As the water temperature rises, those larger striped bass that have not gone offshore are likely to be hunkering down in cooler, deeper spots. One way to entice them is to fish with live eels. But if you've never fished eels before, the prospect can seem intimidating - just take a look into the bait tank at those writhing critters... On The Fishing News, Kevin Blinkoff of On the Water magazine, gives a primer for getting started with eels. Here are the bullet points:
- Bring a bucket with lid when you go to the baitshop - you don't want them getting loose in the car. Eels are selling now for about $2 each.
- Put a little water and ice in the bucket - eels need to be kept damp, and ice makes them a little more lethargic and easy to handle.
- Use a heavy paper towel or plastic dish scrub pad to grab them and hold them. Rig with a hook coming up through the bottom jaw and out the top.
- Get them into the water quickly, so they don't knot around the line.
- Many times, especially over sand, you can fish without any weight, keeping the set-up simple. Cast out the eel and keep it moving on the retrieve - otherwise it will try to bury itself and hide. If you're on a boat drifting in a quick-moving current, a weight on a breakaway 3-way rig will help keep the eel down. Here's a good look at a 3-way rig.
Scup fishing is doing very well this season. A little piece of squid on a hook dropped over a sandy bottom in Vineyard Sound is likely to bring up a scup. Minimum size for scup is 10". Possession limit is 30.