By Joe Brotz (Roccus)
My life changed forever in the spring of 1970,that was the year I caught my
first striper, it was 8lbs and was caught on a bucktail jig below the Lawrence
Dam, I was able to wade half way across the river,probably could have made
it all the way if I were a little taller!
For the next six years i caught bass below the dam and from the surf, I suspect
the water was never more than 6' deep....
In 1976 I went on a charter with Capt. Frank Sabotowski aboard the June Bug, this
was wire line plug fishing...real hard core... the rips raged but the water
was often 6 - 10' deep....
The more I read and learned about stripers the more I realize what a shallow
water dwelling fish they really are..that's what makes them a great target
for the surf fisherman (or woman)
Since then Ive caught large bass over deep water structure (120') river
channels (30') and offshore while tuna fishing in 220' of water....
But if I'm going to TARGET big bass...especialy at night... I keep the
water my bait or lure is swimming in under 10'
Most of my bass are in 2-5', when i fish the river i look for shallow
mussel beds, grass flats, creeks and rock piles, where often times bass can
be seen on the surface (they have no where else to go!) Big bass are drawn
to shallow water like flies to a carcass, the hunting is is there,they can
pick the bait at their leisure, but thats a good thing for us as fisherman,there
is a lot less water for us to cover.... Often times while I troll the surfline
at night(along the ocean front), I see surfmen chucking their bait as far
as they can (not the veterans)..... I couldn't count the fish Ive caught
as I tugged my eel off of the sand and it got inhaled by a giant... The
biggest fish (bass) of my life was caught in just that manner, when I troll
along off shore bars these areas are best at low tide, big bassy's love
On my home waters (Merrimack river Mass.) we have a broad expansive marsh
system, once the grass gets high, often times it's the only place to find
With the water warming up, night time is the best game in
town, so get out and find some bass in the shallows you may be pleasantly
I'm quite sure if you put in an effort in your area to find the type of structure
I describe here you'll find bass..... Bass are bass, their body make up is suited
for that type of living, with a wide broom tail, muscle make up red and white
muscle almost 50/50, where open water rangers like tuna and bluefish have a
much higher percentage of red muscle and a forked tail....
as far as pleasure boating goes, if your cruising along at 20, 30 or more mph
what are your chances of seeing fish if your NOT looking for them, hell, I've
watched people drive right by bass blitzes during the day with gulls and terns
wheeling and diving and they saw NOTHING! they were too intent on where they
were going, an old trick of mine (trade secret) for saving time at night when
I am looking for new fish along a stretch of beach (moonless nights works best
when there is fire in the water) is to cruise the last curl of the wave at night
with the boat just barely up on plane, have a spotter keep an lookout, you'd be
amazed at the fish you can find, you'll see them break or in the fire go zooming
off, then I make a big loop and start my troll....
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