Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
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This is a somewhat complicated topic to discuss, as it calls into play personal preference as well as specific fishing techniques. I'll simplify it, by dividing it into two categories. Let’s look at fluke outfits, inshore and off.

I'll begin by saying that prior to the past three seasons I'd never been a big proponent of using spinning gear for bottom fishing. Those that fish with me on the Lep have usually tended to agree, finding little reason to bring along a spinning rig. Oft-times we'd watch guys in other boats using spinners, on both the deep and shallower grounds, whilst poking fun at their alleged “googan” status.

Yeah, well, I've seen the error of my ways, so guess I’m now officially a googan - and it only took 50 years to achieve that prestigious status. This, because I have come to really enjoy using spinning tackle to hunt bottom species, particularly our flat friends.

In an effort to keep it interesting while maintaining good lure action, I’ve spent a solid amount of time experimenting with deep water spin-jigging, not just to add to my over-all skill set, but also to put some extra fish in the box on those days that find the drift conditions to be sub-par. Needless to say, it has been an unqualified success, after making several adjustments to my tackle and presentation.

As anyone that has followed this board (or the old one, over on the “other” site) is probably aware, fluke hunting is my numero uno passion. I like fishing ‘em inshore well enough, in the bays and up in the Sound (both of which methods I've rarely partaken of in recent during seasons). However, what I find far more interesting is hunting and fishing them in deep water – and there’s no shortage of suitable bottom outside Jones Inlet, my home grounds.

Be it over smooth sand or obstructed bottom, I find no greater satisfaction in this sport than putting my crew on better fluke, offshore.

As an aside, some that fish with me think as a captain I’m too intense when on the grounds. That I don’t enjoy the fishing as much as I should. That might actually be true, as I do find that I really cannot relax until we start boxing some decent fish – getting the ball rolling, so to speak. Once that happens, I can joke around with the best of them. But, not until then. Hey, "game-face time" is a real thing.

This is why having "conditions-appropriate" tackle aboard is very important to me. Not only does it greatly aid in the proper presentation of the lures, but it can also assist in the boating of better fish. Dropping good fish half-way to the boat is just a fact of life when deep jigging. Who knows just how well a fish is hooked? Or if its even hooked in the mouth at all? No one can say. Using a rod that has the cushion to absorb big head shakes will tend to cut down on those lost fish. This is a very important point.

Being a "stream of consciousness" kind of writer, I'm doing a bit of jumping around, so let me steer back to the point of this post. For inshore fluking, I do not believe its all that critical to have super-tuned tackle. A basic 2500-sized spinning reel, or 200-sized bait casting reel, mounted to an appropriate rod is more than sufficient.

Smaller baits, lesser tides, shallower water – this is the place for the lighter stuff. I have two outfits that I think are about perfect for this sort of inshore/bay fishing. In a spinner I like my first-gen Shimano Stradic Ci4 2500F, mounted on a Shimano Trevala-S rod, in the “L" power. In a casting outfit – a Curado 200E5 on the same Shimano Trevala-S "L" rod, in the casting version, of course! These little fairy-wand rods are still as good as any factory-built sticks I’ve seen out there, and are well worth seeking out, even though they’ve been recently discontinued by Shimano in favor of the new Trevala PX series, which are now trickling into the various local tackle shops. So those are my inshore choices.

Offshore fluking is a whole ‘nother thing – and I’ve gone thru BOODLES of rod and reel combos over the past 20 seasons, in order to arrive at where I’m at these days. Though I have many premo setups assembled and ready to go during the deep fluke season, inclusive of some very big dollar customs, there are three specific setups that will make every single trip with me this coming season. And all of them are centered around factory-built rods. Huh! Fancy that!

The first is my trusty Jigging World Ghost Hunter 150gram slow jigger, carrying a very custom Daiwa Zillion HLC, tricked out per this thread:

O.K., Here We Go Again - a New Deep Fluking Reel Build

This outfit is whisper-light in the hand, yet has the stones to fish most “average-condition” days outside. The rod features a gorgeous, deep bend while pulling on a good one, while having just the right amount of “tip” to properly pop a 4oz buck tail in 80’ of water. Over the past four or five seasons it has brought many outsized fluke to the net, without drama.

