Tag Archives: striped bass

Hermine Diary from the East End

This blog post should really be called making the smallest adjustments, because that is what this really is about. But then again that does not sounds as sexy as Hermine Diary from the East End
Besides, everything we do while surf fishing depends greatly on making very small, calculated adjustments

20160904_083931Some people think that i don’t have much between the ears and that’s fine. Over the years I’ve caught fish by sheer perseverance,  dumb luck, by getting info from friends and many other ways that had nothing to do with my skill or ability. But this morning was different…and I don’t care what anyone says….. I feel a story coming up so grab a chair and cup off coffee..lol

2 30 AM Packing a truck for a run to Montauk. Not taking a single plug with me. A belt with Boga, pliers, Pork in Rockhopper Pork Rind holder and a pouch on a belt with bucktails of assorted sizes and leader wallet. That is. Plugs stay homeP1010056

5 AM pulling into Montauk lot. Jesus , is there enough trucks in the lot? Looks like an October morning!!! I put my wetsuit on in the upper lot not to bother those that are sleeping and got back into the truck. I don’t like the wind speed, I thought (was hopping) it would be more. Too many people in lot make my decision easier. South Side it isP1010053

5 30 AM on the south side. Not a single dude fishing. Zero, nada, zilch..wait…I am wrong, there is a faint light in the distance to the west. Doubt its a surfer, this wind is not what they crave (It turned out to be Bill Wetzel)

5 45 AM  Surveying the water. Not really enthralled with what I see but its not bad either. Its Good but I was expecting GREAT. Tide is at bottom and its going to build as tide comes in. Big , clean sets of white water…yummy. This is just a personal thing, but I would rather catch small fish in that mess than 30 pounders on pencil poppers and flat water. Don’t ask me why, I am weird that way. When NE goes hard I cant concentrate at work, I cant eat, I cant sleep. All I want is a bucktail hanging off my rod and pork rind.

6 30 AM Tossing 1 ounce bucktails in that crazy water. So far I managed 4 fish but I was expecting more……a lot more. But I will take it. A lot of long faces in the lot and pent up excitement. Fish have been few and far between is what I hear. Guys are starting to get on the rocks around me. Why did they wait after sunrise to show is beyond me? Maybe they are coming over from the North side ?

7 AM Still staying with 1 oz bucktail. The water is still low and you really cant work anything heavy over shallow reef yet. Then I see birds on the other side of the reef but big waves are obscuring my vision. No one has picked up fish yet in the water that looks like it should hold million, make that gazillion bass. Waves flatten out for a moment and I clearly see few fish rolling on the reef in the foam….problem is they are too far for my 1 oz bucktail. I replace it with a 1 1/2 oz Magic-tail buck and I take a Fat Cow Jig Strip which I sliced in a half lengthwise yesterday in preparation for the trip. Its narrowness cuts down on wind resistance during a cast in conditions like this, yet it still gives a jig a little flutter. Instead of diagonal casting I fire up a cast straight, and I hook up almost instantaneously.  Then I do it four more times. No one else is hooked up….20160904_181725-1

Now if you think I have a super-duper long distance rod and reel…you’d be wrong. I do not use 11 rods any longer due to some health issues. What I do use most of the time is and I did yesterday is a 10 foot Century Noreaster and VSX 250.To me a great combo but most 11 footer ill outcast me. I probably had the shortest set up of anyone there. So it wasn’t my rod, it was the adjustment on bucktail size and trailer. I saw one fish caught all morning (and when i got home I hear of one fish under the light, one on north side and one on Shag on a chunk, so basically a disaster of a day considering conditions). Granted, these fish could have just blew up in front of me and I was the only one that had a shot. In no way, shape or form do I in any way disrespecting those around me. All I am saying it that if I don’t make adjustment I do not catch those fish (probably same thing happens if I sleep past sunrise too)

8AM Hanging with Mr Wetzel and his customer. Always a pleasure. I actually asked If I can take picture with the legend. Bill is good people. Yes, he was annoyed that I was in his “spot”….lol…people like Bill is what makes Montauk great! Like The Professor or Jack Yee before him, he becomes a fabric of a place. The hardest Working Guide in The Business P1010060

9 AM in Montauk Bake Shop getting some jelly croissants for wife and kids. Line is insane but I wait and swat at bees in line. Cant come home empty handed now! Eating my Greek yogurt and cup of fruit while driving and looking at jelly croissants….20160904_084010

11 AM Not a stitch of traffic!!!!! I am in my basement doing Bulgarian Squats, presses,pushups and God knows what else for almost two hours. Wife comes home with THREE, count em’ Three  Tri-Color Cookie Donuts from Lynbrook Bakery !!!!!!!5503

I kid you not. I have a plum and a yogurt and hit the shower.Watching what you eat sucks.

