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ALB31 02-05-2005 03:08 PM

Dubbah in response to your request for addition rigged eel information, I don't haave any idea what Frank showed you so I can't comment on it. However in 1992 I wrote two chapter,s for Bill Muller in a book "Secrets of Night Fishing"on rigging eel,s. In it I explain the whole process with photo,s. I know this book is out of print,but you could probably get a copy from Bill. He can be reached through the Long Island Fisherman. He is still a very active contributor to this magazine.

John_P 02-05-2005 03:20 PM

Hi Al,

[personal note]

John P here. I just got my computer back after being down with a virus. Anyway here you are! My wife told me you left a msg on the machine at home with a new ph#, but someone must have erased it - I can't find it. Pls drop me a line when you can and give me that new number.

Hope you are doing well.

ALB31 02-05-2005 04:44 PM

Frank mentioned heartbreakers. If your at this game long enough you will have a few. I'll start with one back in 1955. I was in the coastguard stationed in San Juan P.R. I only mention this to set the scene. Down there I was fishing for and catching jacks from 20 to fifty pounds and tarpon to fifty and losing the really big ones. All this was done from the shore in San Juan harbour. In other words I was in good shape to go on a 30 day leave and fish for striper,s...This was September and the start of the mullet run. My first night I went to Long Beach long island with my good friend Paul. We started to fish the jetty,s from Troy ave.east with rigged eel,s. We hit a couple of bass in the teen,s to 27 pounds. I went to the Ohio jetty and Paul to Minnesota. The conditions were ideal no heave the wind light southwest,tide dropping and a nice chop on the water this was after dark about 9PM. I was casting a large eel about 18 inches long. I got the hit on my third cast about 30 feet from the stone,s.the fish just kept running against a 4 washer drag in my Penn squider.I had 200 yards of new 36 lb.test ashway nylon line. As the reel started to empty and got close to the end of the spool I grabbed it and my 40 pound test leader broke on the far end....I reeled in all that line and was completely rattled.There weren't any scraping,s on the 10 foot leader that would indcate a shark had it across his back... chapter 2 next this story gets better..

DeeJay 02-05-2005 05:12 PM

Originally posted by ALB31:
However in 1992 I wrote two chapter,s for Bill Muller in a book "Secrets of Night Fishing"on rigging eel,s. In it I explain the whole process with photo,s. I know this book is out of print,but you could probably get a copy from Bill. He can be reached through the Long Island Fisherman. He is still a very active contributor to this magazine.

"Secrets of Surf Fishing at Night" is listed in the current Surfcaster catalog for $11.95.

Dubbah 02-05-2005 10:44 PM

thanks Al, DJ

Frank Daignault 02-06-2005 11:50 AM

Can't wait, Al. That old Ashaway line was okay in its time, but we wouldn't tie up a roast with that stuff today. Even the white gold is out of style now. These guys love you, Al.

ALB31 02-06-2005 02:51 PM

Chapter 2. On the second night My friend Charlie and I went to long beach. When I told him of the lost fish he gave me a squidder spool with 300 yards of new line on it. We both went to the Ohio jetty. Conditions and hour were identical too the previous night. After a few cast,s I nailed another drag screaming fish on the eel. He didn't want to stop and with a quarter of the spool left I tried slowing him down with my thumbs. It worked he stopped and I worked him back in. When I got half the line back he stopped buried his head in the sand and tried to rub the eel off. It didn't work but he got his wind back and took of on another long run. I turned him again worked him back to about the same spot and he started the head rubbing trick again. He couldn,t disloge it so he took off on another long run and parted the leader where he frayed it in the sand. The next day my friend ran the spool of line he gave me off on a line dryer and told me the fish went down about 240 yards on his runs...The tackle I used was identical to the outfit I had in San Juan for the tarpon and jack,s and I never got stripped of line. Another point Ive had bass do the head trick before and I landed them. Its something they might do in shallow water. So to this day I think this was one big striper....I had a good week in Long Beach with bass to the high 30,s... Then a hurricane was heading up the coast creating a heave and we went to P-town on the cape. If you read Frank,s hurricane we did the same cow catching. We had filled the willey,s truck up with bass to 44 pounds until we thought a spring would break. Most of them were over 35 pounds..That was at the race and our first night on the beach....In case you doubt the story Charlie can be found working at Truro real estate route 6 Cape Cod.

Doug M 02-06-2005 07:35 PM

Al great to see you are online.I fished with you at a certain point late at night by one of the bridges You turned me on to beachmaster plugs which I swear by now.I appreciate that you shared many of your cape stories as well as your knowledge with me.That point did not start working for me until mid november this year.To any of you guys following this thread let me tell you that the mold is broken and long gone for guys like Al.Hope to see you out there in the near future.

On a side note.After I made the trek to flushing to that tackle shop you told me about.I picked up a bunch of the largest beachmasters they had.The first time I get to use them I landed a twenty something pounder on my first cast on a 5" rubber shad.I am psyched that there are quality fish around.I decide to put a behemoth 10" BeachMaster on.first cast and BOOM.A whopping 20" Bass.

