SurfGuy85

Dialogue on metal lip swimmers

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I use metal lips swimmers because thats how I choose to play the game. Kind of like the difference between bow hunting and gun hunting for deer. The game is more appealing with the bow. I have spent my whole life fishing and seem to lean towards molding how I fish the way that is most appealing and that is with artificial lures. Spent some years doing the flyfishing thing but enjoy the making of plugs more. I do use some plastic baits but they have their time and place, but I throw wood most of the time.

Rarely do I just slowly wind in my swimmers. Sometimes that is the presentation that is required for a bite but more often then not, it takes some manipulation during the retrieve as has been said already. Building a plug that can be fished like a jerk bait can be deadly when daytime fishing. Fishing swimmers in moving current with clear water is something that I will always try since it has producded some violent hits with fish coming up from the depths to take a struggling bait.

There have been times when something other than a metal lip is producing faster action but it is seems that this is also the time that a metal lip will produce a nicer fish. I would rather have one or two nice fish instead of small fish on every cast.

This year most of my plugs are getting Owner hooks and 6X VMC's too since I have lost a couple of large fish with the 4X VMC's.

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1000This year during a popular Montauk tournament I found my self struggling to find some consistency, tons of white bait and mullet that weren’t quite garnering the attention of much more than schoolies. Before dusk I noticed cormorants coming up with black fish or bergaul on a more consistent basis than I could understand; given the density of other baits more prevalent at the moment. It got me thinking, that night I searched through my storage for a something similar to those fat blackfish; I didn’t know why the cormorants were passing up the 6-8’’ mullet for blackfish but I found a 6’’ pikie I had made the year prior. I hardly ever used it because I only had one but threw it in my bag that night anyway; when I turned it I wanted it to hold at 5’ on a moderate-slow retrieve with a tight wiggle. I fished high-out that night for 4 hours without a touch, ss darters needlefish an bucktails for nothing. I remembered what I saw that day about the bergauls and figured I’d give the poorly shaped pikie a shot. I had tuned the plug accordingly for where I’d plan to fish that night and thankfully it swam way better than it looked. At this point I was ready to call it a night as a friend down a ways suggested we pack it in as well. I could feel the plug wiggling perfectly, consistently, that alone felt nice and my casts were reaching that night. I fished for another hour and had fallen into a rhythm of dazing up at the sky while anticipatorily retrieving. Out of my half unconscious state and in typical fashion, something yanked so violently on my line an simultaneously began unloading line in one immediate and overpowering motion. The beautiful cadence of the metal lip’s wiggle disappeared; if the waves hadn’t knocked me off my rock that night this fish surely did the job. I landed my best fish to date bottoming out my 30lb boga and thanked the cormorants for maybe having dropped the hint. I released the fish, no picture and no proof ;p the satisfaction of having done it on a metal lip…instead of a plastic darter, to me was all I really needed.

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Yup, eels are a foolproof way to catch large fish (and worms work real good for trout, too) and yes you lose lots of fish with plugs. Crazy and a little sad that you prefer to fish plugs but can't get over the eel-thing, however. Think how good a fisherman you'd be by now if you had stuck with plugs back then!

Catching large fish consistently is the mark of a good fisherman. Catching large fish consistently with the technique you enjoy most is the mark of a better fisherman. If you enjoy fishing eels, and lots of good fisherman do, by all means fish them. If you fish them only because you are afraid you might not catch large fish with plugs, then you have much yet to learn.

By the way, fresh bunker heads are probably better than eels when you get right down to it. Harder to use right, however.

 

I might have a lot to learn but that is a different story. I have 24 bass over 50 pounds and most have been taken on eels, some have been taken on bucktails and three on bunker chunks. If anyone thinks a bass will refuse a chunk and then still pick up a head then they have something to learn-to them it is the same thing. The advantage of a head piece is that the crabs tackle it slower so you are fishing with "effective bait" for a little longer if the crabs are very active.

I've spent 100's of hours fishing (each) chunks, bucktails, live eels AND metal lip plugs and the difference is I have NO fish over 50 on the metal lips. I do have two 51's (from the same night in 1984) on needlefish plugs but that was during a run of fish that would not refuse my plugs when I went to 5/0 trebles with the strongest split rings I could find. The metal lips lose action when you go way up on the hook size. Perhaps today with the VMC's you can hold fish on 4/0's but I have not been into "jumbo's" in the past 20 years. My last 50+ was in July of 1992. "Coincidentally", I got married in 1993...........JC

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I use metal lips swimmers because thats how I choose to play the game. Kind of like the difference between bow hunting and gun hunting for deer. The game is more appealing with the bow. I have spent my whole life fishing and seem to lean towards molding how I fish the way that is most appealing and that is with artificial lures.

 

 

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My biggest came on an eel, but then I too decided to forego them and go the way of trying to master artificials. For me that's how I've decided to play the game.

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Perhaps today with the VMC's you can hold fish on 4/0's but I have not been into "jumbo's" in the past 20 years. My last 50+ was in July of 1992.]

 

Many, many 50, 60, and even some 70 lb fish have been taken on plugs (though not by me).

