Opinions on the big plugs big fish theory

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One advantage I found while strictly targeting big fish with big plugs is I only need to carry 4 or 6 plugs with me concentrating in various depths .

Metal lips disturbing the surface , darters a bottle plugs ( also metals tuned to dive into rocks ) and needlefish


Surface -I tune these plugs to swim violent with a very very heavy roll ( some guys would say to much) I can see one eye turn up and then the other side of plugs eye

This with a heavy wag of the tail with the flap tail actually flapping side to side out of the water . This draws fish in for a look , a sniff and hopefully a hit .

Years ago an old timer taught my to whip the water up with a popper for around a dozen casts then put on an atom fourty which was tuned to struggle on top and crawl it ever so slow ! This technique would piss big cows into slamming the plug out of anger as they quietly feed on crabs swept out on the dropping tide .This was in the early seventies - just like the decline we have today . I would watch him take one to three cows a tide ,this is how I caught my first fourty at 12 years old !

The bass will be drawn in either for food or to see what the commotion is ,sure I have many more swipes than hook ups but , a swipe that looks like a granade going off twenty feet away from you is better than a quick tussle with a rat !


Sub surface - Well darters and bottle plugs get fished as the norm . Metal lips I love to match in Blackfish pattern or Bergal pattern here I tune them to dive deep getting down about six feet . These big swimmers I target to hit rocks -yes hit rocks "big ones "upon hitting a rock I stop my retrieve allowing the plug to rise slowly around the rock . Just like a little blackfish or bergal that just swam for the shelter of a big rock , this also prevents the hooks from actually digging into that rock . I usually hook up just after starting the retrieve away from the top of the rock . Beware I have had big bass explode using this technique a rod length from the rock I stood on .


Deep Here I use my own custom made plastic needle they don't imitate sand eels at all they are big 1 3/4 inch across and eight to ten inches with a feather tail

They mimic snappers,,baby weakfish, herring, tinker mackerel ...... These pugs weight in at around four ounces and sink quick which is where I want them scrapping

Just off the bottom in the rips at Montauk , and yes the smallest fish I can recall on this plug was around 18 pounds1844356


these needle are super strike 3 1/2 oz , wadd size needle and in yellow the big needle I use


Witchhunter aka Bill Jakob


Great stuff. I can tune GRS to get down deep and present a big profile which is what you use your homemade needlefish for. Overall I find that big fish often seem to be near the bottom. They may feed on top or be brought to the surface but I believe they spend more time near to bottom so plugs that get down are critical.

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back in 1978 is when I first cut my teeth in the salt,I was a LMB fisherman before that.

passed these guys on an old drawbridge one day and saw the big rods and huge lures they all had tied on.

the first was a big daddy goo-goo eyes swimmer.

I was like "what the hell are they catching with those?".

after seeing what they caught I was on my way to my local baitshop to buy a rig.

I bought a yellow glass 9 ft rod[st.croix] with a daiwa 7000-c and 3 goo-goo eyes big daddys,2 atom jrs one yellow/pink the other white/blue.

there were only huge gators back then and we never saw a bass on a line till about 1982.

loved slow rolling those big daddys on top and watch them get slammed,took my best gator on one that was yellow @ 22-1/2 lbs.


today I still stand by swimming a big plug across,along and on the edges of rips.

even if the night is quiet most times you will pick up one good fish.

it has happened to me a lot when the nights are quiet with nothing doing at all.

I concentrate,I go into auto mode and work that plug like it's my last cast ever.

I have been surprised a lot with a very nice fish be it a gator or bass and said fish would be the only fish seen/caught the entire night.


I feel comfortable saying that at any given outting at some point our plug/offering passes by a good fish and it may not even look at it as it is small or for whatever reason.

my take on this is I will show them something substantial, something that's lumbering, not scared out of it's mind and just moving along at a steady/slow pace.

even if it is not in eyeshot it is in earshot.

throwing off the steady throb along with that great schlop,schlop sound as the tail end of the large swimmer slaps the surface and the nose is just under the surface I believe such a sound will get the fish to hunt it down.

if it does not find it then it will remember the vibe and next cast it will try again to find the location of this "prey" item.

this is not etched in stone but,one has to have some kind of protocol to follow.

for me,I have seen it so many times that I was getting more and larger fish and sometimes the only fish.

there have been nights when myself,my partner and a few other guys I know meet up by chance and they say they got nothing,i throw out my big swimmer and they laugh when it hits the water.


I just tell them "in a few minutes I'm gonna laugh at you".

most of them are throwing bombers or windcheaters,I am throwing an 8-10 inch big swimmer up to 7 oz.

after a while there was a HUGE smash out in the rip I swing fast/hard and they see my rod bend over and me leaning back.

that night that fish was 43lbs and the best any of them got was 25 inches.

there were bunker around but, not a lot and they were scattered also there were a lot of shiners[5 inch silversides]around.

the water was about 15 feet deep with 4 nice rips.

I only got one fish but,it was worth it.




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my largest striper to date is a 46 incher caught back in 1985. (released) I caught it on a horse mackerel that was well over

2 lbs.! This striper "played" around with this mackerel hitting it for well over an hour without taking it. Finally the mac

died and started to sink out of site. My first impulse was to reel it in cause the bass would lose interest in it. Then,boy

was I wrong, BAM!!!It took it. What I'm getting at is it took well over an hr. for this bass to decide to take this bait,

needless to say, my nerves were shot after this.

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once while fishing the ct river for stripers in the spring I had a 6 inch smallmouth bass hit my 7 inch bomber. Another time fishing for largemouth bass and panfish in the fall had a 5 pound bass eat my 1/8 spinner bait.

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Had to look it up. Was a Rebel. For what ever reason I always remembered it being a bomber.


The day that news came out I was actually headed to Atlantic City to gamble but couldn't convince my girlfriend I should be fishing. I always thought she wasn't the one for me. Lol

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Anyone remember what McReynolds fish was caught on...
I believe it was a 5- 5.6 in. Rebel windcheater popper, I will check the archives of Surf fishing History in my basement

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 Pretty sure fish was caught on a rebel. Not a popper or windcheater.

  Caught my personal best smallmouth accidentally on an 1 1/2 oz

  bucktail that I had thrown from a dam and let get way downstream,

 in order to repack line on a spool.

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