Hope all is well

Doug MacLean

Frank Daignault 02-08-2005 03:25 PM

The stories from Al are all good. What I love is that the fish sizes are realistic. So often the Old Guard thinks we want to hear all fifties talk, when in fact there were never that many fifties. Even in yore, any season, or five seasons for that matter, when you had a fifty, it was memorable.

NiftyBruin 02-08-2005 05:08 PM

Yes, excellent story!! Thanks for sharing that.

Hope it's not too late to ask: Do you ever add weights to the front of your rigged eels to get them down and is there any other time you will switch to plugs over riggies other than when bluefish show?

ALB31 02-08-2005 09:39 PM

To Ragman I never fished New Jersey. It's just too far and too much traffic for a trip from Long Island.

To Nifty Bruin at times I do add weight to the head of a rigged eel when I need to get it down deep. I do this with a 9 inch piece of solder one eight of an inch thick. I wrap it around the head hook behind the eye of the hook. You can also wrap one around the belly of the hook where the shank is.

Im giving this advice asumming you rig an eel the way I do.

I have switched to plug,s over the eel if there is too much weed or if it.s breaking daylight. I'll use a surface swimmer. A Jointed one that looks like an eel or a surface swimming Danny. They usually don't pick up much weed and they are great daybreak plug,s. Of course there are times you need a plug for a long cast or when you have a big wind in your face... With the new line I don't have to switch to a heavy plug often.


ragman 02-09-2005 11:07 AM

You sound almost like Mr Smarty,with the traffic answer... I have never fished eels,but in regards to the jointed plugs,do you think they are better than a solid one? Does the back section move more,imitating the way an eel swims?Like I said,I never fished eels,just curious.

reelfisher 02-09-2005 12:08 PM

Al - Thanks for sharing that story with us. Its just like reading one of the stories from Frank's books which I have also thoroughly enjoyed. I've been fishing for many years but so far have very little experience in the suds but I now have more time available than I used to and plan on rectifying that problem

ALB31 02-09-2005 12:35 PM

Ragman To answer your question I don't think the jointed is better than a solid plug. But at daybreak it can produce better than a solid surface swimmer. The plug I use has the silhouette of an eel,but the action is to erratic to resemble a swimming eel. I think it,s got to much action. But mr.bass and blue love it.

RWNYC65 02-09-2005 03:19 PM

Well, guys... You've drawn out a "lurker" here as of course both of you are Legends to youngin's such as I! Not at all "Net friendly" myself, but I do/ will confess to passing Winter boredom sometimes On- line (now that my tackle is all '05 ready!). But beyond hellos/ kudos to you too..

Al, like you I'm a NY'er, & a surf- nut/ 40 yr. old version of you guys! Big Bass is all I chase/ seek... & I too range far & wide, esp. by modern standards. I too will be fishing in Sept. in Montauk... catch all rat Bass & blues even on an overnight while throwing big stuff... THEN hop in the car after breakfast, catch the Ferry to New London, & be casting by Midnight again at Watch Hill, Pt. Judith, or if conditions/ timing is right, bypass South County (and the Canal) & head straight to my most beloved Back Beaches! That I FIRST learned of through Franks' writing... but then got to experience the absolute "Magic" that goes on there, from the years of 1995- 2002. Early Septembers through almost Hallowen: anytime the wind wasn't blowing hard East w/ swells-- I was there, between Nauset & Truro, catching like never on Long Island! (Montauk #'s of Bass... but WAY bigger average size!!)

But, guys: you're right about things there coming "full circle," and as I'd expect no less, you DO have things figured out even for today! Both the "right" Cape approach for modern times, for those still going... and even the marked downturn that has obviously happened to the (Big?) Bass fishing there (from the Surf at least), the last 2- 3 yrs., that I personally fear will not ever come back! (One NY'ers opinion!-- read on!)

First, you're right: my method of choice that worked best (compared to others I'd meet/ talk to) during my Cape highlights from that time period above, you seem to guess/ grasp well! FORGET driving the beach anymore (for multiple reasons I'm sure you can list!)... FORGET Race Point entirely!... NEVER fish in crowds!!... ONLY use a car/ "regular" two- wheel D. vehicle, & park & walk into the "right" lots at the "right" days/ times/ tides, etc., & to the right/ exact spots/ structures you know already is there waiting... NEVER fish daytime-- and NEVER miss an hour of darkness, nor the dawn... ALWAYS sleep daytimes-- when traffic on Rt. 6 is an issue, & beaches are crowded, etc. This I did!! It's not an approach that would work for everyone-- not for 98% of Casters, really-- but I've had good Masters/ Teachers/ role models (many I never met, but read, or know of!)... & now 30 yrs exp. chasing Cows from the Surf! So, let's just say I feel I can read ANY beach, or spot, or inlet, or rip, through the eyes of a (big) Striper... even IF somewhere far from home, for the first time! Finally: I can't here get into ALL my successes then... SO many 35- 50+ Bass nights, where nothing was under 12 lbs! (biggest generally 28- 32 lbs.)... But: how about JUST my very first session ever fishing Cape Cod? I had never been North of Pt. Judith before, & now me & my friend bravely drive 6+ hours, & check into the Motel in Eastham at approx. 4PM on one early Sept. afternoon in 1995. Forget resting: I convince him to come w/ me to try a Sunset session "cold," with no scouting: we'd just show up to an easily found & "famous" beach/ lot at dusk, & start casting & see what happens? How about, on his FIRST cast, my ultra- novice friend hooks & lands (with my help!) a 23 lber! Final tally for a 3 hour session: 5 Bass to 26 lbs. for me, 3 to 23 for him! (& many more lost/ never hooked up!)... If this was my start... imagine the next 6-7 years, when I finally learned first- hand the beaches/ structure/ patterns/ terrain! (Ah, memories!!)

