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Article : Beat Dogfish with Rubber !!

Tuesday March 18, 2003 10:35 AM
September 2017
 · A Cancelation Provides New Open Dates
 · September Bluefin Tuna

August 2017
 · August Fishing on Cape Cod
 · Reservations or Reluctant Disappointment ?

July 2017
 · Bluefin Tuna Fishing NOW !
 · Capeshores Charters Blackened Fish Recipe

June 2017
 · 6/26/17 Tuna Arrive
 · Mid June Report

May 2017
 · The 2017 Season Begins
 · Strpers & Bluefin May Report
 · May 2, Fish report

March 2017
 · Ides of March - Tides & Reviews

February 2017
 · Herring Committee Meeting Update
 · Important Meeting HERRING COMMITTEE 2/7/2017

January 2017
 · 2017 Tides

December 2016
 · Thank YOU !
 · Holiday Gift of a Charter ?

September 2016
 · Happy Labor Day !

August 2016
 · Mid August Fishing Report

July 2016
 · ORCA !

May 2016
 · Squid Bars Make Noise
 · Cape Cod Fishing

March 2016
 · Reserving In Advance Is Wise
 · Choosing a Fishing Charter

February 2016
 · 2016 Tides

December 2015
 · December 13 Report

September 2015
 · September 1 Bass & Tuna Report

August 2015
 · August 4 Report

July 2015
 · July 18 Chatham Fishing Report
 · Squid Bars Make Noise

June 2015
 · June bluefin & Striped Bass
 · June Bluefin & Striped Bass

May 2015
 · May 2015 - first report

April 2015
 · Aquatic Awakenings

March 2015
 · 2015 Tide Predictions

January 2015
 · St. Valentine's day Promotion
 · January Blizzard Report
 · CAPE COD - A FISHING PARADISE !

December 2014
 · SANTA'S SURPRISE
 · Good News for Bluefin Tuna Stocks
 · Gift a Discounted Fishing Trip ?
 · Bluefin Tuna news

September 2014
 · September Fishing on Cape Cod

August 2014
 · August Bluefin Tuna Action
 · Monomoy Bass - Chatham Bluefin

July 2014
 · Mid July Chatham Fishing
 · Boyhood Initiations

June 2014
 · June Bluefin & Striped Bass

May 2014
 · 2014 Bluefin Tuna Report

April 2014
 · Chatham Bluefin Tuna
 · Bucket List Bluefin

March 2014
 · Hearty Fish Chowder recipe
 · Bluefin Tuna Charters

February 2014
 · A New "Wicked Tuna" season ?
 · February Bass Meeting

January 2014
 · 2014 Tide Predictions
 · January Fishing Blues
 · Do You Want to Save Bluefin Tuna Quota ??

December 2013
 · Merry Christmas & Thank YOU !
 · Christmas Gift Certificate Sale

August 2013
 · September Bluefin - "I'M TIGHT!"
 · Mid August

July 2013
 · Red Hot !!!
 · July 4th Fishing @ Chatham

June 2013
 · June Bluefin & Striped Bass
 · Bluefin Tuna at Chatham

May 2013
 · Blackened Striped Bass Recipe
 · Macks, Squid, Bass & Tuna
 · Cape Cod Stripers & Tuna

April 2013
 · Cape Cod's "Engine's of Life"

March 2013
 · Make A Better Charter - Follow Up
 · How Do I Make a Better Charter ?

February 2013
 · Catch Your Own Wicked Tuna !
 · Choosing a Charter

January 2013
 · 2013 Best Tide Extremes

December 2012
 · POSITIVE Results form the Latest Bluefin Stock Reports !
 · Merry Christmas, everybody !!
 · Christmas Fishing Gift Certificates - 10% off

October 2012
 · October Tuna

September 2012
 · Best Tuna Bite of the Year !

