Tips for Catching Big Fish

Hello Surfcasters,

We are well into the fishing season and if you are in the right places, there are plenty of bass around. My annual spring Block Island trip had us into fish every night, but at times we had to hunt for them. Rarely were they in the same place two nights in a row. For the most part, I stayed with bigger plugs — Giants, Jointed Eels and Trollers — and I was able to catch with the bigger plugs even around the sand eels. Most of the fish caught were between 12 and 17 pounds, with the bigger fish coming on the bigger plugs. I had to get away from the sand eels to find fish up to 26 lbs. Not to say there weren’t bigger fish around the sand eels, but the smaller fish were quicker to the plugs.

Catching Big Fish
If you want to catch bigger fish, you must commit yourself to the bigger plugs. I only fish my Juniors in freshwater; I use my SLIMs around sand eels or when the fish are keyed in on other slender baits. I always start my fishing with a Surface Giant. With the wake it creates on the surface or just under, I feel it is a great fish finder. If I run into fish, I then switch to Giant divers, Jointed Eels and Trollers to cull the larger fish out of the school.

The best way to catch a big fish is with live or fresh dead, bait. That is no big secret. But, if you are looking to catch “Big” ones on artificials like my wooden Pikes, there are advantages! Let talk about tackles (my tackle in particular) long fluorocarbon leaders 30” or longer, less hardware; no snaps (tying direct), or split rings (cut VMCs). Fifty pound braid for a good hook set (no stretch). I want a reel with a smooth drag, plus a big enough rod to throw at least 6 oz. and handle a big fish. Scented jell to enhance the plug and a wetsuit to get out to the feeding lanes or rips.

I am looking for certain conditions. I always find stripers in white water. When the water is churned up the fish are not getting a clear view of the plug, giving the advantage to the surfcaster. Large stripers like the security of deep water close to shore, giving them the ability to feed in shallow water, but a short swim to safety. When I can arrange it, I like the calm before the storm, literally. Fish seem to feed aggressively just before the storm hits. I have had some of my best night during this time. It often takes some adverse weather to get the big fish off the reefs and closer to shore. I am also gaining new found respect for low tide deep into the night. In looking back, most of my big fish have come at the bottom of the tide around 3 am. I also look for some moving water… most of my favorite spots have a rip at the end of the cast where I can feel a pull on the plug as soon as I start my retrieve.

If you are looking for a “BIG” fish, now is the time!! These last few seasons we have seen a lot of surf-caught 30+ pound fish. Those fish are only getting bigger. The start of this season has produced some good fish, so get out there and put yourself in a good spot, under the right conditions, and throw some “Big Pikes”! You won’t be disappointed. Give the “Big “plugs a chance, not just when there is big bait around (because there is always big bait around), but commit yourself to fishing them. They take the smaller fish out of the equation and give the bigger fish a shot at your plug.

BWL at Vingtage Plug Show
Heads up! This weekend I will have a table at the 1st Annual Club Show of the Salt Water Lure Collectors Club. This is primarily a vintage plug show and if you want to see where it all started, this is the place. Some of the biggest collectors on the East coast will be at this show. You will see plugs that you have only heard about and they will be in mint condition! I will be bringing some of my standard plugs plus some customs. Details are below – hope to see you there!

1st ANNUAL CLUB SHOW of the Salt Water Lure Collectors Club

Annual Buy, Sell and trade swap meet for collectors of vintage and contemporary Striped Bass and Surf Fishing items.

Saturday, July 31, 2010, 8am – 4pm
Courtyard Marriott Hotel
2200 Southwood Drive
Nashua, NH

Good fishing! And don’t forget to send me a pic!


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