Mr.Belmar

Targeting Bigger Fish

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I’m sure the thought goes through all our heads while taking that next cast- when am I gonna hook into ‘the big one’ ... is it just by chance or is it being in the right place at the right time with the right plug/bait? 

 
So I wanted to start a fun new thread about specifically targeting big fish and different things you have learned that have helped.
 
I’m sure there’s past threads on the subject - but who doesn’t like talking about fish? 
 
 
Please be specific, without spot burning of course; tactics, ideas, big fish behavior (what are the cows thinking), theories, lures, structure and bottom contour/ make up, weather/conditions/tides, distance, beach vs back bay, tackle and equipment etc.... 

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2 hours ago, Mr.Belmar said:

I’m sure the thought goes through all our heads while taking that next cast- when am I gonna hook into ‘the big one’ ... is it just by chance or is it being in the right place at the right time with the right plug/bait? 

 
So I wanted to start a fun new thread about specifically targeting big fish and different things you have learned that have helped.
 
I’m sure there’s past threads on the subject - but who doesn’t like talking about fish? 
 
 
Please be specific, without spot burning of course; tactics, ideas, big fish behavior (what are the cows thinking), theories, lures, structure and bottom contour/ make up, weather/conditions/tides, distance, beach vs back bay, tackle and equipment etc.... 

Very interesting thread Mr Belmar, I shall my thoughts and use one of my aspects on the subject to add a bit later in the meantime, I hope someone with many user experience will add to the thread.

HH

Edited by Heavy Hooksetter

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One thing I know is that big bass are not going to be moving like schoolies or even the bigger schoolies, the 30"-34" bass. Years ago i started making big plugs, 12"s, 14" s and even bigger jointed eels. The idea is to cull out the big bass. For the same reason I still like large eels. 

One thing I did was hit the rocky beaches of RI at night, during the Fall. Especially when there is a new moon. Big bass will not be schooled up normally. But bigger bass will move in a pod during the Fall. Tidal out flows, salt pond dumps, where bait will flow out to waiting bass. 

Big bass can be below blitzing blues, waiting for scraps to fall. Big lunkers move slow, so an eels or a large bait must be retrieved slow. :howdy: 

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2 hours ago, Heavy Hooksetter said:

Very interesting thread Mr Belmar, I shall my thoughts and use one of my aspects on the subject to add a bit later in the meantime, I hope someone with many user experience will add to the thread.

HH

Hey HH! 

 

Im also looking forward to hearing anything, even if it’s a small amount of what anyone has to add! I feel like big striped bass can be allusive in a way... and sometimes the more I try to figure them out- the further I get! 

The struggle for me (especially when time is limited) is to settle for any fish and not target bigger bass. 

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1 hour ago, jimmy z said:

One thing I know is that big bass are not going to be moving like schoolies or even the bigger schoolies, the 30"-34" bass. Years ago i started making big plugs, 12"s, 14" s and even bigger jointed eels. The idea is to cull out the big bass. For the same reason I still like large eels. 

One thing I did was hit the rocky beaches of RI at night, during the Fall. Especially when there is a new moon. Big bass will not be schooled up normally. But bigger bass will move in a pod during the Fall. Tidal out flows, salt pond dumps, where bait will flow out to waiting bass. 

Big bass can be below blitzing blues, waiting for scraps to fall. Big lunkers move slow, so an eels or a large bait must be retrieved slow. :howdy: 

JimmyZ wow thanks for adding!!!! Some real good stuff here! Something I never really thought about was ‘calling the bigger bass out’ - I guess if you think about how sounds and movements sound to us underwater- it’s gotta be amplified for a fish. I’m thinking about being underwater when a boat goes by- you can sorta hear it a long ways off... I guess the bigger plugs do similar 

thanks for adding jimmy! 

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I’ll preface this by saying my story pertains to a largemouth bass but still relevant in theory. 
 

I remember reading a story in a bass magazine over 40 years ago. It was about a relatively unknown (at the time)

bass angler named Doug Hannon. He was only interested in big bass (over 10 lbs).  He only fished at night, he used a heavy casting rod, he used an ambassaduer reel with 50lb mono and said he tightened the drag down with channel locks. He only used a black Musky Jitterbug (he bent down the edges of the lip for a more dramatic gurgle) for his lure. 
He discovered a system that worked and kept on working the system. 

 

Edited by ecks

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2 hours ago, jimmy z said:

One thing I know is that big bass are not going to be moving like schoolies or even the bigger schoolies, the 30"-34" bass. Years ago i started making big plugs, 12"s, 14" s and even bigger jointed eels. The idea is to cull out the big bass. For the same reason I still like large eels. 

One thing I did was hit the rocky beaches of RI at night, during the Fall. Especially when there is a new moon. Big bass will not be schooled up normally. But bigger bass will move in a pod during the Fall. Tidal out flows, salt pond dumps, where bait will flow out to waiting bass. 

Big bass can be below blitzing blues, waiting for scraps to fall. Big lunkers move slow, so an eels or a large bait must be retrieved slow. :howdy: 

JZ, you are so correct.

