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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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  #16  
Old 10-04-2019, 03:22 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

I get pencils and needlefish mixed up. Probably because I have done so little of using either. I think many surfmen have their pets which carry them year in and year out. Also, love affairs. These days, because we can't sell fish and are limited to ONE striper, we fly fish in order to get the most out of our fishing in this reduced level.
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  #17  
Old 10-31-2019, 12:49 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

Bucktail jigs, large ones like the smilin-Bill tied direct, no hardware junk. Direct. The large ones sink well to penetrate the water column the hook will handle a tuna. If you happen to prefer a pork-rind sweetener be conscious of occasional fold over the rind that can cushion the hook. I stopped pork-rind for that reason. You get a solid hit that holds for a few seconds than suddenly lets go, you will know there was a fold over. Fast water spots where it is tough to get deep, like the Canal or from a bridge the bucktail is often the ticket.
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  #18  
Old 04-10-2020, 01:43 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

Modern anglers don't realize that striper fishing years ago was always bait fishing. Just look at the old fishing clubs fishing rock stands at the Vineyard and Cuttyhunk and their favorite bait? Lobsters! It was the boys coming back from WWII who discovered that artificials worked so well for catching stripers.
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Old 04-10-2020, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

Bentsen used to say "the difference between an eel and a plug was 20 pounds."
True in a lot of cases but big stuff will eat plastic (soft and hard), wood, hair and metal often enough. "Plugs" are wood but now also made of plastic. If I do use plugs (which I actually do quite often to conserve my eel supply and I'm waiting for the ideal time to use the eels), I'll often go with a bottle plug or a darter in fast water. A little slower I like a needlefish. Also, when big sand eels are around the needlefish shines as it does not have any action to kill with oversize hooks.
Frank's 7 inch "Webles" are great plugs for fish to hit but you tend to lose quite a percentage. On the needlefish I can go up to 6/0 trebles and they still fish effectively.
There were times off Block Island I was casting needlefish plugs with 5/0's that were either getting straightened out or just ripped out of the plugs outright. Tough fish/tough times!
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Old 04-11-2020, 11:15 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

The six of us used a lot of small, picky stuff like floater Rebels to catch huge bass, some over 50. Our girls all beached fish in the high 40s on Rebels. Tell me, why do Long island surfmen have such contempt for Rebels?
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  #21  
Old 04-11-2020, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

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The six of us used a lot of small, picky stuff like floater Rebels to catch huge bass, some over 50. Our girls all beached fish in the high 40s on Rebels. Tell me, why do Long island surfmen have such contempt for Rebels?
To be above the board, I've never used one! I can't say either way what is good or bad about them other than they "look" very flimsy to me and without alteration I would imagine you would have to use a lot of finesse to overcome (not "overpower") a jumbo.
Having said that I have used plugs with a lot stronger hardware than what I've seen on Rebels and had had all of that fail in short order.
On the other side of the coin is a guy who I mentioned before, "Jim Fallon" who was going nuts with all the big fish Bentsen and I were knocking over on rigged eels the summer of '78 behind Junes Beach. I felt bad for Jim and told him where he "should fish", directing him to a place about a mile east of where Bentsen and I were fishing.
The score that night? Bentsen and Colby=0. Fallon= 13 pounds and 57 pounds.
He used a Rebel out of the package....
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Old 04-12-2020, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

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To be above the board, I've never used one! I can't say either way what is good or bad about them other than they "look" very flimsy to me and without alteration I would imagine you would have to use a lot of finesse to overcome (not "overpower") a jumbo.
Having said that I have used plugs with a lot stronger hardware than what I've seen on Rebels and had had all of that fail in short order.
On the other side of the coin is a guy who I mentioned before, "Jim Fallon" who was going nuts with all the big fish Bentsen and I were knocking over on rigged eels the summer of '78 behind Junes Beach. I felt bad for Jim and told him where he "should fish", directing him to a place about a mile east of where Bentsen and I were fishing.
The score that night? Bentsen and Colby=0. Fallon= 13 pounds and 57 pounds.
He used a Rebel out of the package....
That's the general area I fished...and mostly with Rebels. I've caught blues, weaks, and even fluke on them...and every fw fish that hits a lure...
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  #23  
Old 04-12-2020, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

The Rebel is an incredible lure. Starting out as a kid fishing freshwater they caught everything that would eat a minnow. Then tons of lures came out but they were one of the pioneers for sure. And for back bay placid saltwaters they are great.

As for open ocean surf casting..Frank is going to hate me for saying this ..they don't cast well. Although, I have never fished New England beaches and the structure seems that there is deeper water close to shore than Long Island.
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  #24  
Old 04-12-2020, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

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The Rebel is an incredible lure. Starting out as a kid fishing freshwater they caught everything that would eat a minnow. Then tons of lures came out but they were one of the pioneers for sure. And for back bay placid saltwaters they are great.

