15 Minutes with Eric Harrison
Here is what we learned…
Location: Boston Harbor, MA
Tides: Incoming tide
Approach: I hit the harbor at night planning to hit a bunch of spots looking for some pods of bigger bass. I was fishing a shallow rocky rip area, fishing was on the slow side, so I moved away from the rip and found some big schools of very small bait and started working them. Even though the bait was small—in the 4” range, I stuck with a 14” Hogy looking for bigger fish.
Rigging Selection: The Hogy® 12/0 Weighted Barbarian Swim Bait Hooks
Bait Selection: Hogy® Original 14inch Series
Why this bait?I chose the 14” because there are more smaller fish in the Harbor now and the bigger bait gives the bigger fish a better target.
Colors: Fishing at night, I tend to use mostly darker colors, first choice is usually blamber, I like the natural shading and dark color, sometimes I will go with all black too. My alternative is to use a bright color, either white or pink to stand out and reflect more of the available light. Changing colors sometimes provokes a strike.
Retrieve : I was in deeper water than I normally fish, about 25’ and was using a quick retrieve to keep my bait down about 7’ so it was moving along the bottom of the bait fish. This pattern was working well as I had picked up a couple smaller fish the night before doing it. I went back to the pattern after landing the fish and picked up a 44” fish and a 41” fish in the next 30 minutes. In the kayak I usually focus on a rod tip up retrieve, I use the tip to swim the bait, pop it and make it change directions. Most of the hits come on direction or speed changes.
Rod: I was using a custom graphite USA rod I designed for big plastics. The rod is rated for 1 to 5 oz and 20-40# line . It is extremely light and has the power to set the hook on big fish and keep them off the rocks.
Reel: The Calcutta 400 BSV is my go to reel, it has a drag that can handle big fish, plus it has a power handle that makes cranking big baits more comfortable. Not having a level wind makes it a cleaner casting reel and a bit lighter too.
Line: I was using 50# power pro with a double uni knot to a 50# mono leader. I usually use the 50/50 combo in shallow water. Notice that the big bass has rub marks on its cheeks where it went to the bottom and tried to rub the lure off. In a kayak it is really tough to break 50, but with the rocks around I need the heavy line for abrasion resistance.