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Here is a great way to organize those loose fishing rigs for less then $3.00. Go to your local office supply store and pick up some coupon folders. These small little accordion type organizers are perfect for storing jigs, hook rigs and small lures. They are all plastic including the snap and come in multiple colors for easy organization for specific species.
Thanks to Mike McGrath for sending along this great tip
Rejuvenate your fishing line and save a few bucks by transferring your line to another reel. Very rarely will you ever have all the line on a reel actually enter the water. At best maybe one third of the spool of line will ever be used. The line below the top one third will be almost like new. If you simply tie the end of the line to an empty spool on another reel and crank it all on, the fresh line from the old spool will now be on top of the new spool. You can use it for another season or until you feel that it needs to be changed and then bring it to your local tackle shop and have new line put on the reel. I change the line on my every day tackle every month or two. Fresh line will catch the trophy fish. Bad line with a rough finish will be tough to cast and may lead to something that looks like this. Very Scary!
Big baits catch big fish and this hold true for fluke. A six or eight inch sardine or smelt with a long piece of fluke belly is a killer for big fluke however many fish are not hooked because they bite at the trailing end of the bait and miss the hook. When using large baits I always employ a double hook rig. I snell two 5/0 hooks about five inches apart on my fluke rigs. I put the lead hook through the eyes of the bait and insert the trailing hook somewhere near the tail of the bait. When you drift or slow troll and a fluke chased the bait and bites at the trailing end, there will be a hook waiting for him and you will catch the big boys. This nice catch of fluke to 9 pounds was made using double hook rigs.
If you plan to go shark fishing you should also plan to put in some time catching bait. Small bluefish make one of the best shark baits. Mako sharks are particularly fond of bluefish and most other species will also jump on the offering. On the way to the shark grounds, bring along a wire line outfit and umbrella rig. Drop it over around the inlet and troll up a bunch of blues for fresh bait. If you have a live well try to keep a couple alive for the best hook bait of all. Bluefish fillets with a brightly colored plastic skirt also are deadly on the sharks. This is Kevin Brink with a huge thresher caught on a bluefish bait.
When snagging bunker to use for bait for striped bass, dont be in a big hurry to bring the snagged bait into the boat. The bass are often right in the pod of bait trying to find a wounded or slow moving bunker. Snag the bait and let it swim with the school. Your snagged piece of bait will behave differently than the rest of the school and stand out as being wounded. It will be a real target for a big striped bass that is lurking beneath the school of bait. Let the big bass eat your bait and the snag hook and hang on for dear life and the fight of your life. This is John Dall working a school of bunker by swimming a live one in the pod.
When bottom fishing I find that clam pieces on the hook work best. Porgies and other bottom fish are great bait stealers and soft baits will often be ripped from the hook. I buy salted clams or make my own by soaking the clams in Kosher salt for a few days. The salt removes the water from the tissue and toughens the bait. The tough bait will stay on the hook and give you a better chance of catching these fish. This is Joel with his kids Aaron, Benjamin and Sidney with one of the porgies they caught on tough clam baits.
Lots of anglers have a negative attitude about the culinary rewards of preparing bluefish for the table. I happen to disagree and find that bluefish up to 4 pounds are very tasty but only when they are handled properly after being caught. When I catch bluefish for the table I immediately bleed the fish and get it on ice. The flesh will be firm and sweet when it is cooked and the flavor is excellent. This is Brad Brown of Saltaire with his daughter and a nice load of bluefish and weakfish headed for the barbecue.
A live snapper is an excellent bait for big weakfish and fluke. I like to fish them on a smaller version of a live bait rig that is used for striped bass. Tie a drail (torpedo sinker) that is heavy enough to get the bait to the bottom to the end of your line. Attach a four-foot leader of 40-pound test mono to the drail and tie on a 2/0 treble hook. Insert one hook of the treble into the nose of the bait and fish it near the bottom. This rig will catch the biggest weakfish and fluke. This is Ed, Steve and Bernie of Seaview with nice bluefish caught on live snappers.
When fishing schools of bunker for bass it is often more productive to use a chunk of bunker rather than a whole live fish. Bluefish which are usually also chasing the bunker will slash the bait into pieces and the bass will wait below and vacuum up the chunks. If you offer a chunk, you will probably catch more bass than bluefish. This is me with Brad Brown, Stanley Tucci and Lloyd Taft with a great catch of big bass caught on bunker heads and whole live baits.