DragonsLax48

Lets Talk Chunkin

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49 posts in this topic

I generally only chunk when/where bunker are very thick in the spring up here in the raritan bay.  Conventional is much easier but obviously not if you only have a plugging rod and want to switch over quickly.  If you really do want to learn chunking id advise picking up a conventional surf stick able to throw 3-8 oz.  In the past I used abu 65-7500s but recently picked up a penn fathom for next year.    Usually I make a fishfinder rig of weight slide on the main line of 50-65 lb braid, palomar to swivel followed by 3-4 feet of 50-80 lb clinched off to a 8-10/0 octopus/big game.  I've also gotten away with a simple knocker rig with a weight free sliding on the line. The last few years I've generally fished sandy bottom but when Im near rocks and alot of current (like our rivers) ill constantly adjust my bait by lifting the line until it finds a solid hole to stick to, and swap bait every 10-15 minutes.  I only ever fish fresh bunker, been taught by a couple of knowledgeable chunkers that would say the same thing.  Most bunker is snagged on the spot, or snagged and kept cold next to a bag of ice, but I dont think ive ever used bunker more than a day old.  If you know your area it should be pretty obvious over time where fresh bunker can be had fairly easily.  Before someone chimes in, I'm sure old stinky bunker can and has worked, but I'd avoid it if possible.  

 

To the newer guys (or older guys who somehow haven't learned this yet) If you plug and chunk at the same time you're doing it wrong.  Not sorry to say it and I dont really care what reasoning you have for doing it.   You're half assing two disciplines and more than likely occupying more than your fair share of space in a constantly retreating amount of fishable coastline in our state. 

 

Hold the rod in your hands with reel in freespool, some pickups are subtle and can be dropped in seconds without setting the hook, sometimes they hit it like a freight train and never let go. I hook my chunks in and out just under the spine with plenty of hook exposed. Anything over 28" will most likely have the chunk deep enough in their mouths to set the hook within a few seconds. I keep the rod tip pointed up usually at a 45ish degree angle, when i have a run off i give a 2-3 second count and start to drop the rod tip while I engage the reel out of freespool, dropping the rod gives the fish even more slack to run with.  As I lower the rod i usually hold it a little bit to the side to see if I can still feel the line tightening and if theyre still there, BAM, hit them hard.  The hook set while chunking with a surf rod is one of the most fun experiences I've found in fishing.  Not sure why I like it so much and it may go the way of the dinosaur with new circle hook regs.  

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If big blues have been in the area chopping up bunker, the chunking rod comes out

Which begs the question - where are the blues ??

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29 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.

You are using a fast to very fast action rod?  Making one too many hero cast. I had that problem when I used the st.croix legend surf.   Try a shorter rod with more moderate action that allow you to load it more slowly.

33 mins ago, DragonsLax48 said:

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?

Not a expert on this subject by any mean.  My moto is, if you feel anything out of the ordinary, set the hook. Hook sets are free,  well, you lose the chunk.  Don't do half ass test sets.  In my experience: first, there is the thump, that's the easiest one. Second is the weightless one. You whole rig essentially become weightless, this means the fish is already taken the bait and swimming toward you, reel fast and set the hook.   The hardest one is the peck, peck, peck..... slightly different peck,  For this one, you'll have to do it by feel. Feel the weight of the fish, then cross their eye.  This is the hardest one of em all,  they could peck, leave, come back, peck again, etc.  

 

 

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2 mins ago, hobobob said:

You are using a fast to very fast action rod?  Making one too many hero cast. I had that problem when I used the st.croix legend surf.   Try a shorter rod with more moderate action that allow you to load it more slowly.

Not a expert on this subject by any mean.  My moto is, if you feel anything out of the ordinary, set the hook. Hook sets are free,  well, you lose the chunk.  Don't do half ass test sets.  In my experience: first, there is the thump, that's the easiest one. Second is the weightless one. You whole rig essentially become weightless, this means the fish is already taken the bait and swimming toward you, reel fast and set the hook.   The hardest one is the peck, peck, peck..... slightly different peck,  For this one, you'll have to do it by feel. Feel the weight of the fish, then cross their eye.  This is the hardest one of em all,  they could peck, leave, come back, peck again, etc.  

 

 

 

The weightless pickup is the worst.  Usually its a mad scramble to pick up line then a quick mad hookset that more often then not just pulls the fish thats already facing your direction towards you even more creating more slack.  Can be confusing and hilarious.    Man I'm getting pumped to chunk again in the spring...or maybe head down to florida this winter to chunk some redfish.

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@bbfish lots of takeaways there! Well said. thanks for defining the process of setting the hook. Important to note that you are not deep hooking the bunker chunk., but you are leaving a ton of hook exposed.

 

Fresh local bunker is another great point. This is something that is readily available when I am fishing outback of moco.

 

 

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Lets talk about a common known myth... When you're pulling up dogfish and skate one after another, do you need to move spots? Assuming this is open beach for the sake of argument, or are you catching big fish mixed in with doggies and skates?

 

I've heard the biggest fish will come in and you'll stop getting skate and dogfish nibbles before getting slammed.

