Monday, January 31, 2011

One of My Favorite Places

The Hatteras Island Fishing Pier in Rodanthe , NC has always been one of my favorite places to fish or to just hang out and listen to some of the fishing stories told by some of the regulars. I've always been welcomed there and consider the Rodanthe pier my " Home Away From Home " whenever I'm on the Outer Banks.
Like many of the fishing piers here on the East Coast , this old gal has been around for quite a while. It was longer several years ago , until a storm broke off the Octagon at the end. This has happened at least two times that I know of and I'm not sure if it will be rebuilt this time because it always breaks off where the end is now.

At one time the Hatteras Island Fishing Pier was billed as " The Farthest East and The Deepest Water " on the Outer Banks (or maybe the East Coast , I can't remember). Regardless , it was built in a good spot and still produces fish for me whenever I get a chance to go.

I've been down several times when storms were close and waves were breaking over the end of the pier. It makes my heart sink to know that eventually the planks that I have come to love will succumb to the relentless pounding of the surf.

If you have a keen eye , you can stand on the pier and watch the Pompanos feeding on the barnacles attached to the pier pilings. You can see schools of Sheepheads come in to do the same. During the summer schools of Bluefish , Spanish Mackerel , Ladyfish and a ton of other species can be seen from the end. Cobia , King Mackerel , Red Drum , Black Drum and sharks can be seen cruising around the end , feeding on the smaller fish. It is truly a great place to fish.

There's a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the state of fishing and piers on the Outer Banks. Changes have negatively affected things and made it so that many people don't visit as much as they once did. I'm going to do an article soon about what you can do to help us preserve fishing on the Outer Banks.

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Big Game Fishing

Just a quick post to share a couple of cool videos of big game fishing. The guys that do this are serious fishermen. The first video is from Australia and shows some cool clips of Black Marlin fishing around the Great Barrier Reef. Watch the guy trying to get his hand wrapped around the leader , let me just say it takes balls to grab a leader attached to a 1000 pound fish.




Video from http://www.theultimatefishingshow.com. I would be highly upset if I caught a Marlin and a shark ate it.

Next up is a video that shows how dangerous big game fishing can be,



And another



Be careful out there guys!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Interview with Captain Paul Mandella

A Bay Shore , NY Striper Courtesy of Captain Paul
If you've been following things here at Something's Fishy , you know that I always like to feature different styles and types of fishing. I've been fortunate enough to snag an interview with Captain Paul Mandella from Maybe Tonight Charters . Captain Paul runs a charter service out of Bay Shore, NY that targets the Great South Bay and Fire Island Inlet fishery for Striped Bass, Bluefish, Weakfish, Fluke and other local species in season. Captain Paul also maintains the blog MaybeTonightCharters.com which features lots of great saltwater fishing tips , info about rules and regs and a whole lot of other information for anyone interested in fishing. Go check out some of his fish pictures  for an idea of how the Captain gets things done!


Captain Paul , on behalf of my readers and myself I'd like to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Welcome to Something's Fishy!

JM : At what point did you decide to go into the Charter Fishing Business and why ?

PM : In all the years I have been fishing I have always enjoyed having the company of others aboard the boat. I always enjoyed having friends and family who wouldn’t normally get the chance to take advantage of the fishing opportunities here on Long Island come out for the day and catch fish. I have been fortunate enough to be able to put some first time anglers into some fish they would normally only have seen pictures of. The best of all is having the kids out. The face of the child landing their first fish is something beyond description. It was these same friends and family that suggested I might be good as a charter operator so I decided to go for it and have loved every minute of every trip.

JM : Can you describe how a typical charter trip with you works?

PM : Typically someone interested in a trip contacts me either via email or telephone listed on the website. I determine the type of trip they are interested in (E.G. half or full day, species, etc.) and we go from there. The saltwater species we target are all very dependent upon tidal and current conditions with particular conditions offering the best shot at the species of the day. Dependent upon the perspective client’s requested trip type departure times for their preferred date are then arranged.

JM : What species do you target and what times of year are the best for these species?

