- Macon State Park at Beaufort inlet. Ocean, rock jetty and inlet fishing down to the CG fence.
- Nature trail, Visitors’ Center, summer concerts too.
- Don’t forget the swimming beach to the west, renovated pavilion.
- Atlantic Beach
- Henderson Street Atlantic Beach town access (former location of Triple S Pier).
- New Bern Street Atlantic Beach, town access, just east of Oceanana Fishing Pier.
- Oceanana Pier.
- The “Circle” in Atlantic Beach.
- Sheraton/Double Tree Hotel, far west end of Atlantic Beach.
- Pine Knoll Shores has many access points labeled A-K (11 sites) I have listed ones I have fished
- PKS Access “B” at Knollwood St., mile marker 5 ½.
- Memorial Park at mile marker 6.
- Iron Steamer access “F”, site of former IS Pier mile marker 7 ½. The old wreck and pier are to the left where the stairs are from the houses leading to the beach. I fish all the way down to the Whaler Inn.
- Indian Beach/Salter Path
- Newly renovated Carteret County Beach access at mile marker 10 ½.
- Indian Beach vehicle beach access also has parking for vehicles mile marker 11.
- Indian Beach access on the high dunes just east of the old Indian Beach Pier around mile marker 12 near Emerald Isle Indian Beach town line. Pier was lost in 1999 to Dennis/Floyd.
- Emerald Isle
- Third St. just a bit west of the old Indian Beach Pier at mile 12 ½.
- Emerald Isle Eastern Regional Ocean Access, former location of Emerald Isle pier lost to Bertha and Fran 1996. Mile marker 15.
- Bogue Pier. Lots of structure at and around pier. Keep 200-feet from pier to fish. There are markers on both sides indicating 200-feet buffer zone. Mile marker 19 ½.
- Emerald Isle Western Regional Ocean Access next to Islander Suites off Islander Dr. at mile marker 20 ½.
- The “Point” in Emerald Isle at Bogue Inlet across from Bear Island found near the end of Coast Guard road at the end of Inlet Drive. You can fish the ocean, Bogue Inlet walk north to the connected CG “Island” and also fish the CG Channel. Lots of options here. There is parking at CG Road and Station Drive.
Dr. Bogus’ BOOK CLUB
- Science based on fishes and their world and the “why” (as we understand it) of fish behavior.
- What Fish See, Understanding the optics and color shifts for designing lures and flies.
- By Colin J Kageyama
- Through the Fish’s Eye, An anglers guide to fish behavior.
- By Mark Sosin & John Clark
- The Fisherman’s Ocean, How marine science can help you find and catch more fish.
- By David A Ross
- Sharks, Skates and Rays of the Carolinas
- By Frank J Schwartz (IMF)
- North Carolina’s Ocean Fishing Piers, from Kitty Hawk to Sunset Beach.
- By Al Baird (NCFPS)
- Striped Bass Chronicles, The saga of America’s great Game fish.
- By George Reiger
- The Most Important Fish in the Sea
- By H Bruce franklin
- Striped Bass Fishing (classic)
- By Frank Woolner, Henry Lyman
- How To Books (Venue)
- Mike Marsh:
- Inshore Angler, Coastal Carolina’s Small Boat Fishing Guide
- Offshore Angler, Carolina’s Mackerel Boat Fishing Guide
- Mike Marsh:
- North Carolina’s Ocean Fishing Piers, from Kitty Hawk to Sunset Beach.
- What Fish See, Understanding the optics and color shifts for designing lures and flies.
- Fishing North Carolina (from the mountains to the coast)
- Joe Malat (Pamphlets)
- Pier Fishing, How to catch more fish from Atlantic and Gulf Coast piers
- Surf Fishing, Catching fish from the beach, when, where and how.
