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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 12-01-2003, 12:06 AM
CJGreeley CJGreeley is offline
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Frank,

I am new to the forum but have some experience fishing and read alot in order to try and become a better fisherman.

I have heard great things about this website on the beaches, and heard that there was a thread where anglers could ask your opinion on fishing matters.

I live in and fish primarily in Massachusetts. I have read several of your books, and while already indebted to you for passing on your knowledge and strategies, I could not resist asking you to reflect on the ongoing debate over cod/pollock/haddock from shore.

I have, on occasion, caught incidental cod when fishing at night in april/may, and these catches have increased in recent years. I have also come across schools of pollack, but only a couple times in several years of surffishing.

Is there any stock in these rumors of november-may surf fishing for cod and pollack, how reliable do you feel the reports are, and is there enough credibility to get you to the beach for them? (and when?)

I have made a couple trips out this month, and found other fishermen at the beach chasing these ghosts, but everyone is skunked.

The bait shop guys say cod are nighttime feeders inshore, and seaworms are the top bait. Pollack sightings seem as random as UFO sightings.

Winter nights are cold, and so I am looking for any advice that will improve my chances or shed light on the mystery surrounding the rumors that are circulating everywhere. The only fish I catch regularly in these months is blackbacks and I wouldn't mind some variety in my few cold weather trips.

Thank you for your thoughts
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Old 12-01-2003, 12:06 AM
CJGreeley CJGreeley is offline
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Frank,

I am new to the forum but have some experience fishing and read alot in order to try and become a better fisherman.

I have heard great things about this website on the beaches, and heard that there was a thread where anglers could ask your opinion on fishing matters.

I live in and fish primarily in Massachusetts. I have read several of your books, and while already indebted to you for passing on your knowledge and strategies, I could not resist asking you to reflect on the ongoing debate over cod/pollock/haddock from shore.

I have, on occasion, caught incidental cod when fishing at night in april/may, and these catches have increased in recent years. I have also come across schools of pollack, but only a couple times in several years of surffishing.

Is there any stock in these rumors of november-may surf fishing for cod and pollack, how reliable do you feel the reports are, and is there enough credibility to get you to the beach for them? (and when?)

I have made a couple trips out this month, and found other fishermen at the beach chasing these ghosts, but everyone is skunked.

The bait shop guys say cod are nighttime feeders inshore, and seaworms are the top bait. Pollack sightings seem as random as UFO sightings.

Winter nights are cold, and so I am looking for any advice that will improve my chances or shed light on the mystery surrounding the rumors that are circulating everywhere. The only fish I catch regularly in these months is blackbacks and I wouldn't mind some variety in my few cold weather trips.

Thank you for your thoughts
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2003, 02:38 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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We nevr caught haddock from the beach. Each april we used to have a great run of pollock in Great Salt Pond in Galillie RI where we caught them every cast and if you had five jigs on your outfit, you would hook up five pollock.

Surf cod was something that, as a writer, I became the man who both did it and wrote about it extensively. (There is a section on this in Eastern Tides.) One reason why my cod articles were so popular was that I had good photo support, a thing that as a writer I was smart enough to do. But this is a slow fishery where you could spend many empty nights fishing the bottom or drifting plugs from outflows between fish. It is definately a buggy thing so that you can escape the cold, often watching rod tips from inside.

One problem with seaworms is that the Maine diggers stop in winter and shops don't have worms. We found squid from the market worked and salted skimmer clams were even better.

Tackle shops advise this and that but a majority, and there are notable exceptions, really have no clue either on what is available fishing and how to go about it. Why would a clerk who sells fishing lures know what is happening in the striper surf? Hey, why would a writer necessarily tell the truth about this or that? I would be very careful about what I believed in fishing. And I would scutinize all sources, especially when it comes to something as myth laden, as you point out, as surf cod. Me? Investigage it in today's environment? I'm 67, hunt and fish nine months a year, go without sleep, eat cold sandwiches in the land of humping chipmunks, assure the safety of striper coast gin-mills and now you want me to go down to the Rhode Island beaches in January where your urine freezes before hitting the ground and check it out. Do I got that right?

Nice post and a cogent question with great seasonal considerations. We should have inform and entertain with this one, for sure, for sure and that is why we here.

Frank
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Old 12-01-2003, 05:07 PM
DeeJay DeeJay is offline
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It's usually hit or miss, but you can find pollack in the Canal from time to time. Last winter, they were seen breaking water among the ice floes that were being swept along by the current. They usually come in from the Bay on the west running tide, when they show at all.

This can be daytime fishing, too. Only the hard core and the action-starved would brave a night tide.
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Old 12-01-2003, 10:59 PM
CJGreeley CJGreeley is offline
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thank you for taking the time to reply.

