Winter Fishing Report/Tips Thread

Well, I hope your fall fishing season went better than mine. I put 11 days of drum fishing over the course of three tips grinding on average 14 hours a day and didn't manage a single citation drum. It is my first drumless season since 2011.

When red drum were not factored, the fishing was solid. My last trip was a three day run last Wednesday through Thursday. If you enjoyed light tackle bluefish, you could catch a bluefish every couple of casts all day every day. Gotcha plugs produced the best numbers primarily because the hook up ratio was highest. My buddy and I limited out (15 per person) each before daylight and the blues continued to bite all day. I used the bluefish heads as baits because spot were impossible to come by.

I spent most of the trip using a double trout jig, but instead of using the TWs B&T jig bodies, I replaced them with gold flake Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ in an effort to get a keeper trout. I probably caught 60 trout over the course of three days by slowing down and dragging the bait underneath the bluefish. The blues were still thick on the ZMan, and unlike my Shad Assassins (which the tail would get bitten off on the first class), the ZMan's held together. I only went through six ZMan's the whole trip. They made a believer out of me.

Drum fishing was rough. One morning, I fought six carhood rays over a five hour period. It was agonizing. There were some other garbage on day 1 and day 3 (mostly biter and sand tiger sharks.) One lucky angler managed a skinny, 7 foot long tiger shark. I have only seen two before in 20 years of pier fishing. Here is video footage.

The drum run just never happened for the northern OBX. Boat anglers in the Bay wore them out for months and the just would not leave. The southern OBX piers and Hatteras Beaches got local drum coming out of the Pamlico. We were in the dead zone, with fish passing well off the beach when they trickled down. I have never seen anything like it. Even in years where I struck out, other folks were catching. I saw three drum landed all year. I don't get it.

Now we are in November. Hopefully I can joing IAmFish down in the Bay. I also will probably make a few runs over to Cambridge MD to catch schoolies off the Burton Pier.

What else is cooking?

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Comments

I'll be heading to Nags Head this weekend to go fishing with a friend. I'm an absolute beginner; do you folks have any tips for shore fishing?

Red one oz jighead with a chartreuse gulp minnow, dragged very slowly in the slough's close to the lip of the beach. If the surf is relatively calm there should be plenty of trout and maybe a puppy drum.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I concur. Trout and puppies love that gulp stuff. Fish have been hot up the Piankatank this fall, but when 3rdGen and I went last Sunday, they'd taken the day off. They've been getting rockfish, grey and speckled trout, and bluefish. Scouted the mouths of the 'tank and the Rapp, but no birds, bites or boats. I'll let you know when those darned rock decide to gang up down here.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

"If the surf is relatively calm"... ain't gonna happen this weekend. Heavy NE winds expected overnight that are supposed to settle-in to +/- 10 mph NNE winds for the weekend. Time to drink heavily and watch football.

The surf was super rough, but I still reeled in a striper and a puppy drum!

I'm an absolute beginner; do you folks have any tips for shore fishing?

The key to all of this is to remember that the Presbyterian mollusks wear linen jodhpurs and react accordingly. If you ever don't unwind the spool of the slough over the lip, you'll definitely want to. Never under any circumstances ignore the wave motion of the inlet signals, as this often indicates a big run on the jetty where you definitely won't want to be. Be sure to check the tides.

Chem PhD '16

I'm an absolute beginner; do you folks have any tips for shore fishing?

Red one oz jighead with a chartreuse gulp minnow

Chem PhD '16

I'm dense. I still can't decipher the post to which I replied. Perhaps it's fisherman code?

No I was just making stuff up. But if Rigging a one oz jighead with a chartreuse minnow means something, then anything can mean something.

Chem PhD '16

Rigging a one oz jighead with a chartreuse (gulp) minnow doesn't mean something...it means EVERYTHING.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Right, and so does "the Presbyterian mollusks wear linen jodhpurs"

Chem PhD '16

I appreciate the attempt to be funny. But, the tenor seems to be more making fun of fishermen and less good jest. Hence, it isn't funny.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wasn't trying to mock fishermen as much as poke fun at any sort of niche slang and jargon, especially when someone admits they have no clue about anything. Apologies for the flat delivery.

Chem PhD '16

It was neither niche slang nor jargon. The jighead is standard and ubiquitous, fishing 101 if you will, and Gulp is a brand of saltwater artificial bait that is well known and sold everywhere you can buy beer within 50 miles of the coast. Chartreuse is, again, a standard color for many, if not most saltwater inshore baits. If the fisherperson goes into a tackle shop, that's what they'll find. French also gave a "cut to the chase" way to work the bait for an effective presentation and decent chance to catch many or most of the fish that would be there.
Far from a cryptic, cute or insider talk answer, what French did was give the poster that clue. Books are written, people make a living teaching or serving the fishing community, and some of us have a lifetime invested in learning it. Impossible to tell someone all of the things they need to know to fish. They gotta learn it for themselves with hints and help along the way. French's post was both.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

What's funny, to me at least, is that I understood 100% of the post about the jighead and Gulp minnow, and approximately 0% of the post that followed.

Now that I understand it, I see the humor in the post. Made-up jargon is a go-to wise crack in my family. But I also agree that it definitely could have been taken as insulting due to the delivery.

Thanks French and Fish, as always, for your fishing insights.

And I agree with you, I thought it was funny, too. More condescending than insulting, I thought, but the humor was there and fairly well delivered.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I didn't understand a damned bit of what was suggested to me without Google. Please don't act like it was beginner-friendly, because it was anything but.

Well, sorry about that. If you have more specific questions, perhaps the answers would be more helpful. If you want to learn more about the sport, though, I'd suggest a long visit to a well respected local tackle shop. A professional guide would also be of tremendous help, but most of us learn by going out with knowledgeable fishermen and asking questions that can be answered in person. My particular point is that you cannot get all of the instruction, tips and hints that you need to go fishing successfully in a forum like this. I, for example, have given my home phone number and email address out on TKP more than once for anyone who'd care for a more in-depth discussion, and there are a lot of people on this site who know more than me about any kind of fishing you could care to pursue, but you have to give them something more to work with than you did with your question. It took a lifetime for most of us to learn what we know, and we wouldn't mind sharing it, but don't expect to speak French without learning the language, so to speak. Glad you caught some fish, though. Some folks don't do as well their first time out.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Fish can tell you, only I speak French.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Put these:

On this:

Walk to this:

Cast into it. Reel slowly. If it doesn't work, reel faster and slower. Change speeds until it works. Eventually you will catch something.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

As for how fishing technique goes, this will put it in a nutshell. I once had a book titled Proven Musky Tactics.
It contained 100 blank pages. Wish I knew what happened to it!

Where is Lawson?!

Saltwater fishing = chartreuse gulp minnow

I fish my ass off and found it to be funny bullshit. In fact I disagree because the Baptist clams are the true indicators of a lake's state of fertility.

Where is Lawson?!

I will be headed down to Beaufort for the long Thanksgiving Weekend. Taking a guided trip for kings, albacore and maybe a quick stop for trout. Then hopefully putting that knowledge to work the rest of the week focusing more on trout, maybe luck into a school of reds, albacore.

Lots of kings should be around if the weather doesn't go to hell.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

It seems like it's been a great season for kings. Seen reports of big ones caught and even people catching them on the pier with gotcha lures. With it being a little later in the season, trying to temper expectations of what will happen. I'm hoping the wind stays down for the charter and it's not too rough to go out to wherever we would go. If wind is up, staying in the backwaters or at the jetties for trout would be fine.

reds holding tight to the beach in NEFL. this won't last much longer

With deer season in full rut I've been a hobbit in the hills having left my fishing gear behind for the last few weeks and won't be picking up tackle till thanksgiving for some good crappie fishing caught one close to a citation last year hoping to hit that mark this year

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Maybe I'll actually go fish the hard water this year. I've lived out here for two years and haven't figured out why people find it enjoyable to sit on a bucket on a frozen lake when you can be hunting. That being said getting some pike, walleye, and perch in the freezer wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Thing is when can you catch a 300 pound fish with delectable tenderloins as big as your arms?

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I'm gonna need to drill a bigger whole in the ice. My deer season is pretty much done. I didn't get a rifle tag and once rifle season starts here everything dies and public land gets really sketchy; but its also the perfect time of the year to duck and pheasant hunt cause everyone else is chasin deers.

Visited my friend in Wisconsin over the summer and he would rather ice fish than anything else. And he's not very good at it. I think its because he gets to sit in his hut away from the wife and neighbors and drink 100 Busch Lights and watch the Packers game

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Hell yeah. Who doesn't want that?

Hey Fly, you forgot the beenie weenies.

Where is Lawson?!

Dude, if he's got a hundred beers and a working TV in that ice shack, I'd be willing to bet we're talking brats at the very least. Beenie weenies is for southern boys lookin' for some veggies to go with that Slim Jim and Vienna Sausages.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

No way fish! I downed many a Strohs and cans of B/Ws in a shanty in MI!

Where is Lawson?!

You're just a transplanted Southern boy, Musky.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Took the whole family fishing in WNC again on a very cold, rainy Halloween weekend. Mostly nymph and terrestrial used due to rain falling. Western Fork of the Pigeon as it flows into Lake Logan (private property). Twas absolutely beautiful water with the most amazing myriad of colors of stones we walked on.

