wtfooptimax200

Plugs vs Eels

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It seems like I'm always asking "vs" questions and I apologize.  I learn so much from them and I think that they inspire fun conversation/debate.  So here goes another.  This weekend I attended a surfcasting day at a local tackle shop on the CT coast.  I watched a great demo by Toby Lapinski showing his two techniques for rigging deal eels.  He did a great job demonstrating and had tremendous patience with questions.  On the ride home I was left with a gnawing question that I wish I had thought of during the demo:

 

When do you decide to fish eels vs plugs?

 

I'm so new to this game that I don't have a good methodolgy on making this selection, but I'm sure that some of you guys have a wealth of info on the topic.  Any thoughts are appreciated.

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I like to fish eels when there is no visible swimming bait. Im in NJ where we heavily rely on bunker to show up. If I cant find the bunker Ill be sure to have a few snakes on me.

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Plugs are easy.  Eels...ya gotta go get them, keep them alive, messy, etc.  So...eel when you're ready to deal.  Otherwise, plug away.

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Sluggos on a Pt. Jude Wobblehead.......................an eel alternative without the slimy mess and you could carry them with your plugs :th:

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toss those slimy snakes on ice for couple hrs. and put them on the hook 1/2 frozen cast them out there let'em sit for few mins. and then start working them they will come wright back to life.  

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Eels will always beat plugs, especially on bigger fish ... IF you can present the eel.  They can't be cast hard, and they're totally un-aerodynamic payloads, so the water you want to fish has to be at your feet. They don't cope well with strong lateral, beach-sweep current. (Whereas turbulence around an obstruction, now, that's wonderful for fishing eels.) In the areas I fish, you have got to be wading to fish an eel, or on a jetty. 

 

They're a pain to get and to keep lively, but the good news is that a dead eel is almost as useful as a live one, and can be cast more aggressively if suitably rigged.

 

I can't manage jetties any more, so there's really only two places where I can fish them.  Both have deep water very close to water, and nicely turbulent water. For the sake of depth penetration, I use skinny hardware-store chain to connect the anal hook in the vent to the hook in the head. This adds weight and on a small eel reduces the chance that a bluefish will shear your eel in half and not be hooked.  (If that happens, keep fishing the damaged eel.)

 

Plugging is easier and permits you to fish current conditions, and to reach distances, not possible with an eel. In a small-fish era (like now) that's OK, so I haven't bothered to rig an eel in years.

Edited by BrianBM
spelling error

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Posted (edited) · Report post

when the fish are busting through bait on the surface, eels are not a good choice

 

if the fish are holed up and wont chase any plugs, that's when eels work their magic

Edited by ferret

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Eels when I feel like going to the tackle shop, keeping them comfortable and happy, dealing with them in the middle of the night on the rocks. Rarely. But when I do I catch big bass. I usually stick with plugs. More of a challenge to figure out how to use them in given conditions, and less of a hassle to just grab them from my shelves and put them in my bag. 

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4 hours ago, wtfooptimax200 said:

When do you decide to fish eels vs plugs?

It's fun fishing with eels. However, it's also a pain in the arse to get them, haul them around, keeping them cool & wet, then fishing with them.

 

I don't fish them early or late in the season when it's uncertain if fish are around. I tend to fish them mid-season, after stripers have set up their summer residency in MA waters. 

 

Other determining factors are where I'm fishing and for how long. If I'm hitting more than one location with the plan of running & gunning the shoreline, eels are out. If I'm fishing a whole tide or more at the canal, when it's not super crowded, I'll fish them. If I'm fishing, for most of a tide, at a beach with an outflow or a beach that fishes well with bait then I'll use eels.

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50 mins ago, The Salty Fisherman said:

When do you generally start throwing them?

Im not the best eel fisherman so Ill leave it with my opinions above. My favorite months to fish them are June-July and December.

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