pennfishing82

Bucktails. To trailer or not to trailer

Rate this topic

69 posts in this topic

On 8/31/2021 at 2:09 AM, pennfishing82 said:

Are bucktails still effective without a trailer, or will a trailer make a big difference? If so, what type of trailer? Pork rind, gulp, fat cow, zoom??

6 inch white, yellow or chartreuse curly tail or 8 inch fat curytails.

HH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, redfin said:

I agree here. You can add plastics to the list too.  I am a bit miffed at all the posts supporting no trailers. I can’t think of one time over decades where I experienced no trailer to be any sort of ticket to catching over a bt with a trailer. To each his own I guess. 

I would disagree with this assessment, said with vast respect for redfin & his field of experience. The reason I disagree is that back when I fished Montauk in the early seventies, Upperman style bucktails ruled the beach with a lead fist.

 

The whole goal was to make the bean jig swim side to side. A trailer inhibited that action and decreased the number of keepers you could catch in a week dramatically.

 

PXL_20210623_190947333.jpg.306bfde50271584ee68e380ebb9e7c0d.jpg

 

So forth and hence with, I pour my own flat sided bean jigs & tie them designed to be fished with no trailer. The goal is to get the bean down near the bottom quickly and zigzag it all the way home. This produces fish day in and day out coming year in and year out, hand over fist. I've tried all sorts of other bucktails with pork rinds and believe me I love Uncle Josh, but kids ...but nothing.beats an Upperman!

 

An Electric Upperman can also easily be fished in the top part of the water column and in heavy current. No style of jig head will swim side to side better than the flat sided bean.

 

 

(...and yes, I modify them and create what is called an Electric Upperman and you will notice there is a feather kicker. The advantage to the feather here is natural wiggle without any drag and this doesn't prevent you or hinder you from getting down quickly.)

Edited by CaryGreene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, CaryGreene said:

I would disagree with this assessment, said with vast respect for redfin & his field of experience. The reason I disagree is that back when I fished Montauk in the early seventies, Upperman style bucktails ruled the beach with a lead fist.

 

The whole goal was to make the bean jig swim side to side. A trailer inhibited that action and decreased the number of keepers you could catch in a week dramatically.

 

PXL_20210623_190947333.jpg.306bfde50271584ee68e380ebb9e7c0d.jpg

 

So forth and hence with, I pour my own flat sided bean jigs & tie them designed to be fished with no trailer. The goal is to get the bean down near the bottom quickly and zigzag it all the way home. This produces fish day in and day out coming year in and year out, hand over fist. I've tried all sorts of other bucktails with pork rinds and believe me I love Uncle Josh, but kids ...but nothing.beats an Upperman!

 

An Electric Upperman can also easily be fished in the top part of the water column and in heavy current. No style of jig head will swim side to side better than the flat sided bean.

 

 

(...and yes, I modify them and create what is called an Electric Upperman and you will notice there is a feather kicker. The advantage to the feather here is natural wiggle without any drag and this doesn't prevent you or hinder you from getting down quickly.)

I missed the 70's at Montauk but not by much. That's a very interesting experience and thank you for sharing. I really never knew the "bean" played any significant role as a go to lure in Montauk. By the time I started out the upperman was pretty much dead on the beaches. Bullets, balls, and bills pretty much took over the scene in most places. As a kid, I raided some old shops and purchased  bunches of the original uppermans with the short shank hooks in various sizes for nearly nothing. They used to come on these counter display cards of a few dozen all in little bags stapled to the card in rows. Whole cards for a couple bucks. Imagine that! I probably has a few hundred jigs at one point. I put them to very good use all these years. It's a shame these days they became sort of a fluking bucktail and most striper fisherman look past them. I still think they are a very relevant useful jig.  Thanks for sharing! I tied a  "electric" type jig too. Same exact setup with flash and feather. Good stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These last two posts forced me to find a bean jig mold.  

I found a smaller vintage one, I like light tackle,  I'm thinking block tin & bucktail w/ feathers. Or just feathers.  Smellifiy it with some ProCure or a chunk of GULP.   

 

Thanks gents:howdy:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 mins ago, PSegnatelli said:

These last two posts forced me to find a bean jig mold.  