PM : Hands down the most popular species for my clients is the Striped Bass which is a good thing as this is the fish I grew up chasing using any method required for landing them. My preferred tactic is using any type of live bait such as bunker (menhaden), hickory shad, eels, herring, etc. The fall striper migration is a very good time of year with the action generally in full swing by early October and carrying right through the end of November and into December some years. In recent years, the Spring run has surpassed the Fall with solid action on good sized fish usually by mid-May and lasting through the start of July. As with just about any other type of fishing the water temperature is more important than a date on the calendar.

JM : What is your favorite fish to target when you have clients with you and why?

PM : Again I am going to go with the Striped Bass here. These fish grow large and are very powerful. A cow striper has a tail on it like a corn broom and when she gets that tail working against a strong pulling current it is a challenge for anyone to bring her to the boat. Add to this the fact they are just a beautiful fish with their striped flanks and wonderful coloring while in the water. There is nothing better than seeing the large head of a big striped bass come up at boat-side to get the blood pumping.

JM : Can you give us a rundown of what type of boat you use and some of the things you like and dislike about it ?

PM : The Maybe Tonight is a 28.6 ft Southport center console. I looked long and hard at a long list of the usual suspects in the center console market before deciding on this builder. The boat offers a 10.6 ft beam which is the widest in her class. It is this wide beam that gives the boat an amazing stability on the drift. The boat does not rock and roll at rest like some other narrower hulls. This is key to my style of fishing as our live bait fishing is done while drifting over various pieces of bottom structure. The boat stands steady even with 3 -4 anglers fishing one side of the boat. She offers very generous freeboard in the cockpit giving anglers the ability to use the gunwales for leverage against a good fish.

As for any dislikes about the boat I can honestly say that, aside from what I consider a design flaw of tucking the batteries in a tight spot ( Hard to remove in the off-season), I have not found anything on the boat I dislike. I’ll be sure to update you if I ever do ;-)

JM : Some of the charter Captains here in the south offer dolphin watching trips , shrimping trips and other trips to fill the void when times are slow. Do you offer any trips of this nature or are you a strictly fishing Captain ?

PM : In my area of the charts we do not have what could be termed “reliable visits” from the dolphins or whales. While I have encountered both of these at times their appearance is nothing that I could count on to provide viewing tours to clients. That would just not be fair. Until this past season I did offer Fourth Of July cruise for a huge fireworks display put on by the NY State Parks at Jones Beach. However the Parks Department has had their budget slashed and the fireworks show is no longer. So, I guess you could say I am fishing Captain !

JM : Can you tell us how things have changed and if any of the new regulations have helped or hurt the fisheries in the North Atlantic?

PM : Oh boy, I could go on and on here about this one JM. Let me try a quick review on just my favorite, the Striped Bass. I can recall as a kid running across the bay and encountering schools of menhaden stretching hundreds of yards. One school after another. It is not like that today, not even close. The menhaden are a key piece of the striped bass’ diet. The harvesting, or overharvesting, of the bunker population is well documented on the Internet. The decline in their population has had an effect on the stripers as well.

Striped bass were everywhere in my childhood days. The stories of the striper fishery around these parts in the late 70s and early 80s is the stuff of legend. Well it all collapsed by the mid 80s and a moratorium was placed on the Striped Bass , restricting anyone from even targeting them. Not that you could find one by then. When the moratorium was lifted a large size limit of 36inches was placed on the fish in New York to protect the first successful spawning class seen in a long time. The limit then went to 38 inches for some time. I believe these limits were very instrumental in the recovery of the stripers.

JM : What do you think the future looks like for charter fishing here on the East Coast?

PM : Very hard to say, but I can tell you that the current state of the economy has had a large impact on the boats. Folks just do not have the income to spare for recreational things they used to. Gas prices are adding to this as fare increases or surcharges have been a way of life further adding to the cost of a trip and making it even less inviting to folks where cash is already tight. Forecasters here in the New York area are predicting gasoline prices exceeding four dollars a gallon by spring. And that on the street, add another 50 cents a gallon at the marinas. 2011 should be interesting to say the least.

