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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
whoever claims to catch a fish in the surf at this point really shud post a picture
sure should :thumbsup:

Some of ya's have been getting ready for the Spring Bass opening March 1. Others have been still fishing. Thought some of the new guys might like to see what has worked, and didn't work, for me,and some others here, this Winter.

Some nights were a slow pick, where you had to work for each fish, and some nights were a lot better than that...For me, there was no real pattern, no rhyme or reason, as the available forage and milder ocean water temps dictated where and when the fish would be available. This changed from week to week, and sometimes from day to day.

If anyone else has pics or hints to help the new guys, feel free to post up.....:thumbsup: :wave:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
12-24-11 Slow pick, good activity level....



**I generally don't take pics of smaller fish, as I don't like to stress fish out before I release them....Since the water temps are under 50 deg, I feel it's OK to take and post a few. It's cold outside and 95% of NJ has stopped fishing...so enjoy, people!!








Conditions:
Temps 42 when I started, 31 when I finished. Water 48. The blessing was light winds which made it very bearable. Hearing of a fish here and there at night, I set out to explore and find out for myself.

Report:
8 bass to 28", released.
The fish were very sluggish and it took a while to dial in to what they wanted, very slow presentation.

What made it exciting for me was the level of activity. Had about 3 solid hours of feeding activity. The fish would bump the plug, not an aggressive bite. They seemed to be feeding on the crabs that are dying as the water temps drop.
Even the bigger fish hit like shad or herring, light bumps. To get fish in these conditions you have to stick them hard.










Some pics, note how crappy and dull the Daiwa looks, yet it still got the fish. Enjoy, folks!
(The bottom pic shows a tagged fish. Now, I regret that I didn't clean off the tag a bit, or cut the tag out and send it back.)




View attachment 54367

View attachment 54368
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
What worked for me that night:
Daiwa SP minnow (outproduced other plugs 5:1)
Black bomber
SS bottle plug (dropped a fish about 14# right at my feet as the line broke before the leader from the abrasion.) Fish swam away with the SS.

What didn't work, and thoughts for the new guys out there:
Bucktail (though it SHOULD have worked with the crabs around.)
Rubber....rubber is one of my go-to presentations, I fish it a lot...still did not work for me. I usually carry at least 3 rubber profiles with me
Mag Darter, loaded redfins, loaded bombers, didn't work either.

Note: the water was rough, off-color.
That's prob why the SS and the Daiwa worked so well. Fish were able to find them quickly. Fished 3 hours, fish bit on ebb, and flood. At one particular point on the incoming, the fish were hitting the SP every 3-5 casts. They were in a hole I'm familiar with, and were stacked up there.
I got wet, and came back to my vehicle, too worn out from the cold (partial hypothermia in my feet) to make it back for sunrise.

Someone I knew passed by and beeped the horn at me. After we compared notes, I gave them the Daiwa I used so they could get some fish. (note how beat up and nasty it is in the pics, and the hooks that are starting to rust as I only change hooks once a season...usually)

Yet that frikking "piece of crap plug" still hammered the fish.
I say this to let people know that it ain't the gloss of the plug, paint job, scale pattern, , 2-tone color, holographic prisms or shiny nature, etc, etc, etc...
as my Daiwa was dull as hell and had no paint left on it from the numbers of nice bass it caught in 2011....
Nope.... it ain't any of those things, it's the guy that's fishin em....;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
what a shame
you should of cut the tag and threw it away and let the bass try to heal

That's a great point, Underdogg.
Someone did a real hack job on that fish.
I don't know that all taggers tag that way. I know the Berkeley Club has tagged thousands of fish, for example, and I've met a few other taggers whe take it pretty seriously.

Looking back, I still regret not cutting that tag. Next time I'm just gonna cut the tag, and let the fish heal. Thanks for the opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
12-25-11


12-25 was a colder night,
Conditions:
Temps 32 when I started, 26 when I finished. Water 48. The blessing was light winds which made it very bearable. Almost no wind at all.

Report:
10 bass to 12#
The bite was different. The fish were scattered and not close in. Many of them came at the furthest end of my cast...

Figuring out this different pattern took a while. Fished 5 hours total.. Bite completely shut off as soon as there was a hint of light in the sky at false dawn.






Some pics....

(please excuse the condition of Surfstix's plug - the environments I fish in at times beat the heck out of everything I own, including my body)... but this poor plug condition, should show you folks that it's not the shinyness, or the colors, scale pattern, prismatic effect,,,,,it's the PROFILE, and BAIT AVAILABLE....and the fisherman fishing the plug.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
What worked for me that night:
Daiwa SP minnow)
In this case I was using a new one, the beefed-up one I have a youtube video on...