August 2012
 · 8/30 Bass & Tuna Report
 · Chatham Bluefin & Stripers
 · Open dates

July 2012
 · July End Fish Report @ Chatham
 · Squid for Stripers @ Bearse's

June 2012
 · Topwater Stripers @ Bearses Shoals !
 · Chatham Bluefin Tuna
 · First Bluefin of the Season
 · BluefinTuna @ Chatham

May 2012
 · Striped Bass are Everywhere !
 · Early May Cape Cod Fishing Report

April 2012
 · Wickedly Awesome Tuna !
 · 2012 Charter Rate Change

March 2012
 · 2012 Striper & Bluefin Tides
 ·  email to MA committee re bass bill proposals.
 · Striped Bass in Massachusetts

December 2011
 · Merry Christmas !

October 2011
 · October IS Bluefin Tuna Time !

September 2011
 · Sept. & Oct. = BLUEFIN TUNA !

August 2011
 · Chatham Striped Bass & Tuna Report

July 2011
 · Chatham Bass with the TUNA !
 · Exploding with Striped Bass

June 2011
 · How To Take Your Kid Fishing for $5 !!!
 · Chatham Bluefin Tuna
 · Chatham Bluefin Tuna for DAD ?

May 2011
 · NMFS says Bluefin Tuna NOT endangered !
 · Cape Cod Stripers & Tuna

April 2011
 · ABTA letter explaining latest NMFS proposal to ABFT regs
 · Cape Cod Fishing

March 2011
 · CAPE COD FISHING REPORT - TIDES

January 2011
 · Recreational license, tuna & bass news
 · Endangered Bluefin Tuna ?

December 2010
 · Give Summer Fishing Fun for Christmas !
 · Best Giant Tuna Fishing ever !

September 2010
 · September Tuna & Bass

August 2010
 · Chatham MA Striped Bass
 · Striped Bass BITE !

July 2010
 · Bass Limits - 2 hours
 · Striped Bass off Chatham
 · Bass Fishing in the Rips
 · Bass, Blues & Tuna on top
 · July 4 TH Doldrums

June 2010
 · Lots of Bass !
 · Cape Cod Fishing
 · Chatham Bass with the TUNA !
 · Bluefin Tuna Abundance !
 · Opening Day Bluefin Tuna Landed !

May 2010
 · Memorial Day Bass & Tuna
 · Cape Cod Striped Bass
 · Tides for Bass & Tuna

March 2010
 · Locust Trees Catch Tuna ? - Part II
 · Locust Trees Catch Tuna ? - Part I
 · Massachusetts Striper Fishing Bill

February 2010
 · Striper & Tuna Tides
 · BLUEFIN TUNA FISHING ON CAPE COD

January 2010
 · Striped Bass in Massachusetts

December 2009
 · Christmas Eve
 · Give Fishing for Christmas !
 · SAVE your Tuna Fishery !
 ·  Bluefin Tuna CITES Listing?

October 2009
 · October Tuna

September 2009
 · Bluefin Tuna and Striped Bass
 · School’s open, and the Tuna are Biting !!

August 2009
 · Hurricane Bill
 · August's Fishing Dog Days
 · "IT'S ON" !!!! ( The tuna bite that is )
 · Tuna Bite Improving !

July 2009
 · Stripers, Mackerel and Bluefin Tuna !
 · Cape Cod Striped Bass & Tuna Report
 · Boyhood Initiations
 · Bearse's Rip Producing Bass

June 2009
 · It Stopped RAINING !
 · Bluefin Tuna 2009
 · Cape Cod Fishing Report

May 2009
 · Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

April 2009
 · GREAT News on HERRING !
 · SAVE FISH w/ 1 CALL or EMAIL?

March 2009
 · March Striped Bass Blitz ??
 · Bluefin Tuna Action Needed (send email)

February 2009
 · 2009 BEST TIDES

January 2009
 · Monster Tuna Dream

December 2008
 · 2008 THANK YOU !

