Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rigging for King Mackerels : Part One

If you ever spend much time on an Outer Banks fishing pier ,  you're likely to see a bunch of questionable looking guys standing at the very end of the pier. This group of misfits will be surrounded by extra large fishing poles , coolers , carts and buckets. They are likely to be drinking beer , talking loudly and getting sunburned. They almost look like they're just pretending to fish.

Then it happens. One of the big reels starts screaming as a large fish takes the bait and heads out to sea. The fishermen spring into action , pulling up rods and rigs. Somebody gets out a rope gaff. The lucky angler concentrates on reeling in his catch and is rewarded with a 40 pound class King Mackerel. It happens more often than you might think and I swear we're not riff-raff.

In the summer months it's possible to catch Kings and Cobia from the piers on the OBX . Most people think of kings as an inshore species , and indeed there are a lot more caught from boats than from the piers , but with the right gear it is possible to catch them from the end of a pier. All of the Outer Banks piers reserve the very end for just this purpose in the summer.

It takes a lot of gear to fish from a pier for kings. I mean a lot. For starters , you're going to need two rods for the king rig itself and a third to catch bait with. The two for the rig need to be big surf rods , capable of holding 300+ yards of line. You can just use a bass rod to catch bait. We'll get into specifics about bait buckets , carts and gaffs over the next few weeks. For today , let's focus on the basics of the two-rod rig.

At the heart of the " Pin Rig " for kings is the anchor rod. The anchor rod is just what it sounds like - it's a rod with an anchor on it. You use a nail or grapnel sinker tied to a shock leader and tie it on your farthest casting rod.




The purpose of this sinker is to hold your anchor line in place. Once it's holding well and as far away from the pier as you can get it , you attach a release to the anchor line that will hold the swivel at the top of your king rig.

The releases shown are made from spring wire. These are made by bending a piece of spring wire in half , putting a snap swivel in the bend and adding beads and weight. Once this is done you bend the wire at right angles to the sinker to make a release. There are several variations available that have lighter wire and heavier sinkers , and those are normally a personal preference.

The king rigs are actually pretty simple. They are basically a 2-4 ft. piece of bronzed wire leader with a combination of hooks on it. Some people like 2 single hooks , some like a single and a treble and some like a single , a treble and a treble " stinger ". This big mess of hooks is for hooking large baitfish , one hook behind the head and one in the tail. This is usually attached to a couple of feet of 80 lb. mono , and then to a swivel which attaches to the leader on your main line.

The swivel goes onto the release , a piece of bait is hooked up and the rig is sent to the top of the water. Different people like to fish at different depths , but 4-5 feet is a good depth to start at. Once a king has taken the bait , the rig pops off of the release and the fight is on!

I'll get into more specifics next time. Have a great weekend and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blitzing Bluefish

It's cold and windy here today and I have a touch of cabin fever. I like to browse videos of warmer days and people fishing when it's too cold for me to get out on the water myself. Most of you have probably seen me mention Bluefish Blitzes here on the blog before because they are one of my favorite fish to catch. Hopefully the following videos will help you understand why.

From the Outer Banks during the 90's :



From the Cape Cod National Seashore (www.capecodflatsfishing.com) :



That's the kind of fishing I dream about! A Got-cha lure thrown to those fish would only last a few seconds. Good times!

Have a great week!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Something's Fishy!

It has to be pretty d@mn cold for a river to freeze....

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that the New Year will treat you well. I've been on the road , visiting family and friends , and I have a few pictures I'd like to share.

First up is a couple of shots of the Greenbrier River near Hinton , WV. I think it's too cold to fish!

The Greenbrier River - Iced in!




Almost frozen...

Notice the "Cut" for the trains.

A few from my Grandparent's farm. I love it up there.

From the house.
An old " Mowing Machine " , could be what was used when my Pa first started farming.

There is a small pond behind the fence that is full of small catfish , bass and bluegill.
The barn.

A small family of cats has recently taken up residence in the loft and are being fed.


The poor old cow is close to giving birth.


Chow time !

Merry Christmas from Something's Fishy!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Best of 2010 from Something's Fishy

Apparently , I've been accepted into the elite group of Outdoor Bloggers over at Outdoor Blogger Network! A big " Thank You!" goes out to the folks that maintain OBN and help the rest of us get noticed. What I want to do here today is recap what's happened on Something's Fishy this year so new readers will have a place to start. The holidays are fast approaching and I'll be busy with friends and family , so the blog will probably be slow until after the first of the year. Welcome to Something's Fishy OBN!

My main goal here at Something's Fishy will always be to help people get started fishing in the surf. It can be intimidating for beginners so I try to write simple and easy to follow how to guides that will help you catch fish during your next trip to the beach.

The Basics :

Choosing a Surf Rod a short guide to help you decide which rod will work best for the type of fishing you plan to do.

Braving the Elements you'll probably get rained on if you spend any amount of time surf fishing.

8 Things I Wouldn't Go Fishing Without a few things you'll need at the beach.

Making Your Own Rigs one of my most popular articles here on the blog , this is a must read for anyone wanting to surf fish.

5 Fishing Knots I Use Often saltwater anglers have to use a few different knots most freshwater fishermen aren't familiar with because of the heavier lines.

" Cut Bait " Explained the best bait to use in the surf.

Reading the Beach  how to find the fish.

Deciding When to Go Fishing best times to be at the beach.

Driving on The Beach a must read for anyone wanting to drive out onto the sand.

The Fish :

Bottom Fishing - The Usual Suspects some of the most common catches here on the East Coast.

The Bluefish one of my favorite fish to catch!

The Red Drum , Part One a hard fighting game fish.

The Red Drum , Part Two how to rig for Reds.