- Let’s Go Crabbing
- Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolina’s
- By Jeffery Weeks
- The Complete Book of Surf Fishing
- By Capt. Al Ristori
- Coastal Fishing in the Carolina’s
- By Robert J Goldstein
- Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast
- By Eric B Burnley
- Inshore Fishing the Carolinas’ Coasts, Finding and catching the most popular salt-water Game Fish
- By Bob Newman
- The Saltwater Fisherman’s Bible
- By Erwin A Bauer, revised by Bob Sterns
- Pier Fishing in North Carolina
- By Robert J Goldstein
- Specific Technique Books
- Fly Rodding the Coast
- By Ed Mitchell
- The Complete Kayak Fisherman
- By Ric Burnley
- How to Fish Plastic Baits in Saltwater, A complete guide to rigging and fishing plastic lures to catch your favorite gamefish
- By Capt. Jim White
- Flyfishing the Southeast Coast, A complete guide to fishing fresh and salt water.
- By Gordon Churchill
- Get Info!
- Ken Schultz’s Fishing Encyclopedia
- By Ken Shultz
- How to Read a North Carolina Beach, Bubble holes, barking sands and rippled runnels
- Orin H Pilkey, Tracey Monegan Rice, William J Neal
- Common Marine Fishes of North Carolina
- By Frank J Schwartz (IMF)
- By Vlad Evanoff
- Salt Water Fishing Rigs (Pamphlet)
- Salt Water Bait Fishes (Pamphlet)
- The Bluefish Cookbook
- By Greta Jacobs & Jane Alexander
- Nature Guide to the Carolina Coast, Common birds, crabs, shells, fish and other entities if the Coastal Environment
- By Peter Meyer
- Douglas Adams
- So Long and Thanks for all the Fish
- The Salmon of Doubt (Terry Jones finished the book after DA’s death)
- All Fishermen are Liars, True tails from the dry dock bar.
- Linda Greenlaw
- Standing in a River Waving a Stick
- By John Gierach
- In the Heart of the Sea (Nantucket whaling & movie, based on real events)
- By Nathaniel Philbrick
- Douglas Adams
- Ken Schultz’s Fishing Encyclopedia
- Fly Rodding the Coast
November water temps like October were wildly fluctuating from early to late month. Surf had a high of 68 °, low of 52° a drop of 16° in about three weeks with an average of 62.6°. Sound had a high of 70° and low of 44° an amazing difference of 26°and an average of 58.2°. The difference between high and low for November in the surf and sound was almost the same as October, which in itself was very unusual. Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures.
October water temps were unusual and very wildly fluctuating from early to late month. Surf had a high of 82°, low of 65° a drop of 17° in about three weeks with an average of 74.3°. October is normally the month with the biggest change, but this is over twice what I normally see. May shows the biggest difference (increase) for spring temperatures. Sound had a high of 85° and high of 59° an amazing difference of 26°and an average of 70.4°. Surf continues to be dirty, there is a lot of fine particulate stuff along the surf and sound that is stirred up with even any slightest disturbance. Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures.
September water temps were slightly above normal. Surf had a low of 79°, high of 84° with an average of 82.0°. Sound had a low of 75° and high of 86° and an average of 82.8°. The data is probably a little off since I missed a week’s data due to Florence. AS expected after the hurricane the ocean temps dropped due to mixing. Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures.
August’s water temps similar to July’s last 2-weeks staying around 80°/81° with 20 days being 80° or 81°. Surf had a narrow range and a low of 78°, high of 82°. Sound had a low of 79° and high of 85° and an average of 82.0°. Averages for surf and sound almost identical, surf was 80.2, sound 82.0, Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures. We had our initial mullet blow on 8/26 with the surf at 79°, anchovies made their initial run on 8/24.
Old reds: Radio interview by Dr. Bogus with Capt. Joe Shute on 8/13/18, Ben Ball Host of Coastal Daybreak, WTKF 1240 AM, 107.1 FM.
Dr. Bogus: This is a season for the old drum fishery, before we talk about the old drum catching…you’ve been, not to harp on it but you’ve been around here for quite a while Capt. Joe.
Capt. Joe Shute: Yes I have!
Dr. Bogus: You’ve seen a lot of changes.
Capt. Joe Shute: I guess I’m kind of equated with the old drum; I’ve been down here running charters since 1987, so I was probably one of the first of a handful of people with a skiff that fished inside in the early days.