Best part of the trip was my daughter finally catching TWO! trout after not getting any the last two trips out. She got a 15" Rainbow and this little Brown. The brown was her first on a fly rod and she was so proud! The rest of were skunked but to see her smile after catching those fish made it all worthwhile in the cold water and cold rain.

"Take a Kid Fishng!"

Where is Lawson?!

Nice. Beautiful water, too.
Good sized rainbow, but a Brown is more fun, IMHO.
She'll remember that forever.
Some of best fishing can be done under those weather conditions.
If the nymphs don't work and the water's stirred up, I carry some crazy streamers that tend to pull up some of the bigguns. (I know, I know, but it has worked, and especially for kids, it's easy like fishing a spincast rig on a fly rod.)

I know a few world class fly fishermen that have no problem using streamers to catch big fish in stained water. It's not like using dynamite or blasting caps.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I need to fish more.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That's true for most of us most of the time. It's especially accurate on days like this.

Up until Sunday it had been over a month since I had been on the water. Spent all Saturday night tying and woke up at 5 a.m. and headed Down East to Cape Lookout. My buddy recently returned from Alaska aboard a commercial fishing vessel and had a brand new (to him) toy, a Contender 25 with new twin Yamaha 200s. I was to be his guinea pig for chasing Albacore and potential trips offshore for king mackerel and black fin tuna. His girlfriend and fellow Hokie, Natalia, joined us. She knows her way around a boat quite well.

Sunday there were albies up for a bit, but they were super picky. I hooked one on the very first cast and broke him off. Hooking fish on the first cast is bad luck in my book. We went 15 miles offshore to a king spot and got skunked. His new boat took the heavy chop and seas very, very well.

Monday we again chased albies. They were there, but very small and sporadic schools that would stay up for a max of 20 seconds. For those not familiar with this style fishing, you are on the lookout for breaking fish and birds diving, drive the boat up and make casts to the fish. It is extremely hard with the rocking boat, wind, bad weather and buck fever. It's even worse when they won't stay up. I made over a dozen really good casts and for some reason the fish wouldn't eat. We realized they were eating micro-bait, so I cut my albie fly down to 1.5 inches and hooked up finally. Man I love that pull, drag screaming and line hissing through the water. The fish got more and more sporadic so we followed a few trawlers culling their catch. Albies will follow the boats and eat the small fish they throw overboard and this tactic is kind of a cheating way to catch them. This resulted in two more albies and were my first behind trawlers after traveling down here for 6 years.

Tuesday Luke took me out trout fishing in his Hells Bay skiff. What a beautiful boat. I'm ruined and now need a flats boat ASAP. The trout fishing was slow. Luke stuck two on gear, and I missed a solid bite on fly. He decided to show me his favorite winter redfish spots, which turned out to be a great decision. We explored for awhile under overcast skies and finally the clouds broke for a bit so we could see them. We found 3 fish and I was able to coax one into eating. There is NOTHING better than watching a cruising redfish suck in your fly. It's a rush every single time I do it.

Had to head back to RVA today, wish we had hit the redfish flat again as it was sunny and 60 when I left. Will be back this winter for more.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

NIce! Flash-A-Bou?

Where is Lawson?!

Which fly are you referencing?

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Shrimp looking thing that caught the flounder. Green in the drum's mouth.

Where is Lawson?!

That's actually the same fly.

Redfish Wiggler, which has a tail of copper Kreinik, a collar of palmer chenille and then body of ice chenille, clipped flat on top and bottom. Tied on a hook bent to a mild U shape and properly weighted with lead wire. Flashabou can be used as the tail in leiu of the Kreinik. It's my best producing redfish fly and very versatile.

My video on how to tie it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fczrPopQewI&t=194s

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Seems the eyes were a bitch!

Where is Lawson?!

They can be. I rarely tie them in any more when I fish the flies myself. For selling them though, people love the eyes

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Yes! Remember that lures are made to catch fisherman...not fish!

Where is Lawson?!

love just a touch of copper and purple flash in a black bucktail jig for reds when it's fiddler crab season (cold weather with fish moving onto the warm mud banks/bars on the first part of incoming tide.

you can thank me later

Oh I've been pairing black, purple and copper for awhile now. Great color combo

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Black and purple are great colors in stained water.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Junebug anything!

Where is Lawson?!

I've had luck with copper flash in rust colored bucktail jigs as well (white or copper head) in the lower St Johns River just upstream from Jax on the shell bars; but give me black in the marshes/creeks for about the next 10 weeks in N FL.

Another great write up, and you definitely know how to get a great hero shot out of it, as well. I know all about boat envy, and it sounds like your buddy has it nailed. Flats boat for inshore, great offshore boat for the big water. Ahhh, to be young and have money!
Still looking for a reliable striper (errr rockfish) bite here. Going out today to take the temperature, but with predicted winds, it won't last too long. The cooler temps should be pushing them into the area soon, if not already. Thanks for the report.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Sure thing and thanks for keeping me updated as always! We need to get out on the water again.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Just a heads up. One of my new acquaintances from the cobia venture went out and eeled earlier this week around the CBBT. He managed some with the biggest checking in at 44 inches.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Eeling is a great way to catch big rockfish, but it can be as boring as watching paint dry if they aren't in a biting mood. One of those endeavors that one bite, however, can turn a ho hum day into a whoopdeedoo. My old friend Scanlan got his brother a 50" drum at the Cell a week and a half ago.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That is a great report! I have been on a 25 foot Contender one time, and man, what a boat. Speed, control, and comfort. It is hard to top.

False albacore are my favorite fish to catch on light tackle. NOTHING pulls harder pound for pound (amberjack is close second) that you can catch on spinning/fly tackle. For the folks reading who never have caught an albacore, nothing can dump a 2500 size reel faster.

Those trout and puppy drum must have been a ton of fun. This has, by all accounts from Virginia to down south, an amazing speckled trout fall.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Thanks French!

Those Contenders are flat out badass.

I expect a good trout fishing season here this winter.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Great writeup as always. I can't wait to get down there myself. Weather is looking good for a week out. Maybe sometime, we can sink up schedules and be down there are the same time.

Thanks! Sounds good

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Well, don't hurry down on my account. We didn't do much today...again... Managed one small striper first thing casting to the bridge pilings at the Gwynn's Island bridge. That was it. My buddy who lives up the Piankatank struck out a couple of days ago, and we found nothing there today. Also nothing out at the mouth of the Rapp. Man, you'd think that sooner or later those schoolies would be moving in, and I'll continue to try. When I find them, we'll ALL go.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

OK, just to follow up on my empty report, I have to say that it seems the stripers have shown up here in the Middle Peninsula area. Have had two good reports from the Rapp, with yesterday being a real show of birds and fish in the mouth of said Rapp. My friends got maybe fifty fish, with a 28" in the mix. This after a report from late last week of fish up to 32" at the Rt. 3 bridge (again, the Rappahannock), and birds galore, on the day I struck out at the mouth and up the Piankatank. The guys yesterday said the birds were so thick that gulls were landing on pelican's backs and harassing them into spitting up bait which they'd then steal. Hopefully, this will continue for several weeks. Let's go!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I had 5 days of fishing down at Beaufort. First day we went on a charter looking for albies and speckled trout. It was super foggy to start the morning which delayed our start of the trip. Fog didn't burn off til 9. We started jigging stingsilvers on an artificial reef waiting for fog to burn off more. Caught bluefish and gray trout every drop. Once fog burned off rode around for albies for 2 hours didn't see any activity. Which was surprising since the captain had his best day of albie fishing the day before. Went to the Cape Lookout Jetty. We caught a variety of species including 3 keeper gray trout, 2 nice black drum, more blues, undersized specs and a ray. Rode around for albies after bite had died down at the jetty. Didn't see any activity.
Fished the next day at the Shackleford Jetty, dad caught a 22.5" drum on a slip cork with live shrimp. Caught a small sheepshead and small spec. Caught about 20 undersized specs at the Haystacks the next day all on artificial which was cool to get the feel for retrieval and bite of the specs. Rode around Atlantic Beach and up Shackleford Banks looked for albie, didn't see anything and then headed to Cape Lookout Jetty the next day to try to find some bigger specs but it was slow for everyone out there. Tried to fish some docks up Core Creek after getting some info that a few keeper trout had been caught there. Didn't do anything other than get some live shirmp stolen. We went to the Haystacks again and caught some nicer specs in the 12-13.5" range. Overall, I was happy that we caught a bunch of trout seems like the fishing had slowed down overall in the area from talking to the guide this weekend.

Awesome

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Those are delicious....

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

I hadn't had black drum before that. It was very good. Definitely wouldn't mind catching more of those. Fun fight and good eating.

I have blackened both black drum and redfish (red drum) many times. They are different, but they are of equal taste quality in my mind.

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

Awesome report. Albies will do that, there one day and totally gone the next. I've been told by several locals and guides they are showing less and less. They think it has to do with the number of boats out there fishing for them.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

It felt like we were chasing after a unicorn with those dang albies. To be fair we only rode around looking for them for two of the five days. It makes me feel a little better that not many were caught. Is there a decent run of them in the spring?