JM : Can you tell us about your favorite or most memorable charter trip with clients?

PM : I had a father and son out of a striped bass trip. It was somewhat late in the season but the weather had not really started to turn cold yet. That is until the day of our trip. That morning on arrival at the boat I figured they would want to cancel as it was very cold. Skim ice had actually formed in the slip around the boat. Well, they wanted to go. We crunched out of the ice and headed out into the freeze. The little guy had until that day never landed a striper and the plan was to take advantage of some excellent diamond jigging that had been going on. I was concerned the cold might put a damper on the bite but as it turned out the weather only seemed to ignite the bite even hotter. From the very first drop of the jigs it seemed one rod or the other had a fish on for the next 5 hours. It was red hot and was enough to have all of us forgetting how cold it was that day. Suffice to say the little guy had finally caught his FIRST striped bass JM!

JM : What type of fishing do you do when you don't have clients and are able to go fishing just for fun?

PM : This is an easy one, I do the very same type of fishing while out alone as I do with my charter clients. I just love the whole game from gathering up the bait to hunting the fish down , there really is nothing else I like doing more. There are a bunch of nice tournaments that I fish with the same group of guys and those are a great time.

JM : And lastly , do you have any advice for any of our readers who may be looking to hire a charter?

PM : The questions I hear most often are, How many people can the boat hold, Do I need to bring my own tackle, bait, etc and how long are the trips for. Some boats are licensed to carry a certain number of passengers based upon Coast Guard ratings while others, such as myself, are of the “6-Pack” variety and only licensed for up to 6 passengers. Clients may want to confirm a particular boat/captain is carrying proper insurance and any required permits. Here in NY, anglers aboard properly permitted charter boats are allowed 2 striped bass at 28 inches while the regulations are different if they were fishing aboard their own vessel. Additionally, NY requires a saltwater fishing license for all anglers over 16. Properly licensed charter boats are required to carry this license which covers their fares while aboard the boat.

On the subject of tackle, clients may want to bring their own. Normally this would not be a big deal but might be best to confirm. If the boat is providing equipment is it up to the task? You don’t want to be paying to fish and then not enjoy the day because the rod or reel were of questionable status.

JM : Thank you so much for doing this great interview about your charter business , it's always great to hear what the pro's have to say!

PM : I would like to thank you very much for this opportunity to speak with you and your readers about my very favorite subject and tell you that I truly enjoyed this.


JM : You're very welcome Captain ! You can come back for another interview anytime!

Be sure to visit Captain Paul at MaybeTonightCharters.com and if you're ever in the Bay Shore area , stop by and book a trip with Maybe Tonight Charters!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Picture of Mabry Mill

This picture is from October 2010. It shows Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway here in Virginia. My family and I made this trip on October 16 and had a great time. The Fall leaves would have been better a week or two later , but it's still one of the better pictures that's been taken with our camera. Mabry Mill :
I had actually forgotten that we had this picture. The whole " Mabry Mill Area " on the parkway has several things for a family of 4 to experience , I definitely recommend it if you have young children.

Just to keep things fishy - the mill pond was full of bluegills.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Few Trout

I was able to make it back to the Jefferson National Forest today and catch my limit of stocked trout. I had plans to use the new Tenkara rod I recently bought , but it was just too windy for me to do anything with. I fished all morning and probably caught somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 fish , losing at least that many due to slow hooksets. All of the fish were taken with hand made jigs that a good friend of mine makes.
These fish are a lot prettier outside in the sunlight , but I had a 2 year old that just had to see them. My wife was kind enough to take a couple shots while I was busy showing the trout to my baby girl.
One of my good friends was also able to catch his limit this morning , so it was a good trip. My biggest fish was about 16 inches and the smallest about 14. These stocked trout are almost always about the same size. They'll taste just fine for supper tonight.

Before I draw the ire of you catch and release anglers out there , let me attach this disclaimer : these fish were caught in a stream that is part of Virginia's put and take trout stocking program. They are intended to be consumed by anglers who have forked over the 18 dollars for a trout license. Most of the streams that are a part of this program just won't support the amount of fish they stock. According to the game warden that checked my license today , the creek I fished was stocked with approximately 3000 pounds of trout on Wednesday.

