They are thick..if I am catching

Yesterday I was mussing about fishing up front this time of the year. Now keep in mind that conditions and fishing itself are rapidly changing. Guys in New jersey can have a vastly different bite than guys in Rhode Island. I mean , it can be a BIG difference. In few weeks , all will more or less be the same, the migration and water temperatures acting as an equalizer. But I just wanted to kind of  show you why I write the stuff in my head…

DSC_1176After picking up my kid after he took his SAT test I headed to fish market to pick up two branzinos to grill  for dinner for my wife and I. The plan was to eat around 4 30 because at 5 30 we had to take him to his Junior Prom. Yes, I feel even older now. It was around 1 30 when I got home with fish and I looked at the tide chart. 4PM hi tide at Jones? Perfect. I could shot down Meadowbrook, ditch the truck in weeds, take the bike out of the back and pedal to a sweet little spot just inside the inlet.

I literally had one hour to fish because I had to be back by 3 30 to start dinner. I was stunned when I found an old-timer with a 1970’s Lami rod that looked like it weighs 3 pounds, casting a bucktail with a giant fluke belly instead of a pork rind in the inlet. He informed me that he caught a whopping 10 pound fluke in this spot last night. I thought that he was casting just about 20 yards off from where he should have but I said nothing. Last thing I wanted was to be perceived as some know-it-all jerk-off. I walked to my spot with a 7 foot St Croix Legend and started casting small 1/2 ounce bucktails. But first I had to deal with a wind loop on my vs 150. I swear, this reel is going to drive me @##$%^ insane. My big VS reels, the line lay looks like crap but I never had problems. This thing? It’s terrible with all line bunched up on the lip and if you look at the bottom of the spool it looks under filled. And this is after I cut back 6 times when with Silver Fox in Little neck the other night because of line coming out from underneath on a cast. Oh brother.

Anyway, I was looking for bluefish. I knew that they were not going to be showing, no splashes, no birds. In the spring the feeding frenzy can be so darn understated! Often time in this spot they will ignore every popping plug but they never ,ever ignore a bucktail. Sure enough on second cast I tried to set a hook on small bluefish. I say tried because although “pitching” a cast with a  7 foot rod with my elbow is doable, setting a hook proved to be as painful as hell. Anyway, all the fish I catch usually hook themselves (thank God for that otherwise I would have skunk every night). I landed the blue, released it and cast it again. Bam, another one, almost the same size, about 4 pounds.

I motioned to the old-timer to come over and join me. Obviously fish were in the hole and he did not get a bump yet today where he was. By the time he came over I had landed few more and then the strangest thing happened. Not strange if you been DSC_2217fishing for awhile but to me it’s still one of the most starling things. We stood at water’s edge and I was ready to pull a bucktail out of the water when dark shape rose from the bottom and nailed it. Now the fish is trashing not a foot from shore and it had stripes! I never let him ran and within seconds I had a 14 pound bass on my Boga. I had some thoughts of keeping it but the idea of driving a bike with rod in one hand and bass in the other….no thanks. So back in the drink he went.

We casted for about half an hour. We seen two more bass follow the bucktail right to the shoreline before turning away. I landed eight blues and two teen bass, the old-timer had a bluefish and we both missed some hits. East wind put a good belly in our line and it was hard to set the hook. If I was alone would have compensated by fishing with my rod down and setting hook “freshwater” style , sideways. But with two of us in close proximity, I did not want to take a chance taking his ear off on a hook set.

I started to deliberately under cast in hopes of getting another bass close to shore. He said after few minutes I guess the bite is over?I dont think so i said.  I cast into the hole, counted to four and did a twitch. Bam, bluefish on. He said “you are putting on some show, huh? ” I said no, I just know this hole like a back of my hand. Fifteen years of fishing this hole and getting skunked plenty here thought me where they will be and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhen. The only strange thing was that I would never fish this spot on east win. And it was east yesterday. So why did I go? For the same reason the bluefish will show at every sunset and sunrise this time of the year inside the inlet. It has very little to do with tide and wind. It all had to do with migration and empty bellies.

The last bluefish was much bigger than all others. I grabbed the leader but the leader broke and it swam away with my favorite bucktail in its mouth (Al, if you reading this I need a refill on those Liberace bucktails pronto). For you that do not know, our columnist Al Albano ties some of the sweetest bucktails in the world. I didn’t even DSC_2168ssbothered retying, I jumped on the bike and drove to my car. All I could think of was, I need to get my kid here tomorrow. He would have a ball.

Now that I snapped 3568 pictures of him and his date, I am sitting at home with iced elbow at 1 am writing this and waiting for a text to pick him up from his Junior Prom.

Was it worth the pain ?


Do you have to ask? 🙂

6 comments on “They are thick..if I am catching

  1. Al Albano

    Hey Zeno,

    Thanks for the compliment. I’m shocked you even had any of those bucktails left by now! The amount of tying I do is way down these days. Been working off a stock that i think I tied 3 years ago. But I’m sure I can scrounge up a few for you. Hell, maybe I can find a minute to ties some freshies.

    Nice to hear you got into some fish too. I was in champlain freshwater fishing all weekend. Pounded the smallies, but I’m ready for something that pulls drag…

  2. Big Cee

    I recently had this same problem on my VS150. I was able to solve it by re-spooling by hand, but not in the conventional way. After I had put down the mono backing I started spooling my 20# power pro by hand, by this I mean I was wrapping the line around the spool not turning the handle or winding it on the normal way. The reason I did it this way was to build a ‘hump’ in the middle of the spool. After I had about 1/8 inch mound in the center of the spool I wound on the rest of the line in the conventional way I do it, holding the line very tight and spooling the line on the reel by using a steady retrieve.
    I now have a evenly filled spool, neither convex nor concave, and I have no wind knots. Try it and good luck.

  3. CTMatt

    If you already have a ZeeBaaS grab a ZX-20 rotor and spool and scratch the 150. Use your existing ZB body…problem solved. Then when you need it for out front take 2 minutes to put your larger spool/rotor on. Done. Not sure if you were just testing one or had one for yourself. Line lay is never an issue.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *