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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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  #31  
Old 10-25-2009, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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Originally Posted by fishinglsister View Post
Bentsen rarely fished bait on the bottom. He had "little flurries" of cut bait activity for a couple of years in the early to mid '70's (thats how I met him) and again about 15 years ago when I started fishing Manhassett Bay with bunker chunks in the month of April. I did well with fish into the 30's while there was little bass action elsewhere. When I then moved to the Boston area, Roger (Moose) Martin started fishing with him very consistantly then. Roger is a good guy and watched after Al like a true friend.
Thank you Roger!
The light bulb goes on!
Thank you "Moose" for the info on Al when he was in the hospital, and when he passed.
The thing about Al and the bait fishing stuff he sent me was, I knew it wasn't his favorite method. However, he knew that was a way I liked to fish, and shared what he knew about it with me. If I asked about lures, or better yet, rigged eels, you could notice the change in his writing
Although I didn't know Al as intimately as some here, I miss the e-mails (many non fishing related ), and the occasional phone conversations.
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  #32  
Old 10-26-2009, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

Race Bar, right in front of the light, was a private Daignault spot. Joyce and the kids used to catch so many bass in front of the lighthouse that we would only go there during the night to make certain that nobody knew what we did. Between the buggies in the Second Rip, known as Race City, and the New Yorkers, it was imperative that nobody knew anything either about the poundage, where lyou hung out or how you fished. It was a world of 007, CIA, IRS -- mostly because it was money fishing. One big mouth, the cat was out and you were all done.
But this particular night was dead so Joyce and the kids sacked in and I hung out with my fly rod on Race Bar until slack. Around then I saw a sprinkle of sandeels in the rotation of the Race light. Something was pushing them and they fell for the white sandeel pattern like it was striper candy. I was hooking them every cast so I went back and pulled down my conventional to improve my poundage because the fly rod was a little slow. But they wouldn't take any of the big stuff, so I went back to the fly rod and left a line of dead bass on the wet sand as the tide finished going down. Normally, I would have put the fish away but being the dark moon and all, there was nothing to worry, no need to hide the fish. Big mistake. Around the curviture of the beach comes a buggy from the east and as soon as its headlights shone on me, they were doused. Oh $hit, the enemy, New York, the flippin rigged eel guy.
Back then, the lighthouse came around every 13 seconds and anybody looking would see that the nine foot trout rod was hard over like the Boston girls had the tow rope. He fished a long distance off not to crowd, so I was thinking he couldn't have been a New Yorker. After a few more fish, nothing over 20 pounds, he comes over, looks at the catch and rod and says, "I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with me own eyes!"
It was Al, the same guy who rescued me in the bluefish blitz that memorable August morning. The same Al who was known on Long Island as a high-liner of the day and was in the midst of his halcyon years in the striper surf of Cape Cod. It was so delicious to even get the attention of a person like this. Most of all, you could never catch fish enough to evoke that kind of response without clinging to the source. Al Bentsen was saying that about me? It was one of those experiences that you never forget. He was the best, and he said that about me.
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  #33  
Old 10-27-2009, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

Passed on from Bob Ragati:
From: Al B
To: ragsdad45
Subject:
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 12:27:17 -0500
I didn't answer your questions about bunker fishing. I usually would snag a bunker and hook him in the back in front of or in back of the dorsal fin with another hook. When I fished chunks I fished the heads only at night that way they wouldn't see the hook since I fished a 9/0 siwash hook in the lower jaw and out the upper and they see the hook and won't hit it in the daytime. If you bury a hook in the head that will inhibit your ability to hook a bass when he picks it up. Your already have a fish on that way the bunker. You can hide it in chunks because it falls apart when you hook a bass, it kind of soft even when fresh.
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  #34  
Old 10-27-2009, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Passed on from Bob Ragati:
From: Al B
To: ragsdad45
Subject:
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 12:27:17 -0500
I didn't answer your questions about bunker fishing. I usually would snag a bunker and hook him in the back in front of or in back of the dorsal fin with another hook. When I fished chunks I fished the heads only at night that way they wouldn't see the hook since I fished a 9/0 siwash hook in the lower jaw and out the upper and they see the hook and won't hit it in the daytime. If you bury a hook in the head that will inhibit your ability to hook a bass when he picks it up. Your already have a fish on that way the bunker. You can hide it in chunks because it falls apart when you hook a bass, it kind of soft even when fresh.
I remember that e-mail very well. As most know, I usually fish clams for bait, but decided to branch out to bunker. I started using heads, and was hooking them above the eyes. They would usually come off pretty quick, then started using Al's method, in the lower, out the upper. Never lost another head during a cast or after being in the water awhile either.
As far as snagging, my son used Al's method a couple years ago from his boat , but he had done it before. Snag a bunker, put it on a single hook on another rod set up by the dorsal fin, let it swim. His buddy who never caught a fish before got a 49 pounder (wanted to know if that was a good one ) a few minutes later, my son got a 46 pounder, same method.
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  #35  
Old 11-09-2009, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

