Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Friday, October 19, 2007: Waves: 1-3 feet early then building out of the south to 3-4 feet and choppy. Winds: Not a factor this a.m. but really honking by late day before going west to make a great fishing weekend. Heavy rain, street flooding. (Bizarre use ofr street flooding: When I’m sure it’s rainwater I do some serious puddle hits, sending water under the chassis to get the beach sand and bayside mud out of every hidden spot. Be ready for brakes to be a tad loose afterwards, until regular road driving dries them out. I them do a Self-wash carwash stop and heavily spray underneath with the “Wax” setting. My buggy always thanks me afterwards.
Plugging potential today: Good this a.m. becoming tougher as day goes on.
Plugs of choice: Poppers; Wildeyes and such becoming more functional with the slight increase in small surfside bass; unsung surface plug is the larger Zara Spooks (and related designs) swum in snake-action spurts and allowed to rest, especially right before the beach; Spooks are not as inclined to draw bluefish hits when run slowly; for slammer blues, try larger popper plugs at ultra-fast retrieve across the surface (constant spray) only slowing slightly to allow hits, make user to slow it a bit when a taker starts attacking it.
Plug pointer: Surf-and-slow technique adds a new dimension to working a surface swimmer or popper. During retrieve, as wave approaches working plugs, speed plug up to ride wave. Then as wave energy passes, greatly slow plug on backside of swell. This duplicates the action of a wounded fish that picks up speed by riding the wave but loses the push and slows greatly when wave is lost. In nature, gamefish wait for that back-down to attack.
Tackle tip: Keep those tail hairs healthy on your plugs. Even slammer blues get more turned on by LONG flowing bucktails on most poppers (except Spooks). Trick is to have a slew of open-eye trebles with very long bucktails at the ready. When hairs are lost on the working tail treble of a plug, bend open eye and trade off the stripped treble for a fresh one. If you prefer you can use a split ring and closed eye treble but that process can actually be very tedious if you’re in the field and excited about re-trebling. If going with close-eye treble, keep split-ring pliers ready (they often have bright orange handles for the purpose of being easily located.) Forget about the fingernail method of opened a split ring, it never quite works in the field and you’ll soon end up with a V-groove crack in your thumb nail. Important: When making or buying haired trebles, smaller and longer tufts are far more affective. I see a lot of homemade and even production bucktailed trebles that carry a huge gob of hair, as if more is better. Not so. Such a gob takes away all the sashay of the plug’s tail, often presenting the dreaded gob of weed-in-tow look. I’m not sure why but red tying thread seems to work best with bucktailed trebles. If you use a final drip of epoxy on hair and thread, make sure it is fully contained near the wrapping. When the epoxy runs too far onto the tailing bucktail, it can stiffen the sway and steal the motion.
Day rundown: Slightly larger bass found a couple spots today. Tom W. had one in the 35-inch zone, taken on his brand plug (TW). M.S. had his first keeper of the fall, taken at sunrise before work; filets went to highly thankful folks at the office – I’ve noticed the same thing when I put striper filets in the work fridge and leave a message that they’re in there. The race to grab them is fairly hectic.
Fishing overall is slow to very slow. However, I’m getting that sense that something is about to break loose again; right for the weekend. Hmmm.
Holgate happenings: Access is pretty much through the tides, though this batch of wind could (before tomorrow’s westerlies) could mess up the entrance near Refuge signs. The heavy rain today will finally pack down the beach sand, helping travel on the front beaches north to south. Back cut and mudflats still heavy with whatever the hell those fiercely biting things are. I know I’ve referred to them as chiggers (from the meadow grasses, a prime chigger habitat) but I also had a doctor tell me it could be something far more dangerous, namely a type parasite related to bird feces. I had heard that theory before but couldn’t find any details on such parasites. Still, the way those bites form pustules, fester and finally itch to the point that every bite/infestation must be scratched until a wicked weeping wound develops is even a bit beyond chiggers – though not by much.
The fluking around Holgate is beyond frustrating. In a 20 minute period yesterday Stu and another fellow caught 10, almost everyone of them keeper-sized including a 5-poundish doormat. And just wait until next year. The season will likely close before we even get to Holgate (Sept. 1).