The second outfit that MUST come along is my Black Hole Charter Special Slow Pitch bait caster, carrying my also heavily-modded Daiwa Zillion Coastal. This reel features the same 4.9:1 gears as the previously-mentioned Zillion HLC (both gear sets added by me), as well as many other improvements in bearings, drags and handles. See some info on this here:

New Handle/Knobs on two old Favorites

When things go to heck offshore, when its “rock and roll” time and the drift sock has to go in the water, this outfit is my go-to. No worries properly working a 6oz. jig or 8oz sinker on a B/S rig. It’s got the stones to handle its business, on any but the most extreme of days.

Though it presents as a fairly stout blank, this rod features a deep, moderate bend when hooked to a good one - the better to cushion the head shakes of a plus-sized fish, while rolling around on a tough-conditions day.

Really a nice outfit for those sort of trips – and face it, what with the “accuracy” of NOAA forecasts these days, sooner or later we all end up fishing on less than perfect days. Like I’ve repeatedly written, if conditions deteriorate, I’m NOT going home. We fish though, even if it means holding on with one hand and fishing with the other.

This is because over the years I’ve found that there’s some sort of weird relationship between rough conditions offshore, and a substantial uptick in the intensity of the deep fluke bite. I have no real idea why this is – perhaps it’s the increase in oxygenation of the water during rough conditions. Or maybe it’s the lack of boat traffic – I really have no clue. But it happens A LOT. Slow fishing while the seas are fairly moderate, the wind comes up, conditions go to hell, and the better fluke begin to put on a show.

Hey, why fight it? Isn't it better to come home a little beat up, with a full fish box, than pull off the grounds early and have nothing to show for your week of waiting for that carefully-planned weekend trip? Hence the need for a quality heavy fluke outfit that can get it done on those tougher-conditions days. So that's two "must-bring outfits."

Now, back to spinning gear on the offshore grounds. This has become my pet obsession – my latest “fishin’ fetish,” so to speak. As I wrote earlier, I've never really grasped the need for a spinning rig in the deep. But my thinking has changed over the past three seasons, as there is no better way to cover ground on those “no-drift” days than by casting about the boat with a suitably light leadhead/GULP combo. Not in my opinion anyway.

As documented in several multi-season threads on this board, I’ve gone thru a bit of a search to find just the right rod and reel to best suit my tastes and needs, fishing my area’s deep grounds. Much of it can be seen here:

New IT&T Board Feature - Hands-on Tackle Reviews 2019/2020

After consulting with one of my local go-to sources, namely John at Trophy Tackle in West Babylon, I began my investigation with his recommended Daiwa Harrier Slow Pitch MH spinner, carrying a Tsunami Evict 2000 spinning reel. This turned out to be a KILLER outfit, for relatively short coin. The rod is just $99, which one has to admit is a fairly modest ask for a quality rod. I used this outfit for an entire season on the deeper drops, catching PLENTY of fluke during those slow-drift days. In fact, I would say that this technique did save the day more than once, with the “cast way out there and jig back to the boat” technique putting quite a few quality fish in the box.

Over the following off-season I did succumb to my base "tackle ho" instincts, looking to further improve on an already-fine setup – and finally settled on upgrading to a Black Hole Challenger Bank 6’9” UL stick. This turned out to be a solid move. First (or second?) trip out that early season, I used it to take the only three keepers we three “experts” put in the boat, including a pair of fat 5lbers. The rod handled them exactly as it should – no drama, though it did feature a quite impressive bend, once those fish went straight up and down in 70’. Very nice indeed.

I really had no intention of “upgrading” this outfit, I was quite please with its performance (and looks). Umm, then I made the mistake of visiting again with John at Trophy Tackle. Yeah, of course you know what happened - heck, I even documented my visit in that earlier thread. He showed me the new “Grappler” series from Shimano – which has like 40 different models to choose from. I looked at the “SJ” slow-jig versions, which though truly lovely, wouldn't fit my needs, being too light in power.

Then John showed me the latest Grappler “J” Jigging rods, specifically the 6’ ML. So new that John didn't even know what to charge me, he hadn't had a chance to enter this model into his billing system as yet. The "J"s came right out of the box from Shimano that morning, up on the rack and right into my hands!