Yes, there should have been 800 fish there for all to catch instead of 8. That water looked that damned good as it was flooding. The north side, to me did not look good or “big” enough yet. By Monday it should. Will anything change? I am not sure, water felt piss warm but if bait will find their way in the surf so will the fish. Good luck to all of you out there and please be safe.

2 30 AM Sitting and writing my thoughts. Time to hit the surf one more time before we say goodby to the weekend. Please be safe out there.

List of winners, ASMFC and other stuff

Let me get to the winners of past week giveaway. All winners, you have 5 business days to contact us with your shipping address at info@surfcastersjournal.com

First, we got three winter of Gibbs Pro Series Lures

The first winner who will walk away with A Pro Series Rainbow Canal Special 3.5 ounce Pencil Popper is medic6973@gmail.com

The Second winner will get a Pro Series Black Scale 3.5 ounce Glider is irenedana@verizon.net


And a third winner gets for his entry a Pro Series Yellow Canal Special 3.5 ounce Pencil Popper is Typeonme@aol.com


Very nice, congrats to all winners and thank you to Gibbs Lures for making this possible. You can check out their entire line of lures at http://www.gibbslures.com/

Next, winner of halloween Super Strike Scary Needlefish giveaway is Sbass50@aol.com

Congrats and thank you Steve and Don Musso for making this possible too. you can check out Super Strike at  http://www.superstrikelures.com/

2014 FB halloween

Speaking of Halloween, I hope many of you have managed to get out on the Holloween at some point during that wicked NE wind. There was good fishing to had from Montauk down to Jersey. Real good fishing. How do i know? I read it on FB like the rest of you 

Funny how we came from a sport that was on “need to know” basis for what seems like ever to one when every bite in on FB before the fish is landed. lol….If you remember Continue reading

Win a Halloween Scary Super Strike Needlefish

Happy Halloween Everyone !
Over the weekend we’ll announce the winners of Gibbs Lures giveaway but for today we got something special from Super Strike Lures
Steve Musso asked me if I wanted to give our blog readers a chance to win one of two of these special Halloween Super Strike Needlefish lures he made and I said does bear sh*! in the woods?
The second one Steve is giving away on his Facebook page. Of course if you are their fan on FB you should enter there too.
So here is your chance and we’ll make this short and sweet, both giveaway winners announced on Sunday. new issue is coming ip as is John Skinner brand new book release and yes, the powers that be decided that 1@ 28 coastwise is the right approach to managing striped bass.
Enjoy your Halloween, if you got little ones, soak up that excitement. They grow up too fast2014 FB halloween

Guppy Lures…yes we have them and yes, we will give you a chance to win them

Every year, once the holidays are passed, I hear the same thing. My friends complain about shows being boring, that show is too far to drive to, this one has lousy speakers, and on and on. Granted, I get engaged in this conversation too on occasion. But then I thought about something else..

Few years ago I went to Asbury Park Fishing Club annual Flea Market. I will be first to admit that I don’t know many players in this industry (that non-social thing rears its ugly head once again). Yes, I been invited to many pre-show parties and even more after show dinners or drinks. I have yet to attend one. Call me silly but I love getting home, as fast as possible once the show is over.