November 2008
 · CHATHAM BLUEFIN TUNA REPORT
 · Gamefish Status - Another View

October 2008
 · Biggest Bass of the Year !!!
 · September & October Striper Conservation
 · Giant TUNA Support !
 · Its Time to Catch a GIANT !

September 2008
 · Bass Fishing Great - Tuna Just OK
 · Striped Bass & Bluefin Tuna on Cape Cod

August 2008
 · Bluefin Tuna & Bass Still on the "Bite"
 · Tuna Busting Among Bubble Feeding Whales !!
 · The Bass Are Back @ Bearse's

July 2008
 · Bass slow, but Tuna picking up !
 · Bearse's Rip works for me !

June 2008
 · Record Striped bass numbers caught !!!
 · FUEL SURCHARGE
 · Fishing Politics -
 · Cape Cod Fishing report

May 2008
 · Sign on to Support Sustainable Herring Management

February 2008
 · 2008 Best Fishing Tides
 · NMFS Adjusts Daily Recreational Bluefin Limit
 · Cape Cod House Rentals for 2008

January 2008
 · River Herring FMP Public Comments
 · New T Shirt Winners
 · 2007 Bass & Bluefin in Review

December 2007
 · Huge Christmas Bass !!!!

October 2007
 · Sea Herring Management Needs YOUR Help
 · Flat Calm Weather in October !!!

September 2007
 · Chatham and Cape Cod MA Fishing Report
 · Chatham MA Bluefin Tuna and Striped Bass Report
 · Chatham MA Bass and Bluefin Report

August 2007
 · Tuna trips in the AM and Bass in the afternoon !!
 · Double Digit Tuna on a Morning Bass Charter !!!
 · Bluefin Tuna at the Regal Sword
 · Tuna Fishing Better Than Bass Fishing

July 2007
 · I Got "Bearse's Bass Thumb" !
 · STRIPED BASS FISHING IN THE EEZ
 · Bustin Bass @ Bearse's

June 2007
 · Squid & Bass, Nice Bluefin on Rigs
 · Striped Bass at Monomoy !
 · Bluefin Tuna Report
 · action alert : Need your support for herring management
 · East of Chatham Fishing

May 2007
 · Memorial Day Cape Cod Fishing Report
 · Cape Cod Striped Bass Report
 · STRIPED BASS IN THE EEZ
 · Cape Cod Fishing

April 2007
 · Cape Cod Fishing Report
 · - Bluefin Tuna Fishing Report -
 · Sportfishing Cape Cod Site Updates & Housekeeping

March 2007
 · I think its over now – You can come back outside !!
 · Article ; Boyhood Initiations – The making of a fisherman.

February 2007
 · Tides for Bluefin tuna and Striped Bass

January 2007
 · MISS JILLIAN for Sale !
 · HAPPY NEW YEAR !

October 2006
 · Herring Managment Needs YOUR Input !!
 · October Winds to Bring in BIG fish ?
 · Bass and Tuna Report

September 2006
 · Tuna and Bass in September
 · Its Tuna Time !!

August 2006
 · The Best Fishing is Now Ahead of Us !
 · August Heat Brings Warm Waters

July 2006
 · Broken Down at Bearse's
 · Bass Busting Right Out of the Water !

June 2006
 · Tuna showed - Bass still great !
 · Rip Fishing is Great !
 · Chatham Harbor Bar is Sanding In
 · Fathers Day Weekend !
 · June of 2006 - Bluefin Tuna report

May 2006
 · Cape Cod Fishing Report
 · May Showers Cape Cod Fishing Report

April 2006
 · Latest "T" shirt winner

March 2006
 · Spring Eels

February 2006
 · DOES TIDE REALLY MATTER ?
 · 2004 Striped Bass Stock Assessment
 · February Doldrums and Hunting Report

January 2006
 · Cape Cod Fishing - January Report

December 2005
 · Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Thank you !!!

October 2005
 · Flat Calm and Lots of Nice Big Stripers !

