Block and when the fish are there — it is like you died and went to heaven. On this trip the fish were showing up all around the Island. I was prepared for a sand eel bite, but the fish were on bigger bait and wanted the bigger plugs.

At one spot in particular there was a deep drop-off right next to shore with a nice current. No matter how far you cast, the fish hit the plug right at the edge of the drop-off, right next to shore. What soon became apparent is that the fish wanted a medium diver in Purple Pearl or Purple Scale. You could catch on surface pikes or medium divers of another color, but the catch rate on a medium diver was 3 to 1 in Purple vs. other plugs or colors.

After checking the stomach content of some of the fish we kept, we found porgy/scup in their stomachs, thus the success with the bigger plugs. I always think of a porgy as a bronze or gold color, so why were they hitting the Purple Plugs. Turns out a porgy had washed up on the shore where we were taking all these fish and I kept it to get a good look at it. We took a bunch of pictures of it because I am always trying to improve on the coloration of my plugs, in this case the porgy/scup. When you held the porgy in the light, the whole side of the fish reflected an iridescent pink or reddish hue. A mystery had been solved for me. I had often wondered why Tom White had caught so many fish on Purple Pearl several seasons back when we had all those big fish on Block. I had all my fish on “Blackfish” and “Bronze” Pike which made sense to me color-wise if the fish were feeding on porgies. Now after seeing that red/pink hue on the whole side of the porgy, it all made perfect sense! Keep an eye out for a new version of my Porgy/Scup.

I finally got to give my new CTS rod a real workout while we were on Block. I wanted to spend more time this season fishing my Trollers and “new” SLIM Trollers. The SLIM Troller is the same length as the Troller (10″) but slimmer and 1 ounce lighter, making it a little more user friendly for the surfcaster wanting to throw bigger plugs. Up until this point, I used an old 11 ½ foot fiberglass lami to throw my Trollers. It was heavy and not much fun to fish all night, plus it was overkill when I wanted to throw the Giants or SLIMs. My CTS is a 10′ two-piece rod from New Zealand that is extremely light, but will throw my Trollers no problem! I could not believe that something so light could throw 8 ounces so easily.

Rich Hedenberg of RH Custom Rods ( ) offered to make me up a rod so I could cast it before committing to buying it. One cast with a Troller and I was hooked, excuse the pun! This was the rod for me, and there were plenty of fish on Block to try it out on. I had fish up to 17 lb on it, and 3 upper teen fish on a SLIM Troller. I had given away all my purple plugs (the hot color) but the SLIM Troller in Light Olive Iridescent Scale had enough pink hue to interest those fish on the porgy bite. I had one really good fish on the SLIM Troller that I could not get over the lip of the drop-off. Both times I tried, it banged into the edge, and I couldn’t get it over, finally it threw the plug. I was going pretty easy with the rod when I had this fish on because I didn’t know it yet. I now realize how much backbone it has and I can really lay into it. And, that added bonus — it will throw the Giant and SLIMs as well as the Trollers.

A lot of people are saying that a Big Water Pike is your ticket to a big fish! Considering it is all I fish I would have to agree. Since I started making and fishing them in 2005 I have at least caught a 28 lb. fish each year and some years multiple 30’s. But they are not magic plugs; you need to put in the time!! You need to commit yourself to the bigger Pikes if you want a bigger fish. You need to hang in there and stay with the bigger plugs, when your fishing buddies are catching smaller fish on smaller plugs and you can’t buy a hit on your bigger Pike. Don’t be afraid to walk away from smaller fish. It will pay off in the end. After all, you are fishing bigger plugs because you are looking for bigger fish! When your Giant Pike (8″, 4 oz) starts to look small, you know you are on the right track!

I have an extra paperback copy of “Reading the Water” by Robert Post and I am looking to share it with the BWL membership. It is a great read and I always start the season by re-reading it. If you want to read it, e-mail me at with your mailing address. I will make a list and lend it around. It has just come back from somewhere in the Middle East and is waiting to go back out.

Last, I’ve updated my inventory lists– not a ton of stock but a few interesting item!

Well…I’m off to my daughter’s wedding on a Colorado mountain top! Any orders will be addressed/sent upon my return on July 1.

Good fishing — let me know how you are doing and send some pictures!


PERMISSION TO REPRINT: This article may be reprinted provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: © Copyright 2001-2011 Reprinted by permission of Gary Soldati.