Tips and Tidbits
by Capt. Jim Freda
Shore Catch Guide Service
n the past ten years I have written over 2,000 published articles in both national and regional magazines, newspaper columns, on the Internet, and had the privilege of having two books published. These works are always a labor of love as I attempt to share my knowledge with my readers. I have discussed tactics and techniques, gear and tackle, locations and hotspots, and much more from both a beach and boat perspective.
To make for some interesting winter reading I thought I would share with you some of my favorite tips or tidbits that I have accumulated over the years. These cover a wide variety of topics in no specific order. If you are like me struggling with cabin fever right now I hope that they can offer some relief or some new ideas to remember for the new season ahead. I have put them in a list type of format where each one can be milled over separately for consideration.
So here goes.
- When striped bass are feeding on sandeels make sure you have a teaser such as fly, Femlee® eel, or Red Gill® attached 18 - 36 inches above your artificial when casting a plug, Hopkins, or tin squid from the surf. With this method double-header hook-ups can be fairly common.
- With the surf action slows down the best way to locate action is to keep moving around. Don’t lock yourself into fishing only one particular location; you may miss some great action only miles away.
- When you first step onto your boat in the morning during November and December be cautious of a thin layer of skim ice that can be present on the deck due to colder nighttime temperatures that can develop. A nasty fall can ruin your day.
- To get down deep on the boat when fly fishing try using 30 feet of a Rio® T-14 head attached to a .030 intermediate running line fished on a 10 weight rod.
- When big baits such as bunker or herring are on the scene make sure you fish your big wood topwater swimmers, they will catch a lot of bass.
- When striped bass are holding near the bottom in 60-75 feet of water jig with a plain Ava 47 or 67 keeping the jig within five feet of the bottom.
- When jigging an Ava 27, 47, or 67 for striped bass keep a tight line to the jig as you drop the jig after lifting it up. Striped bass are know for hitting the jig on the drop and if you have slack in your line you will not be able to feel their characteristic bump and be ready to set the hook.
- When bass move up onto the flats in our rivers and back bays position your boat so you can cast up onto the flat and retrieve back across the drop-off. This ledge makes for an excellent ambush point.
- A yellow and black Bomber® Long A is a great plug to catch blues on when they are high in the water column near the warmer water in the spring and early summer. Just remove all the trebles and put a single J hook on the tail. You can then also lift the blue by grabbing onto the plug.
- When snagging bunker there are different size bunker snags by weight, hook size, and gap. Use the larger snags like a 10/0 and you won’t miss hitting your baits.
- When netting a big bass, bluefish, or weakfish place a small rubber band beforehand around the net bag securing it to the pole. This will keep the net from falling into the face of the fish when you drop it into the water which can result in possibly catching the hooks in the bag. This would then interfere with getting the fish in the net. When the fish is in the net and you lift up the elastic band will just break loose and the bag will open fully.
- When bluefish are around in the spring and early summer and ocean temperatures drop quickly and steeply over a short period of time look for the bluefish to push into our backbays and inlets where warmer water can be found.
- In northern and central NJ the traditional summer ocean bluefish hotspots are the Farms, the Mud Buoy, and 17 Fathoms.
- The Shrewsbury Rocks are a hot spot for big stripers throughout the season. They are located off of Monmouth Beach spreading around the GPS coordinates N40.20.323 W73.57.523. This is approximately 9 miles south of Sandy Hook, 10 miles north of Shark River Inlet, or 15 miles north of Manasquan Inlet.
- When surfcasting from a jetty use 40 - 50 lb test briaded line on your surf rod.
- Yes hickory shad can be live lined for big stripers by placing your hook a half an inch below the dorsal fin or through the bottom lip and out through the snout.
- A great place for an additional rod holder is on the inside of the swinging spare tire in the back of your truck. This holder can be used as a place to safely put your rod when rigging up. It will also free up both of your hands.
- If you are tossing metal for false albacore from the surf the "Deadly Dick™" lure has been a time proven producer. Its slim design and weight will give you the distance that you need.
- If your boat is kept in the water into late November and December keep your outboard engine tilted down so that the prop remains in the water. This will allow any remaining water to drain out and not freeze up inside. When left in the tilted up position, freeze inside the engine is possible.
- When it is cold on the water at the beginning or end of the season pick up several packs of Hot Hands® hand warmers and place one in each pocket when you leave to go out fishing. These disposable hand warmers will provide just enough heat to take the cold away if your fingers or hands get really cold. Just place your hands in your pockets for a minute or two and you will really feel the difference.