September 2005
 · Upcoming Storm Ophelia
 · Big Bass Every Drift ! - Fuel Surcharge ??

August 2005
 · HOT and COLD fishing off Chatham

July 2005
 · Cape Cod Charter Fishing Report at Chatham
 · Cape Cod Fishing
 · Free Fishing Trips !!

June 2005
 · Chatham Fishing Improved Considerably !!
 · Chatham Fishing Report
 · June - Warming Cape Cod water temperatures !

May 2005
 · Pleasant Bay, Orleans Fishing
 · Cape Cod Fishing Report
 · How to tell if you are a Native Cape Codder
 · Cape Cod Fishing and Conservation
 · Orleans MA fishing report

April 2005
 · Cape Cod Fishing Report
 · New T shirt winners
 · Striped Bass Commercial Regulation Changes
 · Striped Bass Fishing Pictures

March 2005
 · Commercial Bass Regulations
 · Seems Like Another Cold Spring
 · Boyhood Initiations

February 2005
 · How's the Cabin Fever ????
 · Andrew Troetti of Norwalk CT wins a T shirt
 · Go Patriots !
 · Steve Iacovelli wins a shirt

January 2005
 · Fishing Charter Survey Winner
 · January 2005 - A brand new year and fishing season !!

December 2004
 · Christmas Wish

September 2004
 · Labor Day !!

August 2004
 · Bearse's Rip is still RED Hot !!
 · Mid August is Bass & Tuna Time !!
 · Capeshores Charters on NESN
 · Fog, Fish and Happy Customers !
 · August Charter Availability

July 2004
 · Northeast Breezes Finally Clear out the FOG !!!
 · Jon's comments
 · Kathy catches 44 inch Bass on 10 POUND TEST Tackle !!
 · Bearse's Shoals Producing Nice fishing

June 2004
 · Finally - Some GOOD Fishing !
 · Monomoy !
 · No Big Fish !!!!
 · Pleasant Bay on Saturday 6-5
 · “Millions of fish swimming around me, DUDE” !!!!!!

May 2004
 · Wow, They Are Already Gone !
 · Lets See if Anyone Really Reads These Things ?
 · Lots of Fish Moving In Now !
 · It's All About The BAIT !
 · NEW FEDERAL GROUNDFISH RULES

April 2004
 · Schoolies in May !!!
 · Changes to MA Scup Regulations
 · Waiting for the Sun..........
 · Proposed MA Commercial Striper Regulation Changes
 · Cod Slow !! Schoolies ( holdbacks ? ) Rumored
 · Feedback Form problem
 · Fishing with Wayne
 · Nightcrawlers in April

March 2004
 · March Doldrums

February 2004
 · Washington DC Fishing Report
 · Capeshores Charters latest T shirt winner

January 2004
 · Bad News !! - 2004 Charter Rate Change !!
 · Herring, Bycatch & Observer Coverages
 · Latest "T" Shirt Winners !
 · Cold - With little cod activity

December 2003
 · Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays !!!
 · The Fall Activities

October 2003
 · October Bluefin Thrills

September 2003
 · Cool Crisp Days of September
 · Hurricane Isabel - links to data
 · Stripers Are Being Caught On Every Drift in the Rips of Monomoy
 · Giant Bluefin Tuna Report
 · Steve's Comments
 · After Labor Day

August 2003
 · Customer comments
 · The Sky is Falling !!
 · Finally, Some Bass are Showing in the Rips !

July 2003
 · 5 Days of Southwest wind !!
 · Paul's Comments
 · Finally ! - Some Consistent & Decent Fish !!
 · Not the Greatest Start to a Season !!!
 · Not the Greatest Start to a Season !!!

May 2003
 · A Late Spring ??
 · BIG Pods of Fish Moving up the Beaches !!
 · The Rips of Monomoy - Part 2
 · The Rips Of Monomoy - Article by Bruce Peters ( Part 1)
 · They're Back !!