Dr. Bogus: What I wanted to get to before we get to catching those guys, in 1997 we had the Fisheries Reform Act and we also went into the situation where we started to protect the resources, the red drum resource which we were getting to the point of killing them all off. So how had that gone, compared with those days when things were really at a low, how do things look now? Not only with the slot drum but also the old drum because, it’s been long enough now that some of those fish are getting older.
Capt. Joe Shute: Right, the old drum fishery is as good as I ever seen it. Both up in the Pamlico sound, you’re seeing good concentrations of them and especially in the winter months now around Cape Lookout from the shipping channel at Beaufort all the way to the east side of the cape, we do real well on then there from about November through January and February and some up into April even.
Dr. Bogus: They’re working those menhaden schools out there.
Capt. Joe Shute: Right, you’re catching them anywhere from 15- to 20-feet of water out to 50- to 60-feet of water. You’re hearing of larger numbers of old drum coming from the New River area, you’re hearing them down near Wilmington a lot more than they ever have been in the past that I have seen or heard of and the old drum stocks are really looking real good right now.
Dr. Bogus: Interesting you mentioned the New River, because, one of the things that I have noticed over the past few years it that the piers on Topsail Island are catching a lot of those big old drum. And I don’t remember hearing that in years past.
Capt. Joe Shute: I didn’t either, not in the quantities that they are catching now. They’re having some days, pretty heavy days down there now.
Dr. Bogus: I assume they are spawning up in the New River and just working in and out of the New River Inlet.
Capt. Joe Shute: Right, I would imagine that a lot of that is coming from there either that or they are just filtering down from the Pamlico.
Dr. Bogus: Joe, the old drum fishing is kind of a specialized fishery, what sort of tackle do you recommend, if you are using bait or even artificials these days.
Capt. Joe Shute: A lot of people in the last little while started fishing for the old drum using popping corks, which is something fairly new for the old drum in the last few years and it’s been right effective. They are using some of the DOA 4- to 5-inch Air Head Shad, they’re running them about 24-inches below the popping cork and they are working the edges and points around there especially where there are schools of bait fish. It’s been real surprising it’s been real effective on those old drum getting them up off the bottom and getting them to come up and take a bite. Of course you need some heavy tackle. When I say heavy, a good heavy, medium to heavy action spinning rod preferably with 20-pound braid or 30-pound braid on your main running line and something that you can get these fish back to the boat fairly quickly, but that’s been coming along real good. There’s also a big fly fishery up there for them now. Basically the same rig is used; it’s called a Pop-n-Fly that Gary Dubiel came up with. It’s a popping cork basically with a fly suspended 18 to 20-inches underneath the popping cork. And the same thing in 20-feet of water you’ll get these big drum to come up around those bait pods and eat that bait 20-inches under the water.
Dr. Bogus: Twenty years ago you didn’t see people fly fishing for these fish, did they?
Capt. Joe Shute: Noooooooo! And we do a lot of that in the fall. We target them and do real well with fly gear around the Cape in November and December. And conventional fishing I use a lot of heavy spinning gear, 30-pound class and above spinning gear. I use 50 and 60-pound braid on my reels because I really want to get the fish back. Your basic rig is the Owen Lupton rig, which is just a very short…the whole rig is only 4 or 5-inches long, it’s got a fixed 3-ounce egg sinker and a 10/0 circle hook on the bottom of it. And you fish just with your drag tightened down if you’re fishing it with bait. The fish picks it up, goes to move off with it, the egg sinker pulls the hook to the corner of the mouth and probably 90-percent of your fish are hooked in the corner of the mouth and are real easy to release. And the circle hook is the way to go.
