Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fluke On The Gail Frances - Frances Fleet Jigging Report 8.22.11

An awesome day on the Gail Frances where it was all about getting on the water.  Those that repeatedly checked the weather didn't show up and that left a lot of room at the rail for the 15 that showed up.
I made the trip up because I knew that these fish wouldn't be here forever and I was rewarded with hooking up 24 fluke and keeping my limit of 7.  The hot tip was the Berkeley GULP.  I used the Chartreuse 4' mullet. 6 seabass also fell to the inchiku jig and a fluke bucktail.  I kept 4 for the table. 
Interestingly enough there were anglers that traveled to fish as well.  They had the inside track on what was biting and I  learned alot from one guy name Sean.  He is an experienced Northeast fisherman and I did pick up some technique from him.  It's always great to fish next to the guy who is high hook.  Anyhow, I watched him pull up a double header with one fluke pushing 6lbs on the same drift I lost a "big one" as well.  Mental error as I tried to lift the fish over the rail.  He took 1/3 the pool money in a three way tie. 
The Gail Grances departed at 7:00am and only a handful of anglers were there by 6am.  I arrived around 6:20am, paid the fare and got in on the pool.  The fleet consist of three larger vessels, the Gail Frances is the main fluke boat. We got back to the dock a bit after 4pm (4:17pm).
Open rail, with plenty of room.

This is a setup I've become fond of using.  I've created alot of confidence with it and have no doubt the rod can handle big fish.  I caught a 17lb bluefish with it and with the exact same setup seen here.  The Shimano Sustain was on it's first trip out after being sent back to Shimano to service.  Also for the first time out was is the GPA Custom EVA handle knob.  Worked well and was better then the stock rubber t-paddle handle that I had smoothed out after countless trips on the water.  Very nice piece in dark blue EVA grip material. 
This jig I built so much confidence in during the winter of 2010 jigging for seabass on the 18 hour trips that I decided to bring it along.  At a bit under 7 ounces it drops quick to the bottom even with a fast drift.

This setup got it's first time use on the water.  I choose the Trinidad 10a over the older Daiwa Saltiga 15 because of the more efficient and smooth drag.  Also, it is a bit smaller is makes jigging all day easier.  At first I was concerned that the gear ratio (6.3:1) was a bit too fast, however after fighting many fish today I don't have enough good things to say about it.  The ratio was perfect.  I used #50 FIN-S braided spectra.  The rod is a G.Loomis Hot Shot.  Again, first time out and although I originally purchased it for plugging lures to stripers, it held up well jigging fluke with bucktails.  The tip is soft and extra fast.  Multi-use rod's fit the bill right?  I mean the rod was originally designed to troll for Salmon.  There is some hearty backbone in this rod.  Speaking of rods, I did get to feel out a particular custom built rod that Sean was using.  I really like shorter length rods for jigging and I will have to look into his setup more.  He mentioned it was a Seeker Hercules Inshore Lite.  Very nice and American too.
My greedy setup with lots of GULP usage.  I witnessed a white 6" Pogy GULP catch 5 and 6lb fluke on this trip too.  Next time I will find the biggest GULP to try.  Pure cheating at its best.
Squid / GULP & "Killies" combo was the hot ticket.  Here is the first fluke I jigged up with the Cape May tackle 5oz. Jig-a-fluke lure.

This Seabass fell to a CM bucktail as well.  I did at have on two drifts 3 fish in a row with the Shimano Bottom Ship 200g inchiku jig.  It was a lot of fun to jig them up although the wind and drift was blazing around 1.5-2knots.  Tough conditions but the weather laid down after the morning bite. 
Beautiful head-shaking/fighting to the surface seabass.  Ranging from 19-23 inches
We did have to work for them on 2 or 3 drifts but it was well worth it.  Fluke and Seabass on the Gail Frances fishing Rhode Island.  I cannot wait to get back up there again.

Some have asked why I bring empty bottles on board (or why I rummage through the trash bins on the way back to the dock), and my madness is to take home some sea water.  I fill them up and when I'm back home I fill the ziploc plastic bags with them so the fillets freeze better.  A little trick I picked up alongside my red bucket technique. :D
SUCCESS !!!  True harvest.  A great American fishery.
I fished local sandy bottom spot I knew of since last fall and took home 2 more fluke the next morning.  Connecticut does have some nice fishing holes if you know where to look.
Couldn't limit out like the day before but 2 (3 is the CT limit) is better then none.  Fish were taken on Tidal Tails 1/2oz white bucktails.

Bon appetit!  Table fare....

Preparation is Key - Fluke Jigging On The Frances Fleet Summer 2011

In preparation for the trip I decided to limit the amount of gear used and brought along this time around.  Less is more and more is better right?

Species: Fluke & Black Seabass

Jigs: For Fluke I used 5oz & 3oz. Bucktails, 5oz. Jig-a-Fluke, Shimano Bottom Ship 200g, and a variety of egg sinker hi/low rigs.  Using 4" Charteuse Saltwater Mullet.

Line System: FIN-S #50 Spectra braid, #30 Suffix Performance braid.  #60 Ande Mono Leader.
  • Spinning:  Daiwa Saltiga 6'6" Medium Jigging Rod
  • Conventional: G.Loomis GL2 Hot-Shot 7'9" Mag-Heavy.

  • Spinning: Shimano Sustain 5000FE
  • Conventional: Shimano Trinidad 10a
 Fighting belt: Palms Ocean Mighty - Heavy version

Anglers Republic - PALMS Ocean Mighty Belt (Heavy)

 CM Tackle drift back or "drop back" style rig.  6oz egg/olive sinker.  this was an ace setup as most the fish came over on this one.  They hit the teaser (top) hook more then the bottom.
 CM Tackle 5' Spotted Glow Squid with matching Jig-a-Fluke & trailer hook via assist cord.
 Shimano Bottom Ship (Inchiku) JDM Jig- 200 grams
CM Tackle Bucktails: 3oz. top, 5oz. bottom w/ stinger (Japanese 5" glow squid on bottom)