April 2003
 · Fishing Instinctively by Capt. Bruce Peters
 · Nothing to Report
 · Cod Moving into the shallows

March 2003
 · Article: Boyhood Initiations by Capt. Bruce Peters
 · Article : Beat Dogfish with Rubber !!
 · Fishing Instinctively by Capt. Bruce Peters

February 2003
 · Chris is Thinking Ahead !!
 · 15 th Survey Respondent Winner !
 · February Updates

January 2003
 · January 2003

November 2002
 · November Bluefin Follow Up

October 2002
 · Every Giant Tuna Fights Differently !
 · October Bluefin Tuna and Bass

September 2002
 · Dan's Comments
 · Paul's Comments
 · Bass Charters 9-22 Weekend
 · Giant Bluefin Tuna - Now or Never !
 · BIG BASS LIKE COLD WATER !

August 2002
 · Brian's Comments
 · George's comment
 · Good Fish are Far to Find !
 · Dick, Howie & John

July 2002
 · Raffle winner gets 25 and 27 pounders !!!
 · Looking for More !
 · Squid at Bears'es - Bluefin @ Crab ledge
 · Bass Breaking outside the Chatham Inlet

June 2002
 · Bearse's, Monomoy east, & High Bank
 · Monomoy Tip Rips Producing Nice Bass
 · Strong Island - Home to BIG Bass !
 · ASK and YOU shall receive !
 · Pleasant Bay - Use Live Herring !

May 2002
 · COD - CHARTER RELATED CHANGES
 · Early Spring Means Early Good Fishing
 · Big Bass Eating Herring ! !

April 2002
 · LATE APRIL - Windy and cool
 · Taxes Paid - Now Get the Boat Ready !!!!

February 2002
 · SEE US AT THE 2002 SPORTING SHOWS

January 2002
 · 2002 RESERVATION ADVICE

December 2001
 · Year End - THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH !!!
 · Decembrrrrrrrrrrrrr Cod !!!
 · November Cod Fishing Has Slowed

November 2001
 · Bass, Blues & now COD !!
 · Giant Tuna

September 2001
 · I Lost a BIG One !
 · Big Bearse's Bass are Back ! !
 · September Swells
 · Labor Day Bass, Cod & Tuna

August 2001
 · Tuna fishing slow - Bass red Hot !!
 · Mid August

July 2001
 · Sunday crowds on the water
 · Why I am a Charter Captain
 · Bicknell Charter caught 47 fish !!
 · HOW TO RESERVE A DATE !!
 · Todd's Comments ........
 · Barneys comments ........
 · Barney's birthday 42 incher
 · Consistent Bigger Fish Showing

June 2001
 · Bears'es Rip Produces First Big Fish
 · East of Chatham
 · June Tax day
 · Bluefins close to the beach
 · Breaking fish in PB Tuesday eve.

May 2001
 · Pleasant Bay
 · Another Published Fishing Story
 · May 20 - 51- 53 degrees
 · Beaches, Nantucket sound, CC Bay all have fish !
 · They are finally back !!

April 2001
 · Mayday - still slow ! My published Rips Story !
 · April Anticipation

March 2001
 · March 13 Fishing Report
 · Show Trip Raffle Winner

February 2001
 · MEET ME AT THE SHOWS

January 2001
 · Customer's Comments
 · January Affirmations

December 2000
 · A CHRISTMAS WISH
 · Some 2000 Customers comments

November 2000
 · November Report

October 2000
 · October report

September 2000
 · September Fishing at its Best !
 · Fall Fishing Begins !
 · Dave's trip and comments - Thanks Dave !

August 2000
 · CAPESHORES CHARTERS FISHING ACTION ON TV !!
 · Capeshores Charters on TV Tuesday Night !
 · It was "THE BALLS" !!!
 · 100 STRIPERS TODAY !
 · An Over 40 Fish Trip !!
 · Two really nice fish !!
 · "Blackened" Bluefish and Stripers Recipe
 · This is Why I Love What I do !
 · Noreaster in August ? ? ?
 · Latest fishing - T shirt winners
 · I LOVE what I'm doing ! !