This might have been my first year at Asbury. This was in the days before SJ and during the time plug craze was raging. No one really wanted books, all they wanted was plugs, plugs and more plugs. So instead of just being ignored at my table I walked around and got to meet Ray Smith, bunch of NJ plug builder and one guy that came down the Jersey all the way from Massachusetts. That fellow was Wayne Hess, maker of Guppy Lures. Continue reading

Win a Heavy Needlefish from Super Strike Lures

I hope you enjoyed watching the video we featured yesterday on the blog. John truly is one of a kind when it comes to explaining how and why things work. Too bad his background as a Brookhaven National Lab scientists prevents me from putting a GPS under his truck and finding out where he fishes. The last thing I need is the boys from Homeland Security at my doors…lol

And no, I am not hiding that delicious looking Commando Cube Surf Bag…ok, I am . But I will give you a chance to win it in a day or two. What a way to get into a New Year Continue reading

Dreaming of other places

I don’t know how your fall is but mine is just an awful continuation of the last year’s one. No, wait, last fall had some good moments. This fall…I am still waiting. Few decent tides with Silver Fox that resulted in lots of small fish in Montauk. Locally?  I won’t even bother. It’s not for a total lack of effort either. Yes, I do fish a lot less these days but how can you not? Friday night I went out for an hour to Jones Beach only to find a chocolate milk looking water and no fish. Saturday I drove east and tossed live eels after seeing my partner nail a nice fish. Live Eels? Me? Holy crap, it’s been at least 5 years since I cast one. To add insult to injury we went back Sunday with live eels again and I got skunked again. About $100 in gas, 300 miles on my truck and not a bump. My friends didn’t do much better either. Yes, I know a spot where there has been a good bite. Yes I know its crowded to the point people are getting into fist fights. No thanks, I am not that desperate. What I am jonesing is to get my ass back to Cuttyhunk in spring. Many of you have read about our trip and emailed me about details ,info, logistics. I hope some of you went and had a ball.

Those of you that are catching, send us some pictures in for our STRIPERTHON 2011 contest


You know what we should do ?

 We should book the whole place (all 8 rooms…lmao) in the spring for a weekend and grill till we can eat no more. Then we should hit the rocks and nail some slobs. Have like a SJ Invitational Cup weekend…the dude with biggest fish wins some cool prize,..or you can hop in water and revieve your cow like Chef Andrew is doing this spring at Cutty


Hey, you get to hang with us, we get to tell our wives we are “working” on promoting magazine….:-)

who is into it ? …lol

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Tell us about your no-so great moments

As we are getting ready to unveil issue # 9 of the Surfcaster’s Journal Magazine, I want to throw few things your way.

First, we are still looking for your contributions. If you have a desire to write, please contact me at info@surfcastersjournal.com and tell me what would you like to write about. We are open to any ideas and your kids will get a kick out of it 🙂

Second, Scott from Hansom Tackle, maker of fine Hansom Pliers had a very good suggestion and I think a lot of you could get involved .

He suggested we ask you, our readers to give us a short story along the lines “It could only happen to me” thing. Did you ever ripped your waders on a rock, got a hook in your hand, caught your biggest fish on a dead eel, drove to Montauk without your rod, broke your rod in the basement, pee in your waders (wetsuit don’t count..lol)…You get my drift. We want to hear from you about a mishap that you endured and that our readers will get a  kick out of.

So email me and tell me a short version of your story…looking forward to hearing from you. God knows I endured more mishaps than many of you think is humanly possible..but this is not about me. I want to hear from you.

Here is a video from pictures featured in William” Doc” Muller’s new book, Surfcaster : The Ultimate Surf Fishing Guide, available at your local tackle shop and Amazon.com



Summer thoughts from a Guest Blogger

We told you before that if you guys write it, we will feature if we like it. We look at this blog (and magazine) as more of a community effort then us trying to reinvent the wheel

Today ‘s blog post is courtesy of Jason Gribschaw

Enjoy it

Zeno Hromin

You may have put away the snag rigs, pencil poppers and large metal lips, and some of you may be taking a rest from the surf, but others are still on the hunt. 

If bass is the only quarry you seek, I feel sorry for you, but if you must, keep at it.  The bays are still loaded with the little buggers, and if you hit a tide well, you can enjoy a night of catching.  Inlets and finger jetties will also hold our striped friends, but I don’t think they will be coming up for plugs all that often.  Bucktails maybe, but if you truly want to hook up with some summertime bass, dig up some crabs or sand flees next to the jetty and go to work. 

