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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 10-14-2005, 08:51 PM
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Frank N Frank N is offline
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Default Taking a long walk...

Hi Frank

I'm strictly a walkon fisher (unless Ragman is around for a lift ) sometimes with bait other times not. On those occasions I want to walk and cover surf I try to limit myself to what I take on and learned awhile ago to walk on with a free hand to make my exodus with dinner (hopefully) easier. Thing is everytime I go out I seem to be rethinking what I might not need to go lighter and farther. I go with one setup and I always bring a spare reel, small asst of plugs, teasers and soft plastic, leader material, few pieces of terminal tackle, small light, knife, pliers, cell phone and 16oz water. I wrestle with bringing a change of clothes for that rogue wave and never do. That all fits in my bag, somewhere between 4-5 pounds.

My question to you, any recommendations for that long walk? Any experience you had that could help a poor joisey boy?

Funny, I just thought of one thing as I typed this...I never tell anyone where I am going..probably should start.
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  #2  
Old 10-15-2005, 08:53 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

I just did an article on this issue for hunting. What inspired it was that a simple thing like an eight pound gun, when compared to a five pound gun, can make the difference about whether or not you are going to make it up the mountain. So it is with walking the beach.

First thing, and I have advocated it for many more years than you see it at school bus stops -- a backpack. How in the dickens anyone can go surfcasting with a tackle box is the height of unadulterated googanism. You put everything on your back, carry a rod in one hand and hold hands with your girl friend with the other. On the way out, if you have religiously been reading all six of my marvelous books, you carry that huge cow and your girl friend can more or less fend for herself. Pack your backpack with the lightest possible choices with a watchful eye on how many lead sinkers. Dah.
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  #3  
Old 10-15-2005, 09:14 AM
spence
 
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Up here in Rhody where a lot of guys hop along the rocks you have to go light or you'll be cursing yourself in no time. Don't need as much as for bait fishing.

I like a small plug bag, which has all my leaders and such ready to go. Pliers on the belt, spare light and hook file around the neck. Eels in a little bucket or bag.

Usually only a single rod, but I've been burnt on this before. The million dollar reel that's never supposed to fail did just that after a 20 min walk along the beach...and then a 100yd wade across a gravel bar to a rocky outcropping.

It was a long walk back.
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  #4  
Old 10-15-2005, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

I'm a big fan of the camelback backpacks. You can hydrate while you walk, have tons of room and compartments and you can strap your rods to the side.
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Old 10-15-2005, 10:08 AM
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Frank N Frank N is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Thanks guys. I switch back and forth from a backpack and a plug bag. Backpack is more comfortable but the plug bag is easier for accessing something since I just swing it from the back to the front and don't have to remove it since I'm usually fussing around in the dark.
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Old 10-15-2005, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

FrankN,
Back before I became your taxi and did mostly walk on,I used to do pretty well with a plug bag and 5 gallon bucket.The plug bag held all the plugs I might want to use,plus I have a plastic tray that fits in the side pocket for terminal tackle,leaders etc.The bucket held a short sand spike,bait knife,water bottle,and other stuff you might want to carry,such as as spare reel(never did)and bait.If using clams,shuck them into a plastic container,add a little salt to it if you like.Mullet and such,put in a small plastic bag.A little bulky,but not too much so.Plug bag over the shoulder like you said,rod and bucket in one hand,and you still have a free hand.Another thing I think is good,is epoxying a piece of PVC to the bucket.I think you have that on yours(or it might be Jess,I forget ) I have seen an organizer for the buckets,but dont remember where,that lets you store a lot of stuff,all seperated,and also has a cover to keep it dry during snotty weather.Plus provides a good seat if you get tired... Let me know when you are coming down again(forget this weekend,the water is still crappy) and I can show ya how a real googan does it...
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Old 10-15-2005, 12:34 PM
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Frank N Frank N is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Thanks Rag. Yeh that's my bucket with the pvc. I'll be down next weekend. I'll PM you as soon as Bob gets back from buying a case of beer with my insider money and activates my account. Hi Bob.
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  #8  
Old 10-15-2005, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Lets see, what do I carry my tackle in,,,,,,My truck.... Is so nice to drive on BUT, seriously, I work part time for Eastern Mountain Sports and you would be amazed on how backpackers like to lighten the load. EVERYTHING, and they count weight in 1/4 ounces. We the fisherman don't have to worry that much but, they do make allot of light weight backpacking and hiking goods that cut the weight. Whether hunting or fishing stop at one of these stores and check stuff out. No this is not a sales pitch but if your a walk on , it may be worth it.