Honorable Mention : goes to my friend and fellow OBN blogger Owl Jones for the following two guest articles. I've heard he gets a lot of honorable mention awards?

Basic Fly Fishing , Part One for those of us who don't fly fish.

Basic Fly Fishing , Part Two reading a trout stream.

We're hoping to get some more great articles from Owl after the first of the year and hopefully we'll have some more over on his blog.

Thanks again to OBN for accepting us into the Outdoor Blog directory and thanks to all of my regular readers. Stay tuned for an article about live baiting for King Mackerel and Cobia from a pier that I'll (hopefully) get to after the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hatteras Fishing from 1947

I rarely ever post two blog articles on the same day , but this was just too cool. It's a fishing video from back in the day and it shows that not much has changed in the way anglers fish for Channel Bass.




I wish I had cool music like that playing in the background when I fish....

Mercury in Fish

First off , I am not an expert on mercury in fish and it's affects on the human body so don't take what follows as sound medical advice. It's my opinion and that's it.

Update: A Clinical Researcher has been snooping around the blog ;) Go HERE for his latest research , which is very well done. Thanks Albert!

I'm sure there are certain people who really need to avoid fish because of mercury ( pregnant women , young children and the elderly? ) , but for most of us I think eating fish is perfectly OK. There are some species that it is recommended to limit your intake of and I respect that. Look here for the FDA's recommendation for pregnant women and children and here for information about mercury levels in commercially available fish.

The purpose of this short blog post is not to dispute the dangers of consuming too much mercury , but rather to encourage you to eat some of what you catch. I know people who do not eat any of the fish they spend time and money trying to catch , but will eat fish from a restaurant. Truthfully , there is probably more mercury in some of the fish served in restaurants than there is in a few croakers or flounder. I think this mindset keeps a lot of people from fully enjoying the sport.

It's always a good feeling to eat something that you have caught yourself. I've always enjoyed the whole process , from catching fish to cleaning them and cooking them. You can find some of my recipes on the recipe page here on the blog and see some of the stuff you'll need to cook fish in my Amazon Store .

Unless you're fishing in a body of water that has specific " Do Not Eat " warnings for the fish that can be caught there , I highly recommend trying a few. Smaller fish will generally have less mercury than their larger cousins , so keep that in mind if you have concerns. Top tier predators like sharks and swordfish usually have more , so you may want to avoid them.

It all comes down to what you're comfortable with. I've always subscribed to the " Everything in Moderation " philosophy , so I do eat a lot of the fish I catch. I still haven't turned into a thermometer!

Do some reading if you still have doubts and make an informed decision. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how delicious fresh caught fish really is!

A good "eating size" Striped Bass


Have a great week!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chew on This

Today I'd like to share a couple of fishing videos from Captain Ben Chancey from Chew on This fishing. You can see more by visiting www.totalfishing.com and  http://chewonthis.tv/rates.html 

This is Goliath Grouper fishing at it's finest!

 

And to give you an idea of how powerful these fish are :



Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Favorite Saltwater Lure

I've used a bunch of different lures over the years for a ton of different species. Everything from tiny hair jigs for trout and crappie to gigantic swim baits and plugs for bass and stripers. I won't say I've tried them all , but I've certainly used more than most people. Bucktails , spinnerbaits , topwater plugs , spoons and just about anything else you can think of have all been on my line at some point. I'm not proud of it either , since a lot of lures seem to catch more fishermen than they do fish.

The idea behind lures is simple : use bits of hair ,  metal and plastic to make something that closely resembles things that fish normally eat in their natural environment. The lure is tied on , cast out and reeled in. The weight and shape of the lure , combined with a diving lip or concave shape , come together to give the lure " action " that attracts strikes from predatory fish. Some lures are simpler still , requiring the angler to twitch and shake the lure in order to fool the fish.

Some of the new lure designs are super realistic , looking like a real baitfish when they are in the water. Others look nothing like a baitfish at first glance , relying on the hands of a skilled angler to jerk and jiggle the lure to life. This last category of lure has always been my favorite. They normally provoke an instinctual strike from the fish. These lures are generally fished fairly fast so the fish don't have time to think about it. The combination of a fast moving lure and a fish who's primitive brain is telling it to " Eat Now " often leads to explosive fishing.

If I was limited to only using one lure and only having one color of that lure , I would have to choose the Red/White 1 ounce Got-cha lure from Sea Striker. Hands down , no complaints , that's the lure I would choose. Why? It's simple - they work and they work really well. I can't put a number on the amount of fish I've caught with this lure , but it would run well into the thousands. If there are a lot of bluefish around , it's nothing to catch 50 or even 100 fish in a single day with this lure. You can find out more about how to rig this lure by reading an article I wrote over at Flyfishing the Southern Blue Ridge . You can find my article here.

Of course no one is capable of convincing me to take just one lure when I go fishing , so don't worry about my Got-chas getting lonely. I have them in most sizes and a bunch of different colors. As I mentioned above the Red/White is my all time favorite , but there are other colors that work just as well. We all know fish can be finicky , so it pays to have a few options when it comes to color. Yellow/White , Light Blue/White , Red/Black , Red/Chartreusse , Red/Gold , Red/Silver and Pink/Pink are all good choices that have produced fish for me in the past. The newer designs with mylar inside of a clear body work well , as does the new " Electric Chicken " pattern Sea Striker put out last year.

Anyone want to clean out my tackle box?
Give them a try sometime , if you haven't already. Got-chas are great for blues and Spanish Mackerels and they also catch a lot of fish. I've seen just about everything caught on them , citation pompanos , doormat flounder and 40 pound stingrays in just a week this past summer.

Just remember to use a leader and fish them fast. I like to keep them shallow enough that I can see them and watch the fish come after them.

Have a great week!