Albies, like many other saltwater species, do not always cooperate like we want them to. There are still PLENTY of them around every fall, sometimes they are easy to find and stay up, sometimes they go down. Sometimes they eat anything, other times, only snot bait. A week and a half ago, I went out for two days of fishing for them on the perfect boat for them, with a Morehead local who is no doubt a better captain than most (and he doesn't guide) and we only got three. Both he and I were frustrated, but it's the way it goes.

I've had days of zero and days of 25. I introduced a friend of mine to this fishery this fall and he caught 75 over three days, his first weekend down there. He thinks it's easy and is probably in for a rude awakening next fall when they will only eat snot. Another friend and his dad have hired me to guide them for 4 straight years. We have landed one albie total, it just has not lined up for us. Keep putting in your time and you will get them, just like all fish. I have been after huge bull reds for years down there and have yet to get one. I will eventually.

There can be a few albies around in the spring, along with some bonita, but it isn't consistent like the fall. There can be nice schools of redfish in the spring, and this spring they had a run of monster bluefish, 10-14 pounders. Locals told me that happens once every dozen years.

Nice job on the black drum, I have never caught one in NC. November and Dec are trout time along the Crystal Coast. I've caught so many different species of fish off of that jetty it isn't even funny. Also seen some serious boat accidents.

If you want a fish that will frustrate and drive you crazy yet justified in disappointment for not catching, hooking, seeing or even thinking they are there, go fish for musky!

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

That what I'm understanding more and more now about the albies. I had only watched youtube videos where the bait is busting and they are wacking albies every cast. The fight they put up is so awesome, I definitely will stay after it next year. I will have to make sure to get down there a couple more times than I did this fall. I have heard the bonita only come in the spring. Are the schools of drum usually in the backwaters or out along the beaches more?

Thanks, I was really slowly dragging a live shrimp on a jighead across the bottom and it hit hard. I was surprised that the Jetty wasn't hot since it was later in the season and more trout should be moving out of the marsh. You are definitely close enough to other boats that something bad can happen quick.

I might end up fishing for musky this winter actually. One of my buddies lives up in Giles and has recently got a jet boat and primarily goes after muskies. I've heard how finicky they can be. Should be quite an experience or lack of experience of seeing any muskies haha.

Where did you catch that black drum? I generally fish the jetty early fall, and catch a lot of spanish mackerel and bluefish off of it. We also seem to get a lot of pullage from crevalle jacks. The past few years we have seen tarpon and mahi busting around it, but only when the water is warm and super clear. There have been years down there in late November/December the jetty was loaded with puppy drum and trout and everyone and their brother was out there fishing for them catching them every cast. Haven't heard that report the last couple of seasons. It seems those same fish have been along the beaches in the sloughs instead of on the jetty. Shark Island gets a good amount of drum all around it and particularly in the slot, but that's a bold move to go fish in there. I won't do it, unless for some reason it is calm as hell, and even then it is super dangerous. I will fish the surf on the west side of Shark Island if the weather/wind permit and nothing else is going on.

The spring time "outside" redfish are going to be 30 inches and up generally. Last year they were there in April. If everything comes together, the massive schools of them are reachable via boat. I spoke to a Park Service guy who works at the lighthouse, and he said in the spring he can be standing at the top of the lighthouse and see the schools of the bull reds swimming up and down the East Side and sometimes around Shark Island. I would lose my job if I had to work in/access to a fish sighting apparatus like a 160 foot light house. There are always puppy drum in the sound/marshes year round till they get to be about 28 inches, you just gotta figure out where to find them.

Bonita only come in the spring to my knowledge but they just aren't on my radar to make a trip for them. The new fish I want to get down there is a blackfin tuna, which get in close and be caught from boats on light spin and fly. Local knowledge needed from what I'm told. I was supposed to try with my friend this past summer, but didn't shake out. I'll def do a report when I do. Kingfish can consistently be caught in October and November in Onslow Bay depending on where the bait is. Lots of folks like fishing for them, I'm indifferent only because they are very hard to get on fly, but it can be done. I've tried it 3 times to both bait and fly fish for them and come away with only sharks, but my friend was 50 feet away in his boat and caught six one time we were out in the same area together! Freeline a dead greenback/menhaden and wait and wait and wait some more till your reel starts singing. The best bait for them is a live lizardfish apparently. French probably has more intel on Kings than I do, but they run very well around the Cape.

I haven't seen any boats run into each other near the jetty, though I'm sure it has happened. I have seen boats hit the jetty rocks and it got ugly quick. There are dozens of props and lower units all over that thing. I'm hoping to go snorkeling around it next summer and collect some parts. My local friend said the fishing on it is best in the fall and winter and is dead during the summer, so they like to go snorkel around it and look for lures, etc, when they don't have to worry about jigs and spoons being reeled past their heads, plus the water is warm.

Go musky fishing. It sucks. Until you catch one. Then drink to celebrate and it will suck again till you catch another (if ever). I've been 8 times and caught ONE. Granted, I only fly fish and it is decidely more difficult for musky.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

We were in about 15 feet of water, anchored about 40 feet off the jetty. I hadn't heard of anyone catch jack crevalles in the area. Probably cause they aren't good table fare I guess. Seem to be awesome fighters. I've watched some youtube videos of guys fishing the sloughs for puppy drum. What do you look for to determine what area to fish? Is Shark Island the shoal not connected to the point of Cape Lookout?

I have a couple spots in the marsh I've found to catch puppy drum. Always looking to try different spots. I've heard about those schools of drum on the east side but have never gone out there to try it.

I didn't know that Blackfin Tuna got in close consistently. I've seen some pictures of people catching them while king fishing. I've heard they are around the cape earlier in the season.

I bet you will see some crazy stuff on that jetty when you go snorkeling. So many boats fish it in the fall.

My buddy is pretty solid at it from what I get from pictures and talking to him about it. Granted he is conventionally fishing not fly. He was talking about getting addicted to it quick.

Thanks for the Black Drum details.

Shark Island is the island out past the tip of Cape Lookout.

What do you look for to determine what area to fish?

Are you asking in regards to redfish off of the beach?

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

You're welcome. We caught two that way. Talked to one of the guys at chasin' tails and it sounded like it was decently common to catch them on the jetty slow rolling a jighead with live shirm. Not sure how you would fly fish for them but I'm sure you have a way to do it. I'm fine exchanging some info, you know more spots inshore for reds that I wouldn't mind knowing about.

Yeah, I was wondering about how you find the reds off the beach? Are you finding them by riding around and see they busting on the surface?

Rarely will you see redfish on the surface, if you do, enjoy it. That's a treat. At some point or another they are traveling through the sloughs. I'm lucky enough that I've got friends/locals down there who will tell me where they have been. Still, they are only there some of the time. It's obviously a lot of water to cover. I know they consistently travel around shark island and I have seen several people out there chugging plugs through the surf for the big ones.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

It seems daunting for all the area you could cover around the local beaches especially when I'm not exactly sure what to look for. It definitely seems like something you need to be out on the water a lot to be in tune with. I will have to try out fishing Shark Island. I've trolled for spanish/blues with my grandad a good amount of times in the area.

Holes along the beach are what you are looking for and those are found by looking at the beach, i.e. how steep it is. The steeper it drops, the deeper the water will be in that area (in general). You can also usually see a bar off the beach. There is deeper water between that bar and the beach and then there will be even deeper water past the bar. The inside slot is what is called a slough. Reds will travel through it.

Mind you, I don't catch a ton of reds from the beach. I only target them when I've got a good report. You're more likely going to find reds by searching flats in the back. Mud/oyster flats in the winter/spring and grass in the summer/fall. There are tailing flats in the area but I rarely see fish tailing down there. They are more likely to be cruising, but do tail sometimes though. Google Earth is your friend for finding these spots and some days they are there and some days they aren't. I don't see a fish 25% of the time I go out on my most consistent flats. That's what make reds so addicting. Every day is different and it is maddening and amazing all at once.

For shark island, anchor your boat on it on a calm day. It's a cool island to just walk around. Good shelling. You will see the holes around it. Work plugs in the surf.

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I grew up fishing the Outer Banks, from Nags Head to Okracoke, and back then, no one around there had ever heard of a "redfish". There were channel bass and puppy drum. The reason they were called channel bass is that they would run the slough channel between the shore and the first sand bar, usually at night when I was a kid. Historically, the fish would run in such numbers that the water would turn copper red and the Indian folks were able to wade out with spears and load up on big drum, but the good ole white man helped wipe that stuff out. Chef Paul Prudhomme was responsible, unintentionally, for both the almost extinction, then the salvation of the large numbers of reds that we are enjoying today, with a little help from fisheries management and some really concerned anglers.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Find out sucks/rip tides- ie look for a place where the waves are coming except for one area where it looks like they are going out. Those are the Red drum ambush points. Also inlets are great spots if you can fish near a drop off.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Have had great November surf fishing for black and puppy drum on Okracoke in the past.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

HUSH!!!

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If anyone sees any good Cyber Monday deals on tackle, post them here. Alltackle had a sweet deal on Penn Conflicts ($80 for a $140 reel!) but they have sold out already.

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West Marine is running a deal on the Penn Conflicts, 20% off normal price.
Dick's is running a 25% off everything in the store. Pretty decent selection of rods and reels.