At the right time of year a large piece of wood swinging out there with swagger to it being crawl back into shore will get attention or at least make them come and look.

HH

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When it comes to plugging the only time I can go small and in my book small is 6 inches, is in the late  fall when the larger fish seem to have disappeared wherever they go I don't know.

 

But taking several steps back from where I used to be in my early days of fishing for stripers I targeted small for this because that's what there was a lot of .

50,60, even 70fish a night was not unheard of.

Small bucktails, rebels jigheads with white curly tails on them even man's augerttail(grape)

 jelly worms 7-8 in on a jig head they all worked, as long as you can get that into them they bite it.

And then my progressive mind started thinking well if there's so many of them there's got to be somebody making them.

So again stepping farther back I learned different tactics I just added to my size, slowed my cranks down I began to catch bigger which was great.

 

Ever since I first started saltwater fishing we had Atom juniors Danny's goo goo eyes

 Big Daddy's and the smaller ones.

While I did have some of the smaller ones they usually stayed in my tackle box the Big Daddy's always on my line.

So I started reading the New England fisherman mag especially and I began to see something, all good guys pictures in that with big big bass will always on big swimming plugs.

This caught me held my attention stood out like a sore thumb so I said you know what,  I'm going to do what they do.

 

I am going to start fishing slower and shallower water and in quieter places.

I did this for four nights in a row with nothing to show for it but a couple of big blues and this was a few days before Thanksgiving one year.

It was cold out,the water temperature was like 50,55f maybe but the air temperature within the mid 40s.

So I switched my big daddy you away for the large bomber with the two hooks Chicken scratch color and I started fishing with that same thing throw it across the current as far as I could and open the bay and let it go, it wrote The Tide out I engage the reel give a slow Crank and then something wonderful happened.

I felt something that I never felt before nothing like a blue fish hit it was a very heavy thump on the line I swung and the next thing I knew this fish was on the surface thrashing and bashing the water turning it up to a white foam.

I can feel it was different I knew it was different and I hung onto the rod with a death grip.

The next thing I know the fish got it's head down and it started blazing the drag my old 9 ft white fiberglass surf rod with an old daiwa Gold series GS-3 on it full of 17 lb test was going crazy and I liked it,, I was all alone I just held on to the Rod and I let the rod do the work.

I can see the line going straight out I can see the dark wake of the fish just inches under the surface, I knew right then this is no blue fish.

I fought with this fish I took it easy I did not panic I applied every bit of fishing skill I knew to controlling the rod and the fish and this fish came back to my feet.

as I pump it in and I got it close, rolled over and I saw it and I almost blasted my underwear in half.

When I put my tape measure on that this fish was 44 in I harvested the fish and when I got home I weighed myself and then I picked up the fish and I got on the scale again the fish came out to be 36 lb on a chicken scratch bomber 17A.

At that point I was enlightened.

During that period I was being told by other people that fish with squidders ,the older guys they said hey if you switched to a conventional reel you'll never want to touch a spinner anymore.

now this was before braided lines.

HH

More to come

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Heavy Hooksetter

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My biggest fish was competing with a small schoolie for my 6.5" white spook. This was in September, I fished a rocky area 4-6' deep at dusk. Casted spook out, started slow walking along when a small schoolie threw itself and the plug in the air, so I quickly continued walking it when all of a sudden this white wash of water rolled over the plug and the line went tight. That 44" fish was hanging out and competing against small schoolies. 

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Biggest thing for me is you have to accept the fact that catching less fish is actually a good thing, and that fishless nights are part of the process.  
 

 

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Bigger stripers are not randomly mixed with schoolies.  From shore they will be on the edges and nearby but always hanging back 

 

Listen to HH he knows stuff

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Wow great replies everyone, thanks for sharing and adding... interested in hearing more thoughts! 

 

Hey @Heavy Hooksetter wow amazing, had me sitting on the edge of my seat! Stoked to hear more when you have time 

 

As  @Bluetaildragger mentioned, I think the hardest thing is giving up on the numbers of fish caught and having patience 

 

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Not a new topic but I'll bite. 

 

There's always a luck factor involved but if you plan and prepare you can put yourself in a higher probability situation that the guy who just goes fishing. Want to learn a spot? Find a productive spot and fish it until it drives you insane. There are many areas that big fish will swim by during the migration and they may even come in to feed in those areas but try to limit the amount of randomness factors in your planning. 

 

NJ can be tough to pattern due to natural and unnatural sand movement. But there are patterns that can be unlocked with an attention to detail. Do your research on these fish but also the bait that they like to eat. 

 

Take 5-10 minutes before your first cast to watch the water and its movements. I guarantee you wont cast where you would have originally. 

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15 hours ago, jimmy z said:

Years ago i started making big plugs, 12"s, 14" s and even bigger jointed eels. The idea is to cull out the big bass.

Good point that is often misunderstood by newbies.

 

Elephants eat peanuts, however there are a lot more rats eating peanuts that cannot eat an adult bunker. The more time you plug is in the water, the higher the probability of catching a big fish

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