The crabs are more difficult, and I have never used them as bait, but sand flees are just as productive.  Personally, I love distancing myself from the gang fishing the pocket, and I have done best flicking sand flees into an eddy and letting them swirl toward the bottom.  Remember, summer bass are rooting around in the sand next to the rocks, digging up crabs or sucking them off of rocks, so when a tasty sand flee drops in front of them, it is like a sautéed mushroom that accompanies your main course. 

I am sure there are other tactics that will work, (eels, traveling north, hopping on a boat…) but let’s not forget about all the other fun fish out there waiting to tug on your lines.  Fluke, tautog, triggers, kings, scup…are all invited to dinner at my house.  Just want to have fun?  Skates, rays and sharks are at your feet this time of year.  Last but not least, crabs, clams, and if you are good, lobster could be on the menu. 

Part Two

Normally I would be spending as much time as possible on my kayak, picking away at fluke this time of year, but instead, I have been spending much more time on the beach.  Being from Philly, my home waters are along the NJ shore, but the same will apply to the north, just as well as it does to my south. 

So we head down in the dark, when it is nice and cool, and if the waters are calm we have two choices, or we can pull a double.  The bay cuts will be your best option for fishing, and you can find a plethora of the usual suspects hanging around the feeder creeks and cuts.  If you are a go getter, you are often going to have to do a bit of wading to get there. 

Since you are wet, why not swim across that small channel to the flats and open up another world of fishing. 

Once on the flats you will find one of two things, open bottom (sand or mud) or eel grass, and both have their advantages.  Personally, I like eel grass, but if you are in a bay area with sod islands nearby, open bottom is just as good. 

What do you expect to find?  Well, first of all you will find the same bait fish that are present along the sod banks that you were stalking when you were high and dry (minnows, spearing, needlefish…), but you will also find plenty of crabs as well.  Up on the islands you have your hermit and fiddler crabs, but out in open water, the blue claws are to be found. 

I particularly like crabbing the flats at night with nothing but a long handled net, a strong flashlight and a bin.  While slowly walking around with the light on, you will spot crabs on top of the eel grass and open bottom, and they are easy to scoop up at night.  During the day these same crabs are buried in the sand or hiding in the grass, so the birds do not get them.  At night, their main worry is the fish and me. 

The best part about crabbing this way is you can automatically tell if the crab is the size you want and can often tell by the claws if it is a male or female crab.  The jimmies will have blue claws and the female crabs will have orange or red claws. 

As you are walking around, you will come across many smaller crabs swimming past that you would normally pay no attention to, but in the calm of night, you will be aware of every slurp and splash that happens for a good distance.  That noise was most likely one of those smaller crabs becoming our striped friends’ night time snack. 

Houndfish are also abundant in the bay this time of year, and they are easily recognizable when they appear.  The odds of hearing a bass surfacing and getting a glimpse of it are rare, but the houndfish will make multiple jumps across the water, as if someone skipped a stone.  A quick turn of the flashlight, and the silver ghost can be spotted for a second or two, before diapering into the night. 

To target these fish I have often thought about hooking a crab and letting it drift behind me, but the better tactic would most likely be with the fly rod.  When I crab I often use the kayak, and on the next trip I will be floating a fly off the back.  If you are on foot, you are most likely going to have to pick one or the other.  The best option for being on foot would likely be a backpack and just stick the rod in it, letting the fly drift around behind you as you scoop up crabs.

Spaghetti chronicles part 2

The monofilament snapped right above the swivel and the big bluefish fell in between two rocks. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the swell building and I was aware that within seconds these rocks will be under water. I also knew that although the fish was jammed in tight, once the water floods the rocks it will lift the fish and it will be gone. Which was perfectly fine if my favorite bucktail was not attached to its mouth!

I drooped on my knees and lounged for the tail. At the same time the wave came over me, almost sweeping me in the drink. I managed to get my hand around the base of the tail and I just held on to the fish  with one hand while with the other hand held a death grip to a rock. My left flip flop came unattached and it was gone, never to be seen again There was really nothing to do but to wait till wave receded. I was already soaked from head to toe, almost shoeless and crouching in almost fetal position. Finally, the wave abated and I scurried back to the top of the rocks carrying what still was an very angry fish.