I am thinking Penn must be discontinuing the Conflicts. Seems like they are on sale in a lot of places, kind of like the Daiwa BGs last year.

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No, they have actually come out with the conflict 2's. Which they are marketing as their lightest spinning reel ever. Shaved 2+ ounces off 2000-4000 series. 5 ounces off the 5000 series. No reels in the 6000-8000 series shown on penn's website.

I am going to guess that Penn felt like the use cases and price point of the Conflict and SSV were too close, so they are driving the smaller reel market to the lighter Conflict and the heavier 6000+ folks to the SSV. I have caught a cobia on both, but not similar size so I can't speak to the performance. (The 41 incher I got at the end of my season was on a buddy's Conflict 5000 + custom Vega Interceptor rod.)

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That makes sense to me. With your fishing applications with on the smaller reels weight matter more. Spinfisher is a classic and has the heavier max drag compared to Conflict. I don't really understand what the benefit of getting a Clash is. All you get is one more bearing and is heavier than Conflict. Would make more sense to jump to the Slammer which has higher max drag. Seems to me like Penn's lineup is a little crowded. The Cobia's I caught in the summer weren't big enough to push the reel's limit. I do have a Battle II 5000 that I'm anxious to put some work in on any sort of big fish.

I got a SSV 6500 and threw at plenty of cobia. For reasons that had nothing to do with the reel, I didn't get to try it out. My fish came on Spheros and Saragossa 6000's and a 5000 Conflict. Let me tell you, those big cobia were a problem with the little 6000 Spheros (which is like a 5000 Penn.)

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Gotcha. I would think that SSV 6500 would be able to handle them better with better drag and more line capacity. I would love the problem of having a big cobia attempting to spool me. I'd love to sight cast to some Cobia, I had seen how Salt Treated Fishing would have single person walk ons during the summer.

I can't recommend Zack enough. Damn good fisherman.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I followed his reports pretty regularly this summer and he got a couple Cobia every time and most cases he caught more. He seems to be so dialed into the fishery.

Talked with Zack at the FMAC meeting last night. If you book with him, let him know I recommended him.

One thing- he loves throwing eels, especially early in the year.

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Will do. Maybe a couple of us on the forum can pick out a date and go out with him.

How different is casting an eel versus a bucktail?

Need a lighter rod with a softer action. He uses 7 foot TFOs and Teramar 15-30lb class rods with more of a medium fast action to flip the eels out. It is real easy to pull an eel from their mouth. But, the number of hits will go up exponentially if you can flip good eels at them instead of bucktails.

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but they have sold out already.

Probably on E Bay already!

Where is Lawson?!

A friend of mine caught a mess of whiting, several baby permit around 6" long, several hardhead catfish, and a few small black drum in northeast Florida a week or two ago. Just dunking dead shrimp on a pompano rig with two dropper loops while drinking beer on the beach. Apparently it was a fantastic couple of days.

I was wondering, does the term puppy drum refer to red drum only? Is there a name for the juvenile black drum with the black and silver stripes?

Also, if you are consistently catching a certain size whiting (smallish around 10") and only getting a decent one every now and then, what can you do to improve the odds of getting more keepers? They're so good to eat in my opinion, just a pain to clean several dozen smaller fish.

Thanks!

Baby Permit??? Are you sure they weren't pompano?

Puppy drum is generally recognized as a redfish under 28" or so, but that also depends on who you are talking to. In the bayou, drum are referring to black drum.

To catch bigger fish, use bigger bait.

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Yep, puppies are reds, and like you say, small blacks are just drum. As for the bigger whiting, I have found that while you can indeed cull out some of the smaller fish by going to bigger bait, like from bloodworms to cut bait or live sand fleas, generally the fish seem to school up according to size groups, so you might try every trick in the book and not up the size. If they're not there...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

This jives with my experience. I've switched from blood worms to a whole peeled fresh shrimp to very large sandfleas and it doesn't always make any difference. That being said, like most things with fishing, always nice to have a another thing to try.

in parts of Tx, puppies are black drum

Yeah I thought pompano as well. But when he sent me the pictures I found a thing online telling the difference between the two. These fish had the very bright orange area near the anal fin (not yellow like a pompano). Both the anal fin and dorsal fin were long and sloped back toward the tail. Do a quick Google image search for pompano vs permit. I could be mistaken, it's happened once or twice, but these fish looked exactly like every picture of permit I've ever seen.

Thanks for the info on the drum. I doubt I get to the bayou anytime soon. What do people call the various sizes of black drum and red fish along the Atlantic from NC to Daytona?

I'll definitely recommend bigger bait. Thanks!

Edit: added photo

FISHING REPORT:

VTFish and I went to the mouth of the Rapp. There were fish popping up under birds fairly well when the tide was moving. Unfortunately, they were small and they only wanted to eat VTFish's crippled herring/jigfish metal being jigged vertically. I got one fish that came kind of close to being a keeper casting to breaking fish. But, most of our hits were vertically jigging right on the bottom even as birds worked close by. Average fish was about 13-15 inches.

Note, when the tide bottomed out, the Bay became the Dead Sea. I messed up what might have been a good evening bite because I had to head back home.

As always, it is a pleasure to spend the day with VTFish. I had a great time. I love seeing rockfish rolling bait on the surface and it was a gorgeous day.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Truly a pleasure, French. Now, if I could only remember a tenth of the stuff you told me about football...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Fished all day Friday and Saturday morning with Mike Smith who guides on the New above Claytor Lake. Muskie were the target and the other goal was for me to get some time behind the oars as I will be taking on a lot of trips for Mike in May. If anyone wants to float the New upstream of Claytor with me for big smallmouth on topwater in May, let me know and we will get you booked. The weekends are already taken.

As for the fishing, my arm is about to fall off from hucking 10 inch "small" musky flies on 350 grain sink tip lines on 10 and 11 weights. We fished our asses off from 9-5 on Friday. Saturday we fished from 8-noon. The water is absolutely gin clear, which makes these already finicky fish even more difficult to catch. Better to have stained water. We had four follows total between the two of us and saw six fish overall. I had three really hot follows on fish ranging 40-45 inches, one followed the fly super close on the figure 8 as I went over him FOUR TIMES before he left. He wouldn't commit. Watching these fish will leave your knees shaking.

On the way home yesterday evening I was just shy of Staunton and the 64 exit when a six point buck jumped the guard rail directly into my lane. I hit him going 75 and barely even got to touch the brakes. His head went flying off his body. First deer I've ever killed, I would have preferred to shoot it with my gun instead of my Sierra. The truck is in pretty rough shape, but I was able to limp her home. I'm fine physically, but the repairs will be a hassle. Keep an eye out for deer this time of year, they are clearly suicidal and if you are going to hit one, hit the deer, don't swerve and hit something else! Wish I had gotten the bucktail for more fly tying.

Friday, I am hooking up to the boat (probably with a rental truck) and driving to New Orleans for 8 days of fishing for redfish, exploring the city, a wedding, fishing, drinking too much and probably more fishing. Will have a full report.

Roast Beef and Horseradish. Two of the fish followed this fly.

Burnt Toast.

Skittles.

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I hope you're compiling all this and preparing to write a book. Say hey to the Gulf for me.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I've gotten lots of requests for a book on all of my stories/adventures... it's on the life to do list.

Will do! Let me know if you get into any rock at the mouth of the Rapp. Looking more and more like I won't hit that this fall/winter and frankly, I'm more than content with redfish in NOLA instead.

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Well this sucks. Looks like I need to postpone my New Orleans trip, until possibly February. My truck is in the shop until the 20th, getting $6000 worth of repairs from the F&CKING deer that I hit. Hertz rented me a truck for $500 for two weeks, but claims I cannot legally tow anything with it. Looking at uhaul, they would charge me over a grand. Far too much with my $500 deductible on top. This hurts me extra bad as I've heard many guides tell me the best time for the marsh is Thanksgiving to Christmas. Sigh.... oh well. Can't complain too much about first world problems.

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Ouch! And we don't get those great photos and your always interesting report. Sucks for sure, hope it works out ok.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Haha thank you! Never fear, I'm already talking to my Morehead City buddy about a three day jaunt down there. He found some 25-35 pound albacore and bull reds off of the Cape yesterday. Those will hold me over and I'll def share photos and experiences

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Dang, I didn't know albies got that big. Thought the 15-20 lb class was the biggest they got. Go get your drum!

Hokieflyguy, what would you suggest for a travel fly rod? Looking to get a fly rod for backpacking, so mainly would fishing for trout/panfish.

By "travel," are you specifically looking for something smaller than the standard four piece? Nearly all of today's rods are four piece, cast like the old two pieces and you can take them on airplanes as carry on. I've even stuck rod tubes in my backpack for hiking and you can often find one strapped to my dirt bike as well.

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I think so. I've been researching it some and leaning to a six to eight piece set up.

I've never owned, nor do I think I have cast a 6-8 piece rod. HBurgHokie mentioned something about Cabelas... I owned one Cabela's rod and it sucked. I know they have had some good equipment here and there over the years but looking at how poor their fly fishing section is in their stores (it's not even a section) would lead me personally to stay away from a company that doesn't focus on it. Just my .02, it could be a pretty good rod.

