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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 01-12-2006, 04:39 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

Most here know that you have been a high-liner in the striper surf for most of your life. You have seven 50 pound plus linesides and have a solid reputation as a surfcaster and gentlemen. No problem. But readers here, and me for sure, would love to hear about some of the dumb stuff you might have done in your formative years before you knew the ropes which later had a way of reminding you of things you now wish you could forget. Fess up, Al.
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Old 01-12-2006, 07:15 PM
ALB31 ALB31 is offline
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

The dumb things that I did were when I was 13 to 18 years old. My father dind't fish there was no one to learn from. The big plus I had as a kid was the subway and buses that would take me to the beach. Living in Brooklyn it was easy to go on public transportation. All for nickel than a dime. This gave me the access to Rockaway, Brezzy point and Coney island.

Any way I started fishing at night for bass and weakfish. At that time lure choice was simple there were tin squids for 35 cents and creek chub plugs for a buck and change. So you see it was hard for me to go wrong on lures. The dumbest thing I did was to use wire or heavy gut leader on my lures. All my leaders were 18 to 30 inches and had the line tied to a leather thong , a swivel, than the leader attached to a large connecting link, than the lure. The leader was 60 pound test gut or a heavy stainless steel wire. Needless to say I didn't catch many fish when the people around me were. I always shined my light in the water to check for bait or fish. Big mistake.This went on for a few years. Another mistake was I never sharpened hooks. So when I got a hit they bounced off. Anothe mistake was when I purchased a rod it was much to soft to drive the dull hooks. But I keep trying.I always caught fish during the weakfish or bass blitzes. The weakfish in the summer and the bass in the huge mullet runs in the fall.There were so many fish and bait during those runs I had to get a few landed and I did. It came together when I was 18. I made a few good friends, found a rigged eel in Long beach and got some very good advice. Later.
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Old 01-13-2006, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

Well, as everyone says,you have to start somewhere... I think today,the learning curve is shortened,due to places like StriperSurf,and the folks who post here,especially guys like Al and Frank,who have forgotten more about striper fishing than most of us will ever know.When I got back into fishing,had one rod my son had given me years before for Christmas,a couple of plugs,which I really didnt know how to use,and some bait rigs.I felt lucky to get my first striper in about 3 days,especially looking back at what I was using,and my methods.5 year old mono,fishing plugs real fast,about the only thing I did right was bait fishing... Then,between what I learned here and some pointers from my son,it just started to click. I still find myself doing dumb things sometimes though...
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Old 01-13-2006, 01:43 PM
Rockport24 Rockport24 is offline
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

Nice thread idea Frank and thanks for answering Al. This thread makes me feel better as I am still in my formative googan years as a surfcaster.
Although last season, my first full surfcastng season, I increased ten fold from the couple of months I fished the year before, most of it thanks to this site. I think the biggest googan thing I did this past year was to stay in one spot too long, I didn't move around as much as I should have.
It's funny, when I am stumped about something I think "What would Frank do" Although, I'm talking about fishing here, not panama bordellos, then I wouldn't have to ask what Frank would do . LOL
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Old 01-13-2006, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

I caught a few schoolies in the mid-40s -- not pounds but the years 1946 to 1948. Then, around 1963, I got my first spinner a Shakespeare 2016 or 2018. I used to drift it out of an outflow until the spool was empty. So one night, 1964,it being dead and all, I let out all the line and got a take on live eel with no line to let the fish run. so I hit the fish with a dry spool and then held the line with my hand, the spool empty. The line s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d and stretched but it did not break. It weighed 52 pounds, my second point fish ever, the first being a 17 pounder. Our twins were four years old sleeping in the buggy and they were afraid of it and began to cry. Sold it to a Chinease restaurant for five dollars. More, Al. Dig!
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Old 01-14-2006, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

The only other thing I can think of right now is every time I fished brezzy point jetty I would would lose 4 or 5 lures by getting stuck in the rocks. This went on for a few years. Rather than count the reel turns till I got close than reel it in quick. I would hang the rock monster.
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