 

If anything, holding fish with today's trebles and braid is more difficult than with mono and big Mustads.

 

If I was fishing for money I'd avoid plugs for that reason. If I am fishing for fun then losing fish is just part of the game.....it levels the playing field some. I'm only going to release them anyways and at this stage of my fishing life I care more about finding and fooling them than killing and weighing them. Sure I like to see what I hook, but changing the way I prefer to fish just so I can land more fish makes no sense whatsoever.

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I have 24 bass over 50 pounds and most have been taken on eels, some have been taken on bucktails and three on bunker chunks.

 

24 bass over 50lbs and the last one was caught over 10 years ago........that seems like quite the feat! I may be wrong but I don't think even many of the great striped bass ever have caught that many 50's. just out of curiosity how long have you been fishing?

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I might have a lot to learn but that is a different story. I have 24 bass over 50 pounds

I've spent 100's of hours fishing (each) chunks, bucktails, live eels AND metal lip plugs and the difference is I have NO fish over 50 on the metal lips.

 

You sound like someone i used to know.

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When I started surf fishing Rhode Island in 1981 there were a lot of big bunker schools around. The guys I learned from had spent a lot of time on Block Island, and took some really big fish! With the exception of needle fish, they fished big Gibbs dannys and bottle plugs with big rods. I tried to emulate them and started fishing plugs, but ended up catching a lot of big bluefish, and I wanted stripers. So I did what any sane fisherman would do that wanted to catch "big" fish. I began fishing at night and fishing live eels, and did it for the next twenty years.

Toward the end of that time I was catching plenty of fish, but not the quality fish I thought I should be catching with eels. I realized that I had gotten lazy. It was too easy to catch on eels and I wasn't paying attention to tides or fishing very late into the night. I decided to do something drastic, and I went back to plugs. I wanted to spend my time fishing for bigger fish and I felt my best bet was with "Big" plugs. By this time the bait had gotten smaller (bunker replaced by sand eels), and the available plugs were smaller. So I took a shot at making my own plugs.

The question was what would I make. I wanted something with a big profile and one that would swim, so I settled on metal lips. I started with an atom, then a danny, spent some time with a surfster, and settled on a pikie. That dive lip on the pike sold me, and the fact that I could make it to large proportions and it would still swim. I though Creek Chub pikes were too heavy in the water, but then I came across an old pikie that someone had given me. I loved the action of that plug and even after I lost it to a fish, I still remembered that swimming action. Right then and there I started making pikies (I call mine pikes), and because I was learning to fish them from scratch, that was all I fished. By fishing them all the time in all conditions, I learned when they would catch fish and more importantly when they wouldn't. Since 2005 when I started making pikes, I have fish no other plug but my pikes. My first pike was 8" 4oz. and that plug fit the bill for me. Good size and a good swimming action at a slow retrieve. But it has some faults, it was too big for some guys, I had trouble catching when the fish were keyed in on sand eels, and it has too much action for the heavy current in a breach way or the Canal. One other thing, it was starting to look small to me. So my pikes evolved from there. I made a Junior pike (6 1/2" 2 1/2 oz) for the guys with the lighter rods, I made a SLIM that I could catch around the sand eels with, and took it a little farther with a lipless pike. I made a diver that would get down to the bigger fish and the slower action worked great in a heavy current. When the exception of the Junior, all these plugs were 8". I wanted the bigger profile to discourage the quicker, small fish and give the bigger wearier fish a shot at my pike. And I started to make them bigger, the new lightweight (strong) rod by CTS and Century makes throwing a big plug all night possible. The limiting factor is weight. They will swim, but they need the weight to hold in big water. I feel your best chance at a big fish on a plug is in rough conditions. The profile of a big plug will show up better and the fish will not get a good look at it and have to make a quick strike. The traditional pikie is chin weighted, I belly weight my pikes (with the exception of the Junior) so they will hold in big waves, and not kick out.

You always hear not to touch the lip of the plug. I believe in adjusting my pikes. I remember reading a thread by "bassdozer" here on SOL where he talked about tuning your plugs. He said back in the day he would get a dozen plugs and 6 would swim right out of the package, 4 you would have to adjust by bending the lip or line tie, and 2 wouldn't swim no matter what. Since that time I started bending lips to see how it would change the action of a plug. You bend the line tie up the plug goes down, You bend the lip and line tie down and you get more action out of the plug and the plug stays up. I am talking about pikies here, but I have done it with other plugs. Because I make divers, I am not too concerned about fishing the water column. My divers float at rest, you swim them down on a fast retrieve, then slow the retrieve and they swim at that depth. If you bump into anything, the plug will hit lip first so you let it float up and continue the retrieve. I bend the lip down on my pikes if I am not getting enough action out of the plug on calm nights. If you are fishing in big waves, even at night you can feel a wave approaching your plug. You will feel the pull of the wave and you can swim your pikie down and the wave will pass over and you can float your pikie back up and continue the retrieve. You can do this with any pikie because of that dive/Z-lip. That's what makes a pikie so versatile, and why I can get away with fishing just one style of plug and be effective.