As for when I do plug, like Spence I carry a plug bag loaded with all the small necessary tackle. If like me, there are times while plugging you turn around and are surprised on how far you have to walk back.
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Old 10-16-2005, 09:48 AM
ONSHORE ONSHORE is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

I'm hoofing it on the cape's backside beaches all fall. I used to carry my gear in a small backpack but have even paired that down to a large fanny-pack. Easier on the back and shoulders and carries enough gear for most situations. If you try it, get a good one from a place like EMS, LLWho or?
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2005, 03:50 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Backpackers know how important weight is to the overall mission. For us, it depends upon the demands of the particular spot -- how far, what is needed, and how long you are going to be there. I mean, if you are going to stay all night because it is so far, then food, water, maybe a foul-weather top, sweater, spare this, spare that. Naturally, you have to resist adding on until you need a gun-bearer from Kenya to portage all your stuff. My flippin Canal backpack has hot and cold running water. but then I carry a woman in too and you can't have too many of them.

When I was a small boy, when I hunted with Pappa, while breakfast was on the stove, I used to fill my pockets with so many shells -- clear indication of my heads-up positive attitude of the coming day -- that Pappa would say, "got enough bullets, Franny?"
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Another thing I have seen used by an old time plugger on the beach.A short piece of PVC pipe(maybe 6 in long) attached to his wader belt.When he got something,he slipped the rod into the pipe,and both of his hands were free to work on unhooking the fish.If I remember correctly,it was just 2 cuts thru the pipe so it could be threaded thru the belt.Seemed to work pretty good.
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  #12  
Old 10-17-2005, 01:29 PM
Rockport24 Rockport24 is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

I run into the dilemma of how much stuff to bring all the time. For the most part, I carry my small plug bag which has everything I need fishing-wise, but then like Frank says, on those long walks and long trips, you need other provisions such as food, water, spare clothes sometimes, etc. Then I gots a problem cause I can't fish with a backpack and a plug bag on, so I have to take the backpack off and leave it in the sand for the critters to get all up on it. Put the plugs in the backpack you say? Well then ya gotta take the flippin' thing off everytime you want to change plugs or something! And if you're waist deep in water, it's kind of hard to do, whereas a plug bad can be swung around to the front. Perhaps the large fanny pack is the best way, Ohshore, can you swing it around easily? don't take that the wrong way now ya scoundrals...
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  #13  
Old 10-17-2005, 02:30 PM
JFigliuolo JFigliuolo is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Plug Bag, contains 15 plugs 4 snack bars 20 oz beverage pre-rigged treasers.
Waist pack, tied leaders, 12 storm shads. pliars and knife on waist pack belt.
Light on head, spare around neck. clippers around neck. scale thrown in my waders. (belt stops it from slipping down my leg.)

no backpack since for rockhopping it's not optimum.

one rod. one reel.

This keeps me going for a FULL night fishing.
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2005, 04:40 AM
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Endorfin Endorfin is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Rockport, those fanny packs are really good. I've used one for quick trips, a few times, with just the bare minimum of stuff, and found it was easy to slip it around front to change plugs. I usually hate "stuff" on me when I'm fishing/casting, but those are pretty comfortable, and non-restricting.
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  #15  
Old 10-18-2005, 08:29 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Taking a long walk...

Plug bags, backpacks, fanny packs. There is no solution that is all things to all situations. Now that Joyce and I use both our buggy and our car, I try to keep everything as mobile as possible. It is a simple thing to put the backpack in one vehicle or the other. We use the buggy less and less because nobody fishes in the car places and the buggy places are overwhelmed with anglers. Not that this is the last word, but I make bag choices based upon what we feel works at a spot in harmony with what we are forced to do logistically. Live eel fishing, we always have one plug in a box in the bib of our waders. Plug fishing you need a bag. Long trips in to hard-to-reach places, the backpack.
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