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Great Kills Bait & Tackle

       4044 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island, NY  10309 (718) 356-0055              




       What's Happening on the Island


Anglers & Hunters spend $79 billion on goods.  In turn, they account for 1.6 million jobs and over $25 billion in tax revenues.

MONDAY- FRIDAY: 7:00am - 6:30pm
SATURDAY: 6:00am - 6:30am
SUNDAY: 6:00am - 4:00pm


    The State has finally updated it's Web site to allow fishermen to enroll in the Annual National Saltwater Registry, which is free if done through the State.  Please be advised that the Registry will be enforced by the Federal and the various State(s) police.  The annual registration is free, so you might as well get it!  You can go on-line for the NYS Registry or call 1-866-933-2257 Monday to Friday.

     Get out and fish.  There are plenty of Striped Bass out there.  Since it's Spring, remember to use clams  as your primary bait,    but worms and bunker will work as well. 


   TO CHECK OUT  -"SURF FISHING BASICS" - sponsored by the Fisherman's Conservation Assoc. (FCA)


How to catch more striped bass!

     For better results with schoolie striped bass in the spring time, use a whole sandworm on a 1/0 or 2/0 bait-holder hook.   Put the hook's barb in and then out of the worm's head.   The worm’s head is the toughest part of the body and the worm is less likely to break off when casting.  If you feed the worm up the hook's shaft, the barb will protrude out of the worm's soft belly, and the worm will break off when casting.   I've also found that a small float placed a few inches from the hook will keep the worm off the bottom and will make a better bait presentation.   The bass are very finicky this time of year, so you must hold your rod.   As soon as you feel a pick up, set the hook.  You'll catch more fish this way!        

     Clams work pretty during the spring and the fall (for that matter, all year long).  A whole clam on a 2/0 or 3/0 bait holder hooks works best.  I suggest you tie the clam onto the hook, otherwise it may fall off during the cast.  There's a pretty good elastic tread on the market, or you can use a small rubber band.  Feed the clam onto the hook, by sticking it through the barb several times.  Then secure the clam to the hook's shaft with the elastic thread or the rubber band.  Don't bunch up the thread, and obscure the bait.  That won't work either.  Just use enough to hold the clam onto the hook during the cast, exposing as much of the clam as possible.

     Bunker is definitely the bait of choice for the larger striped bass during the late spring and fall months (and don't forget live eels also during the fall months).  Cut the whole bunker is 1-2 inch steaks, cutting top to bottom (you should get 3-4 good sized steaks).  Stick a 6/0 to 8/0 wide beaked hook in then out of the top of the bunker steak, making sure that the point of the hook protrudes from the bait.  Now as to the fresh versus frozen bunker debate!  There is no denying that fresh  bunker lasts longer on the hook than frozen bunker, but both fresh and frozen bunker will catch fish.  When fresh bunker is not always available,  don't be afraid to use frozen bunker - you just have to change your bait more often, that's all! 


How to catch more fluke!

   Fluke are very inquisitive. If you want to catch more fish, you must satisfy that curiosity.  Bait presentation is the key.  You must attract the fluke's attention, getting it out of the sand so it can attack your bait.  The key word is attack.  Fluke are very aggressive predator fish and will attack several feet off the bottom if attracted to your bait.  A 2/0 or 3/0 hook on a 36 inch leader is  the preferred initial set-up.  Just putting  a Kellie or spearing on the hook is usually not enough to attract the fluke's attention.  For best results, you should also use a strip of squid at least 4 inches long.  The fluttering movement of the squid strip will attract the fluke's attention to the bait fish on your hook, and will increase your chances.  Remember, you must attract the fish's attention!  Another neat trick is to use a teaser on your hook.   Bucktail teasers and rubber squid heads work the best.  Alternate the colors.  Some colors work best during different lighting conditions-white, green, silver and yellow work the best.

    Boaters should drift along channel edges.  Fluke tend to bury themselves along the channel edge, waiting to ambush an unsuspecting baitfish coming over the ledge.  Sandy, flat bottoms, where a lot of baitfish congregate produce also.  Surf fishermen should look for the same structures, however, instead of drifting, try to slowly drag the bait along the bottom.  You'll cover more ground that way, and you'll present the bait better (remember the fluttering  squid strip).

How to catch more bluefish!

    The key to catching more bluefish is simple. First, use the right bait.  That's bunker.  Second, use the right equipment. Smaller, lighter fishing tackle often used for fluke, flounder, weakfish and  even schoolie striped bass, will not hold up to the beating that bluefish can give.  Fifteen to twenty pound fishing line should be used off the beach.  Anything lighter will snap under the  pressure of a fighting bluefish (except for you sharpies out there).  Anything greater than 20 pounds with severely restrict your casting distance (remember, you have to reach the fish before you can catch them).  Boaters should use at least 20 pound test line, 30-40 is better.       