I found a smaller vintage one, I like light tackle,  I'm thinking block tin & bucktail w/ feathers. Or just feathers.  Smellifiy it with some ProCure or a chunk of GULP.   

 

Thanks gents:howdy:

 

If it is vintage it may be more true to the original upperman  which was a very flat jig. That may be a great find!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 If you tie your own you could just tie in some long hackle or a strip of velvet or something (or if you dont tie, you could add that to an already made bucktail), and it could basically act as a built in trailer. Probably also have less of an effect on castability, action, sink, etc.  just an idea. I should warn you though, I’m no bucktail expert. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/1/2021 at 5:19 AM, PSegnatelli said:

 

What hooks are those?  I like that big eye!

Just a guess but it looks like the brass eyelets used in some sinker molds. I think they might be swing hook style. Like I said -just a guess.

Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

95% of the time if I leave the house with bucktails in my bag theyre going to have a trailer.  Really the only times I forgo them is if the bucktail is very small, or im going to be fishing bridge shadowlines and know the bite is good enough for me to not even worry about it.  There's 100s of options for trailers with how many soft plastics there are in the world, plus the traditional pork rinds.  The last few years I've been attempting to target bass in deep water off the boat, say 30-40 feet.   I asked Dan Tinman to tie up a couple 3-5 oz bucktails with long shank hooks, been fishing near bunker so I've been putting 9" mega shads on the back and have been doing very well with them fished as tight to the bottom as possible, tried many times without a trailer with this method and just couldn't get a bite, even if I knew the fish were on the bottom.  Just to show that sometimes, they do make a difference.

 

 

IMG_9014.jpg

Edited by bbfish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, CaryGreene said:

I would disagree with this assessment, said with vast respect for redfin & his field of experience. The reason I disagree is that back when I fished Montauk in the early seventies, Upperman style bucktails ruled the beach with a lead fist.

 

The whole goal was to make the bean jig swim side to side. A trailer inhibited that action and decreased the number of keepers you could catch in a week dramatically.

 

PXL_20210623_190947333.jpg.306bfde50271584ee68e380ebb9e7c0d.jpg

 

So forth and hence with, I pour my own flat sided bean jigs & tie them designed to be fished with no trailer. The goal is to get the bean down near the bottom quickly and zigzag it all the way home. This produces fish day in and day out coming year in and year out, hand over fist. I've tried all sorts of other bucktails with pork rinds and believe me I love Uncle Josh, but kids ...but nothing.beats an Upperman!

 

An Electric Upperman can also easily be fished in the top part of the water column and in heavy current. No style of jig head will swim side to side better than the flat sided bean.

 

 

(...and yes, I modify them and create what is called an Electric Upperman and you will notice there is a feather kicker. The advantage to the feather here is natural wiggle without any drag and this doesn't prevent you or hinder you from getting down quickly.)

I find this post interesting, because it is the Upperman-style bucktails that I find are more effective without trailers when I fish for bass in Long Island Sound.  And yes, we try to make them zigzag on the retrieve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, redfin said:

If it is vintage it may be more true to the original upperman  which was a very flat jig. That may be a great find!

Its a C Palmer.  The mold says it takes 1/0 2/0 & 3/0 hooks.  So it should suit my style well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, redfin said:

I missed the 70's at Montauk but not by much. That's a very interesting experience and thank you for sharing. I really never knew the "bean" played any significant role as a go to lure in Montauk. By the time I started out the upperman was pretty much dead on the beaches. Bullets, balls, and bills pretty much took over the scene in most places. As a kid, I raided some old shops and purchased  bunches of the original uppermans with the short shank hooks in various sizes for nearly nothing. They used to come on these counter display cards of a few dozen all in little bags stapled to the card in rows. Whole cards for a couple bucks. Imagine that! I probably has a few hundred jigs at one point. I put them to very good use all these years. It's a shame these days they became sort of a fluking bucktail and most striper fisherman look past them. I still think they are a very relevant useful jig.  Thanks for sharing! I tied a  "electric" type jig too. Same exact setup with flash and feather. Good stuff!

Absolutely a pleasure to share brother! I need to clarify a bit also because the flip side to this discussion is that surf-casters should be highy encouraged to use Pork Rinds and use them often - because they can do amazing things to Bucktails. It's just that, using them blindly and always isn't that smart. Using Pork Rinds is part of the game. 

