The Opportunity to Learn
They say it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks,” but this old dog (going to be 60 next spring!) learned a few things on my recent trip to Cuttyhunk. I had the opportunity to fish with a terrific fisherman, Dante Soriente who has many big fish to his credit. I mean BIG fish – up to 64 lbs. He has a nose for the fish and found some in places that I wouldn’t have bothered to cast.
I often fall into a pattern of knowing where I have caught bigger fish in the past and tend to just fish those spots. Let’s face it, surfcasting is not like boat fishing where you can hit 10 spots in a night. With surfcasting you are lucky if you can effectively fish 3 spots. So, fishing with someone different can open up a whole new perspective. Dante did that for me.
While Cutty was slow this year with many small fish, the biggest catch from our group (26 lbs.) came from one of Dante’s spots. He likes, and knows how to fish moving water. And that’s what he looked for on Cuttyhunk. Even though it was his first time on the island and the fishing slow, he was successful. He relied on his own knowledge, took what we had experienced in our past trips to Cutty and combined them to his advantage.
From SLIM Troller to Sand Pike XL
As I said, the fish on Cutty were small which I initially learned by watching other fisherman. As usual, I was rigged to fish big. I was fishing my new CTS rod (rated to throw 4 to 8) and mostly fishing a SLIM Troller (10” and 7 oz.) The plug was doing its job: detering smaller fish from striking through its sheer size and allowing bigger, slower fish a shot at it. If there are no big fish around it can be a long night of casting. That is fine with me. I like to cast and I am not interested in small fish. If I do get a small fish, I don’t even feel much fight because my tackle is too heavy. I did get a solid strike on the SLIM Troller the first night, but I wasn’t paying attention and missed the fish.
After two nights of no fish for me and only small fish for my buddies, it was apparent that we needed to do something different to find some quality keepers. I found myself faced with the same problem as the year before when I thought “a little out of the box” and found fish. I can’t go into detail because I am sworn to secrecy, but a short distance away we found plenty of bait – crabs were covering all the rocks on shore all the way up past the high water mark. I have never seen so many crabs! It was not fish on every cast, but there were quality fish there and I had no problem paying attention.
Due to the really high surf and the dropping tide, I felt I was not getting my SLIM Troller out far enough, so I switched to a Sand Pike XL (a bigger version of my Sand Pike – 10” long and 6 ½ oz.). It casts like a rocket, so it was easy to get over the waves into deeper water. It swam really well in the big surf and the fish liked it, so how do you beat that? Some of the guys had smaller fish, but mine were 14, 16, 18, and 19 lbs – quality fish and a sight for sore eyes after what I had experienced the previous nights.
A Few Observations About the Night
The two fish I kept had crabs in their stomachs, bigger than the ones on shore, but the fish were on those crabs and anything bigger that came along. My hook ups for the most part were on the rear treble and the strikes were subtle for such a big plug — as in all of a sudden the fish were there. I have experienced this on my standard Sand Pike where the fish are coming from behind and sucking in the plug. With my Sand Pikes I am trying to imitate a slimmer bait while still attracting bigger fish through the size of the plug. I feel I have achieved that with the Sand Pike and Sand Pike XL.
Another benefit of having Dante with us on Cutty was that he is a representative for CTS rod and he had a half dozen rods available to cast. I cast the 4 to 8 (the same as mine) and cast my Trollers with little effort. I was also interested in the 3 to 6. While this one would also throw Trollers, it was better suited to my Giants and Divers.
I also noticed that he was throwing my plugs a good 25 yds. farther than I was throwing them. I watched his technique and asked for a few pointers. He uses a form of pendulum cast. He puts the rod over his head in the casting position. Imagine the face of a clock, where 12 is straight up, 3 is forward parallel to the ground and 9 is straight back parallel to the ground. He would put the rod behind him pointing at 10 o’clock and at the same time swing the rod back parallel to the ground going away from him and the rod tip. When the rod is at its farthest point away from him, he starts his forward cast straight over his head. His motion is quite smooth and really loads the rod. Now that I am getting older, if I can get another 25 yds. on my cast, I might not have to swim out as far!
Just a heads up — I have added plugs to my Giants Inventory. The Dark Olive Iridescent Scale and the Olive bunker are new additions to the traditional Giant Stock. I have also upgraded the Scup/Porgy by giving it a red hue along the sides.
I have also added a couple of new colors to the Sand Pike Inventory — Squid and Dark Blue Iridescent Scale.
For my Customs Inventory I have added the “new” Custom Porgy in Giant and Giant Medium Diver.
Between fishing trips I will continue to add to the plug inventories! Have a good Fall Run and stay in touch!
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