DragonsLax48

Lets Talk Chunkin

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Lets talk about one of the best ways to catch giants. If you toss a tin around with your 8ft rod while your chunkin stick is 20 yards away then you should take out the note book rather than offer advice. I want to hear from the guys that strategically chunk day or night.

 

I am naturally a plug caster and its my favorite way to fish but since the Spring I have noticed that there are certain times where you cant buy a fish on a plug but guys are killing it on the chunk. For instance, the annual chunk bite for SLOBS on LBI or Brigantine while everyones plugging away for 28" fish.

 

What makes you pick up the smelly fish and stow away the wood? Fundamentals of chunkin? Unique techniques? Conditions? Spring vs Fall? Rigs... Gear...

 

This can all be found in the archives of SOL, but lets focus our discussion on the structure that youll find in NJ. Lets dive deep into cow chunking strategy and theory.

 

This is a good starting point BIlly The Greek - YT

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I am super interested in this thread. I have limited experience but I can only talk about what I've gone through.

 

I have found that chunkin' in the river in early spring doesn't work at all. Bloodworms do produce though. Some guys may disagree, but I have never caught a striper on bunker in the river in the two years I've been fishing, so that is a decent amount of times. I switched from plugging to chunking down the shore this fall and have caught zero stripers though, so I am hoping someone has some advice here. I have tried different hooks, leader lengths, presentations, etc and all I catch are trash fish. I haven't seen pluggers catch around me either so I am hoping I'm just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there's got to be some information maybe I am missing out on. I don't just cast out and sit on a 20 hour soak, I always bring some line in every 5-10 minutes, trying to dial into the correct zone. I'm always messing with sinker weights and trying to get into the strike zone. Maybe there's only small fish around and they won't bite a giant chunk? I always try to get fresh chunks too. I hope it's just a bad fall and that my luck turns around.

 

The only thing that makes me pick up bait instead of plugs too is that I like to fish for 6-8 hours at a time, and I can't seem to do that with plugs. Doing both at the same time doesn't really work either, so it's one or the other I guess. I caught stripers when I was plugging but wasn't that successful, but haven't caught one yet this fall on bait. I thought this would be easier. Soak your chunk, catch big bass right at your feet. Apparently not.

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1 min ago, hurricane1091 said:

I am super interested in this thread. I have limited experience but I can only talk about what I've gone through.

 

I have found that chunkin' in the river in early spring doesn't work at all. Bloodworms do produce though. Some guys may disagree, but I have never caught a striper on bunker in the river in the two years I've been fishing, so that is a decent amount of times. I switched from plugging to chunking down the shore this fall and have caught zero stripers though, so I am hoping someone has some advice here. I have tried different hooks, leader lengths, presentations, etc and all I catch are trash fish. I haven't seen pluggers catch around me either so I am hoping I'm just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there's got to be some information maybe I am missing out on. I don't just cast out and sit on a 20 hour soak, I always bring some line in every 5-10 minutes, trying to dial into the correct zone. I'm always messing with sinker weights and trying to get into the strike zone. Maybe there's only small fish around and they won't bite a giant chunk? I always try to get fresh chunks too. I hope it's just a bad fall and that my luck turns around.

 

The only thing that makes me pick up bait instead of plugs too is that I like to fish for 6-8 hours at a time, and I can't seem to do that with plugs. Doing both at the same time doesn't really work either, so it's one or the other I guess. I caught stripers when I was plugging but wasn't that successful, but haven't caught one yet this fall on bait. I thought this would be easier. Soak your chunk, catch big bass right at your feet. Apparently not.

 

 

In my opinion chunking out front in the spring waiting for a hot bite is a thing of the past.  There was a time if you went out front during the spring we had a run of fishes up the beach. At this time i believe surf clams were a lot more prevalent.  Not knowing anything i could go smack a clam and catch a fish.  Now i would not waste my time. 

 

I believe the rivers is a timing game4 show up with the wrong bait and your screwed   for me and the river i used to fish we started with bloods and moved to herring and bunker as the water warmed. 

 

Chunking also worked in the spring when their were epic bunker blitzes. I don't think this has happened in three years. 

 

the fall is tricky because it depends on bait and fish chunking for blues is great in september just the fish have not been that big. 

 

Big blues in october is not something i recall happening in 5 years. There was a time when an october day you just went to beach and chunked for blues. I had a day where they were chasing wearies right up on the beach. 

 

If there are not a lot of fish around i believe it's more likely that the chunk guys will have more success. Like when you here about only 3 fish being caught on a long stretch of beach chances are the chunkers had 2. 

 

 

 

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Curious to see how this thread develops too. Most interested to hear guys who usually plug away but switch to chunking at targeted moments - if you’re willing to share. 

 

My buddy & I had success years ago with bunker in May down in CMC. At least one post spawn cow, some shorts, but lots of dogfish & skates to fight through. We used to try plugging, but it seemed worthless anywhere without decent structure - which is almost all of the SJ beaches. Bait & wait was more psychologically manageable there. Still used artificials at night along the sodbanks- still do today. 

