Random thoughts

Life before Tactical Angler clips…yeah, I am not ashamed to admit it. I tried clips few years ago and hated them. I couldn’t understand what the hype was all about. One night I lost 4 plugs for no apparent reason. They just slipped off the clips. I am also not ashamed to admit that I possibly tied on the clip the wrong way. This was a long time ago, when only Breakaway and Fast link were around. What really turned me off why when I straightened out a clip on a fish. That was it for me. I went back to Duo Lock and forgot about the clips. Then Crazy Alberto came out with his Tactical Angler clips. Although I love the dude like a brother, I still wasn’t inclined to use them. That memory of losing four expensive plugs in one night was deeply etched in my memory bank.

Then one night I left my leader wallet at home and I need to borrow a leader. Someone handed me a leader with a Tactical Angler clip. Beggars can’t be choosers so I reluctantly cast the cheapest plug I had in my bag, fearful of losing it the whole time. Not only did I keep using the clip but looking back, I can’t believe I been this stubborn and short sided not to use clips before. I have yet to lose a single plug and I have never lost a fish due to clip failure. The eye opening experience for me was an epic night (for me) at Cuttyhunk last year when we bailed cow after cow on rigged eels attached to the Tactical Angler clips. I was always told that to properly retrieve an rigged eel you have to tie directly. I was also told that zip ties wouldn’t work to rig an eel. None of that proved to be true. I know it is difficult to look at any clip and feel confident it won’t fail on you. After all, they look like just a glorified paper clips. Yet they work remarkably well. Certainly there are few lures, tins in particular from some makers which will give you a fits when trying to attach clips to them. The only sane way of doing this is to ad a split ring and then attach the clip to the split ring. But there is no denying that these clips work well, much better than my Duo Lock ever did. I don’t feel the need any more to put on a flashlight at night to change plugs, I can do it by feel. There is no need to make sure that the Duo Lock or Cross Lock is “snapped” in place. But best of all, there is a piece of mind, knowing that they work , and work well. If you hadn’t tried clips, buy yourself a pack and give it a shot. I think you will be amazed at just how much simple lure changing can be. Breakaway clips have been around for a long time but for me, Tactical Anglers is all I will use. They are bigger and stronger than others and it doesn’t matter that Crazy Al is the one who brought them to the market. The only things that it matters is that they work.

on to other things

Occasionally we ask for your opinions on what would you like to see in the pages of the Surfcaster’s Journal Magazine. I am looking for general suggestions, like old time plug maker, history of the sport, how to fish a particular plug and specifics too. Like which person would you like to see interviewed, who’s artwork would you like to see featured or whose spot would you like to see blown out. Ok, I am kidding about the last one. I think we’ve done a pretty good job staying away from specific spots.

I have some ideas, like talking to Ralph Vote from Charlie Graves Lures or some of the old timers if I can get them to cooperate (this for the most part has been a tough nut to crack). Speaking of old farts I would like to wish my friend and local legend Vito Orlando speedy recovery from his wrist surgery. Vito caught so many fish in his life that he had to have work done on his wrist. Or at least that is the story we have heard. All kidding aside, I was just told about it, not sure when he had it done but we all wish you a speedy recovery. The Montauk surf would not be the same place without Vito’s infectious laugh and his zingers that he throws at one and all comers.

So let’s hear it, tell us who and what you want to read about it. The new issue of the Surfcaster’s Journal is only few weeks away.

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17 comments on “Random thoughts

  1. Rob G

    I love the TA clips too – at first I thought they were a bit pricey but then I realized I have been using the same pack of them for over a year. They show no signs of wear from fish or even after having to really stretch them open for certain lures.

    As for topics, you guys have brought a lot to the table so far. Something that would interest me is looking into other local “fishing trip” destinations that are within reach for most Surfcasters in terms of cost.

  2. Dwight

    Hi Zeno,
    Thank you for a great magazine.

    A majority of surf books and magazine articles are East Coast centric. It’s hard for people who live elsewhere to get good information. I live on the Oregon/California border. I love the uncrowded beaches, but it sure is hard to be a beginner in a place where there is no one to learn from.

    I just finished a book that had a chapter devoted to favorite species. It was all East Coast, with the exception of one paragraph about corbina and surfperch.

