Hey folks, thanks for the insight, but sorry for "disappearing". I've been a bit tied up getting ready for a 2-week trip to USVI and setting up my AOW diving classes.
This is the first that I see people have recommended I dedicate my BTL II 8000/Penn rod to bait casting duties. Since my first post I did go and make use of a $10-off $50 Dick's coupon and picked up several popular striper/blues lures after reading several lure recommendations elsewhere on the web:
Bomber A-salt - blurple (bought on ebay for $0.14 out of pocket)
I spent $48 at Dick's on:
- Daiwa Mag Darter(F)
- Acme Kastmaster 3oz with single hook + white buck-tail
- Jettycaster 2oz
- Atom Striper Swiper 3oz
- Tsunami 6" Swim Shads - Bunker pattern
I also picked up at my two local tackle shops for around $12-$15:
- Pell's Hi-Lo rig with Gami hooks $2.99
- 3oz diamond with green tube $2.99
- Jersey Coast B&T (2) fish-finder rigs in one pack $2.99
- extra fish finder snaps $1.99
- (2) 18" 30# black coated wire leaders with wire clips
- 3, 4, 5oz pyramid sinkers (1 each)
I also have a pack of Eagle Claw Lazer 8/O hooks from the NJ Catch & Release program (these were free).
I went down to my beach's dock one night 2 weeks ago and practiced casting and playing with the Mag Darter, Kastmaster and Bomber. I had two schoolie stripers give chase to my Mag Darter, but no bites - there were thousands of small worm-like organisms swimming around under the lights, so I'm sure the larger fish were gorged. I was able to toss the lures about 50-70 yards with a pendulum type of cast - I was on a dock with moored boats behind me, so didn't have room to cast like I would at the beach.
I experimented with the lures to get a feel for how they worked. It was pretty cool to see how different reel and rod actions produced different swimming effects on the lures. They at least appeared enticing to me
Once I get back from my USVI trip in early June, I intend to get back out and would be happy to meet up with any of you forum folks. I've been mostly mentored by a guy I work with, but am obviously open to the advice from others.
So, given my current "kit", I suppose based on the recommendations so far I should shelf most of the lures and throw fresh bunker/clam - catch on that before moving forward? I presume the only lures I could play with for blues and stripers would be the metals, Bomber and Swim Shads (hoping a Blue doesn't take half of them off, but I purposely went with the larger size to hopefully allure larger stripers.
Once I plate some blues or stripers, then I'll look into fluke rigs. From there, unless otherwise suggested, looking into a second reel/pole dedicated to working lures.