15 Minutes with: Joe Higgins
Here’s what we learned…
Location: Salem, MA
Tides: Low tide offers shore anglers the opportunity to fish farther from the beach and locate fish that may be unreachable during high tide.
Approach: It’s best to begin locating shallow water structure that offers sanctuary and ambush points for stripers feeding on bait fish pulled into open water during a low tide. In this case, a shallow boulder field offers the perfect amount of fish holding structure. Shore anglers can opt to fish at the edge of the water or wade out waist deep to reach fish farther out in the boulders.
Rigging Selection: Hogy® 4/0 Soft Circe hooks offer an excellent free swimming presentation for soft baits. The limited amount of tackle rigged into the bait allows full motion of the soft bait.
Bait Selection: Hogy® 10inch Floating Series is a unique soft bait that is fully buoyant, even when rigged with heavy wire hooks. This allows the angler to fish the bait slowly or fast without snagging weeds or rocks.
Why this bait? The large profile and extra weight of this bait allow for long distance casting from shore. The large size also offers a contrasting forage profile for stripers feeding in shallow water. Sometimes, offering a bait much larger than available forage is a great way to draw strikes from fish that are gorging on small baits and may refuse similar sized lures.
Colors: Bone is top choice, followed by bubblegum. Both of these colors are highly visible and attract fish from a distance.
Retrieve: During the first hour of daylight, an aggressive retrieve can work really well. This period of low light usually has bass in the feeding mode. Sharp snaps of the rod tip will cause the bait to dance, dart and pop along the surface, very similar to a pencil poppers action, but with the added wiggle of a soft bait.
Rod: Medium-Fast action 7′ Tsunami spinning rod with a medium fast tip. The slightly softer tip helps cast lighter baits farther.
Reel: Penn Fisher 4500.
Line: 20lb Power Pro Slick
Leader: 20lb Fluorocarbon leader, tied line to line with a uni knot.