I don't think there is another style of plug that I could fish exclusively. Maybe a needle fish, but it doesn't have a big enough profile for me, plus I love the thumping action of the pikie I feel through the rod. I know how the plug is swimming, just by feel. I know from experience the effectiveness of the bucktail, but again it does not have a big enough profile for me and it would be hard to fish a big profile bucktail in shallow water. I don't regret my change from eels to plugs. A lot of big fish came on eels this year, but a couple of seasons ago the eel was very close to being put on the endangered list. If that happens that will change the game in a big way. Fishing plugs has made me a much better fisherman. If you want to catch big fish on a plug you need to pay attention to detail, I now know the tides, moon, and conditions that will give me the best shot at a good fish. There is nothing more satisfying than fooling a big fish on something you made. I switched to a pikie to catch bigger fish and it has worked out for me. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Good fishing! Gary

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I recall searching for some kind of plug that was large and different.

the old goo-goo eyes swimmer was a killer but,not available[i do have some new and used].

was tired of the stuff i was seeing so,i found some wood at work and decided to try my hands at making up 4 plugs.

they actually came out good with the help of guys here with sudsy being the main one even though he doesn't know it.

 

I started with 6 inchers and then stepped up to all sizes above that.

I did up some monsteres that were 10-12 inch and the fish ate them like it was their last meal.

I had been a smiling bill/rubber man for a long time and fished plastic plugs only to catch fish up to 34 inches.

 

nowadays,I am a plug man and big plugs at that with an 8 inch plug being just past small in my book.

many of my friends I fish with laugh when my plug hits the water with such a splash since I like them thick bodied.

I just tell them yeah watch your jaw drag the ground when i bring my fish in and many times i drag in a fish over 40 inches and they only caught fish of 12 pounds.

they all see it and still they want to fish small plugs even bombers.

when there are bunkers around one can't beat a large piece of wood to get the fish' attention,it's been working very well for me and i am sticking with it.

my main plugs are 8-12 inches and up to 6 oz.

I have made small wood from 4.5 inches -6 but,not many,just enough to cover the bases with my largest at 16 inches jointed.

even if the plug is far enough away that the fish can't see it,it can feel it and it makes them come looking,ready to beat it' up when it comes into view.

with that said,shallow water,tide moving out current pulling on the plug and the plug sweeping across the current waggling on top,shloshing the surface,how can a hungry,fat bass resist?

 

 

 

H-H

 

 

 

1000

8 inch wedgehead[wide body] fish was 33 inches-released.

1000

9 inch rip-runner pro,fish was 39 inches,,harvested.

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24 bass over 50lbs and the last one was caught over 10 years ago........that seems like quite the feat! ?

 

Yes it is, even for a commercial fisherman using a boat in the early 80's. I'm a bit surprised though that none were on live bait other than eels. Obviously Jason has very little to learn about catching large fish. Yet his first post clearly says he would rather catch large fish on plugs . Other people do it, but he lacks the faith in plugs to commit to them. Hence my point he has much to learn yet about fishing, or more specifically, why he fishes.

 

I'm not telling anybody how they should fish or why they should fish. That is for you to decide for yourself.

 

If catching large fish in quantity is why you fish, then there are much better ways than plugs.

If enriching your life is why you fish, then plugs are right up there at the top of where you are heading.

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Yes it is, even for a commercial fisherman using a boat in the early 80's. I'm a bit surprised though that none were on live bait other than eels. Obviously Jason has very little to learn about catching large fish. Yet his first post clearly says he would rather catch large fish on plugs . Other people do it, but he lacks the faith in plugs to commit to them. Hence my point he has much to learn yet about fishing, or more specifically, why he fishes.

I'm not telling anybody how they should fish or why they should fish. That is for you to decide for yourself.

If catching large fish in quantity is why you fish, then there are much better ways than plugs.

If enriching your life is why you fish, then plugs are right up there at the top of where you are heading.

 

NJCoast-24 bass over 50lbs and the last one was caught over 10 years ago........that seems like quite the feat! I may be wrong but I don't think even many of the great striped bass ever have caught that many 50's. just out of curiosity how long have you been fishing?

 

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Guys- I grew up casting (plugs) for bass as I lived a few steps from the beach. When I was 22 years old (in 1980) I moved to Montauk to "make more money fishing". Because I was doing it to make money, I "needed" to hang onto my fish so the plugs were not realistic, except under a few circumstances. I stopped commercial fishing (with a few exceptions) when I got married so now I fish the way I want to and that is mostly with plugs. Not rocket science, just the way it is-I don't have the drive anymore and I don't have anything to prove.

I run a charter boat in the spring for flounder and then I switch to "mostly striped bass" as that is what customers want. To tell the truth, I have more fun flounder fishing!

if you want to advertise your business go here:http://www.stripersonline.com/advertise

we do not allow self promotion . thanks

Happy New Year!

 

BTW - 12 of my 50's were from the beach, that is where my heart is........JC

 

JC

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Tumbling is an issue with spinning tackle, but there are many advantages to spinning tackle as well (particularly from shore and deep wading). A slower action rod and heavier plug for any given rods weight range help cut this down. You can also feather the spool a bit sometimes to get the plug to tumble less.

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