But: though there are MANY theories as to why the fishing for big Bass-- AND the #'s too of "mediums"-- has tanked severely the last two years dramatically... to ME the reason is SO obvious! (& Frank hit it!). 8- 10 years ago, all Fall season long I'd see/ encounter maybe 2-3 Seals total, in ALL my Cape Fishing! (countlesss hours over 2 months!), & all toward late- season/ colder water temps. (mostly October)... and this MOSTLY in Chatam Inlet, specifically/ really. Then by 5 years ago, Chatam Inlet was unfishable already, there were SO many seals hangin' out there!! (And now I was seeing them on Coast Guard Beach too, 20+ miles North?), for the first time! I gave up on Chatam... & continued to do very well from Nauset to Head of the Meadow... THEN, 3 years ago, I noticed them as far North as Newcomb H., & growing rapidly in numbers! FINALLY... now the last two years they are EVERYWHERE on the Backside, up through High Head & beyond-- in AMAZING #'s!!-- and they're HUGE!! (the size of cars, or vans, many/ most!) I don't want to hear any "expert" tell me that even big Bass are OK/ fearless around these big seals! (and, even IF they were NOT afraid-- no way can they compete for food w/ them!)

OK, you're thinking, "SO, Mr. NYC 40 yr. old smarty... HOW do you know this/ that the Bass have left the beaches now that Seals have arrived?" (& that they cannot compete?) WELL... let me tell you about my ONE dawn Cape "Blitz," from this Fall '04 (Sept. 20th or so...)

I'm casting at this particular Back- beach (Eastham area), an easy walk from my car, from 2AM 'till dawn, totally ALONE!, and without a hit! (though I'm expecting much... & now puzzled... as this is my 3rd fishless stop tonight! Despite "ideal," proven Cape conditions...) Even though it's now False Dawn, & I'm now switched from an Eel to throwing a big Metal Lip-- still not a sign of life/ fish! I'm now starting to think about packing up, & my giant breakfast waiting for me at the Fairway!, WHEN I notice pods of bait-- medium size (herring? NOT Sand Eels!)-- breaking/ dimpling the surface. No bigger fish/ splashes, but now baitfish like raindrops are dancing on the otherwise calm surface, for acres in front of me! I'm now casting a smaller, 2 oz. Lex Baby Bunker Metal- lip, expecting a tremendous strike ANY moment, but nothing! And-- still no splashes/ any signs of fish... THEN: as if a starting gun went off: no fewer than 15- 20 GIANT seals start tearing up the water in front of me! (only 5- 12 feet deep over the bars I'm targeting, & that they've now cornered the bait against!!), with some coming almost clear out of the water chasing prey! You can imagine the commotion/ splashes!!

Yes, it was an awesome sight, & memory!! BUT: the next day at 2PM (after a few hours sleep), I drove straight 4 hours to Pt. Judith, & never returned to the Cape the rest of the Fall! Did well on #'s of Bass-- not size-- in Rhody in Sept. & early Oct... then NY/ Long Island the rest of the way was very good-- not great 'till mid- Nov. though... All paid off when I had 125 Bass in three days from the East Hampton/ Montauk surf just pre- Thanksgiving... all on plugs/ artificials!... including 75 Bass to 27 lbs., on my best day of the three (while dropping at least 2 MUCH bigger fish! PLUGS!!-- love 'em, but hate 'em, for landing big fish! Even WITH VMC trebles!-- as all my plugs have-- but that's another story!)

Guess that's all my verbose way of saying "hi" to you two legends!... & letting you know that your example & teachings & passion live on in the "Top- rods" of today who emulate & respect you! AND, to confirm your suspicions, THAT you're not missing anything much on the Outer Cape the last two+ years! BUT-- BOY did you miss the "party" from '95- '02! I'll write THAT book for you, some day to read-- hopefully you'll be as glued to it as I was to YOUR memoirs/ recalling the "Glory days!"! And Al: just because I'm mostly an Artificials/ wood guy, doesn't mean I don't appreciate your Rigged creations! Just always wondered if you'd use them AS much/ often, if in the rocky/ sticky terrain, & ripping currents found such as at Montauk... AS much/ often as you do/ did from obstruction- free Sandy beaches?? For this very reason, I've always considered the Cape "easy Fishing" for big Bass... as compared to Glacially formed / "bony"/ Rocky places such as Montauk, Watch Hill, Nobska, Block, Sqibby, Gooseberry, Ocean Drive, etc.?

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