This is the last installment from both my memory and Bob Ragati's files. I'm proud of this comment from Al Bentsen because, as always, we consider the source with these things and because it was he I am supremely flattered:


January 26, 2006 Al's letter to Bob ?Ragman? Ragati:
"I always considered Frank one of the best if not the best surf fisherman from New England in the Cape when I was fishing there. I have a great deal of respect for his opinions and knowledge. He's is by far the best surf writer of the last century. I'm glad he took the time to write those book. I take great pride in calling him my friend."
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  #36  
Old 11-09-2009, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

That's a gold nugget right there.
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  #37  
Old 11-10-2009, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
This is the last installment from both my memory and Bob Ragati's files. I'm proud of this comment from Al Bentsen because, as always, we consider the source with these things and because it was he I am supremely flattered:


January 26, 2006 Al's letter to Bob ?Ragman? Ragati:
"I always considered Frank one of the best if not the best surf fisherman from New England in the Cape when I was fishing there. I have a great deal of respect for his opinions and knowledge. He's is by far the best surf writer of the last century. I'm glad he took the time to write those book. I take great pride in calling him my friend."
A little backround on this...
As the date shows, It was sent to me a few years ago, one of the back and forth e-mails we traded. Al had a question about someone complaining about Frank in the forum, I answered, and this was his reply. When Al passed, Frank I think had some misgivings about not being as "close" as he might have been back in the day. I never shared many e-mails from Al with anyone (except for some of the jokes and videos he he sent me ), and sent this to Frank to show no matter what Frank might have thought, even with the passing of time, there was mutual respect between them. I think that is the ultimate show of friendship.
I'll bet Al is sitting up there behind an old IBM computer reading these things and smiling (he did work for IBM for many years before retiring)
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

What really impressed me most about Al was his endless enthusiasm for the sport of surfcasting. Yes, he made an impression on many up in the Cape. Yes, he revolutionized the rigged eel, he kept the art alive, and he was respsonsible for passing this on to a new generation of surfcasters in my area.

But above all of that, this was a guy in his 70's who was as fired up about surfcasting as any 25-year-old just picking the sport up. I recall he talked about the good old days and the trophy fish, but certainly never dwelled on it. Never a hint of "been there done that." There was always a sense of urgency in his question "How did you do last night?" And there was always talk of potential new spots, or potential new ways to fish known spots.
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  #39  
Old 11-11-2009, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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What really impressed me most about Al was his endless enthusiasm for the sport of surfcasting. Yes, he made an impression on many up in the Cape. Yes, he revolutionized the rigged eel, he kept the art alive, and he was respsonsible for passing this on to a new generation of surfcasters in my area.

But above all of that, this was a guy in his 70's who was as fired up about surfcasting as any 25-year-old just picking the sport up. I recall he talked about the good old days and the trophy fish, but certainly never dwelled on it. Never a hint of "been there done that." There was always a sense of urgency in his question "How did you do last night?" And there was always talk of potential new spots, or potential new ways to fish known spots.
Yes, thats what I got from my e-mails with Al. He would share his knowledge from the old days, but was also interested in what was happening now. "Hey Bob, you getting them down there yet? We are doing well here, you should be getting them soon (fall)". Spring, "Have they started down your way yet? If so, what are they hitting on?" If I said fishing was bad, he would mention a tip to keep my confidence up. Always positive, many times telling me a moby was in my future.
I just wish I had met him in person...
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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Yes, thats what I got from my e-mails with Al. He would share his knowledge from the old days, but was also interested in what was happening now. "Hey Bob, you getting them down there yet? We are doing well here, you should be getting them soon (fall)". Spring, "Have they started down your way yet? If so, what are they hitting on?" If I said fishing was bad, he would mention a tip to keep my confidence up. Always positive, many times telling me a moby was in my future.
I just wish I had met him in person...
I feel like I only met him in person once or twice, like at a year end celebration over beers that a bunch of the local surfcasters organized a few yrs back. The rest was crossing paths in the dark or sharing a beach in the middle of the night. There are some fishermen who I might claim to know, but to this day not sure I ever actually saw them in the daylight.
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  #41  
Old 11-14-2009, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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I feel like I only met him in person once or twice, like at a year end celebration over beers that a bunch of the local surfcasters organized a few yrs back. The rest was crossing paths in the dark or sharing a beach in the middle of the night. There are some fishermen who I might claim to know, but to this day not sure I ever actually saw them in the daylight.
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John, Al liked you. He didn't consider you any competition because you mostly had a fly rod and he didn't think you would take a large fish out of there (I'm sure Frank will comment on that!). He generally fished other areas before I showed him that spot and would have loved to be left alone in most cases but he enjoyed talking with you. He said you were very intelligent and could probably (eventually) figure out how to fish anywhere. Was it you that got a 50 on a rigged eel? If not, it was over 40, yes?
Come to think about it, I've only seen you in the dark!...........JC
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  #42  
Old 11-16-2009, 07:01 AM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

