Figuring out the bite


Of all the lures I use, darters, needle, poppers, you name it, the one style I use the least are plastic lip swimmers. No idea why, it probably has to do with places I fish. Just like most surfcasters, I get carried away with trying to cast the lure a mile, every time….

But swimming plugs are insanely productive lures if used in the right places. Bombers, Yo-Zuri, Mambo minnows, there are literately hundreds of companies making similar lures. Used in back bays, inlets, around jetties, these lures catch more fish than they ever get credit for.

Last night ,I am standing on a local jetty, thinking what to toss first. This particular place has always been bucktail/shad heaven. Yes, I took fish on darter, bottles, and needles but jigsheads rule the roost. So with that mind I started my exploration with a bucktail. After few casts with no result I switched to a shad. Now, you know the deal with shads in early May. You might not be catching anything but as soon as you toss a rubber, the bluefish appear out of nowhere. But not last night…strange

Yet I know bluefish  were there….how, you might ask?

 Maybe I have a special clairvoyant vision. Maybe my vast years of experience tells me the exact location where fish are at any point. Maybe my new prototype WileyX heat seeking shades let me see under water…

Or maybe its because I seen two dudes with Kmart rods carry half a dozen bluefish of the jetty as I was walking on…lol

I peaked in my bag at darters and bottle daters but they weren’t really suited for this part of the jetty. They were fine for the tip where small rip formed but here, at midpoint of the jetty, water was moving too slow to make them effective.

I grabbed Guides Choice Old Swimmer and attached it to a clip. This is a lure I heard a lot of good things about last year but with that sand eel bite in the fall, I really did not give it its due. But it’s on my radar to be used this spring because I like the action a lot. I like the hardware too, top notch from split rings to hook to wire.

How does it cast? Like most plastic lip swimmers, not bad and not great either but for the places you will be using them, it casts fine. As I reeled up the slack I did not expected a bump and I missed the fish. Darn! On two consecutive casts following that one I missed the fish again. What is going on I said to myself?  I even checked the lure to see if maybe I left protective plastic sleeves on the lure. Hey, I’ve done it before, but not hooks were free and razor sharp.

The hits were weird. Almost like those annoying bumps you get sometimes from bass when they are nudging your lure but not committing to hitting it. But I doubted they were bass. So on the next cast I speed up my retrieve slightly and presto, I was in. Spirited bluefish, thin and long ate the middle hook. After sending it on its merry way I decided that I did not wanted to be bothered with treble hooks and switched to a bucktail but received no love. I debated on using a shad, sacrificing it to fish Gods in the name of a bump but decided against it. I rotated trough some lures, small atom from Lordship ,small darter from Choopy and even tried a small Danny from 515 Engineered Lures …nada.

I moved to the jetty tip and started tossing darters, bucktails and yes, shads. I haven’t got a bump in 20 minutes and I needed something to keep me interested. The rip seemed devoid of life. I looked into my bag and took inventory .,.darter, check, bottle, check, metal lip, check, needle check, bucktail, shad, checked..the only think I didn’t toss was a Guides Choice Old School Swimmer on the tip. But again, this water can be fast and I always prefer to use plugs better suited for it…imho opinion of course…and you know what they say about opinions…they are like……well, you can finish the sentence

With nothing to lose I tossed the Old School Swimmer into the rip and was surprised when my rod doubled over. Small bluefish again, and again on the middle hook. On next half a dozen consecutive casts I either caught or missed fish, all fish were caught on middle hook ( a post for another day) which is a bit unusual for bluefish.

Now you can say that I got lucky and bluefish just showed up at the precise moment I tossed an Old School Swimmer and I have no evidence to tell you that you are incorrect. But it might be that the bluefish preferred that type of profile and action which in all honesty was different in size and shape than any lure I tossed last night. Hmmm…more question than answers

This is what makes fishing fun…trying to figure out why you are catching fish. What else you are going to thing on a jetty all alone at midnight? Are those things   Burke Burke carries around real? What is Chupacabra?

Guides Choice Old School Swimmer will remain in my bag for now, I need to do a lot more research before it earns a standing invitation to accompany other warriors on all trips. But so far, very promising…

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11 comments on “Figuring out the bite

  1. Moses

    Agreed a good morning read. Well,z I guess they were fixated on one type of profile. I’ve seen guys throw everything in their bag and chunks but nothing.the bass were stuck on rain bait and ignored everything else.
    Tight lines Zeno

  2. CTmatt

    I have his oldschool in bunker/black and his Bunka Boy in yellow and blurple. The better then average casting of his oldschool not to mention top hardware and nice weight for the profile will make those lures come in real handy this year. Now is the time of year i will start using them. Killer action!

  3. Jason

    Bombers may be the number one lure for NJ jetties and the closer to the jetty you fish them the better. I personally use a hand carve that I make compliments of SOL user “The Greek” and it is one of my most productive lures. About 7” long and narrow, with a Colorado blade lip. It gets the job done.

    It is funny you mention the middle hook sticking blues. they must have had a convention, because Saturday I had a bunch of bluefish 12-18” that all hit the belly treble instead of the rear single hook.

  4. Terry Farrell

    I got a Bunker Boy a couple of months ago. Love the action on it .It really looks like a bunker in the water. No fish on it yet though

  5. richtrox

    I use bombers a lot. They’re a simple, cheap plug that catches a lot of fish. Like Lou, I think the rattles help, especially in less that clear water.

  6. Mike

    I read this and it always reminds me how much I suck at fishing … if I try 3 “types” (topwater swimmer, diving mid water lure, and Bucktail for bottom) of lures in one area without a bump I move on …. figuring there are no fish there or they just will not bite …… seems as if you may have to cover more bait profiles befor you cover more ground sometimes……


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