July 2000
 · BIG FISH ! Really Big !
 · Weather Kicked Up - Fish Still Here !
 · Non-stop Catching and Releasing
 · Big Fish for Young and Old ! !
 · Small Tides = Finicky Fish
 · 5 MILES OF SOLID FISH ! ! !
 · More-further-and Bigger ! fish !
 · Bassing red hot - Cod lukewarm

June 2000
 · A "Boomer" of a Day
 · Engine in - New winner - Bigger fish

May 2000
 · Almost a Keeper !!
 · Reports are confirmed !!
 · May 1,

March 2000
 · No Fish Yet

by Captain Bruce Peters www.sportfishingcapecod.com

It was July 10, the peak of the striper season at Chatham Massachusetts. We were carefully picking our way flag by flag, through the foggy inlet, spotlight in hand, with the last of the outgoing tide. At the bar, the waves were standing up larger than normal with the resistance of the tide running against them. The sound and diesel smell of a long liner we were following wavered and faded, but still lingered in the channel. The blips on the radar screen indicated it and several other larger vessels had made their way safely out the narrow channel ahead of us and were headed eastward. At this time of year, many long liners of this area are targeting the spiny dogfish that migrate northward to the abundant waters of Cape Cod. We cleared the last radar reflector of the channel and turning to the southeast, headed towards the striper grounds.

Outside the breaker line the fog had thinned considerably and we could now make out the lobster pot buoys a couple hundred yards outside us. As the gray light of predawn gave way to the magenta and rose colored horizon, the gulls rose up off the sandbars and like us, headed out to sea for what the day would bring. About a quarter mile away from the Chatham “C” buoy the captain slowed our boat to about half throttle and turned on the bottom sounder. After a few seconds the blue glow of the machine filled the cockpit with its light, registering a brick red line representing the surface, and another thicker one tinged with orange and yellow at the bottom. As we steamed along there were widely scattered blotches and streaks of light blue and yellow in between the two red lines. Our captain explained the light blue areas were the bait fish we sought and the yellow was dogfish. Occasionally we went across marks that were bright red. These were the striped bass that we were looking for. Apparently, the fish under our boat registered differing colors depending on the density of the school or the density of the fish.

The captain alternated between looking at the sounding machine and looking to the eastward as if he was looking for something. When I asked what he was looking for he showed me the high flyers of the lobster trawls that were scattered around us. I was amazed at how many there were and that I hadn’t noticed them before. He explained that he was just looking to see how much tide was running past the stationary buoys in the water. Closer now, I could clearly see the buoy being pulled under the water with the force of the tide, its flag and reflector waving from side to side. The tide was coming from the south and according to the skipper, was slowing down and would soon be slack.

As we headed down to the south towards Monomoy Island’s tip and the rips located there, we noticed the birds. They were black backs and herring gulls mostly, but some terns and smaller laughing gulls were mixed in. There were bass bulging and slurping under them as well. Our sounding machine suddenly began to beep steadily. “Fish ! Fish ! That’s fish “ ! the captain crowed, “Lets get some baits in the water” ! He took the boat out of gear and quickly had a rod in each hand, and was headed for the stern. Lifting a green bucket from the corner of the stern where the scuppers were awash, he popped open the lid and I watched as he held a green scrub pad in his hand. Reaching into the bucket with the pad he waited for a second and then came out of the bucket swiftly with a smallish live eel squirming in his grasp. He hooked the eel under the lower jaw and up and out one of its eyes and dropped it quickly into the water. Picking up the rod he cast the eel straight up into the tide flowing towards us. He then repeated the procedure with the other rod, casting it into the opposite direction. Large sand eels could be seen swimming just under the boat with stripers and dogfish feeding among them. All this time the machine was still beeping regularly, adding to the pandemonium of the moment. By now, I was holding onto my rod not really knowing what to expect. I was watching the slack in the monofilament as it floated on the surface and was getting ready to ask why it wasn’t tight like the other rod when it twitched, twitched again and then started steadily moving out. I reeled up quickly and then set the hook. My reel started buzzing and complaining with the first run of the fish. I reached to tighten the drag and fortunately was stopped in time by the attentive skipper, reminding me that we were only using 12 pound test. Fifteen minutes later, we had the first striper of the day alongside, a beautiful, glistening twenty pounder !