It was a really cold day on the water , so unfortunately my hands were too cold to do what I had originally intended to do. I had planned to do a how to , with pictures of how to butterfly a Rainbow Trout. Maybe next time , but right now I've got fish to fry!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Few Pictures from Jefferson National Forest

I was able to break away from my duties as a father , husband and blogger yesterday morning and take a trip to the Jefferson National Forest in pursuit of trout with my new trout rod. Unfortunately , I wasn't able to catch any fish , but I did get a much needed break and I was able to shake off the bad case of cabin fever that I've had since early December.

North Creek




The area I traveled to is near Arcadia , VA and is home to 4 creeks that hold both wild and stocked trout and also a stretch of the James River. I hadn't been to this part of Virginia in close to 5 years and I was shocked by how many trees have died since my last visit. Most were evergreens so I assume the trees were affected by some type of pine boring beetle or a disease.

Another view of North Creek

The main setback to the fishing was the amount of ice in the 3 creeks I visited. All of the larger , deeper holes were almost completely frozen over from the long spell of cold weather we've had.

Jennings Creek
I can't complain though , I only saw one other vehicle the entire time I was there. It's a nice feeling to have so much water and wilderness entirely to yourself. The forest service has recently paved several of the access roads and added parking at some of the more popular fishing spots. They've also added more campsites to the North Creek campground and refurbished the restrooms ( I think or maybe they just cleaned them up? ). I'll definitely be making a return trip once the weather warms up enough to thaw out some of my favorite spots.

One of my favorite spots on Jennings Creek
Have a great week!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Sunday Shout Out

I'm trying to come up with some new things to do on the blog here , so today I'm going to give a shout out to one of my favorite blogs. I plan to do this at least every couple of weeks so any of you other bloggers out there shoot me an email through the " Contact Us " page or leave a comment and I'll feature your blog in the coming months.

                          SoCalSalty

Today's featured blogger comes to us from sunny California and he is also a saltwater angler. Salty always has cool posts over on his blog about the boat trips he takes for deep water species.
SoCalSalty -seeing RED
He also does a fair amount of cooking and has posted quite a few mouth watering recipes over the past few weeks and they are definitely worth your time. 

Looks Delicious Salty!
I check in over there at least every couple of days , as I'm always curious about what Salty is going to drag up from the depths of the Pacific next. I highly recommend his blog for the fish and for the food! Head on over there and check it out!

A California Sunset Courtesy of SoCalSalty
Have a great week!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Crappie Fishing Article

Now that we've gotten the bad joke out of the way , I had a request on the blog's Facebook page today for an article about crappie fishing. I'm always glad when my readers interact with the blog by making comments and requests , so I am more than happy to oblige , even though I am by no means an expert on crappie fishing.

The crappie is a wildly popular game and panfish confined mostly to the Eastern half of North America , though it has been widely introduced elsewhere. There are two types of crappie , the White Crappie and the Black Crappie , most easily distinguished by the number of spines in the first dorsal fin with the White Crappie having 6 and the Black Crappie having 7 or 8. Both types are often found together in the same body of water and in the same areas , but Black Crappies usually prefer clearer water. As with other sunfish , hybridization frequently occurs and several would be world record fish have been disqualified when the fish were discovered to be hybrids. Even without hybridization , both White and Black Crappie are capable of reaching weights of 4 to 5 pounds , though these fish are rare.

A more common size of crappie would be fish ranging from 8 to 15 inches , but this too varies from one body of water to the next. In most bodies of water , crappies go through a natural cycle where there will be years with fewer numbers of crappie and more large fish caught followed by years with an abundance of small to medium sized fish. This natural cycle is almost always more obvious in smaller lakes and ponds.
A stringer of Black Crappie
Crappie are often found in and around brush and other types of cover. I normally try to establish a pattern when crappie fishing , concentrating on the type of cover and water depth. In my experience , crappie will hold on similar types of cover at almost the exact same depth in most bodies of water. So if you find a big school of crappie holding at the end of a fallen pine tree in 15 feet of water , it's a good bet that other trees at the same depth will also hold fish.

