Hitting the motherload of bass Part I

Murphy’s law states that “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. Zeno’s law is a little different. It says “If you fish with flip flops on a jetty eventually you will get your ass kicked”

Where do I begin….From the start I guess

I have a great relationship with all the rod builders. St Croix people have always been great to me and that is why I decided to fish with their stuff most of the time. They do understand the position I am in and that I have to fish with rods from other manufacturers. You guys know we don’t write about stuff that we don’t try and I mean, really put to the test. We have had a pleasure of fishing with CTS, Century and writing about them. Those are great rods. Tommy is currently testing a Fiberstar nine footer that Lou the Rod Guru built him and so far from what he tells me, he is loving it. So “testing” at SJ really means testing, not taking a PR sheet and adding few words of our own.

If anything, we at SJ get some criticism of being too vs/zb oriented and not featuring lower priced models. I don’t think that is fair criticism because after you do this for twenty years and you have settled on your favorite set up, you not going to go and buy a 100 dollar reel. It’s just not going to happen. So we write about a stuff that we own, stuff we know. But although most SJ columnists and writers fish with what some people would call hi-cost rods and reels many of our readers are looking for more affordable choices. Not only that, and specifically when it comes to rods, some of the lower priced rods on a market today are in my opinion as good or better than some higher priced sticks from other manufacturers.

Anyway, back to my crazy night. Now, keep this is mind. I suck at fishing and when I have a twenty pounder I tend to call it at epic night. If I had two fish in the twenties I’d call it incredible. More than that it probably gets moved up to top of the list, other than birth of my kids, wedding day and other family stuff. To have almost ten fish over twenty pounds is…well, you put a name to that one. As Barney Stinson would say…… legendary ?

Saturday night FedEx truck dropped of a looooooong box in front of my house. I been waiting for a long time for these rods. Very long time. Before Sandy I spoke to St Croix and asked them to provide us with some new Avid Series surf rods for us to test. At one point they were out of stock, then Sandy hit and everything went to shit. I don’t need to tell you guys what happened. I did not wanted rods to be delivered in January and sit in  a garage as I knew I could not fish them till May. Yeah, we are anal about putting stuff to use immediately.

I opened the box and I have to say I was a bit smitten. I’ve seen these rods for a brief second at the show in the fall. I know everyone was making fun of them being a red color and I thought, if everyone is saying it must be the truth. And then I read it on  the internet and if it’s on the internet it must be the truth!

The honest truth is, these damned rods are sweeeeeet. Dark red, almost metallic finish got me as soon as I opened the box. I could definitely see myself fishing with them. Unusual, yes. Ugly? Hell no. Deep, dark red hue, candy apple red will make you better half believe that you actualy are not color blind as you claim when she askes ” you want to go shopping for a wall paint”DSC_2224

I took the wife and kids to see  Gatsby on a weekend. Around ten o’clock, after my wife went to sleep I went to the garage, debating whether to go out or not. I was out the night before with a seven foot Legend looking for a weakfish but struck out. Badly, I mean not even a bump, under perfect conditions. I was hesitant to do this again. I looked around the garage for a reel to match with a Avid 9 footer (AVSS90MMF2  1-4 ounce  ) and decided to “borrow” my son’s ZB 22.Hey, he was sleeping or probably studying for something anyway. That child spend more time in a month in his room ,head over his books then I did in all my years of schooling. Which weren’t many and that is why my friends, I am in construction. 🙂 I thought this set up would balance well and I was right.DSC_2228

This story will take a while to put down in words and I feel a need to explain few things. First, I have not used anything bigger than a seven foot St Croix Legend this year. If you are reading this blog you know that I have been in an excruciating pain from elbow tendinitis for the last 9 months. I am petrified to make a cast with a long rod. The nine months of therapy, the cortisone shot, icing the elbow, cream, nothing worked so far. Setting a hook and fighting a fish is as painful as casting. So I was a little hesitant to use a nine foot rod to begin with. And I have not used anything other than bucktails this year other than one trip to North Shore in April. Its bucktails all the time. Tactical Anglers pouch on my belt, a dozen or so bucktails, jar of pork rind and few leaders in my pocket. That is it. No plug bag, no wood or plastic lures, no trebles.