But Oh God, that was IT! I had to have it. Just a gorgeous rod, for my purposes. A good bit more power than my BH UL, with a more substantial, yet still quite sensitive tip - it was rated to easily jig up to a 4oz lure – while being ridiculously light in the hand. SOLD! Sometimes you "just know." And so the "Tackle Monkey" had struck yet again! Jeez, it never really ends, does it? Meh, I guess there's worse addictions out there. . .

I used that rod for the balance of last season to excellent effect, in fact I could barely put it down to pick up my other rods. Even when “drift jigging,” during which I would ordinarily use one of my bait casting setups, for the most part I stuck with the Grappler/Evict combo – with devastating results.

Its “different,” fluking drifting with a spinning rig. Though it’s a tad inconvenient to have to keep opening the bail for bite drop-backs, or to stay in touch with the bottom while drifting over varied-depth grounds, its still pretty cool to fish this way.

Not to mention having the reel under the rod seems to be MUCH easier on my wrists. No more “fluke fishing carpels tunnel”-type pain after long trips. I have to admit, that’s a big advantage. Switching back and forth between the bait casters and this spinner has me in much better shape at the trip’s conclusion.

So, what’s new on the horizon? What new tackle am I looking at? Hah, funny you should ask. Over the past Winter I’ve been gifted several cash cards, reel repair services rendered and the such, and so I am considering acquiring a further refinement to my spinning efforts. I’m keeping the Grappler stick – as I’m still in love with it. But I think I’d like to put a lighter weight reel on it for the coming season.

There isn’t a thing in the world wrong with my Evict 2000. Two seasons of use and its still a smooth cranker. In fact it actually cranks smoother now than when it was new, right out-of-the-box. It took a good bit of time for those hard stainless steel gears to properly mesh together. Its butter-smooth to crank now, that's for sure. As far as hauling in fish, its certainly proven itself on both the fluke and tog jigging grounds - and I still love it. A legit quality SW spinner, for not a lot of coin.

However, all that internal stainless steel (main and pinion gears and spool shaft) comes at a price. Weight. This bad boy ain’t light, coming in at around 11oz, loaded with line, ready to fish. Until proven otherwise, I do not believe that such a heavy-duty reel is necessary on the fluke grounds. Nice to know just how bullet-proof this reel is, but the weight is just a bit much. There are alternatives out there, that are worthy of consideration.

Two choices come to mind, both of which are in the uber-lightweight 6.3oz weight range. The brandy-new Shimano Vanford and the excellent Daiwa Ballistic LT. Both feature bodies made of advanced composites, the Vanford of Shimano’s Ci4+, and the Ballistic of Daiwa’s proprietary Zaion. Both are really nice pieces; and both have some unique features that make them worthy of consideration.

The Vanford is very new – featuring Shimano’s latest “Micro-Module II" gearing, a long-stroke spool for better line storage and casting, and a 6:1 gear ratio.

The Ballistic LT features Daiwa’s super-smooth Digi-gearing, their mag-seal technology to keep the pinion bearing from rotting out from SW adulteration, and a much-preferred (to me at least) 5.3:1 gear ratio – the better to pull harder on deep fluke.

I have had some initial concern about frame/stem flexing under load, which no aluminum-framed reel will ever exhibit. But more than a dozen seasons of owning my little Stradic Ci4, plus conversations with the owners of other much more current composite reels have allayed those concerns.

My Evict will not be going into hibernation – as its still gonna sail with me, mounted to the Grappler, once tog jigging season comes around once again. THAT’S where all that internal high-strength stainless steel really will make the difference. In my opinion, anyways.

So that’s where I’m at for the coming season, as it pertains to “Must bring along” fluke outfits. I would like to hear your thoughts on what choices I've made, as well as what you consider your “must-brings.”
 

chunkster

Well-Known Angler
Aug 6, 2020
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A trigger grip, button for dropping back. Turn the handle it engages the spool.

 
I use the Daiwa BG series. Reasonably priced and well built.
Daiwa used to make a baitcaster with. Twitch lever. A lever that took in slack line with a ..."twitch" of the thumb. Was great for dropping back for fluke, then taking up extra slack to have goos feel of the bite. It might be too small for the deep fishing Pete does, but was great for the LI Aound.
 