 

Who can speak to this myth?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

26 mins ago, Sudsy said:

If big blues have been in the area chopping up bunker, the chunking rod comes out

Which begs the question - where are the blues ??

Ask Mr. Palone that question....they're 20 mi. off-shore along with everything else.....big surprise....they killed off the muscle beds, the surf clams, barely any sea robins, etc. We can discuss this topic ad nausium but the fact is beach replenishment and draggers have done the near-shore in. Except for a few weeks of migration, what is there......go back through this past years archives, it's pathetic. So let's all go chunking.....maybe in my swimming pool.....same result....omo.

Edited by Mr. Bigdeal

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1 min ago, Mr. Bigdeal said:

....they're 20 mi. off-shore along with everything else.....big surprise....they killed off the muscle beds, the surf clams, barely any sea robins, etc. We can discuss this topic ad nausium but the fact is beach replenishment and draggers have done the near-shore in. Except for a few weeks of migration, what is there......go back through this past years archives, it's pathetic. So let's all go chunking.....maybe in my swimming pool.....same result....omo.

 

What about LI, RI, CT.  Not replenished, but still missing but the bluefish.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Cannot comment on LI, RI, CT......only where I spend most of my fishing time.....New Jermany....omo.

 

Ps. As Bob the Garbage Man said......bunker is only the vessel for the Anise.........

Edited by Mr. Bigdeal

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This is what I'm seeing that betters my odds. I can only speak for myself.

 

The magic hour.

 

In the spring when the waters still cold. I'd rather fish sundown. The water

warms up and when they start to lose sight and adjust sight. It triggers a

reaction bite.

 

In the fall the water cools through out the night and sunrise they put the

feed bag on.

 

Moon Phase.

 

In the spring I prefer the new moon during the ebbing period.

 

In the fall I prefer the new moon during the flooding period.

 

Structure fishing.

 

I like to find a rip current or rip tide and cast over it.

The rip pushes you up against the bar/structure, pathway.

 

Fishing Rigs.

 

8 and bait zoned action rods, conventional reels 20 pound mono

with a 60 shocker and a cannon ball rig. 2 to 4 inch heavy wire

leader with a 10/0 octopus beak hook.

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I’m a bait fisherman.... 75% boat 25% on foot. Two totally different ways of fishing.

 

If I’m fishing an inlet with deep water in casting range I use a much bigger chunk with enough lead to pin it to the bottom with a sinker slide and 18” leader.... gotta let em eat the big chunk so I feed em for a 5 count.

 

 Out on the beach and on the sods in the back... I want my bait bouncing slowly down current and walk with it.... much like fishing a trout stream. ...I use a smaller chunk, 2’ leader and enough weight so it moves slowly...I vary how far I cast and cover an area before either moving or getting lazy and pinning a bait to the bottom and knocking back some beers. 

 

It it should be noted that I fish the wasteland that lies between corsons inlet and cape May, I do much better in the inlets and out back than I do out front. 

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Discipline, knowing the habits of the giants you're after and the intamacy with the areas/structure you're fishing, I believe is the core to catching the real giants and chunking by far outweighs your best chance of catching them then any other surf technique.

I chunked exclusively for years in my younger days and caught some nice fish on bunker, clams, herring and even snapper chunk but usually not many throughout a season. When I did catch one it would be pretty decent...25#-35#. I went some years chunking without catching a single striper (discipline) but I kept faith in the technique, areas I fished and realized I still had a lot to learn about Mr. Striper.

I look at fishing a lot like gambling, the more odds I can put in your favor the better my chances of success; hook freshly baited, presentation to the "key" spot, the forage spieces of the day, what the fish may be doing under the specific conditions, adjusting....etc.

Most chunkers I see are clueless, bombing their bait into a dessert hoping something swims by but I do see some who get it, presenting to a specific corner of a bar, or wave break, fishing a key spot on a certain tide, and when I pass by and ask if they caught any they usually answer, "not yet".

I've converted to a plugger these days. I enjoy (need) the walk and catching the little fellas on a lighter set up. I've become a little lazy in my older age. Catching the giants takes hard work and commitment. I wish you all much success in catching the fish of a lifetime.

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53 mins ago, SandSpike1 said:

 

Structure fishing.

 

I like to find a rip current or rip tide and cast over it.

The rip pushes you up against the bar/structure, pathway.

 

 

The rest of what you said makes total sense and id like to come back to it but this intrigues me...Can you describe a scenario that you posted here? IMO its the opposite (from my pluggin experience) Shouldnt the fish be holding on the backside of that structure rather than in front of it.

 

<--~~~~~~~ <--

      >O I

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Question to the contributors... How important is it to chunk an area that was recently full of bait, is still full of bait, or was recently terrorized by Stripers and Yellow Eyed Demons (RIP)?? Or is spot selection the main driving point where you can expenct a shmorgesbord of baitfish to be swimming around

 

Patterning fish can be hard for 99.9% of us that have family committments, long drives, work, etc. These may be excuses but its reality. My question is regarding those nights where you're going into the soak somewhat blind.

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