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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 09-25-2008, 07:37 PM
poppop153 poppop153 is offline
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Default Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

Mr D,
I have read that one should look for "structure" and other Bass attractions. What exactly should I be looking for.

Thanks,
poppop153
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:36 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

We writers make too much over structure as though it was easy to find and identify. Often there is nothing to see,nothing to call "structure". That is why we find beaches that have it so interesting because it gives us a starting point. In general, the greater tidal fluctuation/exchange there is, the more readable bottom configuration forms. For instance Nauset Beach usually has collections of outer bars, some holes and some sloughs that lead to the holes that we can try to read as bass highways. Some years, the sum of a season's weather and winds, it is a straight beach with nothing to sink our structural teeth into. A seawall or jetty; an outflow from an inlet; an island; a bar would all be examples of structure. While they are interesting and provide a starting point, there are many lack-luster beaches with nothing to see that can knock your socks off. Even they have the most important character in the structural play ? the edge of the surfline. Welcome, your first post and a good question to boot. Love those .
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:52 AM
LKB3rd LKB3rd is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

I try to "think like a fish" when I read water for holding spots. I want food, and I want to conserve energy. I look for places where bait will be easy to ambush. Moving water will sweep bait around, and since most of them are small and weak, that gives me an advantage (I am a 34 pound striper btw ). I want a place to shelter myself from the moving water, but close enough to where I can swoop in and grab the little suckers when I see them. I will prowl around rocks and reefs, because I know that crabs and small fish like to hang out there and hide in the seaweed, and structure of the rocks. I will look for holes in sandy beaches where I can hide from the surf, and ambush bait when I see it.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:11 AM
Reelangler Reelangler is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

On DelMarVa, the structure is so "soft" or faint at times that I will watch the shoreline for changes in the beach. I look for cusps and points on the beach and then look more closely. Sometimes a large deposit of shells washed up in a particular spot will give me a hint. Just because I found structure, doesn't mean the fish are there. I try to move to another location if nothing happens in an hour or two (bait fishing). I have learned that the more you are out on the beach, the more you learn. We improve with age like wine. Right Frank?
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Old 09-26-2008, 12:02 PM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

I look for seams and edges. They can be the edge of the breakers, to a subtle texture change on the surface of flowing water, to where the rolling waves crest and break delineating a drop off on a windblown flat.

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Old 09-26-2008, 01:19 PM
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ragman ragman is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

Go to the home page, and read the articles about "Reading the Beach", pretty informative What Fishtank posted is also good. A few years ago we met on the beach and fished a couple places like he described. I didn't get anything, but he did well after I left...
Frank,
Remember that place I told you about at IBSP that didn't have any remarkable structure, but usually produced? Did a little looking back, and there is a wreck buried in the sand just off the beach from the 20's or so nearby. Maybe that what draws them there. It sure isn't the soft structure in the area...
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:00 PM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

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It sure isn't the soft structure in the area...
But bait sure does like to stack up in the troughs, sometimes, when it's there...

Just because there's no breakers doesn't mean the soft sand doesn't undulate in cross section, meaning holes and mounds.

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Old 09-26-2008, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

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But bait sure does like to stack up in the troughs, sometimes, when it's there...

Just because there's no breakers doesn't mean the soft sand doesn't undulate in cross section, meaning holes and mounds.

Hank,
I think we are talking about different places...Think south about a couple miles from where we fished...
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:17 PM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

Oh, I was think'n about the square dune area a few falls ago, where the water flowed through the trough, and a long shore rip was created at the head of the bar. The bottom of the trough was like 1'-2' potholes, at ebb hi that was under 5+' of pretty mellow water. When I waded through it, the potholes where filled with 2" spearing.

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Old 09-26-2008, 02:27 PM
Alex G Alex G is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

[While they are interesting and provide a starting point, there are many lack-luster beaches with nothing to see that can knock your socks off. ]

One such example, in my view, is the Race Point. Although it is considered by many an excellent fishing place, you are looking at a couple of miles (maybe less) of a non-descript sandy stretch of a shore. What structure? Where? And, as you say, you can't really see anything from where you are unless you hire a helicopter. When I came to fish there for the first time, I had no clue where to make my first cast (I have to admit that I am still not clear abt it so I usually try different spots).
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:27 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

Alex,

I have no idea what you expected to see, but the stretch you are talking about is one of the most beautifully structured beaches in the world. It has deep water, coves and points, rips and bars.

If you would care to join me some time, I will gladly point out why the beaches at and around Race Point have provided some of the best striped bass fishing on the coast.....before the seals took over.

CL
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:40 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

You know, someone should start paying Al Bentsen for hanging around here, because he posted something a few months ago that has stuck in my head, and to my mind is one of the most informative and succinct pieces of advice a surfcaster could ever get.

To paraphrase: structure can be anything. It could be a 2-foot depression, a tiny jetty, or a series of puny hills in the water. Anything to break up the flat, featureless plain of a beach. A small bar and a slough might not seem like much when you're at Race Point or Sandy Hook, but if you're on a beach where there are no other features, these little variations might hold the keys to the golden palace. No change in structure is too small to merit closer inspection.

Look for any kind of change in topography, and investigate. It's worth doing.
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Old 09-26-2008, 05:04 PM
Alex G Alex G is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

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Originally Posted by Cap'n Bigass View Post
Alex,

I have no idea what you expected to see, but the stretch you are talking about is one of the most beautifully structured beaches in the world. It has deep water, coves and points, rips and bars.

If you would care to join me some time, I will gladly point out why the beaches at and around Race Point have provided some of the best striped bass fishing on the coast.....before the seals took over.

CL
I expected to see just that - some kind of a structure. When you approach the water on a beach such as Race Point, you usually have no clue abt the depths for instance, unless you have fished the place long enough and know it in and out. I fished at Race Point probably ten times altogether and I certainly do not have an eye as sharp, perhaps, as yours. Race Point's coastline is not terribly curvaceous compared w/ other beaches. I hope to be there next year in late August-September and if you're there, perhaps, you can give me some pointers. As for the seals, they seem to be everywhere - Race Point, Herring Cove, Longnook, Ballston, Coast Guard, etc., as well as on the other side - Great Hollow, Fisher Beach, etc.
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Old 09-26-2008, 05:33 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

Alex,

Here are a couple of clues.....there are many others.

Look at the beach at low tide in daylight.....check the slope of the sand between the high and low tide lines. That will give you insight as to the depth of the water there. The color of the water is another tipoff.

At Race Point, there are times when you could wade out ten or fifteen feet and be in over your head.....at any tide.

CL
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Old 09-26-2008, 05:38 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Spotting structure and other Bass attractions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Garrity View Post
You know, someone should start paying Al Bentsen for hanging around here, because he posted something a few months ago that has stuck in my head, and to my mind is one of the most informative and succinct pieces of advice a surfcaster could ever get.

To paraphrase: structure can be anything. It could be a 2-foot depression, a tiny jetty, or a series of puny hills in the water. Anything to break up the flat, featureless plain of a beach. A small bar and a slough might not seem like much when you're at Race Point or Sandy Hook, but if you're on a beach where there are no other features, these little variations might hold the keys to the golden palace. No change in structure is too small to merit closer inspection.

Look for any kind of change in topography, and investigate. It's worth doing.
Chris,

Al's advice is right on as always, but I don't think he was talking about the Race Point beaches, or any on the Outer Cape for that matter. The Provincetown and Truro beaches are anything but featureless.

CL
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