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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 08-07-2002, 03:36 AM
 
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Frank, I've been trying to give the eel more active duty lately and I don't know if I'm casting it right or wasting my time. I cast the eel out without a weight and I don't seem to get out as far as I think. I really don't know what distance would be norm and I admit it. I'm no pro. I hear others say use a fishfinder or a 1 ounce egg. I thought I read somewhere that you said no weight with eels but I'm not sure. Some say a short cast and others tell me as far out as you can get it, so you have more area to let it swim as you slowly reel it in, covering more water.
I'm hooking the eel with a Gamakatsu live bait hook,50# leader and the main line is Trilene big game 25#. My rod is a Penn powerstick surf 10 foot MH graphite rod with Shimano Thunnus 16000 reel. Not an ideal combo for eels (weight wise) but fine otherwise. Should I look to get distance or ? Thanks for your help.



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Old 08-07-2002, 03:36 AM
 
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Frank, I've been trying to give the eel more active duty lately and I don't know if I'm casting it right or wasting my time. I cast the eel out without a weight and I don't seem to get out as far as I think. I really don't know what distance would be norm and I admit it. I'm no pro. I hear others say use a fishfinder or a 1 ounce egg. I thought I read somewhere that you said no weight with eels but I'm not sure. Some say a short cast and others tell me as far out as you can get it, so you have more area to let it swim as you slowly reel it in, covering more water.
I'm hooking the eel with a Gamakatsu live bait hook,50# leader and the main line is Trilene big game 25#. My rod is a Penn powerstick surf 10 foot MH graphite rod with Shimano Thunnus 16000 reel. Not an ideal combo for eels (weight wise) but fine otherwise. Should I look to get distance or ? Thanks for your help.



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  #3  
Old 08-07-2002, 10:58 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Hi Jon, The distance thing again. Every now and then I get the feeling that distance is to surfcasting what size is to love. There are always going to be situations where you have to cover the distance to a lacation. As we are shore fishers, that space has to be cast. When that happens, use something else. You use an eel, which has awful aerodynamics, in places where they are close.

People fish eels a lot of ways and some do add an egg sinker but it effects the eel's movement. (I have even seen surfmen bottom fish a live eel with a fishfinder rig.) They will catch linesides inspite of what they ahve chosen to do. As you say, I use nothing and "plug" the eel as it is the best choice. Retrieve is about 1/3 plug retrieve speed. Places like deep jetties, or sloughs, I cast upstream and follow the eel past, winding slow, then live-lineing till it is against the bank.

All places are different but I used to admonish some of the guys in RI for lighting a cigarette facing the water because that bass, her, would be right there ready to take when that Zippo ignited. Big bass don't like fire. I digress.

Ells which are rigged do go part way in the problem. But I can't tell you how to rig an eel or I would have to kill ya. Then someone from Long Island would have to kill me, Jon. We are both too valuable to the world's women to leave just yet. Staizitto!
(Whatever)
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Old 08-07-2002, 01:54 PM
 
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Frank, Thanks for the reply. One would think the eel would dig in when bottom fished. I tried that and the little _______ dug in to something and I had to break my line. I'll just be patient and keep going. Talk to you later.

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Old 08-07-2002, 03:06 PM
jcumella jcumella is offline

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Since The good Dr. answered the orig post... I guess it is ok to chime in here. I may seem to pontificate but I have almost studied this subject and have spoken to many many knowlegable folks on this.

I often read people on various boards questioning their casting distance. The orig poster stated that he was using a Penn Surf rod. That is his (and most folks) first problem. I will not get into reels or line.

While I am a BIG Penn reel fan... mostly because I can get parts anywhere and no one has yet to produce a reel for the surf better than a squidder (well maybe Newel did). I am not a fan of Penn rods or any two piece rod for that matter. The Penn you have is a 2 section rod. Made that way not because the consumer wants a 2 section rod, but becasue it is far less costly to ship and distribute that way. A 2 section rod can not load properly. PERIOD. It can not become truely parabolic... it can not load properly below the joined section.

A good single section rod from a quality blank like a lami, fenwick, or star can load from tip to butt. All that power, that bend if you will, is released on the cast. To me a two section 10' rod is like casting a one section 5' rod. Perhaps there is not a 100% relationship here... but there is a BIG difference in the loading capabilities between the two. Take it a step further and eliminate the rod seat as that adds some weight and stops the parabolic characteristics right at that point which can be 6 inches or so above the reel base which on a 10' rod is a 5% reduction (every little bit counts). You will cast farther with less effort every time.

Go to a GOOD tackle shop and get yourself a lami, a star, a pacific, etc You will see a world of difference. There is a whole science to rod building... more like fine engineering. We all spend hundreds... no make that thousands of dollars over time on rigs, lures, plugs, waders, korkers, yada, yada, yada. Spend your money on a good quality rod that if cared for should last decades.

Some shops offer rod making classees where you use their facilities and tools during the winter months as long as you buy your rod blank and other materials from them.

A last note on eels... my experience has been that most fish I catch using live or rigged eels (deadly striper candy)... my hookups are usually at about 1/4 to 1/2 of the cast on the way in. Since I tend to let my eel swim or sink towards the bottom before starting that slow retrieve... I suppose that I may be over casting the fish? Not sure. But on the rigged eels (I'm from Long Island Frank... so I have license here [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] )is is easy to add some weight inside the eel or around the mouth. Around the mouth I do a final wrap with thin brass line to add some weight. Some guys use solder, others use a rigged eel shoe/hook combo on the mouth which is really a hook with a lead swim plate. Great for getting a rigged eel down there in fast water at an inlet.

Thats my experience... your mileage may vary.


Tight lines,
Screeming Reels,
& Wild Women at slack water!

[This message has been edited by jcumella (edited 08-07-2002).]

[This message has been edited by jcumella (edited 08-07-2002).]
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2002, 05:05 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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No disagreement from me,JC. I was not going to rule on Jon's entire situation but just stick to the live eel part of the question. I have for years said that "Custom" rods are the only way to go with full size surf rods. The big companies accommodate shipping rather than function. Now, for a schoolie rod, take what the big outfits offer.

Loading a rigged eel is a different story, though I admit the digression was mine.
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Old 08-09-2002, 02:55 AM
NFMaloney NFMaloney is offline
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Frank, er, Dr. D,

When I fish eels, I just hook 'em on and fish slow. Some guys tell me to try smacking the stuffing out of them, breaking their vertebrate, to slow them down. I have tried to do just that on occassion, but the buggers don't seem to be affected. And I aint gonna smear my buggies fenders with eel slim, nor am I gonna take too many chances smacking my knuckles on an unseen rock in the middle of the night. Some guys who I know say they fish "paralysed" eels with fishfinders. I say let it move naturally in the current. My 2.5 cents.
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Old 08-09-2002, 08:05 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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It is not a good idea to reduce a live bait to a dead one unless you are going to rig it. I do what you do, cast it and retrieve it. If you are worried about curling, and tangling eels, throw them soft and short a few times and they will usually, usually, calm down. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img] Fish-finders are another show.

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