At night, there is arguably no better bass bait than a live eel cast and retrieved slowly like a swimming plug. A light wire 5/0 circle hook attached to a 50 lb monofilament leader with a barrel swivel is all you will need to rig up to use eels from the beach. Hook the eels under the chin and up through the eye...get the eel immediately into the water. These guys have a knack for contorting themselves into unsolvable knots if left out of water once hooked. Slowly cast and retrieve the eel keeping constant tension on your line...sometimes, the pick up from a big bass can be very subtle when using this bait.
“The Place Everybody wants to Be!” Departing Chatham Fish Pier
Rods and Reels When conditions are favorable on the outer beach, folks use everything from light fly rods to 12’ heavy action “meat sticks...and everything in between. If there is such a thing as a standard set up that will cover most fishing scenarios and techniques, a 9’ medium action rod outfitted with a reel that will hold 200 yards of 20 lb monofilament is generally the “go to” set up in most surf casters arsenals. Though most of the fish caught on the beach are found in the first 100 or so feet from the shoreline, there are times when the fish will hold just beyond the first bar. The ability to cast long distance can be required, so make sure whatever rod and reel combo you choose is capable of comfortably casting 2+ oz lures and baits for distance.
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Clothing One of the main reasons the outer beaches fish so well into the summer is because the water stays relatively cold...sometimes very cold. Though striped bass prefer water temperatures on the cooler side, you probably will not. For prolonged fishing excursions, a pair of quality chest waders is required to assist the angler in remaining comfortable in the exposure to the cooler waters of the surf. Most local beach anglers opt for waders constructed of an insulated boot and breathable body. Successful beach fishing generally requires a bit of walking around...while the water stays chilly, the surrounding air is quite warm. Walking the soft sand in heavy rubber or neoprene waders, for any length of time, in warm weather can be very strenuous and uncomfortable.
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Go Fish and Have Fun The tips and tricks outlined in this article will be helpful to any visiting anglers that wish to make fishing the beach a serious endeavor. However, it should be mentioned that if there is anywhere along the east coast, that the occasional or novice angler has a chance at catching a trophy bass or bluefish by simply fishing a piece of bait on the bottom, Cape Cod’s outer beaches are the place. A big chunk of Mackerel, Menhaden, Sea Clams or whole Squid fished still on the bottom will certainly entice any bass that swims by. Again, any 8-9 foot spinning rod that can handle comfortably casting 2+ ozs will suffice for this low key style of beach fishing. All you need in the way of equipment is a rod and reel, sand spike and some bait….and a comfortable beach chair to rest in while you wait for the big one to swim by.
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