 

A Bucktail jig can be used in any conditions and is the unquestioned king of the beach because of it's versatility. I wanted to make that satement and back it up, in order to help our community of surf-casters use Bucktails as effectively as possilbe. If anyone here wants to catch more fish and you want to expand your Bucktail game, then this post is for you. 

 

Also, as a former Cabela's manager going back to my days in the tackle industry, there was one area of the store that I loved the most - the Uncle Josh "run" (word used for 4ft sections of shelivng). It was right abou the time they were going out of business, after 93 years of making pork rinds. At one point we had almost a whole Isle dedicated to Pork Rinds and Bucktails. It was pretty cool.

 

Now Uncle Josh is and that is great news. The surf fishing community should be pretty stoked up about this but I fear what has happened is that the surf-fishing community has largely forgotten what Pork Rinds are and lost an understanding of how to use them. Let's put the Upperman style Bucktail aside for a moment and talk about what is most important here.

 

Doing that involves highlighting the style of jig that is hands down, the king of the beach. The Smiling Bill! It is true that the design of the head on any jig is less important than how the hair is tied. As I mentioned earlier, certain heads, shaped more like arrows, allow you to get down quickly and swim a little better in current. Certain heads also feature hook points that are futher back on the jig and are better for vertical jigging applicaitons. But - The SMILING BILL is the mainstay for surf-fishing. 

6130e06993ebe_Screenshot2021-09-0210_31_46AM.png.e3b1a11854a53978a54c88b3186f95e7.png

This style of Bucktail is hands down the most versitile of all jigs and its always the one I'd recommend above all others to fishermen who are looking to be able to deal with any situation anywhere and still catch fish. When I'm fishing Bucktails, I often use Smiling Bills and just to clarify - I absolutely do use Pork Rinds quite a bit. Let me clarify this whole Pork Rind subject a bit because there's a lot to know here thats not being mentioned. 

 

I do often use Pork Rinds and the decision to use one or not is entirely based on where I'm fishing and what bait is around. Uncle Josh's most popular rind was the #50 which was about 4" to 4 1/2" and before they came out with the Sea Strips, that was probably the go-to rind as a surfcaster could slap that on just about any jig and it would give that bucktail a touch more profile and more action. I wanted to mention that because length and size of the strips you select can give different looks to a jig. The #50 gives a jig extra kick and flutter but because it's small, it's not going to hurt your casting distance and that's really the big reason to use a 4"-ish strip. 

 

On an open beach with a nice drop and waves crashing and maybe stronger wind blowing towards shore, I will often use a 2 oz Bucktail because I need the casting distance and I need to get under the waves. In a situation like that, I'd go with the #50 strip all day and ever day because it won't hurt my distance and yet it will give me lifelike action and perhaps added visibility in the wash. 

 

The #70 Strip is typically the next go-to for most applications where I want a little bit more width and length. The #70 can be used creatively also. For example, let's say we're in some shallower water, maybe a back bay or a salt pond. What I'll do is take a 3/8 oz or 1/2 oz bucktail and put a #70 strip on it. This gives my jig a much bigger profile and lends the added bennefit of drag, so I can work into areas like this and not get hung up. A small jig set up with a large strip is thinking outside the box but it's a very effective way of achieving a larger profile while at the same time, your jig won't get to the bottom very fast and therefore you can work it very slowly and swim it. 

 

Also, Bucktails with lots of hair density aren't better or worse than sparsely tied Bucktails. Each has their place in my bag. Consider this, let's say I'm fishing a Boulder Field with lots of bottom clutter. My goal would be to swim near the bottom but not get hung up. I'll choose a heavily tied Bucktail and I'll probably use a pork rind as well, I want the Bucktail to ride a little higher in the water column and fuller tie is appropriate for times like this. If I want a Pork Rind, I'll usually pick a larger Sea Strip or a #70 in these situations because I may want a bigger profile and I absolutely want a little extra drag, to keep my jig riding above the substrate. 

 

Conversely, let's say I need to reach a sand bar and my primary approach is now to pick a more sparsely tied Bucktail because it will give me better casting distance. I may or may not use a pork rind in situations like that and certainly, if I do want a rind it would be a #50. 

