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Bucktail Questions

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So I have a confession that I'm somewhat ashamed of being a RI fisherman - I really don't understand the use of bucktails from shore. 

 

I feel as though every other lure in my bag I at the very least understand how to fish it and when to fish it, but this one I'm really stumped. Given how little success I've had with it and how much I typically have with other things, I never find a reason to clip it on.

 

I've fished bucktails with moderate success in Florida and South Carolina, but not up in RI. People swear by them, but I never seem to catch as much as on other lures. It could be my technique, but then again I feel like I've tried many different approaches only to be disappointed and swap out to something I had more confidence in 90% of the time. Most places I fish are extremely rocky and weedy on the bottom, so the bucktail just seems out of place unless I want to catch vegetation and rocks instead of fish. I typically use a white/chartreuse Jeck's or Jettycaster 3/4-2oz depending on the depth/current of the spot. 

 

So for those of you who have success with them, how do you fish with a bucktail typically? Bounce off the bottom, straight retrieve, jig etc? And how do you determine which technique to use at a given location to give you success? 

 

I would really love to gain some more knowledge and confidence in this lure! Smite me for my ignorance of the all-mighty bucktail :) 

 

Thanks all!

 

 

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Start by reading John Skinner's book "Fishing the Bucktail"- It is extremely informative and a fun read!  I also suggest that you watch some of his youtube videos on fishing with bucktails. I think of him as the Mr. Miyagi of bucktail fishing. 

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4 mins ago, jesgord said:

Start by reading John Skinner's book "Fishing the Bucktail"- It is extremely informative and a fun read!  I also suggest that you watch some of his youtube videos on fishing with bucktails. I think of him as the Mr. Miyagi of bucktail fishing. 

Sweet, I'll check those out! Thanks for the reply. Something to entertain me while I wait for the fish to come back :laugh:

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there is no wrong way to fish them.

that said there are subtle variations that are more effective at times/conditions then others.

john skinner is definitely a master and well worth reading

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18 mins ago, FISH BUCKET said:

there is no wrong way to fish them.

that said there are subtle variations that are more effective at times/conditions then others.

john skinner is definitely a master and well worth reading

I agree with Fish Bucket 100%.  For me, the most important thing about fishing the bucktail is making sure that you are able to keep it in or glide it through the "strike zone".  This usually means just above the bottom (not bouncing of the bottom) with a slow to moderate retrieve.  To do this you need to be fishing the right weight bucktail for the conditions and modulate your retrieve speed accordingly.  When you get it right, its deadly!

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I use the bucktail a majority of my time fishing. Stripers and weakfish and flounder from land . I  let it hit bottom pull up reel in a few feet. Let hit the bottom then repeat all the way back in.  From boat I drop to bottom and jig up and down for flounder. 

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After you get confident using bucktails it almost feels like your bucktail is floating at what depth you want it to be. The weight size and speed of retrieve varies from spot to spot. I can cover so much more water with a bucktail and trailer than all the other lures I own and I got a few. In the end the more you fish a bucktail the more you understand it and how simple it is. 

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I always loved bucktail fishing for fluke from a boat but never really had confidence in them for bass in the surf. One day I saw someone hooking up constantly while everything I threw was being ignored. I saw he was using a bucktail. I had an old, nearly paintless bucktail with a plastic grub stashed in my bag so I dug it out and hooked up on nearly every cast. Granted, they were schoolies, but any action was better than none. Its been a go-to lure for me since then.

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Start fishing a spot and when you think you are using the correct weight, swap it out for the next lightest one in your bag. Especially if you are standing even with or not far above the water line.

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Sounds like you are in a great place to use a bucktail. You just need to stick with it. If your not loosing bucktails then your not fishing in the right places. Keep with it. 

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Everything that has been offered in the way of advice so far is good.  Education and experience are very important.  Only new advice I might add is to pay attention to the "balance" of the bucktail.  By that I mean where the line tie is.  A bucktail like a spro or ultra minnow is a "center" balanced lure.  They're best suited for a vertical presentation like from a drifting boat.  From shore you'll want a "forward" balance one like a banana head, sparkie or some (not all) bullet heads.  That's more of a horizontal presentation.  All of that and a lot more is covered in John Skinners book mentioned by jesgord in post #2 above.

 One thing for sure is that rocky bottoms produce stripers well.  The down side is getting snagged.  Some bucktail head shapes are more prone to snagging and some are generally easier to finesse out of the snag.  That's where the experience and education come in.  Experienced guys all have their preferences.

Good luck and don't get frustrated.  Fish bucktails enough and you will get better at it.

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Wow thanks all for the advice thus far! 

 

Im definitely going to check out that book - I feel like it has a lot to offer and many of you have mentioned it. I’ll definitely stick with it! Makes me want to go out today actually

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All good advice here. Staying as close to bottom as possible without snagging is the key. A little tip that can be helpful, is to look at the areas you fish regularly, at low tide, and look at the irregularities in the rocks, and try and remember the contours as they will relate at full tide. You WILL lose bucktails, because if you're not ticking bottom, good chance you will be out of the strike zone.

As most have said, read the Skinner book, it will help with the learning curve. But to be honest, fishing a bucktail well, comes with experience. Be persistant, and don't become frustrated, the fish will come.

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Definitely check out skinners book. Also the amount of hair can dictate a slower sink rate. Dan (post #12) also makes some killer buck tails.

Edited by Flukeu626

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