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Snapprhead27

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May 21, 2020
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I use the Daiwa BG series. Reasonably priced and well built.
Daiwa used to make a baitcaster with. Twitch lever. A lever that took in slack line with a ..."twitch" of the thumb. Was great for dropping back for fluke, then taking up extra slack to have goos feel of the bite. It might be too small for the deep fishing Pete does, but was great for the LI Aound.

Like this one?
 

Rodprof

New Angler
Jan 2, 2019
41
36
18
Montauk, NY
My deep water fluking set up is the same Jigging World Ghost Hunter 150 coupled with a Tranx 300. It also does double duty for sea bass off Block Island up to 100 feet.

My second set up is one of Lep's favorites in his arsenal, a 7 foot Impact set up for spinning with a Shimano Stradic 2500. I use this for lighter bucktails in shallow water on the southside of Montauk or for fishing in wind against tide situations casting into the drift.
 
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Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
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Dec 19, 2018
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Hiya Al, Happy New Year!

You are right, my little DNY Impact is right up there in my rod hierarchy. In fact I would put it ahead of the Ghost Hunter performance-wise and would love to bring it out there every single trip. Except:

1/ A 6' "H" DNY Impact blank is pretty much irreplaceable these days

2/ It was built by Capt. Neil, my "Forever Friend," who is no longer in the rod wrapping business

3/ One of my buddies broke his last season - and is sick over it

So, there's the conundrum. Have a terrific custom rod, which is probably superior to the one I always fish with, and yet not want to take it along on suitable trips.

Hah, silly, right?

Here they are together, on a successful solo trip I made in 2019:

8.11_edited.jpg
 

Rodprof

New Angler
Jan 2, 2019
41
36
18
Montauk, NY
Hi Lep,

I have three 6-foot Impact blanks still in my blank stash so if your friend wants one built I would be happy to accommodate him. My 7-footer was built 26 years ago and is still my favorite. I set it up to both spin and conventional depending on the situation.

I didn't do any party boat fluke fishing this past season but made a number of charter trips that were okay. All the trips had lots of action but some were a struggle to catch a limit and several were lights out catching my limit by 9 AM. My best was 7 pounds. The sea bass season was spectacular and the black fishing was the best ever in many years except for the weather.

Best,

Al
 
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Snapprhead27

Angler
May 21, 2020
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I bring a Quantum Accurist S3 PT Reel paired with a Jigging World Nexus Casting Rod
  • Length: 7'
  • Action: Moderate
  • Power: H
  • Pieces: 1
  • Line Rating Braid: 20-50 lbs
  • Lure Weight: 2-6 oz
My Evict 2000 is currently homeless, but that will change as I had gotten some Gift Cards for Christmas that I will use to purchase a new spinning rod. Being those 2 setups I use for bucktailing, I probably should start bringing the Shimano Trevala (TVC-66MH) that I use for wreak fishing incase I need to change over to lead with a hi-lo rig. This is paired with an Avet SX5.3:1
 
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In some ways my own "evolution" when it comes to Fluke fishing tackle was similar to Lep's. As a kid I began Fluking in the shallow west end bays and quickly moved east to the Moriches/Hampton Bays area where very shallow water and light current really was a natural for spinning tackle. Also, in the 60's most of our conventional tackle was pretty large, heavy, and generally very clunky.

Then in the early 70's I migrated further east and nearly all of my Fluke fishing was done in the Peconics,, eastern LI Sound, and Montauk. All of those areas are famous for their deep water terrain with plenty of current on most days. So, I began to shift back to almost all conventional outfits. Fortunately that was a time when the development of really nice, smooth, and super light yet strong conventional tackle started to appear on the market. And since the overwhelming majority of my drift fishing was done at fairly brisk speeds I rarely used spinning tackle during those days.

Although I too am very stubborn and slow to change my ways when I find something that works, I have finally begun to see the benefits of Fluke fishing with a Spinning outfit on those days when we do have very slow drift conditions. So, the "modern day" Capt. Mike now uses these three rigs as my "go-to" tackle for Fluke whether it be in the confines of the Peconics or the ocean waters off Montauk.