White and Black Crappie can both be taken on a wide variety of both real and artificial baits. My two personal favorites are the use of live minnows fished under a float and jigs. Recently here on my home water , trolling with tiny spoons and plugs has been gaining popularity but it's something I just haven't tried.

When I am float fishing with live bait, I normally use a 6'6" ultralight rod and reel spooled with 6 lb. monofilament. I usually attach a small swivel to the main line and then add a 4 lb. fluorocarbon leader and a small size 6 hook. I like to use the smallest minnows I can get and I've also used feeder goldfish from a pet store with great success. I cast this rig into likely looking spots until I catch my first crappie and then I normally anchor my boat 15-20 feet away from the area that coughed up the first fish.

Once I've caught that elusive first fish , I start jigging. I set out my float rod and then start jigging around it. I use the same setup for jigging as I do for float fishing , but I tie the jigs directly to the main line and don't use a float. You can use a wide variety of jigs but 1/16 and 1/8 ounce hair jigs are my favorites. I tie my own out of white calf tail and red thread. Because of the crappie's affinity for small baitfish , you only need a small amount of hair on these jigs. I cast them out and let them sink for 4-8 seconds , depending on how deep I've been catching fish on the float rig. When the jig is at the desired depth , I bounce and twitch the rod to trigger strikes while reeling in the line slowly to keep it at the desired depth. Besides hair jigs , you can also use maribou jigs , small tube jigs  , small curly tail grubs and just about any type of small spoon or plug.

I'm going to finish this off with an interesting tidbit of scientific BS that I have never tried , but have always been intrigued by. We all know that crappie love small baitfish. So it stands to reason that if you can find the small baitfish you have a better chance of finding the crappie. Simple enough , but not as easy as you might think. I read somewhere a long time ago that you could go by light penetration to determine the most likely depth that crappie would actively be feeding at. It works like this : algae and other phytoplankton can only survive as deep as the sunlight penetrates the water , zooplankton that feed on phytoplankton will only be as deep as their primary food source , tiny baitfish will only be as deep as their favorite meal the zooplankton , and crappie will be underneath this whole mess picking off any unwary minnows. You could always go out and buy a Secchi Disk , but I've always wanted to take a solid white ceramic coffee cup and a piece of string out on the water to test this theory. Supposedly , you lower something white into the water until you can just barely see it and then measure the string to see how deep the light penetrates , then fish at that depth. Don't laugh , it might work.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Check Out My New Blog!

Things are kind of getting out of hand here at Something's Fishy. I'm not going to abandon this blog , but I did decide to make a sister site. When I first started Something's Fishy my intention was to create a resource for beginners , where they could find all of the basic information needed to get started surf fishing. Sadly , I strayed from my original goal and branched out into some of the more complicated things you can do from a pier and also into videos , trout fishing and " Merry Christmas and Happy New Year " stuff. The result of all this was to push some of the great (my opinion) articles about getting started off of the front page and into blog obscurity.

In order to remedy this situation , I've decided to create Surf Fishing for Beginners! The new blog is going to be similar in appearance to Something's Fishy and also resurrect some of the old articles , bringing them back to the front page. Right now , my intent is to continue to post everything on Something's Fishy , but to limit Surf Fishing for Beginners to ONLY " How To " and DIY articles related directly to surf fishing.

Of course , you'll still be able to find all of the old articles here at Something's Fishy and any new ones will be posted to both sites. If you don't want to wade through a bunch of blather about other types of fishing or fishing related videos etc , then Surf Fishing for Beginners is for you!

I'll be working on it over the weekend to get everything set up and looking better , but if you jump over there you'll see that I already have a few of my most popular articles up on the front page.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Does a Mackerel Look Like?