- When Christmas time rolls around again if you don’t know what to get that favorite fishing person that’s on you’re list then find out what tackle shop they visit and purchase a gift certificate for them. I’m sure they will be happy with that.
- At the end of the season remove your line from your reels right away so it will force you to put on new line at the start of the next season. If you don’t you may just reuse that old line which might cost you a trophy fish.
- When doing maintenance on your fly reels during the winter check what type of lubricant is recommended to be used by the manufacturer. Gears and drags usually require different applications of grease and oil
- If your boat batteries are three or four years old think about getting new batteries for next season.
- A cold winter day is a great time to organize your tackle box or fly cases so they are ready to go this spring.
Copyright © 1998 - 2014 Jim Freda, All Rights Reserved
Articles by Captain Jim Freda
- A Quick Lesson for a Little Night Flying
- A Word to the Wise...Wader
- August, More than Meets the Eye
- Bang'em Up
- Beach or Bait? Perspective on Surf Fishing & Beach Replenishment
- Bunker and Trophy Bass
- Bunker, Bunker, and More Bunker and Big Bass Too!
- Busting the Blues
- Clams, Bunker, or Herring for Springtime Trophy Stripers
- Coldwater Stripers, Dredging with the Fly
- CPR for the Fly Fisher - Color, Profile and Retrieve
- December’s End, Watching or Catching?
- December's Grand Finale
- Fall's Surf Smorgasbord
- Fly Fishers-Pick Your Tools Wisely When Getting Started
- Four Baits to Know For Your September’s Surf Success
- Get'em with Sand Eel Imitations
- Getting Started in the Salt
- Know Your Baits and Flies
- Jump to the Back for Early Spring Stripers
- Longest Yard, The
- More Lines Less Flies
- My March Madness
- New Jersey’s “Striper Bounty”
- November Trophies
- October' Harvest in the Surf
- Peanut Bunker Blitzes-Jersey Style
- Running and Gunning, Proper Boating Etiquette
- Saltwater Fly Fishing Perspective
- Saltwater Fly Fishing in the Surf
- September Surf
- Shooting the Suds, Albies on the Fly
- Simplifying Fly Lines
- Slack Water Explained
- Springtime Big Bass
- Spring Baits and Flies
- Stretching into Spring
- Striped Bass Game Plan of Summer
- Striped Bass Game Plan of Summer (Part II)
- Stripping for Success
- Surf Scanning
- Tackling Big December Bass on the Fly!
- Take Me to Your Leader
- Ten Degrees of Blitzes
- Tips and Tidbits
- Trophy Tactics
- Trophy Weakfish on the Fly
- Try for that Trophy Bass on the Fly!
- Wind Direction and its Localized Effect on the Striper Bite
Jim Freda is a highly respected charter captain, author, outdoor writer, seminar speaker, and photographer. His first book Fishing the New Jersey Coast,
has been a best seller and received the “New Jersey Center for the Book Award” as one of the most notable NJ books. He co-authored a second book Saltwater Fishing a Tactical Approach, A Guide for Northeast Beach and Boat Fishermen,
with his Shore Catch associates Capt Gene Quigley and Shell E. Caris.
Jim has weekly fishing columns that appear in the Bergen Record, NJ's second largest newspaper and the Coast Star and Ocean Star newspapers of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Nationally, Jim is a contributing editor for Fly Fishing in Saltwaters magazine and also writes for Fly Fisherman magazine, Saltwater Sportsman, Eastern Fly Fishing, Big Game Journal, and StriperSurf.com. Regionally he writes for On the Water magazine where he has is own monthly column, The Fisherman magazine and the NJ Federation of Sportsman Clubs newspaper.
As a seminar speaker Jim is featured as one of the celebrities on the Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series, as one of the “Stars of the Show” at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ, the Northeast’s largest fly fishing show and is on the National Pro Seminar slate at the Toyota Saltwater Expo also in Somerset. He is also regularly featured each year at many of the local fishing clubs in the surrounding area including the State’s two largest clubs the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association and the Saltwater Anglers of Bergen County. Capt Jim has also been a guest speaker at all the Trout Unlimited Clubs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jim has also been a special guest speaker at the Bloomberg Network in New York City.
He is a member of the National Factory Pro Team for St. Croix Rods and pro staff for Fins Fishing Line, AVET Reels, Spro, Gamakatsu, Hogy, Korkers, Costa Del Mar, Columbia Sportswear and Aquaskinz.
For more information, please go to Shore Catch Guide Service www.shorecatch.com