For the moderate drift speed days when I can hold bottom with 3-4 oz. bucktails maximum I prefer a CTS CN 702 matched with a Shimao Chronarch 200E5. The tip is very sensitive but can still work those weight bucktails properly. This CTS takes a very nice deep set when under load of a large fish but plenty of backbone to still put the brakes on a DD fish. Over the years I have in fact landed 3 DD's on this rig. See photo for a beautiful 10.3# fish taken on this rig 2 years ago.

When the wind starts to build and drift speeds exceed 2 kts. then I have followed Lep's lead and invested in a Black Hole Charter Special paired with the Daiwa Catalina TW 100P last year. This set up will easily handle 5-6 oz. bucktails and even 8 oz. pieces of lead if I have to drag bait. Still extremely lightweight overall so almost no fatigue factor when changing over to the heavier payloads but, once again, well matched to the task at hand.

Finally, I have "seen the light" when it comes to those super calm days when it is tough to find any reasonable amount of drift to properly cover ground and entice those Fluke into biting. Here I use a Batson XSB843 blank with a Shimano Stradic 3000 Ci4. After watching Lep really hammer away at the Fluke on those slow drift days last season I am committed to sharpening my own skills under these conditions moving forward.

Since I fish primarily from a relatively small vessel (28' Albin) all of my rods are 6'6'' in length and all Fluke reels are spooled with 20# Suffix braid. IMHO these 3 set ups cover everything I seem to encounter throughout the Fluke Season in our waters.
mtkfluke73018.gif
 

Rodprof

New Angler
Jan 2, 2019
41
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Montauk, NY
Sorry guys. I forgot to mention I also have in my arsenal two ultra set ups, one spinning and one conventional, for fishing the skinny waters of Shinnecock and Moriches Bays. The conventional is a CTSES663 with a Shimano Curado 200E5 and the spinning is a Batson ISP822.5 with a Daiwa BG10 both spooled with 15 lb. J-Braid.
 
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Tigashrk

Angler
Mar 3, 2019
205
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I have 3 g loomis pro blue with avet reels that I really like. Also a spiral wrapped from crafty one customs with an accurate. Also two connley rods, one with an accurate 400 and a spinner with a Saragossa. I am guilty of buying a new outfit for no apparent reason and I promised myself I wouldn't do that this winter. So far so good 😀. I fish out of Montauk, 32nd season coming up.
 

Savvy18

Angler
Dec 19, 2018
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This "deep drop" fluking topic is waaaay beyond my scope and DEFINITELY not what I had in mind when I "really" started to perfect my techniques as a fluke jigger nearly 20 years ago. At that time I was a guy who had a home turf fluke bite that was booming and RARELY did I have to venture into depths more than 40 feet. I built, designed and bought all my rods & reels with shallow water fluke (less than 50 feet) in mind. Being honest, I don't want to fish deep and in sticky shit that eats my tackle...But since the fluke aren't making their numbers known in my neck of the woods like they used to, I've been forced to rethink my gear as well....GRUDGINGLY!! What I've decided is that I'm not re-tooling my fluke arsenal to get better equipped for fishing in water 70' and up.

No way I could ever mirror the enthusiasm Lep has for the tackle mods & gear upgrades nearly every season like he does. I simply don't have the interest for it at this point. Once the fluke decided they weren't gonna travel this far west anymore, I decided to stop being so gung-ho about catching them. To get to water in excess of 80 feet for me is AT LEAST a 10 mile trip from the dock, so you can imagine my "level of desire" to target them has taken a drastic hit the last several seasons. And that is before even taking into account that the gear I had been stockpiling and customizing for nearly two decades was not cutting the mustard once 6-10 ounces of lead became the "new norm." Basically, I checked out.

Most of my "cool" gear is not designed to jig 6-10 ounces. It's much more comfy in the 1-4 ounce realm. I had been "pushing the envelope" with he light gear more and more over the years and found I was appreciating the bigger fish (anything over 7 lbs. in my book) much more with 6 lb. test braid and ultra lite Phenix blanks. Having several fish up to 9.5 lb. on that gear really was satisfying and I was amped up to find ways to do it with lighter lines, rods & jigs.