Jason, I did land some decent fish in there, but never took any with me. Maybe I was too afriad of being caught walking out with something. I tended to avoid putting my light on and made it a habit of never even walking in and out the same way, so that a trail might be made. From what i've seen lately times have changed.

To this day always have a fly rod and regular gear. Wind issues aside, for me, in some spots it was rare that the regular gear outfished the flies, but the opposite was sometimes true. Thats one of the reasons I liked it so much, it was a really good fly rod spot.

Yes, I've been lucky on a number of 40's on the rigged eels, different location. Back to back high 40s once too. Even a 50 if beach scale weight counts. ha ha. Rigged eels will do that.

Back to Al, yes, when I ran into him I often just put my gear down and let him cast. So in some ways yes, no competition, of course not, for that matter let him catch all the fish, I didnt care. I was happy just to pick his brain and shoot the BS. To me, that was much more valuable than the fish. And now I am happy I did. I'll always remember that more than the fish.

If you ever do make your way down to LI you can send me an email (I am on your list). I also have a boat locally that serves as a "water taxi."
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  #43  
Old 11-18-2009, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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Back to Al, yes, when I ran into him I often just put my gear down and let him cast. So in some ways yes, no competition, of course not, for that matter let him catch all the fish, I didnt care. I was happy just to pick his brain and shoot the BS. To me, that was much more valuable than the fish. And now I am happy I did. I'll always remember that more than the fish.

If you ever do make your way down to LI you can send me an email (I am on your list). I also have a boat locally that serves as a "water taxi."

Thank you John! As for your "water taxi" I'm sorry you and Al never hooked up with that over the past few years. It would have been good for him to have someone there to fish who could get to spots that were otherwise inaccessable. Do you know Pat D'Andrea from Seaford? I tried to get Al to fish with him because I was "concerned" they might "find him" on the marsh some day. Al didn't know Pat so he didn't want to get involved but you he felt good about.
Funny story:when I first found fish at that spot I told Al about it and he left me alone there for years. He didn't want to invade my turf. Only after his spots were "over-run" with "Yahoo's" did I insist he go there with me. I never invited Pat to that spot and in fact never told him where it was. I even tried to "mis-inform" and discourage him by describing the drainage ditch (that is nothing more than a "big step") as "a 5 minute swim"! He found it anyway about 14 years ago when he saw my boat anchored up on the bank. I left right after that so I guess that saved his life.....

Many times I tried to talk Al into getting a small boat to get him to and from "spots" that were otherwise either illegal to park on just outright inaccessable. He never went for it. I think he wanted to stay "pure" in knowing that no one could ever say he "gave in" and went to a boat, even if he only used it like a car.............JC
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

I know this thread is about Al, but...
JC,

Why did you leave Long Island? The place where you did manage to take more and larger surf caught striped bass than anyone I have ever heard of.

And what happened to Cap n big bass (username), I remember reading his, Al, Frank, and JC's posts and thinking "I wanna be like these guys".
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: A Tribute to Al Bentsen

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I know this thread is about Al, but...
JC,

Why did you leave Long Island? The place where you did manage to take more and larger surf caught striped bass than anyone I have ever heard of.

And what happened to Cap n big bass (username), I remember reading his, Al, Frank, and JC's posts and thinking "I wanna be like these guys".
John, lets keep this thread about Al Bentsen. Just email me at fishinglsister@aol.com and I will be happy to answer your questions...........JC
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