Our second rod did not get hit and we reeled it in and headed back to where we had started the drift. It took us a few minutes of motoring around to find another spot of red on the machine. It was if the stripers had scattered. The birds were also scattered, as if waiting for the bait to come up to the surface. Again we laid out the baits as we drifted along, this time I asked why one was tight and the other not. The skipper explained the bait cast out with the tide was held near the surface by the force of the moving water, the other cast against the tide, moved the line and eel towards the boat. The reduced resistance of this rod enabled the eel to swim deep towards the bottom and under the boat. This rod again twitched and I was ready . I reeled up the slack and in my excitement set the hook so hard I almost fell over. Our skipper looked at me in a concerned way but said nothing as he quickly reeled up the other rod and cast it too up into the tide, hoping for a bite there as well. “This fish is much smaller” ! I declared as I pumped and reeled quite easily. Just then it broke water next to the boat and thrashed on the surface quite loudly. It was a dog fish. It didn’t even have the hook in its mouth, it was just repeatedly bitting on the eel, its jaws snapping wickedly. I lifted the rod tip and the small shark dropped off and slowly circled around looking for the now mangled eel that hung off my leader. Bitten in three or four places, some almost cleanly through, it was clear that this eel wasn’t usable anymore. Our skipper took my rod to put on another live eel, and as I picked up the other pole I had one on immediately. I again was hopeful, but this one felt as small as the last and sure enough, another spiny dogfish, this one was wrapped around itself and the hook was deep in its gullet. I heard the skipper grumble something under his breath I could not make out as he set the other rod down without putting a bait on.

As he worked on untangling and dehooking the writhing dogfish he explained we were all done at this spot. “The tide has slowed too much” he told me, “when the tide slacks, the less streamlined dogfish come off the bottom to feed aggressively and will hit a bait before the bass can find it. We will have to move, to get away from them”. He showed me how to handle the writhing dogfish to calm them down, by firmly grabbing them around the back side of the head at the spot where the gills are. As hand pressure is squeezed at the side of the head and the gills the dogfish stops writhing. This is important as the dogfish have two wicked spikes on the dorsal fins. If the fish sticks one of these slime covered spines into your arm it will be throbbing painfully for hours if not days ! By squeezing the dogfish this way you are able to unhook the fish more safely.

We motored to the south, to get to the other side of the huge area of scattered bait, birds and fish. The first rod produced a bass, the second, a dogfish, then we started again catching only dogfish, although we could still see the bass feeding around and below us. The skipper said he wanted to try something as he disappeared down below. He came out from the foc’stle with a plastic bag full of some strange looking rubber lures similar to lizards and worms for largemouths. First the captain tied on a hook with a molded on weighted head and shank directly to the line. The shank with its special ridges, similar to a ring nail, is threaded into the exact center of the rubber baits’ nose, through the body for about an inch and then out the flat portion of the back with the hook riding up. If the bait isn’t threaded true to center, it will not track properly and may spin in the water or swim sideways. Then he rummaged into the bag and found some minnow shaped rubber baits with forked tails. The assortment of colors was astounding. The white/gold one was threaded on mine and a clear metal flake pattern on the other rod. He asked me to cast it out and not to let it sink, but to reel it in slowly and steadily. I followed his direction and started the slow retrieve. I had turned maybe a dozen cranks when the fish hit. It surprised me as I didn’t really have any confidence in the rubber bait. As he reeled in to help me boat my fish the skipper also hooked up, doubling us up. On the next drift we again hooked into two bass, even though the dogs were still in the area and could be seen following the bass up to the boat. Occasionally I caught dogfish, but only if my retrieve was too slow or I stopped and let it sink to the bottom. I found out the hard way that the bait must not have too large a jighead, or too slow a retrieve, as it will sink too quickly.