Call me old school but I have NOT been infected with the spinning gear craze. Not for fluke, not for tog. I think it's more of a situation that I don't feel comfortable with it, than it is anything else. I definitely think it's cool and much easier to get lighter jigs to bottom faster with spinning gear though.

So, for me, I'm gonna be sticking with the gear I have and I'm not looking back. If the fluke world has passed me by, so be it. If deeper water fluke fishing is going to be "necessary" I'm going to find it necessary to fish for fluke less frequently. I'll get a few deep water trips in with Lep and his crew and I'll be happy with that.

If my home town fluke fishing ever comes back to it's heyday, I'll consider myself a fluke fisherman again. As for right now, I maintain my semi-retired status.

I can hear Naples, Florida calling my name.......................
 
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Rodprof

New Angler
Jan 2, 2019
41
36
18
Montauk, NY
Savvy, I couldn't agree more. I have fished Montauk for fluke for many years and typically fished the north and south sides up to 40-50 feet. We had great fishing for many years until Hurricane Sandy came through several years ago and messed up the shallow water along the beaches. The result was very little bait passed through the shallow areas except for possibly the later part of the season when they would stack up on the southside feeding on the migrating bait schools as they came around the Point. Everyone who want fluke started to fish deep water drops from 80-100+ feet. The lure of possible catching a DD fish was enticing. I did it a few times but was not happy.

I started to get into skinny water fluking in Shinnecock and Moriches and had a blast. Everyone to their own.

PS I started to commercial fluke fish with a captain friend that had the permits. We short drifted shallow spots from Montauk to Block Island and always came home with fish. There wasn't a party or charter boat in sight.
 
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This is an interesting debate, and on one hand I do agree with both Savy and Rodprof. If I could catch the quantity and quality of Fluke that I find in the deeper drops in shallower water I would certainly prefer that. However, I am a realist and have also seen the shift in preferred habitats for the Fluke with a large percentage of the bigger fish seeming to like the offshore locations in recent times. In addition, I have to make sure I can produce for my customers and many of them spend a good chunk of change for a shot to catch the Fluke of a lifetime. Personally. I cannot deny that I to still get a big thrill out of landing any Fluke over 7# on relatively light tackle. In fact, on the days when the tide is screaming in a given area, I will often select another spot to fish so I don't have to endure dragging bait with the heavy terminal tackle.

Now, to twist myself in a pretzel just once more, I l have to tip my hat to Rodprof and his observation of the expert he fishes with that still finds quality fish in certain shallow spots. It speaks volumes about always spending a certain part of every trip prospecting for new locations to fish that are "off the beaten path".

I know this thread is dedicated to Fluke fishing but on this related subject I feel the same way about Tog. Yes, I still make the deep drops on nearly every outing but I only work those spots when the tidal flow is light enough to use reasonable sinker weights. Truth be known I really do love the not so new fad of shallow water (10-30') drops using the spinning gear and tiny jigs tipped with crab!
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
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Well, bottom line: "Gotta fish where the fish are, not where you want them to be." Here on the mid-South Shore, if you want consistent, quality fishing for plus-sized fish, other than very brief periods in the Bays or shallow inshore waters, that location will be in the deeper water.

I do think that Savvy is exaggerating a bit, there's still plenty of good fishing to the far West and off northern NJ. Just have to find that better fishing, and concentrate the efforts there. The "old" drops are no longer actively producing in that area. Yep, here off JI as well. There's TONS of deeper rubble grounds to the far West. To stay in the game in that area its time to go prospecting - find the fish out there, see which of those drops hold fish, and when. That's what we here, a bit to the East had to do. And now that prospecting is solidly paying off.

No one, least of all me, really cares to run 8 - 10 miles off the beach in order to catch. But realizing some years ago that this was the "new game," we had to adapt and refine our tackle and techniques to put those deep-dwelling better fish in the box. Now that I think about it, this fishery was actually the genesis of this board. Its why I got interested in all this writing stuff, years and years ago. I really believed I could help others do better in what at the time was a new-ish fishery. Well, new for a lot of guys, anyway.

