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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 08-15-2007, 03:34 PM
Alex G Alex G is offline
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Default Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

I am planning to fish at the Race Point Beach on CC and probably on the bay side there as well. Can anyone shed light as to whether fishing from shore using a simple bottom rig can be effective in late August? Never tried that before. What would be the best bait and is there anything particular abt the rig? Many thanks for your insights.
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:21 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

We always used a Jersey Doodlebug rig which is a small torpedo shaped cork float to lift the worms off the bottom on account of skates. Seaworms was always our choice on Nauset. Another killer bait is fresh sandeels where you drape as many as you can on a J-hook. In either case, run your line through a fishfinder plastic thigamagiggie which holds the pyramid sinker. Guys here use a lot of high/low rigs which ought to be a good choice. Why not August?
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:48 AM
ALB31 ALB31 is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

Fresh local squid or fresh mackerel cut in chunks.
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

Alex, pay no attention to this Al guy. A miserly 60 years in the striper surf, what would he know? If it weren't for rigged eels, he would be wretching in the dunes.
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:25 AM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

While all of the above baits work well, at this time of year nothing competes with FRESH sand eels. In the spring, I would say cut fresh herring.

CL
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

If ya really want to drive them nuts up that way, try some fresh clams on a high low rig. The folks up there would think you are crazy, and maybe try to swipe them for chowdah, but if they work here, why not there?
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Old 08-17-2007, 01:29 PM
ALB31 ALB31 is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

The bay in P-Town is loaded with skimmer clams but I've never seen anybody use them. I know the lacals pick them at low tide and make baked clams with them.
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:06 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

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Originally Posted by ragman View Post
If ya really want to drive them nuts up that way, try some fresh clams on a high low rig. The folks up there would think you are crazy, and maybe try to swipe them for chowdah, but if they work here, why not there?

That's a really good question Rags, and I don't have a good answer for it. But I can tell you this.....the same fish in different areas often have different feeding habits. For instance, jigging for cod with metal or bucktails is the way to go on the Cape, but it doesn't work well in Long Island waters.

Al is right about the abundance of skimmer clams in Cape waters, although they're called sea clams here. They are easy to get, great eating, and I have used them successfully for chumming flounders here, but I've never heard of a bass caught on them locally. Maybe somebody has to give it a good try.

CL
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

We used to pick them up after a storm in RI, shuck them, and salt and freeze them for cod fishing the beach in winter. Our only ohter choice was squid from the fish market and the skimmers were way more productive. I think they are also ground up commercially for use in chowder.
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

If and when I ever make it up that way, I'm sure going to bring some fresh surf clams, along with some salted I usually have. I could never understand why people in different areas dont try baits that work for the same species in different area. We have clams, bunker, mullet, and most of the other baits found up that way here in Jersey. Clams produce some nice fish here, why not there? The same fish swim past the same places... Do you think they know that they are passing Jersey, so only clams will suffice?
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:32 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

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We have clams, bunker, mullet, and most of the other baits found up that way here in Jersey. Clams produce some nice fish here, why not there? The same fish swim past the same places... Do you think they know that they are passing Jersey, so only clams will suffice?
I don't think anything when it comes to bass.....what I don't know, I don't pretend to know.

A couple of things I do know are that there are no mullet here, and never have been as it's beyond their northern range. And bunker this far out on the Cape are only occasionally seen, and never in great quantity. And having fished both places, I also know that the bottom here is nothing like the bottom in Jersey.

CL
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

Chuck,
Like you said I never fished up that way, so maybe conditions are different. My naming bait was an example, I have no idea whats up there. However, neglecting a type of bait thats successful in one place, and not using it because it "just isn't used here" is a limiting factor. I remember when my kids were young, I took them to my parents place in VA right on the Chesepeake. My one son was about 10 years old, and decided to fish one morning. He decided to fish some plugs he brought from home, that one of the locals swore wouldn't catch squat. He got 4 or 5 nice weakfish with them, before dragging me out of bed to catch some more. Then he hooked me in the back of the head, and that was the end of the fishing for that day...
Sometimes it's best to just ignore the norm, and go with whatever you choose.
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:38 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

Like I said Rags, "what I don't know, I don't pretend to know". I also said, regarding clams, that "maybe somebody has to give them a good try around here".

It's probably worth noting that a great many bass spend their summers in Jersey waters and on both shores of L.I. Not all of the fish passing through the N.J. surf make it to the Cape.....perhaps none do. There are several unrelated movements of bass, some offshore, that originate in different places. So it's possible that the fish you regularly take on clams in New Jersey are from a different brood stock than the ones that summer on the Cape.

A fascinating observation along those lines is that Atlantic Salmon caught in the rivers of the western Atlantic, say from Maine to Newfoundland, are often taken on dry flies. Yet the Atlantic Salmon that frequent the rivers of European countries such as Norway will not rise to a dry fly. Same fish, different places of origin.

Oh, and I agree.....never, ever listen to locals.

CL
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:01 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

Locals? When I got to the cape in the 60s MacReed was the only local who fished and knew anything. P-town had two: George DeRosa and Conrad Malacoat. The rest of we thousands came from away.

Salmon are a favorite subject. I think that they develop "racial" differences according to the mandates of their home river. Norwegion salmon are climbers; Maine salmon can take warm water but do not climb as well. Similarly, Mapleville, RI women can get in the back seat without opening the car doors. The trait is passed on through hundreds of years of getting in the back seat and then passing the trait on to their offspring. Natural selection.
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Old 08-20-2007, 04:31 PM
Alex G Alex G is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishing with bottom bait rigs on Cape Cod

Never tried fishing w/ clams before. Can anyone explain the best (proper) way of putting it in the hook. The thing is too soft isn't it? There should be a secure way of fixing it on a hook.
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