EDIT: Quick search and I found this link... which of course mentions the Cabela's Stoaway as a solid choice. If I'm you, I get the Echo. I own a few and they cast extremely well, are affordable and have great customer service. Well worth the $$$. Orvis isn't bad, good customer service, but their reels are subpar. Also, Orvis is way too expensive for what you get in my opinion.

http://manmakesfire.com/best-travel-fly-rod/

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While I don't fly fish like Hokieflyguy does, I have been fly fishing for more than 50 years. I also say stay away, or stay very wary of Cabela's offerings, and avoid paying Orvis for having the privilege of sporting their logo. There are a ton of great rods out there. I had a lot of trouble accepting the fact that modern 4 piece rods could be as good as 2 piece. Always figured the more pieces, the more possibilities for trouble. What with weak points at the gozintas and gozoutas or loss of sensitivity and overall backbone due to too many sections having to be perfectly aligned and firmly seated, etc. Boy, was I wrong. Today's 4 piece rods outperform my old two piece rigs and pack down into really portable holders that can make the trip on planes and in or attached to packs just fine. I feel like 6-8 piece rods aren't going to be as good as 4 piece rods, and may not be worth the space savings, and I was monumentally wrong before about 4 piece so I could be again, but I think I'd invest in a good 4 piece and convolute a bit to travel with it rather than buy a rod you might not use but for very occasional travel. Also, does the 6-8 piece rod give you the options of most of the weights available? What if you need an 8 wt. on this trip, a 6 wt. on your next trip, and a 4-5 wt. on the one after that?
I'd love to say that's my .02 worth, but it's probably worth considerably less. Let us know what you settle on.

Edit: I just measured my 4 piece Powell 6 wt. rod holder. 30 1/2" in length and light as a feather.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

The issue with Cabela's fly stuff is knowing who actually made it. A lot their stuff is actually made by notable fly companies and re branded, I've had the advantage of knowing which model is made by who but the quality of their products varies so much from line to line that it's hard for a normal customer to figure out which lines are actually good.

Bass Pro is the same way. For years I have used their large spools of monofilament. It's just Berkeley XL, a good all purpose mono they sell under their own label. When I first started buying it, I could get 2030 yards of 8 lb test for 21.95. Inexpensive ain't always cheap. Like you say, though, not everyone knows which is what and made by whom.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Right, working for Cabela's corporate made my view of their branded products as top notch products but only cause I knew the good ones. Unfortunately now we're owned by Bass Pro who I've never had a great outlook on their branded stuff and quite a bit of our sourcing may be changing.

I had no clue where their gear was made, good insight.

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That manmakesfire website was what I first started looking at for the backpacking rod. That cabelas rod isn't available anymore based off of their website. Based on doing some more research today and seeing how people were storing their rods on the pack. I think a 4 piece could work. It appears going with a 9' 5 weight is a standard. If I was to go the 4 piece rod, I remember you mentioning TFO in another thread for a beginning set up. I looked at the NXT or Pro II.

Depending on what streams you backpack into, a 9 foot rod may not be easily fished. Some streams are so tight a short rod is better.

Yeah that thought crossed my mind. Would a 7'6" rod be the go to then? Is a 5 weight still appropriate or go down to a 3 weight?

If I am fishing small trout streams with lots of brush overhang, I fish my 7 ft. 3 weight St. Croix rod but it is a two piece. This type of fishing is 90% of the streams I fish in my area.

To mirror all the great advice above, it all depends on how/what you will be fishing.
In general:
Size of fish affects the weight of rod.
Size of water/type of fishing affects length.
(There's a whole lot of gray area...)
You don't want to be underpowered, so go a little bigger if not sure.
I'd argue a 3wt is light...a 5wt 7' 6" is a better general East coast fresh water rod.
(That being said, it's GREAT fun to use a shorter 3wt on smaller tight streams and find some Brookies...)
Trophy fresh water East Coast, you can go 8wt, maybe a bit longer, but too long can be wieldy. (Actually great for tight streams with lots of roll-casting, but technical and makes general casting frustrating with branches.)

What waters are you specifically going to be fishing? If you are Brookie fishing, yes a 7 foot rod is what you want. But that is really going to hamper fishing for smallmouth in a river or bass in a pond

You live in RVA, correct?

TFO does make great setups at a good cost. Greentop often has them on sale.

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Yep, I live in RVA. I don't have any specific waters yet. This is more in the idea phase than fully planned out. I've gone backpacking a few times and thought it would be nice to have a rod along with me to fish some of the creeks. I don't plan on using it for bass at the moment.

I'd suggest an 8 foot 4 weight. Can brookie fish, trout and light smallmouth on bigger streams and light bass and panfish with it in ponds if you wanted, which you're going to want to do eventually I would imagine. I would get a regular 4 piece. I camp/hike with mine often.

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Thanks for the advice. I appreciate you helping me think it through. Once I figure out more where I'm fishing I will contact you on tying some flies for me.

Always happy to help and would much appreciate the order!

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What kind/brand of line do you recommend? I know there are a bunch of different things to look into.

Rio or Scientific Anglers. Lines aren't cheap in comparison to regular fishing line ($80 for the best), but they are the most important casting component in my opinion. A crappy/dirty/old line will take feet off of the length of your cast. Weight forward, floating which is designated as WF4 on the box, if you are getting a 4 weight.

What won't need to spend a bunch of $$$ on is the reel. On a 4 weight, it is simply a line holder.

When are you planning on making this purchase? If you wanted, you are welcome to come by my house and cast a few rods to get a feel for what you like.

I am out of town through the 20th however.

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Yeah in my quick search rio was the one of the main brands I kept seeing. I was going to get the low end TFO reel at 90 bucks. Up for another suggestion if there is something cheaper but solid enough to get me by. I might take you up on that offer. That would be very helpful.

You should be able to get by with any of the low end reels. Let me know when you are free to swing by. I don't have a normal person schedule, if I'm in town, it shouldn't be a problem

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Okuma Sierra reel, cheap but decent quality.

Cabelas Stoaway is a decent travel/backpacking rod.

Thanks for the input, that was one of the main ones I was looking at.

Had an awesome evening with several 'firsts' on Lake Anna yesterday. I used one of the local guides (Lake Anna Striper Guide Service) to go out with the family and chase striper on the big lake. This was my first time going after them, and it didn't disappoint; pretty addicting, actually. The bite was good all evening - we never got into them hot and heavy, but we did have a slow and steady bite. We probably caught 10, and missed 5 more, with the 2 largest being a solid 8 lbs, per the guide. After chasing river smallies the last few years, every fish we caught was a new record for me, and being there with the kids, with all of them getting excited and fighting over who gets to grab the next one, is one heck of a memory. I'm definitely going to have to give that a shot myself next year. I brought one home and fried it up a couple different ways, and wow, I had no idea how good they are. I wish I'd kept more now, I can't think of a better tasting freshwater fish at the moment.




(Not our boat, but a pic we took that I just love):

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Great report and really nice pictures to go with it. Glad you were able to get the family in on the fun. Making lots of memories for sure, and the right kind to boot!
As for better tasting freshwater fish than a striper, I have a few I believe are superior, but taste is so personal as to make for a moot argument generally. That said, I'll make a opinionated statement that walleye is far superior to striper as table fare.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'm wondering how Striper taste when they are caught in salt water vs fresh water (and better or worse)...

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Yeah I'm gonna have to agree with you there. What freshwater fish have you eaten? My top 5 would be as follows:

1. Yellow Perch
2. Walleye
3. Bluegill
4. Crappie
5. Everything but striper/hybrid/white bass

Sounds like you had a great trip. Way to get the whole family involved.

Smallmouth bass are pretty tasty as well, as are some catfish. Boneless, skinless filets, younger fish, etc.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Pain in the ass to clean SMBs?

Ate a northern pike this summer, that was good. Can't go wrong with snakeheads! I like beer battered LMBs. Rainbow trout cooked in bacon grease is good too.

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I can't eat a stocked trout anymore. They all taste like crap to me.

I hear ya, haven't done it in years

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Well, tiny fly caught smbs maybe, but the more robust of the species that I routinely caught, not a prob. Truth in advertising, I quit eating them probably 25 years ago when I began to target them as trophy fish, and before I started guiding for them, but before that, Mrs. Fish had them at the top of the grocery list for fried fish filets. This was before New River and Claytor Lake walleye came into regular play, but seriously, smallmouth are good grunts. LMBs? If you're talking about largemouth bass, I'd vehemently deny their palatability, tastes like muddy moss to me, but that's the thing about taste, right? No accounting for it.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Interesting and good to know when the apocalypse comes, I'll eat smallies! Yes, I was referring to largemouths, my neighbor used to beer batter them and fry them and it was delicious. Then again, anything fried...

Taste is everything. I know folks who LOVE wahoo. I think it's ok at best and over rated.

I, of course, do love it when our sports teams cook the wahoos on the field/court.

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wahoo is good but it is just too easy to overcook.

lots of people have them a ways down on the list but i LOVE fresh amberjack

Amberjack tastes good, but that visual of the worms crawling out of the meat when you put heat to it KILLS me.

I wish I could get back out for a good two hours of jigging up reef donkeys. They are soooooo much fun to catch.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That's because wahoo has been beaten so much it's really tender.

hat said, I'll make a opinionated statement that walleye is far superior to striper as table fare.

