PoppinBottles19

Eeling Conditions

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I’ve tried casting live eels over the past few years and have had mixed results, but they definitely seem to catch larger fish.  I don’t have eeling down to a science at all, so I was curious what conditions you guys prefer for eeling.  Are eels more productive during the fall than the spring or are they always equally effective?

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Key to eels is knowing there is fish presents. They don’t attract fish but if they are there they will hit it. I’ve had teens attacking eel but couldn’t engulf. So size matters too.

shoe strings have their place.

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Are you fishing from  boat or beach? I am assuming beach? I like relatively calm conditions , and night time , when I fish them from the beach. I also don’t like gigantic baits. 12” or so. Cast and then reel as painfully slow as possible.  Have had some epic nights. 

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I want to be throwing eels where I know big fish will be hanging. Preferably a boulderfield or outflow. I like to fish the 2 hours before and after the tide change. Generally I prefer the outgoing but tide preference is spot subjective. I generally like to start fishing a spot with a search bait. Usually either a bucktail or a superstrike. Once I find some fish I'll throw on an eel and start trying to cull out the big girls. Try to find the water where the big fish will be hanging. They'll be lying in those calm eddies and pockets where the current will sweep prey to them. That's where you want to present your eel.

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For the past couple of weeks I have been casting 9 to 12 inch rubber eels and have caught some nice size Stripers and keeper Fluke..  What I have been doing is cast as far as I can and then a very very slow retrieve with a couple of bottom bounces. 

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Eels will usually always work if there are bass around. However, I’ve noticed that they work especially well once the fish have settled into the summer habits. This is a good way to catch bigger fish during the dog days when the water is warm and the fish are a little less aggressive. But they will certainly work well now as long as you’re throwing them in front of fish. 
 

If casting from the beach, I prefer relatively calm conditions for it is easier to maintain good contact with your bait. I like larger eels 12” or bigger. And don’t be fooled, stripers have appetite bigger than their mouths sometimes. Schoolies will hit them too. 

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7 hours ago, delaware surfman said:

Hook through the bottom jaw out an eye socket 

And when it starts to come loose just rehook it through the other eye socket. If your lucky one eel will take multiple fish and they keep catching after they're dead.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

7 hours ago, Sandbar1 said:

And when it starts to come loose just rehook it through the other eye socket. If your lucky one eel will take multiple fish and they keep catching after they're dead.

I've had mixed results using a beaten up eel that's already taken fish. Sometimes they seem to want the thing regardless of the shape it's in, so you can keep catching on the same sad, half-dead, scraped up eel. Other times, after it's been blasted dead by a fish, or stunned by casting, the bite shuts off.. but all it takes is to reach into the bucket or bag for a fresh new lively one to immediately get bit again. 

 

In areas with current, I tend to favor lively eels that can still swim and get down. Once they're beat up, I change up. The window of productive fishing during a tide can be frustratingly short, and my feeling is I don't want to waste precious casts and tide time with an eel that's barely riding straight on the retrieve, or high in the water column, all while I have good baits chilling in the bucket. Spent eels of size are saved for "just in case I run out later", or riggies. 

 

As for size I do best with medium/largish. Shoestrings will catch just fine but are harder to cast. Jumbo snakes that are so big they make scary noises tend not to get hit as much, at least from my perspective. That said, if you're onto a pile of true cows, they'll gobble up those huge snakes right quick. But smaller to med bass may ignore those unnerving "skinning" eels. 

 

Calmer nights are eeling nights. Though there are some fairly vigorous rips I like where I drift my eel out over the drop and they get snatched up in very turbulent water.

 

As for buying, my regular guy used to take care of me and would sort thru/handpick the size I wanted. So I took care of him. If it's some random shop? I politely request medium/larg-er eels. Not the strings. Not the giant snakes. And then I'll usually end up with 4-6 good ones, 4-6 smallish, and 1 or 2 snakes out of a dozen. In this case I try to work it so my good eels are getting thrown during the money time of the tide, and if I have any left over at the end of the night it's the crappier ones.

 

Edit: beaten up eels that have a little life and tail curl, and still run straight, can actually work out best in calmer areas that have rocks. Fresh, lively eels will immediately break for the bottom and can get snagged up in seconds, whereas a scuffed up/slowed up eel can still be worked well, without the snags. There's a few areas I've fished that require a "practice" cast or two with a fresh eel to slow him down before I'll put him out on an actual retrieve. Some guys will skip that step and just whack the eel's head against a bucket from the get go, to stun him, though I tend not to do that.

Edited by rst3

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I exclusively fish bucktails and eels on SS jetties. I'll bucktail a rip and once the tide begins to go slack, I'll swap over to eels. 

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day or night...boat or beach..dead or alive...calm or blowing stink after the herring run was done...I'd order 10 lbs and then got to hand pick from a large shop tank..12" fat and kept a tank at home to keep them happy so I had a ready supply when ever I wanted to fish.

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