For some strange reason I felt victories. Yes, I lost flip flop to the seas but I managed to save my lucky bucktail. After unhooking the chopper and tossing it back into the water I tied on a fresh leader, clipped on a bucktail a made a cast. A smarter person would have quit while ahead but I didn’t…but I should have.

The whole point of me coming here was to test the reel but instead the monofilament, or my lack of familiarity with its properties  after fishing with braid for years, because the overwhelming factor. I was cursing out loud as I tried once, two then three time to set the hook while the rod and monofilament acted in unison to crate strech-o-rama. Unfortunately for me ,these blues were big and they weren’t going to left my incompetence prevent them from hooking themselves. I said unfortunately because next thing I know is I had a fish on and then all I had is slack. The bluefish  swallowed the whole bucktail and cut the line instantly. So much from going through all that torture to save a special bucktail…

Now I was pissed and often the upset mind does not make good decisions. After attaching a new leader I decided to cast a popper instead. Not often will you get a chance to cast a popper no more than 20 yards and have gigantic bluefish explode on them. With that in mind I clipped on a Guides Choice Popper and cast it ahead of the rip. Only working a popper with mono proved even more challenging then working a bucktail. The darn stretch in the line, coupled with cross wind made working the popper almost impossible! Try it as I may, I could not get a popper to “pop” properly. Not that the fish cared as it lunged at the lure as it was racing across the surface. Although the Guides Choice popper is not a small lure the big bluefish had no problem engulfing the hooks and half a lure. I instantly with my right hand tapped the place where my Boga Grip is hanging of my belt and cold sweat started to run down my spine when I realized I left my Boga in the truck.

Oh boy, is this going to be fun, trying to land a teen sized bluefish , on the rocks, in the swells, almost shoeless, without a Boga Grip and with two sets of trebles imbedded into its mouth. As I stood on the rock ,enveloped in the fog I pondered what my options are. Breaking off the plug on purpose is not an option. Maybe a single hook that would fall out of its mouth , but two sets of trebles and a lure? I looked at the swells and tired to time them to see how many seconds are in between sets and if they are coming in sequence. I needed any edge I can get under the circumstances.

Of course I said few prayers to good Lord, hoping he would make the fish come unbuttoned and save me from this ordeal. But I am sure he had more pressing matters to attend to

By now the moon tide was almost at peak and rock I just stood on few minutes ago lading the fish was underwater. I decided to just play the fish into the rocks and then lift it onto the rock I stood. The big bluefish was tired of fighting the swells and current and she came is surprisingly well behaved. Until I grabbed the line…

I use short leaders with short rods and I couldn’t reach far enough to reach the leader. So I did next best thing and grabbed the line. Bad idea! Two head shakes and the line popped like grandmothers dentures when she bites into an apple. There goes plug number two…

I’ll spare you the details and only tell you that I lost another two plugs before I went home. Yes, 12 pound mono on the rocks with one flip flop and swells is not something I’d recommend you try. But I was there and these fish were big. And hungry. Needless to say I came with right stuff the next evening on a same tide and got skunked. And the next night, and the next night. Consistency has not been my friend this spring that is for sure.

Anyway, back to my original point of writing this. Monofilament. Jesus, anyone still uses this for plugging? It’s like fishing with a linguini wrapped around your spool. I found it impossible to work the bucktail the way I wanted. Granted, this has a lot to do with habits and use of braid in the last decade. I know plenty fish were landed on mono for years before braid came on the scene. But if I had to go back to monofilament for lure fishing I could envision a lot of missed fish…a lot.

I made some changes in last few years. I gave up on super duper surf tops for a simple Grunden splash top. I am back to using a two piece rods instead of custom stick. I am back to taping my finger for the first time after using a glove for casting for years..but mono for plugging? I don’t think I can.

Now I have to admit that I prefer 40 pound mono for chunking, even if I toss bait infrequently. I never warmed up to increased sensitivity when using 12 ounces of lead and a half of bunker. I feel the mono and the fact it stretches actually helps me when allowing fish to swallow bait…because if I can feel the fish instantaneously with braid…it means it can feel me too….and I didn’t like it. Plus, the 40 pound braid is so thin the backlashes which happen to me more than any other person alive are a major pain in the ass. Some people say, use a 80 or 100 pound braid instead, you’ll like it. Not my thing but neither is mono for pluging

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