The bass kept popping and slurping around us, and I kept casting and catching. The skipper put the spare rod away as I continually caught fish after fish. It was the best day of striper fishing I had ever had. We finally had to quit as the cap had another party, and I reeled in my last catch of the day, a fish smaller than the first, but healthy, bulging with sand eels and looking much like a football, I guess it weighed a good 16 pounds.

It seems that the trick to catching these bass was to use a small enough bait to imitate the sand eels that were in the area. There are times when the bait the fish are feeding on is only 3 inches long. To be able to throw a small imitation any distance at all, you will need some light tackle. We were using light graphite spinning rods with 10 to 12 pound test line. Because of the need to unhook and release many fish, we used a leader of 40 lb test about 18 inches long connected to the main line with a small dark swivel. There was not a snap at the place where the lure is attached as my captain feels it just another something that the fish can spook from. It also seemed important to get above the dogfish that dominated the area and to imitate the sand eels without smelling like bait. Some rubber baits are made with an impregnated smell. We found that this may not be a positive if there are “woofies” in the area. Although there are many varieties of soft plastic lures on the market, we used a lure called the “Fin-S” made by Lunker City. The lure is fantastic in combination with their exclusive jighead with a serrated shank that holds the soft plastic bait on. Any of the different lures that you may select need to be properly matched to the size of the jighead. Using the 6 inch baits, we found that the 3/8 and ½ ounce jig sizes worked best in the top 10 feet of depth, or when the tide was running slowly. As the tide ran faster or the dogs cleared out , giving us access to the bass on the bottom, we used the ¾ and one ounce sizes. Hook sizes range from a 1/0 on the ½ ounce to a 7/0 on the over 1 ounce sizes. If we found bait schools of a smaller size, less weight and a proportionally smaller lure would be used. In that case we would try a 3 or 4 inch lure coupled to a jighead of maybe a ¼ or 3/8 ounce size. We did find however, that the smaller jigheads come with a light diameter wire hook, causing large fish to be lost due to the hook opening up in the fight.

Colors are important and we found that the closest match to the bait fish we observed in the water were the best producers. On a bright day, the sand eels might appear light blue or green, possibly even yellowish. Today we used the lighter shades of clear with flakes, light greens and blues, fishing near the surface. A darker day, having less light entering the water may show the same baitfish as an olive green or motor oil shade. As we fished closer to the bottom, we caught stripers on brighter colors of pink, white, chartreuse and red and orange. Soft plastic or rubber lures are available in a huge variety these days. It seems they are made in an assortment of shapes, sizes colors and scents. Lure shapes can be worm like, or baitfish like with a forked or paddle shaped tail. I have even seen corkscrew tails and legged baits. There are jighead and bait combinations, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, simple worm on the hook rigs, offset hook rigs, etc. There is no one way to fish these lures, experiment with what you like and see what works for you. If you do catch an occasional bluefish or dogfish, it doesn’t cost the dollar for the ruined live eel, merely 40 cents for the plastic tail, usually it can be rehooked and fished again. When they do get too tattered, throw them in the trash bucket and put on a fresh one. These soft rubber baits really do work, I have seen the proof. You try it, and you too will be telling your friends to “Beat the Dogfish With Rubber” !

Captain Bruce Peters

NOTE: This article and others appeared in On the Water Magazine. Back Issues can be had from the magazines office at Onthewater.com. Click the weblink on my "links" page.

Captain Bruce Peters
Capeshores Charters