Ha! I have 8 walleye in the freezer right now. Good on me!

Where is Lawson?!

Awesome!!

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It is so cool to see them come up and chase the shad behind the planers. That looks like your kids had a blast. You can't beat that!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

It isn't Christmas, and I am already watching cobia videos and tears are rolling down my cheeks.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Walleye
Yellow Perch
Striped Bass
Flathead Cat
NO LM / SM bass blech

EDIT: I have heard freshwater rockfish is not as good as it's saltwater brothers. I have never eaten fw rocks.

Looked like a great trip! Anna is an awesome reservoir.

Where is Lawson?!

Yeah, my freshwater repertoire isn't very deep, I've never had perch or walleye, but I've also never experienced anything so easy to clean - a couple swipes of the blade and you've got two huge slabs of thick, white meat with no bones at all, that's ready to cook. Then they fried up so nice and tender and juicy. Maybe it was the shock factor, or maybe it's the auto-immune diet the wife has had us on, but it definitely exceeded my expectations.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I am not big on freshwater fish. Once you eat tog (tautog), it will be hard to go back. Tilefish and sheepshead are up there too.

I love wahoo, but it is really easy to overcook. Mahi, cobia, and triggerfish (nightmare to clean) are good too. Spot and spanish mackerel are excellent, but my dad had a weird allergic reaction when he ate spanish. I think his allergy was to the panko, but we still haven't figured out for sure what caused it.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wait'll you get a chance to filet a walleye. Easiest fish in the whole wide world to clean. While I don't care at all for stripers, if you like them that much, you're in luck. There are a lot of them around. I'd trade you a hundred pounds of striper filet for a warm Miller Lite.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'd love to give it a try - anyone want to volunteer to teach me how to catch a walleye? I'm happy to trade for a case of beer or your choice, and a day of good company on the water. :)

Side note - my food recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt right now. This freakin' auto-immune diet has me drooling for piece of buttered toast.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I can tell you some stuff about a few places. Depends on where you are and what walleye waters are available to you. I caught a bunch in Tennessee near Rogersville fishing a warm water discharge at the top of Cherokee on the Holston. Philpott Lake holds decent numbers of walleye. I caught a lot more in Claytor Lake and the upper New River as far up as Fries. Since walleye are still somewhat active in the winter, they can be caught unless the water is frozen on Claytor pretty much all winter. Upriver is more of a spawning run that sees the biggest females moving up in February and an all out run from the lake up to Foster Falls at the Shot Tower park on I-77. Things can get a bit crowded there, and access is tough for anything bigger than a johnboat, but the river downstream holds fish and floating through is a decent way to get into some fish during the run.
Anyway, if you live near walleye, tell me where and I'll tell you what I'd do for what that's worth. There are several ways to go at 'em. As a side note, there are some monster walleye around in Claytor and the upper New. I know a guy who caught a 13 lb fish. My biggest was 7-7, but I caught a bunch over 5 lbs and several over 6 and a couple over 7. The old historical record for state record walleye was over 20lbs, IIRC, and from the New, so while there aren't a bunch of them, you know there are some whoppers in the system.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Walleye Butterfinger. They love these fished deep and slow above Claytor

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I can see why they would. Beautiful!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks! I have yet to get them on fly but we had a few follows from them last weekend. I just haven't specifically targeted them but Mike does

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I'm in the West End of Richmond + was hoping there might be some in Anna, but in looking at the VDGF reports, it appears they don't stock them there anymore, and numbers are probably pretty limited by now.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I am not sure exactly where he is finding them (he keeps it on the DL) but a buddy has been whacking walleye and schoolie striped bass in the Potomac. I guess he is fishing Chain Bridge but I don't know for sure and he is keeping it hush other than sending pictures.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Guys who catch walleye don't let on. It gets out anyway, and there are usually others who already know also wondering how he found out about it. I'm pretty open to sharing my spots now that I'm not guiding and have moved away, but when I was living in that area, I went to great lengths to keep quiet where and how, especially on Claytor. Anyone in my boat knew they were forbidden to land a walleye if another boat was passing by, or to slip it in on the far side of the boat if someone else was fishing nearby. Lost a few fish that way and eventually, the word got out on my spot, due primarily to me taking friends, who then took their friends, and so on, but I had it to myself for a couple of decades and landed a ton of walleye from that spot. Thing is, they'll hit a number of lures, jigs, and baits, so many get caught incidentally, but the real trick is to find concentrations and stay on them when they're biting. Finicky biters, too, and time of day, depth and current changes affect them. Fun fish, though, once you figure them out.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Not sure where Chain Bridge is but I have to imagine it is above the fall line.

Where is Lawson?!

Interestingly, it is still tidal but right at the tideline. Chain Bridge Road (123) crossing from VA into DC above Georgetown. I fish for hickory and american shad less than a mile downstream. I have also caught smallmouth (small ones) in the tidal water down below the Jefferson Memorial, and there was an episode of the Mike Iaconelli urban fishing show where he was catching big smallmouth off a hot water discharge in northern Alexandria.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Game and Inland Fisheries tried for years to get the walleye to take in Anna. Just wasn't going to happen. Anna being somewhere between oligotrophic and mesotrophic (nutrient levels) can't produce the necessary forage base. Walleye cannot compete with LMB, rockfish and SMB population for the available forage. That's my take on it. Its been a few years but I heard that they were still catching some at Anna on the warm side of Dike #3.

Gaston has a few but is probably like Anna. Really your best bet is to head to the mountains as suggested or go with me to Lake of the Woods next summer. BTW it is snowing like hell in Richmond.

Where is Lawson?!

The biggest VDGIF failing has been failing to come up with an arrangement to put striped bass in South Holston. It is so perfect for them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

The smallmouth and sunfish populations of the James beg to differ regarding the dumbass decision to stock catfish in the river...

Also the brown trout in the Conway. (And by this I mean, leave them the hell alone! You put them them there, now leave them for us to enjoy.)

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I have heard freshwater rockfish is not as good as it's saltwater brothers.

Thanks for that input.

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

While I totally agree with the blech factor of LMB, I vehemently disagree with you about the palatability of a nice smallmouth bass filet. It is far better than any striped bass I've ever tasted, and on par with bluegill and yellow perch in my opinion.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I've read through a spattering of the posts here so apologies if i missed any answers to my questions. I'll be heading to the Cacapon River (about 30 miles west of Winchester) over Christmas and am just looking for some general cold weather fishing tips/advice for smallmouth or any other other freshwater fish. I've already got the gear (basic rods, reels, lures etc.) so just looking more for what to try for and when and how to set up. Thanks in advance guys and happy fishing!!

Cold usually means slow. Try a senko style bait (4") rigged wacky or Texas. Soak it or let it naturally flow with breaks and riffles into deep pockets.

Where is Lawson?!

This is good advice. Outside of striped bass (and skates/dogfish/ling cod in the surf), I have never caught anything in fresh or saltwater after early November. I know folks do well catching (float and fly was big on South Holston in the winter for smallmouths) but I never could figure it out.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That's what I'd try as well, unless you hit a nice 3 day warming trend. Then I'd look for ledges where it drops off to deep water pretty quickly and fish that drop off thoroughly with a weightless zoom fluke (my go-to is white unless the water is dirty, and absolutely not a super fluke). The big fish can get really active in this scenario.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Mizmo teaser tubes on a quarter oz jighead fished slowly on the bottom of deeper eddies with short twitches or six inch hops, resting between movements. Green pumpkin colors for clear water, darker tubes for stained water. This is a good smallmouth technique in any moving water situation, especially in cold water. Like the man said, slow. If you think you're fishing too slowly, slow down.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

*smiling* - earlier, I started to ask that very question: 'what do ya'll think of a mizmo tube on a 1/8oz jighead,' and then deleted it. It's something I've only done once, but it caught them when nothing else was working. Thanks Ifish!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

You're ahead of the game! I usually went with 1/4 oz because I was fishing high spring water, mostly, and 1/8 didn't allow me to cast as far, or work the eddies as thoroughly. Smaller water with less flow, 1/8 might just fit the bill.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I have driven past the Cacapon literally every Memorial Day weekend for past 30 years and have yet to fish it. Looks to be a great little river for a fun day of floating in small kayak with a six pack picking apart holes smallmouth and sunfish. That being said, I'd expect it will be extremely difficult to catch fish this time of the year. There are several trout streams nearby that you would be better off exploring. I don't know names off the top of my head as I fished them years ago, but I know you can find them online. If you are throwing conventional, a small spinner with a single hook or (shudders) powerbait dead drifted.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

If anyone out there owns a 7'2 medium Shimano Terez Waxwing spinning rod and is looking to sell, hit me up. Apparently Shimano discontinued them and I am still kicking myself for not picking one up when GreenTop had them at huge discounts two years ago.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

The first one is only the 8 footer. The Terez is different than the waxwing (more expensive and a heavier grip.) The third one is promising. Have you ordered from them before? I never heard of them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Nope, just tried to help with some low hanging fruit.