 

I use the 5 1/4" Sea Strips a lot and fortunately still have a nice supply of them. Sea Strips are kind of a specialty size and I use them for times when I want a Pork Rind slighly longer than a #50 and slightly wider, but not as mammoth as a #70. 

6130d86638438_Screenshot2021-09-029_57_38AM.png.521ab4f3bfad2066ac96c89e6183b37d.png

 

Color on the rinds isn't that important. I like all white and I also like Red, which by the way is only on one side of the strip. Uncle Josh also makes strips in all black and they do a Yellow (with white on the other side) and a Green. By far the best selling Pork Rind Color is the Red so that should be the deciding answer as to which color is best. More surf casters use Red than any other color and it isn't even close. They do this because they want some contrast. It's a well known fact that plugs or baits that feature some contrast are generally very productive. 

 

Now, back to the Upperman. The Upperman was tied very sparsely for a reason. It was meant to be a weapon the beach, the kind of weapon that a surf caster could fish day in and day out.

6130e6a69cebf_Screenshot2021-09-0210_55_51AM.png.07665057a8c54f24ec992653ff85dd50.png

Open beaches are often windy and often turbulent. Calm mornings happen often as well. Bait is often on the smaller side and the reason the Upperman was such a cult classic is because a lightly dressed "bean" style jig casts far and it sinks quick. Upen being retrieved, the Upperman jig darts all over the place and there isn't a jig style known to man that will swim as eratically side to side as a sparsely tied Upperman.

 

From a jig head design perspecive, the hook eye resides on the nose of the jig. This is an advantage when trying to swim a jig and it allows a surf-caster to swim the jig side to side and retrieve it in a way that makes the jig look very natural and very much like a swimming baitfish. 

 

The narrow profile of the bean jig allows the Upperman to easily cut through the water and with each slash, the broad side of the bean jig allows water to catch it and push it even more off track. This creates a wider zig zag swimmiing action which ohter jig heads simply can't replicate. 

 

6130e6a3d9679_Screenshot2021-09-0210_56_47AM.png.490480d01a4e47b8efc6d2919a02c354.png6130e69fe8f1b_Screenshot2021-09-0210_57_30AM.png.6324a01dc2f0f095e5dfa7f63a27d57c.png

When I'm tying Upperman jigs I'm mostly looking to imitate smaller baitfish and I know I'll need to cast these smaller jigs as far as possible so when I'm designing them, I keep them fairly sparsely tied. When you consider the application, an Upperman isn't the kind of jig you really want to use a rind with. 

 

It was a known fact on the beach that rinds hindered the effectiveness of Upperman style jigs and to this day, if I'm fishing an Upperman - and I do fish them very often - I don't want a lot of hair and I defintely don't want to use a Pork Rind with them.

 

What I want is the ability to cast far, sink quick and swim erratically. The Upperman jig gives a surf-caster this and you'll connect constatnly with these style bucktails, even when contiditons are difficult and fish get a little finicky. 

6130e69cd986f_Screenshot2021-09-0210_58_05AM.png.be6ea546af0c0b0acedb8210b4be456e.png

The reason the Upperman fell out of favor was mainly that guys who fish in often turbulent water and heavy current wanted to use Pork Rinds because of the lifelike action they lend and because of some of the other reasons I've mentioned, like increasing drag - which allows them to swim the jigs more slowly. 

 

I can't swim an Upperman too slowly. It has almost no drag so if I slow them down, I'll be bumping bottom. You see, there is always a give and take, a yin and a yang. It's just a fact, Upperman style jigs aren't as versitile as a Smiling Bill style jig. Therein lies the reason why the Uppermans came and went. What you need out of a jig is the ability to be versitile. You need a head design that allows you to pack as much hair onto it it as you can. You need a design that fishes equally well when tied more sparsely. We want to use Pork Rinds and we want to be able to swim naturally, more slowly and be more buoyant in the water column. 

 

For all of these reasons I always recommend the Smiling Bill style jig head as the proper head style for all around fishing. The Upperman is a faster moving, slashing side to side type jig and I'd classify it now as a real specialty type Bucktail, one that isn't for everyone and one that limits what you can do and how you can fish it. 

