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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 01-15-2012, 12:53 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default "Big Bait = Big Fish"

There is a common belief that those of us who fish with big offers, be they bait or artificial, are more likely to cull out the monsters that swim along the beaches of our striper surf. Please reflect upon this for the edification of our members. In other words, is it better to fish with a cucumber than a pickle?
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:00 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

I assume we are talking about Striper fishing. That said, unlike trout or smallmouth fishing, I never really paid a lot of attention to matching the prevalent baitfish for Stripers, unless it was very apparent. More often, we cast blindly....

I subscribed to that theory for years, especially with regard to Striper lures and flies.
In retrospect, I've caught a lot of big stripers on big flies and lures but, I've also caught an awful lot on small baits.

Bill
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:53 PM
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Steve C. Sink Steve C. Sink is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

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Originally Posted by lagoonguy View Post
I assume we are talking about Striper fishing. That said, unlike trout or smallmouth fishing, I never really paid a lot of attention to matching the prevalent baitfish for Stripers, unless it was very apparent. More often, we cast blindly....

I subscribed to that theory for years, especially with regard to Striper lures and flies.
In retrospect, I've caught a lot of big stripers on big flies and lures but, I've also caught an awful lot on small baits.

Bill
BILL----I think you pretty well summed it up. I don't know if anyone will ever know the answer to the question that FRANK raises. I have always targeted big fish---fresh or salt---with my success rate, seemingly on the decline. But, I like to throw as big a bait as I can toss the distance that I want it to go, and, of course I bottom fish. Of the large Drum that I have been fortunate enough to catch, there was no consistency in the size of the bait. But when the little unwanted critters are destroying everything that I throw out there, I put the biggest thing on the hook that I can so that it will last longer. But, were I a Stripper plug fisherman, and being almost totally ignorant on the subject, I would throw the biggest plug that I could find, until I learned better.

MULE.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

There is a spot that Bentsen loved until it was ruined by a zillion people who "discovered it". It had a small rip that was barely visible under most conditions and for the most part, you had to know where to cast to fish it effectively. The "hordes" that found Bentsen there only fished it because they saw him with some very impressive fish one night (8 fish, all over 40 pounds) but from what I saw, they could never do much better than half the size with their plugs. The difference was Al was using 18 - 20 inch riggies..........JC
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

I have caught a lot of big bass over 40 pounds and some low 50s on big plugs and eels. However, my biggest -- a 53 pounder -- took a 4 inch Red Gill teaser. In other words I have available examples that could be used to say just about anything.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:46 PM
Nifty Nifty is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

From my own personal experience: bigger baits catch bigger fish but you don't catch as many and they require bigger casting tackle to make work properly. Small baits get big fish too but are major schoolie magnets and with all the schoolies around now they can overwhelm you.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:33 AM
herefishyfishy herefishyfishy is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

I thought the same thing until I was catching snappers on 7" lures. The treble hooks were bigger then their mouth.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:08 AM
Mark C Mark C is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

My experience has been that big bait (in my case big flys) will move fish when smaller offering will not.

One of my money spots is the tip of a large jetty that flanks an inlet. It’s a dynamic place during an incoming tide I can cast to the left of the tip and work a fly right around the tip and into the inlet without actually retrieving any line.

Things often go stale as the sun get higher unless I throw the largest fly I can, 8 or 10 inch tube flys. I’m always amazed by the fish that appear from a previously dead sea to follow the fly around the corner and by some of the stripers that boil up from the rocks to eat it.

Mark C
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

I've seen schoolie bass, 22 or more inches in the bellies of bass often enough (20 inch weakfish too).......JC
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

"Most" of my larger fish have taken 6-7inch plugs or eels - a few on droppers

A couple things about large plugs:
1. They come with big trebles to hold large bass.
2. You can be sure that bass will be aware that the plug is present - while they may not strike it - they will know it's there.

DZ
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:22 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

Like a lot of things, the "big fish = big bait" axiom is true -- except when it isn't.

I think that with a lot of this, there is a self-feeding mythology going on. Put in simple words: if you live-line a 3-lb. herring, something that is too big for anything but the biggest bass to eat, you're either going to catch zero or you're going to catch big bass. If it's zero, you say The fish weren't there; if you catch a slob, it's Man, I'm so good! Big fish on bit bait! Woo-hoo!

One of the things about this subject that intrigues me, other than the fact that people claim to know more than they really do, is the notion of using a big bait when the fish seem to be keying on smaller things. Take a worm hatch, for example, which most of us have seen: sure, you could fish this with flies, or even by putting a bunch of worms on a hook, but when there are 123,456,789 worms per square yard out there, what are the odds that a big fish is going to take yours? But throwing a big eel, a big pikie, or a big riggie, in amongst the worms -- this kind of big bait fishing is interesting to me. Any dope can live-line a live bunker over the side of the boat; figuring out when this kind of double-reverse can work, and catching fish in a difficult situation, is a much more rewarding puzzle to crack.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:47 AM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Garrity View Post
Like a lot of things, the "big fish = big bait" axiom is true -- except when it isn't.


One of the things about this subject that intrigues me, other than the fact that people claim to know more than they really do, is the notion of using a big bait when the fish seem to be keying on smaller things. Take a worm hatch, for example, which most of us have seen: sure, you could fish this with flies, or even by putting a bunch of worms on a hook, but when there are 123,456,789 worms per square yard out there, what are the odds that a big fish is going to take yours? But throwing a big eel, a big pikie, or a big riggie, in amongst the worms -- this kind of big bait fishing is interesting to me. Any dope can live-line a live bunker over the side of the boat; figuring out when this kind of double-reverse can work, and catching fish in a difficult situation, is a much more rewarding puzzle to crack.
Same is true with trout fishing. I've come on trout feeding on minute midges or nymphs and tried to match the hatch with no luck. Then, change to a 2" streamer and taken fish right away. So, who knows. Guess that's why they call it fishing and not catching.

Bill
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:42 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

There is a certain amount of culling going on when you choose a large bait or lure. Other than that, I have experienced no correllation between large bass and large offers. Likely, when you do catch a big striper it is because of something else and we probably will never know why. There are a lot of things which can be attributed to taking a large bass. Again, we deal with attribution. Your uncle catches a large and he says, swaggering at that. "big bait, big fish."

What struck me in this thread is the number of profound well thought out remarks addressing the subject. It is a little scary hosting those kinds of minds. I dislike being outsmartied.
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

As I implied in an earlier post on this thread, I like big baits----have faith in them.
A lot of fishing (no---all of fishing) is throwing what you feel good about.
JC (JASON), above, gave some good evidence, and I wonder, what if a huge Striper were feeding through a school, pod, of small bait fish, and by chance she saw a lone pound and a half Bunker, Fatback, or maybe even a couple pound striper or trout in amongst them, I have a feeling she would take the larger fish.
If a half ounce cut of fresh Bunker were laying beside a fresh, six ounce Mullet head, I believe that a huge Drum would take the big head, first.
Speculation only-----hard, if not impossible to prove, in an enviornment into which we can seldom see.

MULE.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:51 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: "Big Bait = Big Fish"

Stripers are hogs. They have been known to choke on a large bunker caught in their throat.
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