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

I appreciate it. I am going to call and make sure they have them in stock. If they do, hopefully there will be a discontinued discount!!!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Based on a tip that some schoolie striped bass were hanging around, I tried out a new spot off of GW Parkway. The outflow looked promising, but it didn't produce any fish in 3 hours. I worked it with 4 inch pearl white ZMan Diezel Minnows, 3 inch and 4 inch storm shads, and small bucktails.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

But...but...but you didn't try Gulp!? /s

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It wasn't that promising a spot :)

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Went out on the bay last Saturday but had to head back in at 11:30 because it was borderline "The Perfect Storm" conditions. The fishing, however, was not bad at all. We were up by Reedville around buoy 65 and found some birds among the massive swell and caught five fish all around 27"-30" trolling umbrellas. If the weather was not so snotty I think we would have limited out because everyone was catching them. Last I heard of the migratory big boys, they were about to make the turn into the bay from the ocean. As the weather is growing colder, the last couple weeks in the bay should be pretty good compared to the last couple of years.

"Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." -Ron Swanson

I went to my first Virginia Tech bowl game while I was in the womb.

I've been unable to get out due to the wind/wave thing and having a small boat. Going to try to go Sunday if the forecast holds. I've been hoping cold weather would send the Bay fish down to us here in the middle.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

The bigger fish have moved down, especially around the steel ships.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

They're apparently coming down the coast and up into the Bay as well. Around Cape Charles, as usual, and most efficiently caught by drifting live eels. My boat's too small to run over there, but it's a good way to catch a 45+ pound fish this time of year. Calling for 1' seas Sunday, so 3rdGen and I are going to try to get into schoolies in the mouth of the Rapp. Hopefully we'll find more and bigger fish than I've been able to manage so far.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

good luck!

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Unrelated... I am going to pick up a 2 pack of those RediRig floats. I may just run one up top and try some things next some- experiment if you will.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Always be prepared to experiment.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks for the report. You all have fun with the stripahs, I'm leaving them alone for this season and am going to focus on improving my fly tying and maybe take a winter mountain trout trip or two.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I went on a trip with a few of my buddies for blue cats on the lower James last Friday. We fished a bunch of different spots. The bite wasn't super hot but we managed 13 between the 4 of us. The largest one caught was 42 pounds. Caught all of them on cut shad. Near the end of the trip was the start of the snowstorm, it was pretty cool to see it coming down while we were out on the water. Main thing I took away was how important a good depth finder is when locating your spot to see the ledges and bait/fish. I need to look into getting one for my jon boat so I go out on my own to do it. Will post some pictures later

Awesome catches

There are a ton of big catfish around DC for NOVA anglers. However, I have no clue how to acquire fresh shad. You need a boat to get to one of the warm discharges like Blue Plains and gill netting isn't allowed. Not sure I would want to throw a cast net into the Potomac. You may end up with a body in it.

But if you can get fresh shad, the blue catfish are plentiful in Washington Channel, the Tidal Basin (left corner of the Jefferson Memorial steps holds fish all year), just below the 395 bridge, and I am sure other areas.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Thanks French! I'm in the same boat as you about figuring out the fresh shad thing. I've watched one of the Chad Ferguson (Catfish Edge) videos on youtube about finding shad. I'm trying to learn cause you definitely need the fresh shad to catch the blue cats most consistently. I know you can get frozen shad at Cabelas but obviously not as good as fresh. Still learning how to throw a cast net decently.

. Main thing I took away was how important a good depth finder is when locating your spot to see the ledges and bait/fish. I need to look into getting one for my jon boat

Buy the largest screen you can afford! I had a Lowrance with a 6" that was fine. Then it blew up. I replaced it with a 4" unit for the HDS feature. Great detail but it is so small it hardly helps.

And I just found out my Doc is headed to Patagonia to fly fish for trout. All it takes is cash!

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Where is Lawson?!

The huge difference between an $1800 unit and a $400 unit, for example, is something that cannot be denied, but in a lot of cases, the main reason for a fishfinder is as a depth finder. Depends on your fishing grounds, and what you are targeting, and whether or not the economy and your achievement has afforded you the luxury of an upper end unit. Still and all, you're better off having a depth finder than not, regardless of bells and whistles. In most fishing cases, though, the fishfinder doesn't find you the fish, just the places and situations that the fish should be likely to be found. Obviously, in bigger water and especially in the ocean. the more sophisticated the electronics, the more likely you are to locate the fish and bait and maximize your effort. In a jon boat, though, I'd be looking for entry level depth finding portability. Musky isn't wrong about screen size, though. Bigger screen is easier to see/use.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Something I did this year is purchase the navionics app on my iPad and have my depth finder display via wifi to the iPad. Works great and saved a ton of $$. Plus I can move around the boat with it.

navionics app on my iPad

Basically wireless on the boat. Too cool!

Where is Lawson?!

Yes- one of the huge advantages charter guys have is using navionics to mark where they catch fish (and capture other conditions, like if they find fish in a spot where a temperature break, structure, and bait all come together) and then chart and have the boat go directly to those spots rather than adventuring around looking for needles in the haystack.

I can't tell you how amazed I have been when going bluefin tuna fishing, and the captain tells you that we will get hit in 10 minutes, and then 10 minutes later we hit the spot where the structure and temperature change hits and boom, 4-5 rods go off with 200 pounders.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Genius idea!

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Thanks for advice everyone! I appreciate the link Musky. Gives me a good place to start in my research.

There is some big Browns down in Chile.

Holy frijoles.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Nice fish, nice trip! My old friend, Chuck Kraft, used to go down there regularly and get 'em on his flies. Do you know him? He's from Charlottesville.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That isn't me, I pulled it from Patagonia fly fishing website. I would love to go there though. Don't know Chuck, I only know a few people over in C'ville through work.

That fish is a horse! Yes, there are indeed monster trout in Patagonia. From my trip in 2012 below... Bottom fish was 24.75" and weighed seven pounds. Also caught a nine pounder but that one on the bottom is the prettiest trout I have ever landed. My best day I caught 14 browns over 20". Huge dry flies and small streamers were the ticket. By huge, I mean bass bugs and mice flies and "downsizing" to a size 4 Chernobyl ant. Streamers, a size 6, small green Woolly Bugger/leach type fly they could not resist in the lakes. It is the best trout fishing in the world.

I do have a lodge down there I host at if anyone is interested in details. It is the trip of a lifetime.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

You had me until the picture of the giant beetle. That triggered bad flashbacks to my childhood days visiting Colombia and being scared to death of scorpions.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Haha. Darwin's Beetle! They can't pinch or bite. The trout LOVE them.

There is a type of black fly in northern Patagonia called a Tabano that you should watch out for. Those bastards are awful. Like a big black and orange horsefly and they are seemingly immortal. They will land on you and you can slap them as hard as possible and they will just fly off. Can't crush them and they bite like hell. The guide caught one in his hand and we stuck a toothpick through the fly. He took off and flew away with the toothpick in him. Unreal.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Where is he going? If he needs flies, I have ones that will work.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Slobs. I am not sure if they are as thick in the James, but I sure wish Maryland would put the snakehead "kill them when you catch them" order on the blue catfish in the Potomac. Nobody eats them because of the pollution, and they are running rampant on the ecosystem now. It is damn near impossible to catch a little pumpkinseed or bluegill any more.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wow! Nice work. I've seen some close to that size cruising around but haven't been able to hook them.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Thanks! That would be pretty impressive to get a big blue cat on fly.

Well, first, Hokieflyguy has to come up with a fly that looks like a shad that a smokin' hot babe has just bit the head off of...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

The fly for these fish is called an M4. Big rabbit strip streamer. Don't have any super big ones tied at the moment but here's a photo on my site.

http://www.knotthereelworld.com/flies/m4

I can tie some "chum" flies though. And that chick is disgusting.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

There's some spots in downtown Richmond that hold them and you can sight cast to them. I'll make it a goal to get a 10 pounder (minimum) next summer.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

So I have a question- I know there are some largemouth fishing guys on here. I have been out of that fishery for awhile, but am looking at possibly getting some gear that many would consider largemouth gear.

I am trying to find the right rod and reel combo to meet the following specifications. First and foremost, the rod is more critical than the reel. I would like a low profile, and a low backlash rate. Otherwise, the reel kind of doesn't move my needle. I would like the reel to be sealed so saltwater doesn't screw it up, otherwise typical bass gear (12 pound drag, 130 yards of 20lb braid) is fine. Retrieve speed means little. Slow is fine. I fish slow.

I want a light, extra-fast or fast action, medium power 7 foot rod. Counterbalance and sensitivity is critical. Feeling light bites, think a light plastic worm tap, is critical.

I am looking for this to possibly try some bass fishing when long trips just aren't workable. Moreso, I would like a rod where I can use 20lb braid and fish vertically for sheepshead, striped bass, and bottom fish.

I welcome your recommendations. If I can get the combo under $200, that would be sweet.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

baitcasting or spinning reel?

I'm a spincast guy but years ago bought a Shimano Curado (LH retrieve so I didn't have to learn how to retrieve with my right). It had an adjustable braking system and that really helped to limit backlashes. You opened up the side and it had some pins that you could move to increase/decrease resistance to hide my lack of skill in feathering the spool. Pretty cool/easy actually. But that was also 20 years ago. Hopefully there is better tech today.

