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Slug-Go's: Rigging and Fishing them
                        
By Rich Russo


 

     It was a dark night, the kind of night striper fishermen yearn for. My partner Ray Sasso and I had just walked into our favorite spot. On my second cast with a live eel, I took a decent bass in the mid to upper teens. Ray had a few bass after awhile, and then it happened.... the bluefish had invaded our striper party. We threw all sorts of plugs in an attempt to catch a blue or two but they were only interested in our live eels. Out of frustration and a desperate need to land one of those toothy adversaries, I attached a 9" Slug-Go to the end of my line. After a few minutes of tossing the Slug-Go into the surf, WHAM!, a fish hit Unfortunately, I lost the fish after it had tested my drag washers. I retrieved my lure, expecting it to be chewed up by one of those blues but it was intact, I had hooked into a nice bass!
      That fish prompted me to stick with the Slug-Go and forsake my usual live eels for the rest of the night. I was rewarded with a healthy bass in the thirty pound range and several smaller ones as well. I had numerous hits that I didn't connect on which had me perplexed. I sought advice from local experts Pat Abate from River's End Tackle, and Derrick Halliwell from Hammonasett Tackle Company on what I could do to improve my hook up ratio. They both advised me on a better way to rig my Slug-Gos which I am passing on to you as well as how to fish them.

Sluggo Rigging supplies

       Pictured above are what you need to rig your big Slug-Gos. Of course you will be starting with a 9" Slug-Go made by Lunker City Fishing Specialties of Meriden, Connecticut. Next you will need an 8/0 O'Shaughnessy hook from Mustad. It has a long shank which distributes it's weight very similarly to the 8/0 offset hook which comes packaged with the lure. Weight distribution is an important factor when it comes to the action of these lures. If the weight is too far forward, as it would be with shorter shanked hooks, the lure will nose dive when it is on the fall. Seeing as just about all of the hits come as the lure is falling during the retrieve, this is extremely important. The O'Shaughnessy hook allows you to fish with more of the hook exposed which will increase your hookup ratio. Yes, it does tend to hook more weeds as well, but I have found it to be a worthwhile tradeoff. Next you will be needing a spool of thread and some glue to help hold the lure in place.

Sluggo Rigging hook with thread        The first step in rigging your Slug-Go is to wrap some thread around the shank of the hook. This, in conjunction with the glue, helps to hold the lure in place on the hook even after you have caught a number of bass. Unfortunately, blues also seem to find the action of a Slug-Go irresistible. All it takes is one bluefish to render your lure un-fishable. They will often hit the lure amidships, leaving you with what eel slingers refer to as a cigar butt. You don't need to wrap the thread too far down the shank. Starting from the eye, wrap about the first 1/2 inch of the shank then wrap back up towards the eye to build up the wrap. Finish it off with a few half hitches or any other knot you desire.
Sluggo Rigging - hook placement     The next step is to hold the hook against the Slug-Go to determine where the hook point will be exiting the bottom of the lure. It is very important to get the Slug-Go to sit straight on the hook as a curl in the body will affect the way the lure darts through the water. Hold the hook against the lure as shown, then roll the hook over the belly of the lure and mark where the bend of the hook crosses the very bottom of the lure. You can use a marker or make a small hole in the Slug-Go's belly with the point of another hook.
Sluggo Rigging - applying glue       Be sure to center the point of the hook with the nose of the lure. As stated before, getting the lure to sit straight on the hook is of utmost importance. Thread the lure onto the hook and bring the point out where you marked the belly. Pull the head of the lure up to the eye of the hook to see if the lure lays straight. If your hook came out a bit too far back on the lure causing your Slug-Go to have a slight bend in the body, you can pull the tail section firmly from just behind the hook. This will tear the Slug-Go a bit but it will straighten it out. All you need to do is once you've glued the head down, place a drop of glue on the tear to repair it.
    Once you are happy with the way your Slug-Go sits on the hook, slide the head back down the shank of the hook a bit to expose the thread wraps. Place a drop or two of glue to the wraps. I prefer to use Lunker City Fishing Lure Glue as it seems to hold better than your average high strength glues you can buy at your local department store. Once you have gotten your thread covered with glue, slide the lure back up the hook and snug it up to the eye of the hook. What you'll have is a Slug-Go as pictured below. Rigged sluggo

     Now comes the fun part.... fishing with your Slug-Gos! I know there are many experienced surf fishermen who will curse me up and down for saying this but I prefer to use a snap when fishing these lures. I use at least a 50lb. Duolock snap tied to a 50lb test monofilament leader. I use spinning gear when fishing Slug-Gos for a couple of reasons. I find it much easier to cast these soft plastics with spinning gear as the do not have the weight to cast on conventional gear suited for catching big stripers. Also, I have a better feel for what is happening with the lure when I use my spinning gear. Mind you, this is just personal preference. You may find yourself perfectly comfortable fishing these lures with conventional gear. Don't be tempted to go too light with your tackle as these little devils have taken some good sized fish!

Rich Sluggo caught striper              Big striped bass on a Sluggo
Some "living proof" that Rich knows what he's talking about!

     The method that I have found to be most effective for fishing Slug-Gos is to retrieve the lure slowly and give your rod tip a short quick upwards jerk then reel up the slack as it drifts down. Try not to let too much slack build in your line as the lure drop because, as stated before, your hits will come as the lure drops. As with any lure, fish it right up to your feet as sometimes the fish will follow it in.
     When it comes to color, I generally stick with the old adage of dark colors on a dark night such as all black, red shad and gold pepper shiner. I don't use all white on bright nights but I will use Slug-Gos with dark backs and light bellies like alewife. Once daylight starts peaking over the horizon, it's time to try the all white Albino Shad. You can also make your own color variations by using indelible markers sold for coloring fly tying materials. You can also leave some red shad Slug-Gos mixed in with any other color Slug-Gos and get some reddish tinged spots on them as the red tends to bleed. My fishing partner, Ray, even glues rattle eyes to his Slug-Gos to give them a little noise and a more lifelike impression.
     I hope this has helped convince you to give Slug-Go a try. They are one of the most productive striper lures to hit the surf in a long time. If you don't believe me, just ask a local striper sharpie. Odds are, he's been using them to his advantage for some time now!

RichR


(You can, of course, buy your Slug-Gos right here at StripersOnline! <----shameless plug ;-)


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