Surfstix's Purple Atom40 plug with purple Siwash bucktail got the biggest fish of the night.
(Got 3 close to keeper or bigger on that, the biggest being a mid-teens fish that I raised and failed to set the hook on, another googan move. :eek: Saw the splash of the tail as she went back under......







What didn't work, and thoughts for the new guys out there:
As mentioned, the bite was different. The water was calmer, the fish were scattered all over, nothing I did the night before felt the same....I started out with the SP, quickly got 2 embarassingly small bass....
I figured that was a good a time as any to work Surfstix's plug, as there were herring around....and I patiently casted it for 2 1/2 hours before the first strike. After losing that, I got 2 more in the next half hour, 1 keeper, 1 close.

The activity on that stopped completely so I went back to the SP minnow.
That finally produced some fat nicer fish, but no keeper size.

I can truthfully say that even though I got 10, I had to work hard for every one,. and there were very few "missed hits" like the night before. The level of activity was just off, and I attributed some of that to the lack of white water...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Note on color for the new guys out there....

You will see in my posts I say "color doesn't matter"....
That's true to an extent. Sometimes it does...
As when for some reason they will only hit black, or when on the darkest of nights, they will hit a chicken scratch yelllow plug more frequently than other colors...:nuts:


There is no rhyme or reason to this...standard theory is that you should fish darkest colors near the new moon, and lighter colors during the full moon cycle. The reasoning behind that is that those color shades should show up better in that respective lunar cycle...but as you get out there more and more, you will see that what is "supposed" to work doesn't always...

For example, the Daiwa SM and SP which you see me talking about has produced some nice fish for me, but only about 25% of my fish during this robust winter cycle. If I just had a mindset that "Daiwa was best" I would have missed out on a lot of fish. Food for thought, people.....







There are so many variations. that I don't like to stick to one set of rules of what color the fish are "supposed" to hit....
1. What about a full moon cycle where it's cloudy, moon obscured by clouds?
2. What about a new moon cycle where it's dark, but the area where you're fishing has some ambient light?
3. What about the differences between rough surf and calm surf?
4. What about the conditions where water is dirty, as opposed to crystal clear?

All the above present different challenges as to what you might throw, sizes and colors, that might give you an edge over another profile or color.
That's why I try not to be in a "square box" mindset, but rather try to view each night as a different challenge,,,because in colder water the fish react differently than they do when the water is 55-65.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Notes for the new guys.....

Sometimes I have to experiment for hours to find something that works, other times I'm able to do it within 15 minutes or so...but it's more often the case that it takes me a while, each night, to get into a groove where you can really get into some nice fish.

Your job, as you continue to learn, is to "crack the code". When you do it, you get rewarded. Fail to do it, and you're casting and casting, seemingly for nothing.....:(




My primary colors I rely on are black, yellow, and white...that's why you will hear me say color doesn't matter....

As long as you are close to one of the above 3 colors, and it's the right color for that night....the scale pattern, the two tone, etc...are IMO not as important as your presentation....





**Work on your presentation, change it up, experiment a little until you notice a difference in the action you're getting, and you will have taught yourself something very valuable that no seminar can teach you...how to have confidence in your own abilities, and learn to think on your feet out there...which IMO is more important than any book or internet post you will read..


**And you must learn to read the water...I talk about "dead water" all the time, but I'll save that for another post...:wave:
 

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Big wheel's turning by the fireside, little wheel's turning by the grace of God. Every time that wheel turns round, trying to cover just a little more ground!!:) Good stuff. Carry on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
12-26-11

12-26 was a milder night,
Conditions:
Temps 42 when I started, 40 when I finished. Water 48. Winds were relatively strong but bearable.....

Report:
7 bass to 15#

Only fished 3 hours, late start.





Itinerary:
First stop, nothing.....

2nd stop, inlet where herring have been, Saved myself some time by chatting with an old timer, just leaving. He said it was dead that night, but they had been getting bass regularly. I reciprocated with what was working for me, nice to meet ya !

3rd Stop - one short fish on the Daiwa.

4th Stop - one short fish on the Daiwa

5th Stop - paydirt
The bite was hot.
As mentioned the first 3 casts, I had 3 keepers....

The fish at this area were in tight.
Deciding to keep the 2nd fish lost me some time as I had to find a place to put it....