I've owned a lot of baitcasting reels and in my opinion the Shimano Curado is hands down the best reel at its price point. I think they recently redesigned the reel a bit and while I don't have one of the new ones, the older green models were stellar. I have had one for over 10 years and it has seen a number of Lew's and Abu reels come and go, and it's still going strong. Really can't recommend it enough unless they've somehow changed the construction, however I think the reel itself is around $175 so it may be out of your price range. You may be able to pair it up with a combo in your price range with some looking.

As for rods, they are so technique specific that it's difficult to say. I used to be a huge Shimano rod fan as they had a ton of different lines (I have several Crucial's) that each had different actions and lengths to cater to techniques. I loved the hook keepers and reel seats, and the balance seemed to always be spot on. The big selling point for me, however, was that they had a lifetime warranty. I never had one of these rods fail due to normal fishing use, and once you got a setup dialed in they were money, but they since stopped with their warranty you may want to play the field. I'd swing by a tackle shop somewhere and pick up a few to test the balance/feel. I like an exposed reel seat to help feel light bites and a split grip that's long enough to offer leverage. Cork looks nice, for a while, but to me gets a bit slimy with use and is more susceptible to damage - I like it more on spinning rods than I do on baitcasters. Hope this helps.

Agree wholeheartedly with you about the Curado. I still have two of them I've had for 15 years. While they're not saltwater reels, I have used them in the salt (with much rinsing afterward). Great reels, and I've had more expensive ones (Daiwa TDX) that were no better, in my opinion.
As for rods, I'm pretty hung up on Lamiglas rods, but Team Daiwa used to make some pretty sweet bass rods. I'm not sure what's out there, though. Haven't bought a bass rod in at least 10 years. Lamiglas rods last a long time and while I use them often, I've had several for 15 years that are still catching fish. I use them in fresh or salt water.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks Tom- while I don't bass fish much anymore, I am thinking that something I can use to vertical jig (like we were doing) and use for sheepshead/triggerfish/sibiki, would be perfect. For whatever reason, my feel has always been better with a casting rod instead of a spinning rod. I just hated the potential blow ups.

With regards to the Curado (sp?), it sounds like what I am looking for, but if there is an option with a dial for the mag break on the outside of the reel (similar to on a Penn Squall 12 or 15 (which is way too heavy a reel for my purpose), I would prefer that.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

French, my Lamiglas casting rods are every bit as sensitive (with plenty of ass in case you hook up bigger than expected) as Lamiglas spinning rods. Absolutely fantastic rods, best I've ever owned, made in the USofA by the West coast boutique company that has been providing blanks for rod builders since long before graphite became the thing. As for the Curado, the two I have do have a dial for mag break on the outside of the reel. Tell ya what, if I see you before you buy one, I'll loan you one of mine and you can try it out and see if you like it. Actually, I may very well have an extra Lammy baitcasting rod up in the attic. I'm dealing with a defunct water pump situation this morning (waiting on Mr. Leon to get back from the hardware store and holding my breath), but I'll check on my rod stock the next chance I get. I have a lot of stuff left over from my guiding days that might be tired of sitting unused in the rafters. Meanwhile, if you see a used TLD 15 in reasonable shape, let me know. With that reel, I'll have two good cobia set ups. Next purchase will have to be a net big enough for a 60 lb fish. I hate borrowing from friends.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

My shopping list for next cobia season:

1) used TLD15- can look at star drag versions of the TLD15 too if you want. I am on some facebook groups trying to get a deal

2) RediRig floats

3) This http://www.eagleproducts.us/product/trio-rod-holder/

4) Will ask around on net options.

I had looked on the Dobyns Fury or a 13 Omen. I am not trying to break the bank because, honestly, I would be using it for a pretty narrow function unless I got back into bass fishing. There is just something about a casting rod that makes tiny bites resonate better. When I fished for bass, I tried for years to apply my unique way of fishing soft plastics to a spinning rod. It never worked, and eventually I gave up bass fishing.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

If you check out the bass boards, a lot of folks swear Dobyns casting rods are the best. Check out their site, they have a line of rod for every purpose: Dobyns rods - http://dobynsrods.com/. Their Fury series is an excellent price point for what you get (~ $110).

I don't know much at all about baitcasters, but Cabelas had their Arachnid (it's really a Daiwa Tatula, with a couple upgrades) on sale last week for $100. I'm not sure if it's sealed for saltwater, but the reviews indicate it's an excellent value that's nearly impossible to backlash.

I've been eyeing the above setup, and waiting for that Cabelas sale, all year; I finally pulled the trigger last week as my Christmas present. That said, if you were curious to get your hands on one before purchasing, I'll be on Lake Anna next Monday or Tuesday, plus again sometime later in the Christmas week. I'd be happy to meet you there and head out on the boat to try a little striper fishing.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Hopefully if I sneak off and get it (Abingdon now has a BPS and a Cabelas, plus a nice local shop called Just Fishin within about 10 miles), MsSusieCue won't kill me. I already have purchased a custom Vega Interceptor bucktail rod, a Vega Fish Tamer live bait rod, a 3000 yard spool of Berkley Pro Spec, and a Penn Conflict 5000 since my last fishing trip as presents for myself. At least nominally, I am going sheepshead fishing in Charleston SC in mid-January, and I just hate using a spinning set up for them. Most folks use heavy tackle, but I found that a medium power fast action casting rod with high sensitivity is more than enough even to get 5-6 pounders where we target them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

now if you used the same set up around Oregon Inlet, instead of a muskie rod and a Shimano Tranx type set up, those sheepshead would whup you badly.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Why do you need a different setup with sheepshead around Oregon Inlet?

Those fish hold right on the pilings. You have to have length and serious ass in the rod to get them off the pilings before they cut you off. Most of the guys who climb down on the pilings to chase sheepshead use rods that look like musky rods, with Shimano Tranx or even Calcutta type reels on them for the cranking power.

Fortunately, the spot I fish in Charleston is more about using chum to get them out in the open instead of pulling them off structure. We were catching them up to 5 pounds on very light spinning tackle (1000 and 2500 reels, 20lb braid.) I have small hands for a big guy, and something gets lost when I trigger the line with my index finger to feel the bite on a spinner versus having my left thumb under the line on a conventional.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Gotcha. That makes sense. I thought you always had to pull those sheepshead off the pilings. So you are saying that it is easier you to feel the bite with a baitcaster/coventional reel? I'm intrigued by sheepshead fishing.

For me, yes. I like to lay my left thumb under the line in front of the spool. It just feels better, and you react to bites quicker, than the spinner.

This is the same place I have gone to get them. These guys use Carolina rigs and put the rods in holders to let the sheepshead hook themselves. When we were down there, we outcaught them 4/1 using tog rigs (small 1oz cannonball sinker on the bottom, dropper loop about half way up a 4 foot leader, to 20lb braid) and very light spinning tackle. My buddy used a 1000 reel (Shimano Sustain, sorry, I remembered it wrong when I wrote the Ultegra) and very light fast action spinners. I was using heavier spinning tackle and missed a ton of fish. We bought a giant sack of oysters and every scrap and shell we weren't using got dumped right where we were fishing. We went through $60 in oysters for about 40 sheepshead. Only 4 kept.

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Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

This is the exact same spot. These guys use fiddler crabs and carolina rigs.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I have always heard that fiddler crabs were used for sheepshead. Is it better sheepshead fishing in the winter? Don't know much about their feeding trends.

Fiddler crabs, sand fleas, oysters- get whatever is available. Oysters are a pain but they make it easier to chum.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Gotcha. Is there a time of year where Sheesphead fishing is the best?

Down there, late November through February. Oregon Inlet and the Bay is a summer fishery. I don't know many folks who target them in the Bay other than spearfishing guys. Most folks chase the spadefish.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Think about it this way. With a spinning rod, you have the line going out and resting on the guides as you work your bait, with the rod above them and trying to pick up the feel from the line transferring the messages through the guides. With a baitcasting rod, the line guides are facing upward after doing their job of casting, with the rod being the main avenue of transferring the feel of the bait/bite to the angler vs the line guides. Make sense? Definitely makes for a better sensitivity and little better connection with the bait, like a rubber worm or jig and pig, that you are working the bottom with. Easier to feel the bottom, rocks, etc. and a bit better at detecting really light strikes.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Shimano Tranx

Where is Lawson?!

I used to think I spent a lot on fishing stuff. Then I started to read bass fishing boards and saw where people were recommending $500 rods to fish plastic worms.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I admit I have a $600 fly rod designed for Bluegill...

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

My most expensive rod purchase was a Daiwa Ballistic 40-405, although I have a Century Surf Max that retails for $750. I just got lucky and won that on a facebook contest.

My most expensive reel purchase was my Daiwa Saltiga Surf ($500.) But, despite the fact that it is an awesome reel, I shouldn't have spent the money. I don't have any other reels that I have spent over $200 on, and only one rod (the Vega.)

I think there is a ton of truth to the rod build being critical to some applications. I found that out the hard way when I learned that my pier bucktail rod was too heavy and had too slow an action to work well from a boat.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

FYI, Dick's is having an online sale today til 3 pm where you can get 40% off one item (max 50 bucks off).

Damn it. Missed this. I actually have a $10 off coupon from them too.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Wish you could have seen my post earlier, would have helped with the price of your bass setup. I got the same coupon unsure of what to buy. Got a Penn Prevail for slinging metal jigs in the surf from today's deal.