Dr. Bogus: And those circle hooks are run barbless, right? (Owen Lupton rig is required gear in North Carolina when fishing bait for old red drum. http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/red-drum)
Capt. Joe Shute: Yes, a barbless circle hook. All these fish are above the slot and have to be released. And the reason for the heavy gear and the heavy drag is you want to get these fish back to the boat and released with minimal detriment to the fish because the water temperatures in the sound, especially in August and September are so hot if you play these fish on light tackle you’ll end up killing them. They can’t handle the heat and I use a huge net to land my fish and most of the fish…the party wants to take a picture so we’ll pull the fish out real quick and get a picture. After we get a picture of a big fish, most of the fish I never even bring into the boat. I’ll leave them in the net take the circle hook out, let the fish go, and the fish is no worse for the wear. A lot of people get up there and want to take a picture of the fish…they don’t pay attention to what’s going on, they’ll hold a 40-pound fish up, the fish will wiggle and fall and hit its head on the boat. You know that’s not too good! Plus a lot of the males and females both when you pick the male up he’ll secrete sperm all over you, and it’s as slippery as it could be and the same thing with the females with the eggs. So the least you can handle these fish the better off you are.
Dr. Bogus: This fishery has gotten quite popular over the years; do you think we’re impacting those fish? Obviously the growth of the fishery is partly because there are a lot of them around.
Capt. Joe Shute: Right, I think that more and more education to people as far as how to handle the fish, what tackle to fish with, you don’t use “J” hooks anymore, you just use circle hooks on them. I think that that’s had a big impact.
Dr. Bogus: We’ve got a lot more user friendly with them over the years. Even though the fishery has expanded we’ve gotten better at handling them?
Capt. Joe Shute: Right and there’s been a lot of education put out there from the DMF and also from guides that do seminars and tell people. The main thing is pushing the barb down on these circle hooks because many people don’t realize, and I used to get this all the time on the fisheries commission about how need to switch everything over to circle hooks, because it’s a catch and release fishery. What people don’t recognize is the circle hook was not designed as a catch and release hook; it’s a catch and HOLD hook. If you don’t push that barb down and you don’t know how to properly release a fish with a circle hook, you end up doing more damage than you do good.
Ben Ball: We talked about this so much; don’t they make barbless circle hooks? (Gamakatsu, Owner, Mustad and others make barbless circle hooks for sharks, salmon and fly fishing etc.)
Capt. Joe Shute: There are barbless manufacturers but it doesn’t take but a second with a pair of pliers to pinch it down. So it (the hook) will just slip right back out. The main thing is to take it out the same way it went in. You can’t just push it straight down like you can with a “J” hook and pop it out because it’s got the curve in the hook; you actually have to rotate that hook around to get it out.
Ben Ball: How old are the old drum?
Capt. Joe Shute: They can be anywhere, when they are hitting the upper 30’s, 40’s and 50-inch range they can be anywhere from five or six years old to 50 or 60-years old. They live a long time and some of those fish that you are catching that occasionally we used to see a lot of them years ago, even though there weren’t as many you would see the 60 and 70-pound drum, and they are still out there. And there are a lot of them. I would say the majority of the drum people are catching now are anywhere from 35 and 50-pounds and once they get up to a certain length you can just about within a few pounds get the weight of the fish due to the length of the fish. If you got a 45-inch fish he’s pushing 40 to 45-pounds.
Dr. Bogus: The state record is that 94-pounder (1984), and that was estimated to be over 50 years old. We’ve talked about flies and DOA soft plastics on a popping cork but the traditional method was using live or cut bait.
Capt. Joe Shute: Mostly it’s cut bait; the two most prevalent baits are menhaden and mullet. A lot of the guides really like to use mullet; they feel that the mullet will get them a better bite. This time of year especially don’t go out there with just a dozen mullets and expect to fish for a while, the pinfish and skates and rays are very bad. Most of the guides when they go out there to fish a full day they take 50-pounds of mullet with them. And they will go through on a good day, 50-pounds of mullet. I leave Morehead and run up there through the ditch and I always stop here and load my boat up with fresh menhaden. I keep some alive and I keep some on ice and I constantly change baits and we’re fishing six to 8-inch baits and I’m using half a fish on each hook.