I did not wanted a repeat of a skunk from a night before so I decided to head out to the Fire Island  inlet on the south shore of Long Island. This particular pile of rocks attracts a very diverse crowd. Some are fully geared up , some are in sneakers and jeans and yes, sometimes I even show up in  flip flops.

This night I decided to put waders with felt bottom and jacket with belt over it. Why? First of all it was almost midnight. Second, I can barely see anything without glasses . Third and the most important was it was low stage of the tide. If I hook a fish I would have to go down on a slippery rocks to unhook it. You just can’t lift fish with a  seven or nine foot fairly light rod onto a rock. But the chances of me hooking a fish are slim so I decided waders and felt instead of stocking foot and Korkers.

I hated those rocks, they are slippery as hell and no one really ever stands on them. When you are on them you are wishing that you have your Korkers on. After you scurry up to a dry rockS, you wish you don’t have Korkers as you are sliding on dry rocks like you were on the ice. Last year I fell in the broad daylight on a dry rock with my Korkers busting a Legend, Penn Torque in two pieces and my wrist. So yeah, I am not stupid, I have my reasons why I do things. Ok, that one is maybe open for discussion but it’s my blog and I am sticking to it.

I arrived at this rock pile and found it deserted. Not surprised at this hour. I would have been surprised if I found someone there to be honest, Saturday night or not. I walked slowly but freely on the dry rocks, unencumbered by a large surf bag that usually hangs off my shoulder or Korkers.

I attached a 3/4 ounce white bucktail and a 240s red/white pork rind and made a light cast. I did not know how my elbow was going to react to casting a 9 foot rod. The Avid felt nice in my hand, almost like an old friend. I have to give props to people at St Croix for designing such a great lines of rods last few years. I retrieved my bucktail and made another, longer cast. My elbow did not like it much but the pain was bearable. I let it sink for few seconds then retrieved slowly, while lifting the tip  so slightly every few cranks.

BAM !!!

WTF is this , I said to myself? Big Blue on steroids? Line was pealing of the ZeeBaaS in a hurry and the rod doubled over under the strain. I looked at the arched rod in the darkness and got to feel its full strength. This rod had balls! Now I stared almost in panic looking where to land the fish. I slid on my ass to the rocks at water edge but almost flew off it into the water when trying to make quick shift with my feet on the mossy rock. Calm down , I keep telling myself. No fish is worth your life. Now I had a fish close to the rock and I illuminated the water with a light. I’d prefer not to use a light here but that is because with Korkers I can get onto the rocks in the water and land a fish with no issues. Without Korkers I was way too high on the rock to land a fish. I will need to use waves to “lift” the fish onto the rock or at least in the vicinity where I can grab it

Begrudgingly she came in, not before giving it one more spirited run. Waiting for the right moment, just as waves were about to rush in, I turned her head and she planed on top of the wave between the rocks. Twenty two pounds read my Boga! Man, that feel good, the fish, the rod, the whole night. After getting skunked the night before this was satisfying.

I released her in the water and climbed back up onto a dry rock and made another cast.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then it got really crazy !

Part II coming tomorrow

12 comments on “Hitting the motherload of bass Part I

  1. mike

    Awesome Z this makes me wanna skip work and fish NOW!! lol Love your storys makes me feel like im there!!! CANT WAIT for Part II!

  2. Tony F

    Glad you found the rock pile deserted. Its been waaaaaaaaaay too crowded for me even at 1am. Nice fish and story. Waiting to hear the report on the Fiberstar rod.

  3. Trisser

    Z, have you ever tried reeling with your right hand to relieve the stress on your elbow? If you cast right handed you have to fish like your using a conventional reel but it takes a bunch of stress off the elbow by not holding the rod all night then putting a lot of strain on it when a fish hits. When you catch a fish there is plenty of power in your arm to control it with the left hand and your sore elbow never feels it while your reeling because the reeling hand takes little abuse when fighting a fish (drag does the work). I had to switch to this method when fly fishing because my elbow and forearm were killing me! The thing that sucks is VS and ZB don’t have reversible cranks so you might have to find a reel to try it out before you commit to the method. I do this fly fishing but haven’t switched for spin fishing yet because I don’t want to replace all my reels.

    Just a thought.

  4. harv

    you fall as much as i do lol but at least i fall when the waves hit me on slipperry round f rocks at montauk . u saved me by collar jeez


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