action:article | category:SPORTS | adString:SPORTS | zoneID:40

Home » Sports

June 21. 2014 10:36PM

Using live bait to catch striped bass, bluefish

LOTS of the fishing techniques for using live bait for striped bass and bluefish seem to be not very well explained or get little or no use by those people that don't have the knowledge and experience to "take it to the limit."

There's no doubt that much of the live bait fishing for both stripers and bluefish revolve around mackerel, that sometimes are very easy to catch and other times, especially when the mackerel schools are being pushed around by marauding bluefish packs, are almost impossible to catch.

When they are not being pursued, mackerel are relatively easy to catch by either drifting or anchoring over a rocky structure that has current running over it. Here in our Piscataqua River outlet, about a mile offshore the famous #2KR Buoy has that combination, as the Piscataqua River on both incoming and outgoing tide provides the current and the actual rock ledge, called Kitts Rock, provides cover for schools of small herring, silversides and other small minnows that are a great pull for the hungry mackerel.

But this place is noted for the #2KR Buoy, which actually isn't located right on the ledge where the mackerel are the thickest. By using your chart or depth finder you can easily find the peak of the Kitts Rock Ledge and that's where you're apt to find the biggest concentration of both mackerel and bait-sized pollock, which are also valuable striper and bluefish bait.

Scattered inshore of the #2KR Buoy are other small sunken rock outcroppings that are also good choices for filling your live bait tank with macks and pollock. It really doesn't make any sense to try to join a big fleet of mackerel anglers, unless of course they are chumming and have the mackerel in among them constantly.

There's a lot more use for mackerel that are not alive. First of all, both stripers and bluefish will take a dead mackerel floated under a bobber, with balloon bobbers being the choice of most of the bait anglers. This works especially well when fishing near a tide or wave surge that will provide motion to the bait. These tide and wave surges occur near shore or structures just under the surface.

Fresh dead mackerel or pollock can be a very effective trolling bait. A single hook, preferably a circle hook for easy removal, is best hooked up or down through the bait's upper and lower jaw, trying to center it the best you can to prevent the bait from spinning and keeping it running straight like a live bait.

When trolling with a circle hook, whether it's alive or dead, it's important to let the fish take the bait for a few seconds before tightening your line to allow the hook to set itself. Do not try to manually set the hook as it will just pull out and not sink into the fish's mouth.

Chunk mackerel are much better bait than pollock but both will work. The mackerel, being very oily, will create a scent flow that will attract the stripers and bluefish.

Drift fishing with cut bait, unless you are chumming with chunks, should be keeping your baits as close to bottom as possible, as that is where most of the game fish are encountered. If you are chumming, let your chunk bait drift with the chum chunks without any weight and keep slack in your line to allow for a natural drift. Again, the use of circle hooks is mandatory in some states and should be used anyhow as it's good conservation.

A couple of hours spent in catching your live bait sure isn't a waste of time and if you are hosting any new anglers, the thrill of landing a mackerel or pollock can be the highlight of their day. And when you get a few live baits in your bait tank or even fresh dead ones on ice, you've got a valuable ticket to the dance.

Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Grantland.com: 15 Questions for San Antonio's Matt Bonner

Former KSC basketball player killed months after joining NYC police in patrol van crash

Speed and thrills at Kingston hydroplane races

NHMS, Miller Lite extend deal for another 3 years

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!