I look at fishing for cod and pollack like playing the lottery. it is rare to hit, but that chance of a payoff makes a sucker out of you, and you keep going back.

I have a hard time findiong the motivation, but on those 40 degree days, I would rather drive up to halibut point and get the line wet than surf ebay for better gear, or whatever. There is something about fishing that the fisherman is caught more than they catch fish.

I gather from the above posts that while there may be some fish inshore these days, it is a situation where you "play at your own risk", and to expect to get banged up by the weather with little chance of a reward.

But there is something about those nostalgic stories told by our fishing elders about the 1970's and the last inshore cod that I cant get out of my mind when the weather gets warm for a spell. I want to experience these things myself. But then I get to the beach and the sand is blowing on the winter beach so hard that I am worried that it will scratch my windshield, and I wonder what ever posessed me to try anything as counterintuitive as surf fishing in winter.

I look forward to getting out in march and april to try my luck. This latest cold spell that came on after since my post has made me think twice about surf fishing for a while.

Thank you Frank for your advice on the salt clams, a local baitshop in dorchester has them available and maybe I will get out to castle island sometime soon to try them out.

And thanks for reminding us that if there is something besides fishing that many fishermen are good at, it is engaging an audience with fantastic fishing tales like those of shore cod which I am so eager to embrace.
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  #6  
Old 12-02-2003, 03:46 AM
scoobe scoobe is offline
 
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Good writing here. I have also wished to pull up some cod this winter as this striper bug is not leaving my system. The smelt fishing is helping me ease off the striper addiction slowly, but who knows if it will work.

Lookin for my big'un!
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  #7  
Old 12-02-2003, 07:04 AM
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t.lapinski t.lapinski is offline
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check these out from last winter.

Cod 1

Cod 2
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  #8  
Old 12-02-2003, 04:30 PM
RIROCKHOUND RIROCKHOUND is offline
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Toby...
I may be interested in making some mid winter cod trips along the S.Shore If your going and want weather/sea reports, I'm on the beach at least weekly for work.....and live in gansett so generally have a good idea.....
'hound

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  #9  
Old 12-02-2003, 04:51 PM
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t.lapinski t.lapinski is offline
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sounds good. i'll be in touch when the urge to freeze my nuts off hits me.
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  #10  
Old 12-02-2003, 10:47 PM
CJGreeley CJGreeley is offline
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Toby,

Pardon me for using your first name but T. Lapinski conjures up images of tara lapinski the ice skater and its hard to picture a skater in a leotard and waders toting a surf rod while attempting a triple sow cow.

Thank you for the previous post links, I did not know that the topic had been covered recently as I have only recently joined the ranks here.

And frank. thank you for taking the time to answer a subject that you have dealt with before.

Between this thread and the old ones, I got all the info that I was looking for thanks to all whi posted for good info.
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2003, 01:03 AM
robert from oregon robert from oregon is offline
 
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Gentelmen, thank you all.
Thanks for intellegent, well writen replys to intellegent well writen questions. This is the area of my surfing surf fishing journey where I'm forced to check my spelling, grammer, and manners I once thought weren't important and would never be noticed.
good luck
robert from oregon
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2003, 11:34 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Back when we discovered this stuff, we always thought that the small cod were on the Cape and north and the steakers -- 10 to 40 pounds -- were in Rhode Island. Who really knew?

Frank
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2003, 05:23 PM
RIROCKHOUND RIROCKHOUND is offline
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Frank,
Wondered if you had any input regarding Moon, tides, month, etc that produced best? I figure bait will hopefully be clams or conch, plus whatever else I have in the freezer (macks, squid, herring) Also rigs? I figure a hi-lo with a pyramid should do the trick, maybe even circle hooks? who knows....
Thanks
Bryan

"Hi my name's Bryan and I am a Striperholic!"
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2003, 08:27 PM
JiggyBOB JiggyBOB is offline
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COD Swallow the hook quickly, and since most are shorts, thats a formula for dead fish you cant keep. Therefore, a 5/0 circle is my hook.

The winter is too cold. I apply a cost/benefit analysis to codfishing from shore. Come april, there are more fish inshore at night, and the weather is tolerable. That is when I do the bulk of my shore codfishing. Plus, we get seaworms ordered by shops then too. Clams are good but worms are better.
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2003, 02:52 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Jiggy, I can just see the Game Worden now coming down the beach at 2:00 AM in February or March to measure my cod. Besides, we have caught shorts in June worm fishing on the Cape. But the cod we caught in winter in Rhode Island were the size of my first girl friends. (Is that over the line?)

Frank
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