     The hook must be large enough (5/0 - 8/0) to penetrate through a piece of cut bunker.  Stick the hook in and then out, making sure that the point is sticking out.  The point of the hook is what catches the fish.  If you bury the hook, you'll come back with just air when you try to set the hook.  Bluefish have very sharp teeth, and will cut through a monofilament leader. The hook must have a wire leader.  18 inch wire leaders  work the best off the beach.  A short 6- 8" wire leader can be used from a  boat.  

     Use a medium to heavy duty rod and reel.   An 8' to 11' fishing rod, with a matching good quality fishing reel is best off the beach.  The length of the fishing rod will dictate how far you can cast and how much bait you can use.  Also, a larger fishing rod also allows you to control the fish when reeling it in.  Boater should use a medium to heavy 5'-7' fishing rod with a matching reel.  While casting for distance is not an issue from a boat, controlling the fish is just as important.

    A 3 oz. sinker usually is sufficient.  Go heavier if needed.  From the beach or boat, use a 3-way swivel rig or fish finder rig (stop in, we have several examples in stock).  Since beach fishermen are using long 18" wire leaders, here's a tip for you boaters.  Tie a 2 foot 50 pound test monofilament leader to the shorter  wire leader (it should come with a barrel swivel).  Tie a barrel swivel and fishfinder at the other end of the leader or tie a 3-swivel.  The bluefish will not bite through the short wire leader, and the 2 foot monofilament  leader will give you a heavier line to grab onto than the lighter line on your rod.  The additional 2 foot leader also makes a better bait presentation, allowing your bait to move with the current.

     Now for the fresh versus frozen bunker debate (again).  There is no denying that fresh bunker stays on the hook longer than frozen bait.  Don't let anyone fool you, though, you can still catch tons of fish with frozen bunker when fresh is not available.  There's a secret though...  Just change the bait more often.  I've heard some fishermen claim that they don't catch fish with frozen bunker.  Fishermen in New Jersey and Brooklyn do not have the availability of fresh bunker as we do in Staten Island.  Does that mean that we catch more fish then them?  Hogwash!  Frozen bunker, yes, will come off your hook quicker than  fresh.  And without bait on your hook, you're not likely to catch any fish. The answer is simple, just check your bait more often.  If the frozen bunker on your hook becomes too soft to stay on your hook, change it - that's it!  For you nay sayers that claim they don't catch fish with frozen bunker, my answer to them is "when was the last lime you checked your bait?".

    For those of you who prefer not to use bait, then surface poppers and metal lures also work for both boaters and beach fishermen, especially in the middle of a bunker school.  Here, smaller (7’ to 9’), lighter fishing rods with lighter fishing line is ideal, allowing you to cast the lighter lures farther.  Don't forget to use a wire leader, or you'll loss your lure to a hungry bluefish with its very sharp teeth.


How to catch more weakfish!

    Bait presentation, when fishing for the smaller weakfish that we've seen here for the past few years, is also very important.  The bait of choice for these weakfish are sandworms.  Boaters should be prepared to drift along  channel edges, because large schools of fish tend to congregate along the slopes waiting to ambush unsuspecting bait fish swimming over the ledge.  By far, the most productive set up for boaters is a high/low rig.  We have several varieties in stock.  An other rig that can be used is made with a 2/0 or 3/0 bait holder hook with a 36" monofilament leader tied to a 3-way swivel.  Add, to the 3-way swivel, a  3 foot length of  lighter pound test monofilament leader (in case you get snagged on the bottom, you'll just lose the sinker) with a loop at the end for the sinker. You've just created a 3 by 3 rig- three foot from the bottom and three foot out.  Bait the rigs with just one sandworm per hook. In and out of the worm's head (see  How to...Striped Bass above, where we discuss feeding a worm onto a hook).   Now here's the trick.  Use a heavier that normal sinker (4, 5, 6, or even 8 ounces if necessary).   Use  just enough weight so your fishing line will be kept vertical to the water while drifting.   By keeping your line vertical to the water with a heavier sinker, the bait will be kept at an ideal 3 feet from the bottom.   Try it.  You'll get more strikes this way.

      Beach fishermen should always use a float when  worming for weakfish.  See "How To...Striped Bass", above.  Use the same technique when fishing with sandworms for schoolie bass.

     If you choose to use bunker for weakfish, use the same technique as for chunking for bass or bluefish.