Dr. Bogus: I remember going out with Bryan Goodwin, I forget how many rods we had out but he’d start out at one end…is that the way it works? (https://www.ncoif.com/big-red/)
Capt. Joe Shute: That’s the way it works, I fish six rods when I go, but I know people that fish as many as 12 rods, and that’s too much work for me. Because when you get out there, sometimes when it’s real frustrating you’ll cast your six rods out and about the time you get to the sixth one you’ve got to do it all over again, because there’s nothing, no bait left. The bluefish and the pinfish are that bad. But you know a lot of times that will create a (chum) slick and that will get the drum in there also.
Ben Ball: They you can try your popping corks and flies.
Capt. Joe Shute: That’s right, that’s right.
Dr. Bogus: It’s amazing with the popping corks, well I guess sometimes those fish could be suspended part ways up off of the bottom, but often they can be right on the bottom feeding that dinner bell gets them all the ways to the top!
Capt. Joe Shute: It gets their attention and they will come up and check it out. A lot of them you know are cruising around the schools of bait and, they won’t be on the bottom but a lot of them will be underneath the bait on the bottom picking up what falls to the bottom. So it’s a very good way to get their attention and when they come up and see that little shad floating there they say okay I’m going to eat that.
Ben Ball: You use popping corks in the creeks.
Dr. Bogus: Oh yah, in the wintertime particularly like to use various kinds of corks because I can adjust the speed that I work them and there in the wintertime the fish get a little sluggish and so we want to be able to do that. Joe you said you use 50-pound braid on a 30-class reel.
Capt. Joe Shute: Right, I use one of the old 7000-Penn Battle reels and I actually have 65-pound braid on mine. And I use a 30-pound class spinning rod and you can put a lot of heat on those fish. And when I’m setting my drags for the fish I’m setting it at 12 or 15-pounds. It takes a lot to pull them off, but the good thing about that is when that lines starts going that hook’s already set, you never have to set the hook. It’s great for charters because people say, “well when do I set the hook?” I say don’t worry. “When will I know if I got a bite?” I say don’t worry, whenever the rod bends over and you hear the line start squealing then touch it and pull it out of the rod holder.
July’s water temps started off unusually HOT (85°) then dropped, normalized and stayed around 81 for the rest of the month. Surf had a low of 79, high of 85, sound a low of 75 and high of 87. Averages for surf and sound almost identical, surf was 81.9, sound 81.8, Check out the graph. Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures. We also had extreme super tides in July and excessive amounts of rain and rainy days.
June’s water temps gradually increased throughout the month at abour 0.2°/day. Surf had a low of 72, high of 82, sound a low of 78 and high of 85. Average surf was 78.5, sound 81.3, Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures.
History of Soft Plastic Baits, Jim Hutchinson, Editor of The Fisherman Magazine
Radio show from 06/18/18, Ben Ball Host, WTKF 107.1 FM, 1240 AM.
“I’ve got one word for you, Benjamin: plastics. There’s a great future in plastics.”
(From The Graduate, Staring Dustin Hoffman, 1967)
Dr. Bogus: I have a guest, Jim Hutchinson, who is the managing editor of The Fisherman Magazine. I subscribe to TFM when I lived on Long Island back in the 1970s. I have actually written bunch of articles for it. I like the magazine and subscribe to it still even though a lot of the info is north of us, but there is enough articles in there…we’ve interviewed a lot of your writers Jim!
Jim Hutchinson: I’m sure you have, we used to have the mid-Atlantic edition, Eric Burnley and Chris Dollar great guys ran that magazine and we all miss it, I get e-mails and phone calls all the time people asking to have that old mid-Atlantic edition again that covers the Delmarva Peninsula to North Carolina.
Dr. Bogus: I finally got to you because you wrote an article recently and it caught my attention on the history of soft plastic baits. I’m sure s lot of people out there don’t remember the first time they used a soft plastic bait…boy I sure do! Do you Jim?
Jim Hutchinson: I do, but it’s funny, because you started that “Graduate” intro and throughout writing this article and the research I kept laughing about that line too. I do and I alluded to that in the article the whole concept of the crossover. I grew up at the Jersey Shore but found my way into this freshwater lake at a country club. Some friends and I figured a way to sneak in to the back and that was when I saw a largemouth bass for the first time and we were catching pickerel and sunnies and stuff, but when we saw the largemouth bass it was like looking at the eddies in the distance. It prompted us to go out and try to find something to throw at this fish to catch it. And it was a plastic frog that worked for the first time, and for the life of me I cannot remember what that frog was called. But that was not only my first foray as a kid into mail-order catalogue shipments for mail-order items it was also my first opportunity to catch a largemouth and it led to that crossover with using these plastics that we found on that lake then figuring out that gee these work on saltwater as well.