As for open ocean surf casting..Frank is going to hate me for saying this ..they don't cast well. Although, I have never fished New England beaches and the structure seems that there is deeper water close to shore than Long Island.
My friends, and fellow members of The Long Island Surf Fishing Club" Vinnie Guagulione and Tom Murphy each caught 50's on The Cape with Rebels in the 70's (Tom) and the 80's (Vinnie). Tom showed me the plug he caught his 54 on as well as about 50 other fish over 20 pounds on a trip to The Cape in 1977. The hooks were all mangled and the split rings were all stretched out to the max. How in the world anyone could think of casting something that looked like that is beyond me but Murphy said it looked like that for the last 1/2 dozen fish, some over 40!
I am never so lucky. I will either lose the hooks, break something or somehow otherwise lose too many fish on ANY PLUG without going "very heavy" on the hooks and split rings.
Perhaps the bottom line with Rebels, like with a lot of things is confidence. I lack confidence in something that looks so weak so I set myself up to make it not work for me. Same really goes for all those Rebel look alikes including Yo-Zuri's, SP Minnows Rapalas and the rest. The Creek Chub Giant Jointed Pike was a plug I liked but I actually caught more fish on both The Cape and on Long Island with the dropper I fished about 18 inches ahead of the plug. 5 or 6 saddle hackle feathers lashed to a 5/0 or 6/0 hook did the trick!
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  #25  
Old 04-12-2020, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

I agree 100 %. My friend once had a connection with a highly respected tuna charter boat captain out of Montauk. He was a hired captain by the owners of the very expensive sportfishing boats. But if the boat didn't have a charter we would go out and tuna fish and everyone would chip in the expenses.

When the sun gets high and the blue water is gin clear tuna get "line shy" and he was one of those captains that believed in dropping down the line test strength in order to fool them. Even as low as 25 lb. test (!) to fool a fish that weighs hundreds of lbs.

One very slow day in the fleet we had a boat next to us land a good fish and we couldn't buy a bite. So this highly respected captain puts on a very light leader. When he was away from hearing us my friend whispers in my ear " I don't believe in 25 lb. test". I agreed. And unbeknownst to the guy we changed the leader to what we believed to a far more reasonable 60 lb. test leader or something.

When a large tuna grabbed the bait shortly after the captain was shouting "I told you...the 25 lb. test fooled em'...!!"

Similarly, I knew a great steelhead guide that used far heavier leaders than when a lot of fisherman and guides dropped down to super light leaders to try to fool skittish fish.
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  #26  
Old 04-12-2020, 12:05 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

One reason why traditional Long Island surfmen don't accept the Rebels is that they can't be cast with conventional gear which is a mainstay of traditional surfcasting there. We did begin using Rebels with our Squidders once the Windcheater came out but you had to be be a good caster to use it and you had to accept a shorter cast from this 1 1/8 ounce wind resistant "girlie plug" as it was called by the New Yorkers.

I also think there was a lot of regional speak in use from the NY guys in their analysis of others. And while I saw a lot of regional thinking employed, I always had a higher opinion of their angling ability than our Mass guys. You could drive the beach at 3:00 AM and only New Yorkers were still awake. But they all fished the same way: either a blue Atom or Gibbs Swimmer (bottle plug). Mass or NY, there were a lot of guys who were afraid of the dark.
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  #27  
Old 04-12-2020, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

Sometimes you have to be ahead of the curve. And maybe there is a better way that nobody uses. If everyone is using a bottle plug maybe a Rebel is better ?

Back in the day, I heard of Cape Cod surfcasters using sandeels for bait and catching large bass. On Long Island nobody really did that (except for Jason). Yet once in awhile when my lure dragged through the sand I would impale a sandeel on my hook. I would transfer the sandeel to the top teaser hook and cast it back out. Only to have a bass try to yank the rod out of my hand !
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:40 AM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

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Sometimes you have to be ahead of the curve. And maybe there is a better way that nobody uses. If everyone is using a bottle plug maybe a Rebel is better ?

Back in the day, I heard of Cape Cod surfcasters using sandeels for bait and catching large bass. On Long Island nobody really did that (except for Jason). Yet once in awhile when my lure dragged through the sand I would impale a sandeel on my hook. I would transfer the sandeel to the top teaser hook and cast it back out. Only to have a bass try to yank the rod out of my hand !
When I'm come back to LI after a trip to The Cape I would often bring a bag of iced sand eels in a cooler. They almost always did a bang up job as long as there ware some fish around. After all, you can't catch what isn't there but with the sand eels you sure knew where you stood...
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:45 AM
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

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to use it and you had to accept a shorter cast from this 1 1/8 ounce wind resistant "girlie plug" as it was called by the New Yorkers.
:
Bentsen called the little plastic lip things "girly plugs" but he often did carry a couple of metal lips. His favorite was The Beachmaster Danny that (for some reason) he called "The Knock Knock Plug". Bobby Glauder, who makes The Beachmasters fished with Bentsen after I left Long Island. Next time I speak to him I'll ask why Bentsen called them that....
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:44 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: Striper Talk -- Artificials?

There were a few traditionalists around in those days and Bentsen was one of them. I always cocked my head at those guys because I always felt that evolution and innovation were tharted by those hog-tied to set ways. For instance, on Nauset everybody fished seaworms on the bottom and most did not even own plugs or believed they would be any good. In P-town, on the other hand, there were no worm fishers. Hog tied to tradition is a narrow minded condition.

There is also a lot of that in hunting that kept people from shooting with optics for too many years. Admittedly, that discussion would be a digression in this thread; just saying.
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