    I have two objections. First, surfperch are a lot of fun and deserve attention. Second, there are plenty of big fish that come can be caught from the beach or jetty. Halibut, snapper, lingcod, leopard sharks, and bat rays are a few that come to mind, but there is hardly anything written about surf fishing for them.

  3. bunufish

    Need to thank you guys for introducing me to the clips. Haven’t turned back since.

    Topics, I’d actually like to see more photos and artwork in general to match the articles. Any tips on managing swarms of mosquitos in the back areas, aside from spray and mosquito netting? I’ve thought of carrying around a citronella candle with me, but that seemed like overkill.

  4. woodwker99

    I have used clips for years and love that someone actually thought to point the ends a bit to allow for centering of the lures and line.
    As for some article ideas. Id like to see some of the old lures like the banana lure ( by Frech I think)examined and what they might have progressed to over time.
    Maybe a how too on how to Penn/stall a 704, Maybe something on surf reels other then VS, ZB, Stella.What works what doesn’t and why etc… maybe something as to how to really read the beach you know something for neub’s who don’t quite understand. And I think there should be something about surf fishing etiquette. Someone is going to get seriously hurt of killed someday over FISHING if you get my drift.
    Just a few thoughts.
    You guys put out the BEST fishing mag’ and blog. Keep up the great work. I’d be lost without it… not really but it takes up the time when not fishing or maintaining my equipment.(now there’s another article idea Maintenance!!).


    how about doing sort of a bio. on todays plug builders ,like one on ryan smith, don musso , etc. and some smaller builders like john stirpe of the johnny plug and some stuff like that.


    there are a lot of builders we can learn from and they can explain how and why they make certain plugs and how to properly fish their plugs. it could be a nice winter project like a different builder once a week or 2 weeks on a certain night.

  7. Moses

    Hey Zeno.I bought like two or three dozen angler clips thinking that salt water corrosion might eat the clips after a while but to my surprise they were amazing! I haven’t lost one yet and I’ve used the same few that I started with for two years.if you haven’t tried them yet. Give them a try you won’t be disappointed. Great job Al.
    As for topics there have been some great ideas posted here already. I like the old plug builders and wouldn’t mind reading about old surf legends like someone mentioned Jack French. Old school plug builders vs new plug designs. Pros and cons.plugs that were used back in the good old days that aren’t made anymore like the hellcats. Reading the beach,types of structure.
    Tight lines

  8. Zeno Post author

    bunfish…photo’s…major cause of my hair loss. Most of the images you see in SJ are mine. I wish you guys would shot me some pics and say, hey, use it if you need it. Truth is, we depleted most of the pictures I ever took and since I have not touched my Nikon in two years and used video instead..we are screwed. There are only so many hours in the day…I am actually contemplating not fishing this fall at all and only taking pictures, yeah…that bad
    but what will I write about it then ?…lol
    Glad you guys are enjoying the blog and mag…not sure if blog is something we will continue to do in 2012..

  9. woodwker99

    Z! Don’t even think that you could stop the blog. We implore you … it goes hand in hand. We read the blog while patiently tapping our collective toes waiting for the next issue. NEVER stop the blog. you would have to produce a daily or weekly issue to make up for the void.

  10. Brendan

    PLEASE don’t stop the blog! It’s become a morning ritual for me after my 2 hour commute. Coffee, bagel, blog. Mornings wouldn’t be the same without it!

  11. Zeno Post author

    we are bouncing around ideas, that is the most appealing one. You have no idea how much of my time does this takes

  12. Scott Smith

    I really like when you look back at our sport’s history. One author I think is worth looking into is Nick Karas. His book “The Complete Book of the Striped Bass” from 1974 has a great photo of 3 guys in wetsuits in the surf. It reminds me that we aren’t the first. BTW, please don’t stop the blog, I know thats a big request but how can we help?

  13. bunufish

    Zeno, I guess I fall under the same issue, I usually carry my p&s around and not my dslr, and the images are usually of my wife fishing.

    Been taking a look at Catch magazine, perhaps I’ll take a stab at capturing some images of that calibre, been meaning to do that for a while now.

  14. woodwker99

    Z … have Tommy do it…After all , He’s the most interesting fisherman… or something like that…..Keep the blog t-shirts comming to the Hilton show this Sept…lol


    z maybe you could have guess bloggers do a write up about the different plug builders .someone does a certain guy and passes it to you then a different guy does someone else. i guess a friend of the plug builder would be best,maybe put a feeler out to see if people are up for it.


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