Dr. Bogus: Well I remember specifically for me it’s when I lived on Long Island I was a hungry post-doc and so I was trying to gather all the protein I can on a post-doc’s salary. And I remember fishing the Shinnecock Canal. It’s a tidally operated lock canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean with Peconic Bay, and every spring, right around Mother’s Day the weakfish/ gray trout would come through that canal and locks to Peconic Bay to spawn. And being a tidally operated lock system, when the tide was going the wrong way it would close up. And so we would fish that area just on the ocean side and the first bait I used was one of Jim Bagley’s Salty Dogs, which was a plastic tail of a shrimp that you put on a lead jig head. I remember one day, one Mother’s Day by the way, that I brought home 40-pounds of weakfish.
Ben Ball: I was very late to this game, mine was on a Thanksgiving Day actually fishing for a gray trout in the Haystacks using a lead-head with a plastic worm on it.
Dr. Bogus: One of the things you mentioned Jim was the idea of the crossover bait, you know there are so many baits that were designed…you know like Rat-L-Traps, spinner baits etc. that were really freshwater, not only freshwater but really bass baits that have really taken hold as far as saltwater fishing as well.
Jim Hutchinson: It’s funny you mention trout whether gray trout or weakfish, whatever, The jelly worm the Mann’s Jelly Worm which was developed on a stove-top for largemouth bass. But talking about what you put on a jig head. I think that that was the second time I was introduced to plastics in saltwater fishing, was a neighbor of ours when I was a kid had introduced me to a Mann’s Jelly Worm on a bucktail on the jetty rocks for weakfish. I every once and awhile I see a saltwater crossover, a lure or tactic into freshwater, but for the most part it seems that things cross from freshwater over to saltwater.
Dr. Bogus: Yes including the flies as well, that’s absolutely true. And it’s funny that we both discovered that sort of thing targeting weakfish! Let’s go back to some of the…I remember mine from the 1970s, you from about the same era, but really the first ones were a bit before that. Can you give us a bit of the early history of the first soft plastics Jim?
Jim Hutchinson: That was what was fun about doing this article, and I kind of couch it by saying there is a lot…if you go back to some of the manufacturers, they tell you a little about their history and I got a lot from Capt. Jim White, a book of his (How to fish Soft plastics in Saltwater). But really what I had done was to go through, and we started putting together some of the earliest remembrances, the Creme Lure Company for example. Creme has created a couple of lures, the Creme Scoundrels and a lot of these and a lot of these I hadn’t really heard of. So we’re going back into the 1930s and 1940s, and it’s funny to think that if you use The Graduate as a frame of reference from the 1960s, to think that there are already plastic lures and soft plastics in place before that, that’s kind of funny. One of the shocking ones, and Dr. Bogus and I had shared some e-mails about it, was a popular Storm bait that had come out early 2000s, it was a Storm plastic paddle tail swimmer and a lot of the guys had picked up on that for striped bass and it was for the most part very, very unique, nobody has ever seen anything like that and it was produced by the folks at Storm. But before that there was a bait by Panther Martin and Panther Martin, lot of folks know them from their little spinners, the little spinners with the blades for fresh water. But they had developed a molded plastic swim bait much earlier than that, they went back 30 years or something like that. That was pretty interesting.
Dr. Bogus: We think that the flavored baits we have are really the top of the line, but they had flavored baits well before us, right Jim? Even jelly flavored worms!
