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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 04-15-2018, 09:48 AM
SALMONMEISTER SALMONMEISTER is online now
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Default "Touchdown" fish

No, I'm not talking about fishing during football season. What I'm referring to is how some fish slam a lure as soon as it hits the water or as soon as the reel is engaged. The fish that have done this to me were bass and blues hitting small plugs or those soft Sluggos and Hogys. I think the small commotion at touchdown gets their attention, but I wonder if a huge plug or bait landing may actually scare a fish. Maybe a big lure landing calls them in as long as it doesn't hit 'em on the head.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:06 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

I think that if you were able to hit a blue on the head he would be ticked off enough to kill your offering.
This instant hookup phenomenon seems to happen when there are lots of fish in the area competing for bait. They both can cover a very short distance much quicker than we think. One thing that happens often enough to me to warrant a plan is letting the plug sink all the way to the bottom, first movement after that and bam. Discovered it with a line issue and a SS Popper. Started doing it consciously as a plan with bucktails. When you think about it, not very different from jigging on a boat.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:42 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

Not being the first to answer, but I will respond anyway: I think subtle noise gets the fish's attention. I know that fly fishing there is a lot of slap from picking up the line for the next cast and it does not scare the fish; I have often thought the slap actually calls fish in. I know pikie fishing the thing hits the water like a cinder block and they love that plug! Can also throw a big swimmer out there, let it lay still for a full minute, then give it a mighty splash and let it lay there and bass will blow it up.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:13 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

I have not been on a boat in a while but the last time I was out fishing live bunker off NJ the captain was telling us to throw the bunker higher than seemed practical to make a big slap and stun the bait a bit. It worked well.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:24 AM
Rmarsh Rmarsh is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

I see this happening a lot where i'm fishing. When bass or blues are on the feed, I doubt that a splashing lure would scare them, it gets their immediate attention, so just before my lure hits the water, I make sure the line is on the pickup, no slack. If they do hit it while you are busy taking up that extra line or just closing the bail they could spit it out easily with no tension on the line to help set the hook... but most likely a few cranks of the reel and they are on it again.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:33 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

Fly fishing, which is about all I do these days, when a fly caster picks up for the next cast there is a noisy splat of the fly line and I think it gets their attention. I do know that subtle noises like the fly line splat does no harm. Now if you throw a ight on the water it scares the sheet out of them. Even then they often come back, but who wants to wait around?
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:10 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

I had a eureka moment with a worm imitation, and another with a hopper. Hung them up in a bush on the opposite bank. Spent a few seconds jiggling them to free them. As soon as they hit the water they were engulfed. The trout were dialed in to the commotion and waiting. First one scared the hell out of me. Second one was lightbulb time.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:50 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

For years I walked the banks of a trout lake at night watching and listening. Trout would lurk near the bank waiting for ants to fall from the trees.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:19 AM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

Not quite "touchdown" but a bit strange. The schoolies are all over the west end of Long Island and our gang of locals has a spot. Yesterday I started the evening throwing a Daiwa SP swimmer to see if the fish were looking up. Very top of the cast..first 3-5 cranks you got hit regularly. Nothing any closer.
Changed the swimmer out for a shad, and also tried a bucktail. This opened up the whole retrieve for catching. A bit strange but I can only guess the shad / bucktail was followed from the top of the cast ?
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Old 04-25-2018, 10:24 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

Guess? Welcome to surfcasting for stripers. I have spent my life guessing when I wasn't laughing at the guesswork of others. Commonly we have no idea why things happen the way they do.

Remember that sound travels well in water. You are not going to plop' stuff into the water silently which might be -- I guess -- why they know.
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Old 05-01-2018, 03:50 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

I had one of these mysterious "touch down" fish last night at dusk. Not big but I would have sworn he watched the plug fly like a Yankee center fielder and grabbed it as it touched down. Always a shock.
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:37 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

What we all have to do is control our mind/imagination in order to separate reality from what we THINK is going on. Most often we are speculating. Just shut up and fish, I always say.
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

I don't try to figure out anything, whatever they want, they get.

I do know that if I get that "touchdown" fish, often times I then get disappointed if it only happens once. Sort of like the first cast, first fish curse. I think we've all been there.
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:45 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

One of the charms of both fishing and hunting is not knowing why certain things happen. Much of it is just attributable to chance. Even in the ball sports -- golf, baseball, football -- its can of aften be just an arbitrary bounce that determines the outcome. In one of my books I tell the story of the woman in RI learning to surfcast who catches a fifty on her first cast during a fishing lesson.
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:28 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: "Touchdown" fish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Daignault View Post
What we all have to do is control our mind/imagination in order to separate reality from what we THINK is going on. Most often we are speculating. Just shut up and fish, I always say.
Also why we occasionally try the so called "won't work" techniques. They are fish and we too often ascribe human qualities to their habits.
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