 

(Maybe the beach replenishment deserts of SJ have spread like a disease to spots in OC & Monmouth? Haven’t been above CMC in several seasons.)

 

I think bellringer is spot on about surf clams, and also has a great point about bluefish. The age old theory used to be that decent sized lazy stripers would hang out underneath bluefish blitzes waiting for the scraps to fall. Not too many sizable blues showed in ‘18 or ‘19 which hasn’t helped that cause. 

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51 mins ago, crazybellringer said:

 

 

In my opinion chunking out front in the spring waiting for a hot bite is a thing of the past.  There was a time if you went out front during the spring we had a run of fishes up the beach. At this time i believe surf clams were a lot more prevalent.  Not knowing anything i could go smack a clam and catch a fish.  Now i would not waste my time. 

 

I believe the rivers is a timing game4 show up with the wrong bait and your screwed   for me and the river i used to fish we started with bloods and moved to herring and bunker as the water warmed. 

 

Chunking also worked in the spring when their were epic bunker blitzes. I don't think this has happened in three years. 

 

the fall is tricky because it depends on bait and fish chunking for blues is great in september just the fish have not been that big. 

 

Big blues in october is not something i recall happening in 5 years. There was a time when an october day you just went to beach and chunked for blues. I had a day where they were chasing wearies right up on the beach. 

 

If there are not a lot of fish around i believe it's more likely that the chunk guys will have more success. Like when you here about only 3 fish being caught on a long stretch of beach chances are the chunkers had 2. 

 

 

 

I do the Delaware River, so it's just a matter of right place right time. Once it warms up, I go down to the salt anyways. The surf clam thing blows my mind man, I wish things were like I hear they were. Maybe one day.

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One tip I would have for noobs trying to chunk is To use stiffer leader material for your rigs. Soft mono gets coiled up or tangled around itself. For plugging leader material, I would commonly use from 30 to 50 pound test leader and often it’s standard old fashioned monofilament from the small spools people use for running main line. But with bait, whether fluorocarbon or mono, I would only use the stuff Specifically designed as leader material. 

 

@hurricane1091 try J hooks versus circle hooks and see if that increases your hook up rate. Try high low rigs versus fishfinder. If fishfinder, use a very short leader at the business end of your rig, and don’t use a Sputnik sinker. Must avoid tangles at all cost. 

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Being real estate at a premium. I hate fake chunkers, you know the guys that set down a rows of rods hogging half mile of shore line while sitting down on a chair drinking their favorite beverage.   Or the guys that setup parallel to the jetty.    If you are serious about chunking, do check out one of billy the Greek's seminar.   He's essentially plugging, but with chunks.   F circle hooks,  rod in hand,  feel the take, cross their eyes. 

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3 mins ago, Bmanning said:

 

Funny video but take it elsewhere. 10 other threads are dedicated to this.

 

Back on track... What gear is everyone using? Im currently using a 10'6 TFO with a 6000 Sized Tica with 40# braid running to 3 ft of 50lb mono connected with a Alberto knot and fish finder rig and 8/0 gami big river.

 

Lead size depends on current and wave action, but I have been using a light-enough weight so that the lead isnt sinking into the sand but is barely holding. Should I be pinning my Bunker to the bottom? Adjusting the bait by 5-10 feet every few minutes is my strategy.

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7 mins ago, hobobob said:

F circle hooks,  rod in hand,  feel the take, cross their eyes. 

AMEN BROTHER. I havent figured the ~feel~ out yet... walk us through the process from the initial scratch to eye crossing. What are the different kind of bites that one might feel from a trophy bass?

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I've pretty much shifted to chunks due to a shoulder injury, But I do it more for the relaxation than for big bass. I'm getting really good at catching skate.

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1 min ago, Stewie said:

I've pretty much shifted to chunks due to a shoulder injury, But I do it more for the relaxation than for big bass. I'm getting really good at catching skate.

Maybe we can discover some of the big bass secrets in this thread. I committed to chunking more this Fall after I started to feel sharp pain in both elbows while casting plugs. It got me thinking about the endless possibilities. My dogfish catch rate is solid.

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16 mins ago, DragonsLax48 said:

Maybe we can discover some of the big bass secrets in this thread. I committed to chunking more this Fall after I started to feel sharp pain in both elbows while casting plugs. It got me thinking about the endless possibilities. My dogfish catch rate is solid.

Ugh i am suffering from golfers Elbow (aka fishermans elbow) , started from pitching too many batting practice for kids baseball teams.  Have had to stop fishing several trips lately due to the pain.  Thanks for the thread, very interesting topic.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

No cartilage left in my right shoulder. 5 or 6 casts a day is all I got. Was getting old for standing on wet rocks all night anyhoo. I even have a white rod that I'll eventually break out

 

white rod.jpg

Edited by Stewie

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