Jim Hutchinson: My understanding, I talked with Scott Wall from the Mann’s Bait Company to figure where that “Jelly Worm” name came from. It was from the jelly. It was Tom Mann back in the 1960s tinkering around with the bait he started putting in flavors and colors he put in some jelly preserves to see what would happen and lo and behold a lightbulb went off in his head…”I’m going to go with this.” And here it is all these years later… I called a couple of folks about the Mann’s Jelly Worm earlier this winter, when I was doing this story and lo and behold people still carry them in saltwater shops because they are still the “go to” when fishing for gray trout on a bucktail.
Ben Ball: I’ve caught cat fish on an old peanut butter and jelly sandwich before.
Dr. Bogus: There have been other flavors that people have used, I remember people, they may still do it, I’ve seen people sprinkle garlic powder on their baits, or use licorice. You’re laughing but it’s true!
Ben Ball: You’ve threatened using gummy bears.
Dr. Bogus: I sold them in my store!
Jim Hutchinson: I’ve seen photos, the magazine gets photos from families…dad uses some Gulp! the kid says wow that stuff looks like this and they will put out a Gummy Worm. I’ve had photos where the fluke was caught on a Gummy Bear.
Dr. Bogus: One of the things that some of those early baits, either soft plastics or even the rubber ones, the tubes, they didn’t have a lot of action. So back in the 1970s finally we has some baits with personality, little curly-tail action. How did that come about?
Jim Hutchinson: Necessity is the mother of invention! You started taking these plastics and these worms just never had much action, YOU imparted the action and so the work looked like a worm, so you jigged it up and down or just gave it a little wiggle but eventually they started getting into the whole curly-tail. And again, it’s one of those things that’s kind of neat to look at because those curly-tail shad, those paddle tail shads, when they first came out in the 1970s, they were great for fresh water and the manufacturers would gear it to the freshwater market. But when you start bringing it across to saltwater, people find they start working. It was sometime in the 1990s when a friend of mine had given me my first molded shad and that was something that had been used over in the freshwater market. Then the guys started dragging these big umbrella rigs for striped bass up in north Jersey and the New York Bight and you would attach these rubber shads to the umbrella rigs. Well we just started free-weighting them around jetties and they had such a realistic swim. But you know it was around that time in the 1970s to come up with something to make the bait to look like it’s swimming that really launched everything. Dr. Bogus as you know if anyone is talking about flounder fishing, what’s the one thing…make sure you have that paddle tail Gulp!, that swimming mullet. Think about how the technology has caught up with scents not just the scents but the whole chemical research into the way a fish strikes.
Ben Ball: Metal plastic, sometimes wood is Doc’s mantra.
Dr. Bogus: Jim, we were talking about some of the materials, I’m a chemist so I was always interested in the development going from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), to polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH-Gulp! baits), to silicones. That development has been interesting to watch especially from the environmental aspects as well.
Jim Hutchinson: Freshwater anglers and lakes seem to be under assault from the earliest as far as trying to keep those lakes free of anything that is not biodegradable. And you look back at those big baits that have that curly-tail action they thought of using some of those chemicals like PVC and materials that don’t biodegrade. So it has been something that been, really in the last decade that started with the folks at Berkley with Gulp!, and to the best of my knowledge it’s not fully biodegradable, it biodegrades after a long time.
Ben Ball: And you want to keep your plastic baits separate you’ll end up with a gooey mess!
Jim Hutchinson: You learn that lesson ONE time where you try to keep your plastics all separated, and when you don’t that’s a fun way to start your spring after a long winter.
Dr. Bogus: Yah, you have to scrape things out with a spatula!
Jim Hutchinson: That’s something I see that we will continue to go through in the next few years in terms of development, is folks trying to develop these lures that are fully biodegradable and still have that incredible action.
Dr. Bogus: One of the baits you mentioned earlier Jim were the Storm baits and that was an interesting development as well by not just having something you put on a jig head but the embedded weights and embedded rattles too.
Jim Hutchinson: Absolutely and that’s the thing, when Storm came out in the early 2000s, they really took the striper world by storm. But I mentioned that there would be the Vivif by Panther Martin that predated that. It doesn’t really matter who came first, but when people found that molded plastic it was like “Oh my God this is great.” The first problem we had was when bluefish and other toothy critters…hahahah!
Dr. Bogus: You know how that goes!