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December 15, 2009

Bobber Rigs for Big Striped Bass

A familiar tactic's resurrection produces bigger stripers

A couple of irrefutable facts have driven my efforts as a guide in the Northeast. The first says fishing conditions can change hourly, constantly forcing any fisherman to fine-tune his presentation and strategy. And the second is that there's usually a bite somewhere if you stop  making excuses and go find it when conventional wisdom dictates, "They aren't biting yet."

One of the most versatile and productive tools I've learned to rely on to meet these challenges has its roots is the simplest bait-and-bobber approach. This basic theory modified for big fish in salt water has changed the way I approach a day on the water, and it's supercharged the kind of results I can provide for my clients.

The slip-float system applies to any type of live-bait fishing, in just about any depth of water, and it has yielded some of the best fish I've ever taken. This system has accounted for many of my 40-plus-pound stripers, including my first 50-pounder. This past season it accounted for more than half of my total catch. The fact that it works in what used to be considered downtime only makes it more versatile.

With the slip-float system I have developed, I can deploy more lines at various depths and get the attention of suspended fish by placing baits precisely on their noses. My lines remain snag-free, and my baits stay in the strike zone longer. My customers' attention stays focused, and we get to watch the bite while simultaneously feeling it. The technique quite simply produces more fish.

Stripers, Case in Point
Here in the Northeast, striped bass are king. This popular game fish resides in and along shipping channels, around rock substructures rising to within 20 feet of the surface and scattered across featureless bottom that many believe to be no man's land. Live adult menhaden is the bait of choice, and most anglers target structure such as wrecks, while others drift live bait, hoping that fish will rise from the depths to feed. If you ask me, drifting aimlessly over deep water waiting for the magic hour when fish come to the surface to feed is insane. I would rather hunt down the reason why the bite is off. And the tool that helps me do that is big slip floats.