For freshwater anglers everywhere , but more specifically for Owl from Fly Fishing the Southern Blue Ridge. This is what a Spanish Mackerel looks like :

Image courtesy of : fish4fun.com
Spanish Mackerels are surprisingly fast swimmers and fairly aggressive feeders. I personally enjoy catching them on light tackle. They are a ton of fun if you have kids and you luck into a big school around a pier! Something's Fishy Jr. with a 17 inch Spanish Mackerel :

A textbook Spanish Mackerel


Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Straw Rigs for Spanish Mackerel

I've been trying to go through some of my fishing tackle and get it organized in preparation for Spring and Summer fishing. While I was digging through my saltwater box , I ran across the box I keep for straw rigs and thought it would make a great warm water " How-to " on this cold winter day.

Spanish Mackerels are a smaller cousin of the King Mackerel. Like the King they prefer warm water and are often present off the coast of the Carolinas during the Summer months. They are fast swimmers that congregate in large schools and feed on small baitfish. Spanish Mackerels can be caught using live bait , spoons and other lures , including mackerel trees which are very similar to the rig we're making today.

I really don't know where or when the straw rig originated , but I can certainly remember the first time I saw one in action. I was at the end of Hatteras Island Fishing Pier in Rodanthe and had been seeing Kings busting on schools of Spanish all day. I had been trying for a couple of hours to catch some of the small Spanish to send out on my pin rig with absolutely no luck , when a guy comes out with a straw rig and promptly catches 4 perfectly sized Spanish Mackerels on his first cast. Needless to say I could have thrown him off of the pier , but I did learn how to make them from him and I still consider him a friend to this day.

My Straw Rig Box
This is a very simple rig to make and is surprisingly effective for Spanish Mackerels. You will need size 1 or 1/0 gold Aberdeen hooks , 30 pound test monofilament , a 2 ounce pyramid sinker and a few different colored straws. You can go around to different convenience stores and grab an extra straw or two when you get coffee. The point is to have several different colors. For some reason more colorful rigs produce a lot more fish.

I always cut my straws for these rigs in advance and keep them in my tackle box so they are ready when I need them. I cut mine so they are straight on one end and at a 45 degree angle on the other. I like for mine to be split on the top side of the 45 degree end , so the hook will rest in the split.
Little minnows?
After you have hooks in your straws , thread them onto the spool of line with the hook point facing the spool. I normally use five hooks for these rigs. Tie the pyramid sinker to the line now as this will help when you are tying the knots. Grab the last hook you threaded onto the spool and slide it down the line until it is about 8-10 inches from the sinker. Now hold the hook and straw and tie a Surgeon's Loop . This knot allows the hooks to move around freely , adding action to your rig. Repeat this with all of your hooks , spacing them 6-8 inches apart. After you have all of your knots done , cut the rig from the spool leaving 12-14 inches above the uppermost hook and tie on a barrel swivel. Now you have a straw rig!

I'm not entirely sure why this rig works , but it does. I guess the straws have a baitfish look when they are in the water and maybe water passing through the straws triggers strikes. You can fish these with a MH bass rod or a heavier rod used for surf fishing. Cast the rig out and bring it back in fairly quickly. I like to keep the top hook just barely under water. I also bounce it some and shake it around to trigger strikes.

You have two option when it comes to storing these rigs. You can make them as needed and when you're done cut the hooks , sinker and swivel off. Or you can use  foam (pictured below) and bury the hooks in it so you don't have to retie every time. Pool noodles also work well for this purpose.
Anybody know what this foam is called?
Have a great week!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Free Flies?

As many of you know , we've hosted a couple of articles here at Something's Fishy by blogger and trout fishing fanatic Owl Jones. Owl has recently moved his network of blogs over to Wordpress and I believe he's finally got everything up and running smoothly.

Owl has really kicked things up a notch with his blogs since the move to Wordpress and I'm proud to say that we'll still be hosting some of his articles from time to time.

One of his exciting new features is a couple of contests he's running for his readers. The first is a free fly giveaway over at his OMG It's Fly Tying! blog that features a baker's dozen of Owl's handmade flies! How cool is that? All you have to do is hop on over there and tell Owl in 8 words or less why you need those flies. I highly recommend his flies , I've seen pictures and they are exceptionally well done.