 

If you fish the Upperman style jig, you'll notice right away that it darts all over the place and that it swims amazingly well. But as we know, there's a whole lot more that goes into selecting and using Bucktails to cover any and all situations. 

 

Edited by CaryGreene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, PSegnatelli said:

I want to start tying feathers & zonkers into my jigs.  

 

What type of feathers to buy?  Is it just hackle feather?  

The webbier, thicker type of feather is best bucktails. This is good news, because they are commercially more readily available and less costly as well. But why do we want this type of feather? Well, that's a great question Cary! I'm glad you asked. <chcukling>

 

We want the webbier, longer feathers because when wet, they pulse more and are less britlle. These types of feathers are found on male rooster's back. They are referred to as "shoulder capes" and are also called "Saddle Hackle" and are quite different than the feathers found on the rooster's neck. "Neck Capes" are denser and the feathers are much smaller and more pointed. They are used by fly tyers for dry fly hackle and the barbs are ver stiff. 

 

The Shoulder Cape however, is much webbier and floppy and the quill is less rigid. The barbs are longer and much more supple, so they undulate and move better on the arse end of jig head. Shoulder Capes are great for bucktails and between the saddle area of a rooster and the tail feathers you will find "Schlappin" feathers which are even longer than Saddle feathers and they're even webbier. 

 

It's best to go to a fly shop and look at feathers that are marketed as ideal for saltwater applicaitons. It's also best to buy full capes opposed to pre-packeaged feathers that are strung together with string and sold in clumps. Full capes will give you a full size range of feathers to choose from. This is nice when tying different sized jigs. 

 

The "strung" packages are fine if you want to tie all similar sized jigs and they will generally be a less expensive than a cape. The problem is though, they won't be the perfect size for any application. 

 

Look for wite Saddle Capes and White strung Haclkle as a starting point. Try some Schlappin feathers also. Shlappin feathers have rounded tips. Saddle Capes have a bit more pointed tips. Neck hackle capes have very pointed tips, too slender for Bucktails. Neck capes are also much more expensive. 

 

If you PM me I can refer you to some sites where you can find exactly the right feathers for tying Bucktails. Also, more important than feathers is good, inexpensive Bucktails, the proper thread (Flat Waxed Mono, White or Red), a rotary vice that will handle Jigs (Dyna King is one brand but there are others, I use a Nor Vise) and lastly, you need an assortment of Pork Rinds!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CWitek said:

I find this post interesting, because it is the Upperman-style bucktails that I find are more effective without trailers when I fish for bass in Long Island Sound.  And yes, we try to make them zigzag on the retrieve.

There are myriads of conditions and environments that Surf Casters can get into and in some locations, like on the South Shore of Long Island or on the Jersey Shore, conditions can dictate which jigs evolve locally to fit the needs of area fishermen. 

 

Long Island sound is a diverse nursery habitat filled with structure and an irregular shore line, complete with massive outflows and smaller creeks dumping into it. The array of different environments in the "Sound" is staggering. Fishing from the shore is vastly different than fishing from a boat also so that aspect comes into play. 

 

Tide changes produce current changes and with so much structure present, areas of Long Island Sound can see amazingly good fishing when tides change. Bass will stack up on the down-current side of the structure and lures that can handle crurrent move to the head of the class. These conditions separate many lures into two distinct groups. Ones that are good in current and ones that are better to search the water with. 

 

Bean Jigs are better used as searching lures. Because they swim so well and dart side to side so easily, they are a great choice to use when covering a beach. When you get out onto jetties or fish over boulders, they'd be the wrong choice as you'd go to a jig with a lot more Bucktail fibers on it and probably a rind. 

 

Any lure that can move side to side so easily is going to have it's place on the beach. I haven't seen too many guys fishing bean style jigs and I always wonder why not but they are a lost in time design that just wasn't versatile enough to stay popular. That said, if fished in the right situations they are still every bit as deadly as they once were.

 

The Sound has a lot of little blitzes and when you're chasing bird squalls, suddenly a jig that moves side to side becomes indespensible because they get down quick and swim great. In conditions when Bass are feeding, side to side movement will get picked up time and time again. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.