And, I realized, I lost time on the pic taking as well.
Finally resolved to get back to fishing, and the action seemed to die,,,,but I did get another short bass on the 20th cast,,,,and then another one 15 minutes later...:cool:







Decided to leave before first light as there was another place I wanted to be at....On the way there, met *.... from MA, down for a Holiday visit,,,gave him some intel and told him to move his AZZ QUICK as we were losing the darkness.... C, sorry if it seems I was yelling at ya, I get that way sometimes when the bite is good....Nice meeting ya!

Went to another place, the light was starting to brighten.....
Bite completely shut off as soon as there was a hint of light in the sky.

Took some pics, called it a morning....went home to clean the fish...
(C texted me later and said he picked up one bass on a BM Danny before sunrise, yup he was happy....:))






**Some pics,, in the first pic you can see how beat up the Daiwa SM is, yet it still caught fish.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
12-26-11 What worked for me that night:
I exclusively used the OLD Daiwa SM. I had met the person I gave that to the other day,, and told them I wanted them to have the shiny new one, and TOOK BACK my old crappy one....
I knew it wouldn't make a difference, but felt that their level of confidence using it would make a difference.....so, hence the switch...

Daiwa SP minnow...here's instructions on how to beef up one in the following video..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4fqb9hr7L0

I ended up losing it eventually...donated to King Neptune...








Thoughts for the new guys out there:
As mentioned, the bite was different, again. Fish hit very aggressively, This was because there was a higher concentration of herring and crabs through the area, while other nights that wasn't the case.

If you know your areas, there is no one area that will produce more fish. I have been catching these fish throughout a 20 mile stretch of coastline. It's up to you to find these fish, as the locations change from night to night,,,,,
The fish are feeding , but it's time, bait, and tide dependent when they'll feed...this time of year the flood tide is probably better, but I've gotten fish on both sides of the tide....

A few underlying constants
1. It's an artificial bite.
2. Exists in the low light conditions, or beginning or end of day.
3. Teasers.... are not absolutely necessary. Using one can actually cause you some problems. Those who want bigger fish, in this Winter bite, would be wise to avoid them.
4. As proved the last 3 nights, you don't need the fanciest plugs to catch em. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Big wheel's turning by the fireside, little wheel's turning by the grace of God. Every time that wheel turns round, trying to cover just a little more ground!!:) !

Keeper Seeker how long have ya been following the Dead?
Some vintage stuff for ya...:wave:


Early morning rain
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPXUrD9fj9w


Dancin in the street 67
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97JXkUK6NsM

I know you rider
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebWm_76riIc&feature=related

Dead and the Stones, waiting for a plai,e rare footage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZizWlGjACY&feature=related
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Skunk reports....

Some of ya's have sent e-mails and asked some questions. I'll try to answer the ones that I can....and if I can't, sorry that's just the way things are..:huh:

The fish have been caught between Sandy Hook and Manasquan....you can find em if you go out there, do some scouting, and work some of the strategies I've mentioned in previous pages...and it takes hard work as there are times when you work the same area that produced fish the night before, to get no action at all....but to me, that's part of the challenge....the truth is that 95% of the guys who are trying right now, are not catchin....an hour or 2 at a time won't do it....it took me 4 hours to get a few small fish last week....for the most part a lot of people think that's too much effort for a few small schoolies.

To me, that teaches humility....no one catches all the time, and if they do, they're lyin.....:D

To the new guys, I post my skunk reports because I have no shame in not catching,...it all goes in my log and I try to analyze why the fish weren't there, and how better to proceed on the next trip....

Some people never post skunk reports, so you think they're exceptional anglers with all the numbers they're getting,...they never seem to have a bad trip.....and I think that does a dissevice to the new guys, who may there fore feel intimidated to post 1 fish, or a skunk, when others did much better.

So don't be shy, post your skunk reports as well, and learn from them...:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
**************
12-27-11 PM trip skunk....
Found a window....


Fished this morning last 2 hours of the ebb plus the slack...ended up quitting before 5am as the tide came in and it became unfishable where I was.

It was fishable for that brief window, and the water wasn't that dirty. The wind had died down to about 5-7mph W. Still got the
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
12-30-11 trip

With one skunk in the last week, the good fishing continues...

Worked a 15 mile area of beach last night till 9am today.
8 stops in all, where I picked up fish at some of them.. and others were dead.

Managed 14 bass to 15#.
All released.


Worked hard for these fish, as the conditions changed with the tide and the light levels.
Nonetheless it was a blast. :cool:
When else have we had conditions of 50 degrees, feeding fish, and limited night wind on Dec 30? Not in about 5 years or so....



2 biggest fish of the night came on Surfstix's A-40 Swimmer, thanks Surfstix. :thumbsup:
 
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