Owl's second contest is due to start next week and he has teamed up with the folks at The Hook and Hackle Company to host an essay writing contest. The lucky winner will be rewarded with a brand new, “Xi” 7’9″ 4-piece 3 wt rod building kit. Again , how cool is that? Pretty cool if you ask me. So head on over to Fly Fishing the Southern Blue Ridge and check out some of Owl's great articles , you might even win something!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rigging for King Mackerel : Part Two

In part one of this series we went over some of the bare bones basics of rigging for Kings from a pier. Today I'm going to go into some of the other basics you will need to know , should you ever decide to target these fish.

Bait is always on my mind when fishing for Kings. They are a large predatory fish and because of this it is possible to catch them on a wide variety of bait. My bait of choice has always been small bluefish somewhere in the range of 8-12 inches. Blues are a hardier bait than many of the other popular fish used and this is important because you will generally have better luck with a lively bait in the water. Other options are spots , small Spanish mackerel and pinfish. Always make sure you are using a legal catch for bait.

Once you have your rig baited and in the water it's a good idea to catch a few extra baits and put them in reserve because if several kings come in you will have a hard time catching bait. While I have fished a few piers that have a community bait tank you can use to keep bait alive , this is the exception rather than the rule. The easiest way to keep bait alive is to put them in a five gallon bucket drilled with 3/4 to 1 inch holes with a lid. After putting a fish in the bucket , secure the lid tightly and lower it into the water on a stout piece of rope. I like my bait bucket to be around halfway submerged. Any deeper and the waves will wreck havoc on the bait inside , shallower and there may not be enough fresh water getting in to keep your bait alive. Most piers that allow King fishing don't mind if you tie a bait bucket to the railing , but it's always a good idea to make sure.

After you've hooked a big King and played him to the bottom of the pier getting him on deck becomes an issue. Pier nets can be used , but Kings can often be too big to get into a net. The most common method used is a Rope Gaff which is lowered beside the fish and jerked quickly upwards and into the fish. There are several different designs of rope gaff. Some people prefer a barbed gaff , but if you don't hit the fish just right and with enough force to bury the barb , bad things can happen. There is no real way to practice gaffing fish this way , so if you are unsure of yourself ask for help. Most people will be happy to help you land your catch. Just be sure about the rules as it's not always legal to gaff certain species or certain size fish.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Clearing Up a Little Confusion

This is for socalsalty who runs a fishing blog in Southern California . It seems I confused him a bit talking about the King rigs the other day. Just to clear things up somewhat until I can get better shots of this rig in action , I did my first ever ( against my better judgment ) Youtube video to show everyone how the releases we use actually work.

The clip on the swivel attaches to the anchor line and the spring wire on the release goes through the swivel on your fighting rod. You can see how a quick tug pops it right off of the release in the video. It's kind of like sending your bait down a zip line , so I guess maybe they enjoy that part of it.



These rigs were developed when King fishing was really popular to help avoid tangles that sometimes occurred when everyone was using float rigs for kings. Most people call them Pin rigs because when these were first put in use a clothespin was used instead of spring wire. You can control the depth at which you are fishing by the amount of line you play out on your fighting line and the length of your leader. Letting out more line lets the release slide further down the anchor line and places your bait deeper.

Excuse the poor video and the goofy looking blogger who did it.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Change of Pace

I promise , back to fishing soon. We were stashing our Christmas decorations and I remembered a couple of cool etchings I had hanging on the wall here at Something;s Fishy HQ that I always wanted to do a post about.

In keeping with our policy of only the worst pictures and mediocre writing , I present to you the horrible scans of these cool little pictures. They were done by actor Lionel Barrymore ( Drew's Great Uncle ) , but I assume they are copies.

Fishing Banks by Lionel Barrymore

Old Red Bank by Lionel Barrymore

San Pedro by Lionel Barrymore
I cropped out the frames , I'm afraid to take them out as they look delicate. Excuse the poor quality.

Have a great week!