I learned in the mid to late 60s that conventional tackle was stronger but you had to learn it more than spinning. I got good with the squidder in no time and did a fair amount of fishing on the rocks in Narragansett. One day, when I was live-lining tinker mackerel off the stones, some guys aroudn my age made fun of me for fishing with "old man tackle" -- the squidder. Even at Nauset in the 60s nobody fished conventional. In 1970, when the Nauset regulations forced everybody to move more, we went to P-town, which we viewed as a little bit shockwa, especially with all the New Yorkers. But many of them fished squidders and I felt better fishing with my squidder in P-Town. I don't know if was a perception on my part or a fact of the time, but, it seemed that the early 70s was a period of rebirth for conventional, especially squidders. Al, I'm sure you'll think of more stuff. They love you here and want to hear more about how you clawed your way.
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Old 01-14-2006, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

Frank your asking me to remember back 60 years when I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday. I'll keep on thinking about it. By the way i never used spinning always the squidder. I got spinning for the family and daytime plugging for rats bass in the cape.
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Old 01-14-2006, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

When I was real young about 13 or 14 I didn't have any money so I cut things up around the house and fashioned lures from them. I cut the handles from large spoons in the kitchen and turned spoon end then into lures. My mother could never figure where they went. I never caught any thing on them. When I changed the batteries in my head light I always replaced the bulb. I did this for years until somebody told me it was'nt necessary.
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Old 01-15-2006, 10:06 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

Now, that's googan, Al. I think that is how the lures became known as "spoons". When I was a teacher in shop, we used to make "spoon lures" and the kids used to go to a closed reservoir nearby and fish with them. Providence water supply, Scituate Reservoir, is awesome fresh water fishing as only my students fished there and they were taught to utilize conservation practices . It is all wooded and you could be anywhere, Sascatchuwan, if you closed your eyes. I digress. I was going to ask if you ever did any spinning. I remember noticing that many New Yorkers had a real disdain for spinning, that it was a woman thing. I remember when Joyce caught her 50 Dickie Saams said, " a woman? With a spinnah?" Your doing fine, Al. Spend some time in the baby food at the super market. It will do wonders for your memory
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Old 01-15-2006, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

Thats all I can eat baby food. But I'll keep thinking.
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Old 01-15-2006, 09:01 PM
Tightline Tightline is offline
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

I still have little idea what I'm doing, but I'm Franky D compared to day one.
My first day surf fishing was my first day fishing of any kind. I'm standing in front of the Atlantic trying some OTB cast I've looked up on the internet. I've got a Dick's Sporting Goods high/low fish finder rig with thick plastic arms and about 6 orange balls that spins enough to lift a chinook off the ground even if you know how to throw it, which I don't. There is a seasoned surf caster 30 yards to the North. I start out with the bait at my heel (per the internet), my rod tip just above the ground behind me, and 10' of line from the tip to my bait. I spin my body toward the Atlantic smoothly like I've read about. In my mind the bait picks up from my heel and heads back toward the dunes before whipping back around toward the ocean and flying out over the breakers some 100 yards out to sea. In reality, I release my line waaaay too soon and my bait winds up 20 yards behind me in the dry sand. I have the pleasure of reeling my bait back across the dry sand so I can, naturally, do the same thing again. Then again. And again.

I hear a whistle. It's the guy to my left waiving me in his direction. I pick up my white bucket and walk over.

"First time," he asks?

"How could you tell?"
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:25 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

I think it healthy that you can laugh at yourself. So many googans have a chip about themselves and that might prevent their growth. I'm supposed to be very smart and whenever we seem to be doing well, I always have this back-of-the-mind notion over wondering what we are doing wrong; becuse no matter how well you are doing, you just might be failing at doing better. Arragance can be distructive. Similarly, even if you are the high-liner of the beach, I mean catching more than your uncles, dah. You are not much if you are better than a flippin googan .
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Old 01-16-2006, 02:08 PM
Tightline Tightline is offline
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault
I think it healthy that you can laugh at yourself. .
When you are standing at the edge of the ocean and can't get your bait wet you can't do anything but laugh.
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Old 01-18-2006, 04:37 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Al Bentsen: Your Googan Days?

I think that a comprehensive fresh water experience helps a coastal googan break out of the pack immensely. Use of equipment, self-confidence, interest in angling in general, are just some of advantages that contribute to surf casting confidence and adjustment. I would never set any standard for students of the striper surf to follow because a person can start cold with no expereince and still get going. Never, ever, allow the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of learning surfcasting discourage you. It only takes a short while for a person to begin to benefit from learning. After that, the process of climbing through and to it is most enjoyable. I don't think that we educators make enough of the fun in learning.
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