Look, in my opinion, this is the "Last Stand Corral," for our mid-South Shore fluke fishery. The Bays and formerly-great inshore fishing has all but disappeared. Fifty years of fluking tells me this. This is reality. Very limited decent fishing over the sand ridges and depressions, right outside my inlet. And my Bay fishing sux, for the most part. Tons of shorts, with very few keepers - other than super-early in the season, perhaps. So, we fish where we need to, in order to keep putting fish in the box - and that, unfortunately, is deep.

I also question this notion that 8 and 10oz sinkers are commonly employed fishing deep - causing a loss of interest in pursuing this fishery. This sort of thing happens only on the crummiest of days - when we probably shouldn't have sailed to start with. But sail we did, and so we suck it up and do what we have to, in order to keep catching.

Most trips out there, the vast majority of our days in fact, the normal bucktail load is in the 2-4oz range. What's wrong with that? Nothing, in my book. Use the proper tackle and light braid and this certainly is a regular thing - in up to the 85' max we fish.

However, there are "those" days, that do require more horsepower, tackle-wise. So we bring the "big gun" tackle in order to "deal," should conditions turn against us. Just another arrow in the quiver, no more than that. And really, what is this "big gun" tackle anyway?

Maybe a feather-light weight Black Hole stick, or perhaps one of the myriad of Jigging World rods ( there are now so many JW rod series that I can no longer keep track), carrying a tiny beefed-up bait casting reel? What's such an outfit weight? Maybe 12 ounces? Wow, not such a big deal, not in my opinion.

In point of fact, our "heavy" setups are WAAAAY lighter than anything we used back in the 60's thru the mid-90's. Most folks fished the Bays and the inshore ocean drops with much more stout gear - its how it was done in "them" days. Just look at the pic of Mr. Nappi and his record fluke to confirm what I just wrote. Shark tackle for fluke. Now THAT'S a setup I'd hate to heft all day long. Ooofaaah!

Further, why go home, if your boat is up to fishing rougher conditions safely, and you can deal with the rockin' and rollin'? Why the heck not? Hey, come on, who doesn't love fishing the ocean on flat, calm days? No one, right? Its glorious when conditions are perfecto, and the fish are chomping. We all live for those days, right?

But consider this - I find that achieving quality results on bad ocean days gives me the greatest satisfaction of all of our trips. Those are the days I like to talk about in the off-season, over drinks or during a quality "buddy dinner." How we persevered and overcame. But that's just my way, I guess. I've always been a pretty determined kind of guy. Not a quitter. I like to believe my regulars think that way too. I guess that's why they are my regulars, in the first place.

I have no intention of fishing less because the fishing grounds and the methods to properly fish them have changed. I prefer to segue to a newer fishery, refine my boat handling and electronics skills - and fishing gear (duh, of course!) - to best capitalize on what we have, rather than not fish at all. To me, that's crazy-talk! In point of fact, rather than discourage me, this offshore fluke thing has re-energized my overall outlook.

I prefer fishing evolution to fishing extinction. And so I have embraced this deep fishery - and that's probably why we do well "out there." Its no more than a new challenge. Well, challenge accepted - I can hardly wait to get going once again this coming season!

And I'm making boat, tackle and technique plans and refinements even as I type this - to further our collective efforts on the Lep. Because I ain't ready to throw in the towel just yet. Not when we can consistently bring in limits of quality fish, nearly every trip.

Adapt and overcome. Now where have I heard that before? Oh right, I had two Korean War-veteran U.S. Marine uncles. They taught me that. . . and taught me well.

Here's our catch on a very rough day, last July. Capt. Mike and George were aboard that trip. In fact this was Georgie's first "deep" trip. The WX-man really screwed us, with a completely blown forecast. So what to do? Well, careful attention to all the required parameters resulted in a full box of fluke and biscuits on a day that most would never have stayed on the offshore grounds. Now that I think about it, pretty much no one else did! Well anyway, nearly 70 quarts of fish were more than enough for our efforts at the cleaning table, that's for sure. As the lawyers like to say: QED.

7.15.2020 At the dock.jpg
 
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BoatGuy

Angler
Feb 8, 2019
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Sound Beach
This is a great discussion. While I do put some time on a friends boat on the south shore, I do have to rethink my fishing in the Port Jeff area. I am going to start studying maps, looking for deep water holes. Structure is also key. Sometimes you have to go out and study the electronics rather than fish.
 
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