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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 07-16-2010, 11:56 PM
tenaciousdugal30 tenaciousdugal30 is offline
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I consider myself to be a greenhorn when it comes to the surf. I've caught stripers. I've gotten better at catching stripers. The problem is, where I'm from everyone goes to the Hudson in the spring. Theres something about pulling a fish from the water in Troy NY than can't compare to watching a stripe splash the surf in P-Town. I don't know if it's just that there arent any local sharps, or if I just haven't stumbled across another idiot that drives clear across the state to get skunked, but theres no one around here to talk linesides. In your striper 101 book, Striper Surf, you mention sitting in a bar, green as far as I can gather, having an old salt draw an inlet in beer on the bar, teaching you about "falling water". I'm on my own, and I do the best I can. Some trips are great, some are bad. Other than this gentleman with beer artwork on display, could you reflect on your greener days? It'd be nice to feel like I'm on the same page for once!
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:02 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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I caught my first striper around 1948 when I was 12. We used to drift seaworms off the Warren River bridge in Rhode Island and take an occasional bass in the daytime. It was 16 inches, legal then. We had no clue what we were doing and were certain that stripers did not hit at night because it was dark and they could not see your worms .

I'm close about my age because the next year I had a girl friend in Warren and must have been around 13 the next year.
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:41 AM
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Around 1960, when I was 24, I was in charge of making selections for spots where our new secret -- outflows -- could be utilized. I won the season pool with the largest striper -- 4 1/2 pounds! Four years later I got my first 50+ which I didn't know they got that big. A 52 in an outflow!
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:16 PM
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Montauk Surf Montauk Surf is offline
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Default Re: Green

Just about everybody is green compared to someone. Especially, regarding geographic locations. In the beginning the learning curve is steep and that is what is most exciting.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Montauk Surf View Post
Just about everybody is green compared to someone. Especially, regarding geographic locations. In the beginning the learning curve is steep and that is what is most exciting.
Yes, but you don't know it at the time and you feel overwhelmed by all the things others seem to know and you feel you will never get there. One hold up in your progress is all the BS you have to wade through -- dumb tackle shop propireters, phoney experts, strutting uncles who don't know which hand to use. Who do you follow? Whose advice has not already been through the horse?
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Old 07-24-2010, 07:14 PM
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The main problem is that surfcasting is very "clickish". Those who really keep on top of the latest best action and techiniques never disclose that infomation to the masses (for reasons discussed many times over..e.g.: "spot burning"). A new comer to the sport is really left out in the cold.

For all the bad things I have said about the Fisherman magazine (actually only one..frequent grossly exaggerated reports)..I would recommend a newbie to buy a subscription to it. The articles are 99% about local species and current techniques. There are a few that consistently write outstanding articles (Muller, Golofaro, Raguso for offshore..). But just about all authors know fishing to a level where someone who knows little can still learn. The people who run the magazine are not just businessmen but actual fishermen..that helps!!

The book Striper Surf is very good because it takes the reader from basic to advanced levels.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:03 AM
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i don't see surfcasting as 'clickish'. maybe that's a newbie perception. surfcasting is a loner sport for me, i don't want anyone around and i tend to stay away from the crowds. while there are interesting fishing techniques to learn and use most anywhere, it's the local fish habit and bottom structure that one hasta figure out and understand. still, a fish finder rig and and good bait is hard to beat under most conditions - better yet if at night, at the right time of year, with a good moon and the right water. lots depends on what ya wanna put in, and get outta yer fishin'.
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:37 PM
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My experience is more with MOntauk Surf -- clicqeish. Early 60s when I used to go into Murat's tackle shop in RI, they did two things: First, everybody shut up; Second, they all looked at each other and rolled their eyes. No matter what you said, they were looking for an excuse to stick ya. It is one thing to be a googan, which I was at the time, but that don't make you impervious to insults and derision. I never forgot those bricks. ..... And they know it.
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:45 PM
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that ain't cliqueish, that's nor'east redneck. more'n half of 'em couldn't catch a cold let alone consistently bring home the bass. i learned early on, in the 60's, to avoid those kinda maroons.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:43 AM
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They are probably everywhere. Eventually I joined a striper club with those guys and as I learned the surfcasting ropes I began to realize how insecure they could be. One never landed a bass over 20 pounds because he always broke off; another "expert" didn't know what to do with a conventional reel. When I caught my first fifty they didn't believe it, so I brought in my second fifty and let them weigh it . Once these Cape fishermen realized how good I was doing in RI, they followed me, then went to sleep in disgust (because RI lacks the luster of Cape Cod) and I showed them my third the next morning. When my first article came out in SWS in 1970, one of them said he was going to have his wife write a story too.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:55 AM
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while it takes more than a few things, doing well in fishing (or hunting) requires committment coupled with knowledge, first and foremost. most of the braggards don't walk the talk. i have no time or patience with phonies.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: Green

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
My experience is more with MOntauk Surf -- clicqeish. Early 60s when I used to go into Murat's tackle shop in RI, they did two things: First, everybody shut up; Second, they all looked at each other and rolled their eyes. No matter what you said, they were looking for an excuse to stick ya. It is one thing to be a googan, which I was at the time, but that don't make you impervious to insults and derision. I never forgot those bricks. ..... And they know it.
That's exactly what I'm talking about.
Not to knock tackle shops...but...I found out from an inside source that the best sandworms are picked out of the flats and sold to the inner circles
The average Joe is left with allot of small, scrawny worms

I would tell any newbie to surfcasting that if you pull up to a parking lot and address a small band of smiling and laughing surf fishermen returning from the beach with a friendly "How did ya' do??". And the chatter quickly gets silent and hushed..

Your answer from them will be "Nuthin'"...

Then get your chit ready in a hurry and start pounding the surf!
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: Green

The fix is in on everything from worm quality, advice, eye rolls, secret handshakes. Work or play, the world is a buddy system. The worst manefestation of that is "the enemy of my friend is my enemy", which is everywhere. Bait shops may be the most dangerous places on the Striper Coast.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:30 PM
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That's right. That's one of the reasons I believe in self-education. Buy a few striper books, subscribe to the Fishermen,..you can even pick good stuff from the internet.
Then through your own experiences you can see what works and what doesn't.

When you are seen frequently on the beach..those in the know most likely will accept you as one of them. And then you really start to get inside information. A loner fishing the beach cannot compete with the catching of someone of equal fishing skills but has access to the resources and information of a small group. Especially, in this day and age of cell phones and great amount of lures and products.

Note: I used to be in one of those groups (fish 4-7 nights per week during the season)..but am a loner fisherman these days because of work/lifestyle.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:00 PM
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I think there are ways of preventing victimization from the masses. We learned this on the Cape once we saw how often privacy was violated -- you fish here I'll fish there, and we'll compare notes tomorrow. You tell the truth and he lies. You also have social connections out there over which you know nothing about. If you have a problem with Charley, all of a sudden, there is one with George. Soon, you come to realize that relationships are so woven on the beach that you seek fishing with no part of the relationships. Not that you want enemies. You just want no one to have access to any of your vulnerabilities. The less relationships you have, the less complications will confront you. Just shut up and fish.
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