Fox 43 News has a little segment they do called “A Day in the Life of ___________” Just fill in the blank with a profession, such as a musician or a tattoo artist. Well the most recent segmented featured our beloved Dave Shindler of Jst Fishin’ Guide Service. Dave explains in the video how he has the best job in the world and we couldn’t agree with him more. Nice job Dave!
The thought of drifting lazily along the coastal bays of the East Coast seems normal to most. In fact if you watch the vast majority of flounder fisherman, you will see them drifting along with rods in the holders waiting for that tell tale soft bend in the rod as a flounder swims up to the bait and gently hangs on. The “normal” rig consists of a single or top-bottom rig with a minnow, squid or some other natural bait. While this is a great way to catch fish in the perfect conditions and tides, we all know that the stars rarely align in those “perfect” conditions.
The technique I choose is far from normal, and the results are FAR from normal. It starts with a 6’8″ or 7′ Shimano Compre Medium action Spinning rod. I chose a Stradic 3000 reel rigged with 15 lb Power Pro Braid. Attached to the end of the braid is a 24-30″ 20 lb Sunline FlouroCarbon Leader.
Now the “business end” of the rig is quite simple. I really favor the Spro bucktails jig. Size is very dependent on the depth you are fishing but normally 1/2 – 1 oz. handle most situations. On occasion up to 2 oz Jigs may be neccessary. A big key to the weight is to use the smallest jig possible to obtain a slow fall. The bucktail is tipped with a Gulp Swimming Mullet, Jigging Grub, Shrimp or Jerkshad.
Color is something that you need to play with and adjust accordingly. I will tell you that everyday is different and if you change colors you will find the color or color combination that the fish want on that particular day. My favorite colors are Pink, White and Chartreuse. I vary the combination each day until the preferred color is determined. Do not get stubborn with the color that was working yesterday or last week. It may be the best today, but chances are the fish will be more aggressive to another color.
The technique is probably the most consistent and it is far from normal. The easiest way to explain it is to cast the jig out and let it hit bottom on a slack line. Once it hits bottom hold your rod at the 10 O’Clock position and quite violently rip the jig off the bottom. Then slowly lower the rod and let the bait hit bottom. As soon as it hits bottom rip it again and repeat. With this technique there will not be many soft gentle bites. You may feel a tick on the fall but most bites are very hard “No Doubt” bites. As with any jig bite, set the hook right away. When a flounder commits to a jig there is no reason to wait.
The next time you venture out of the bay for Flatfish, Give Bucktailing a shot. Just like I have, you will probably find yourself passing up on the bait dragging. Grab a handfull of bucktails and a couple bags of Gulp and get Jiggy with it!! Let me know how it works for you and don’t feel obligated to invite me for dinner, when you fry up those tasty fillets.
If you fish the Susquehanna River then you are probably as frustrated as the rest of us with the terrible conditions this year. This has been a crazy spring and it just won’t let up. Dave reports that there has been more rain and, high water, muddy water and just overall screwed up conditions then he has ever been able to remember. The water temperature is just now breaking into the 50’s and finally clearing. The fish have been way up on the bank holding in tress and brush that are not normally under water. As the water drops they continue to move down.
Here and there we get a couple days where conditions improve enough to do some damage on the bass and walleye, but then it seem to go right back to flood stages and another round of high muddy water. During those small windows of opportunity Dave reports he is having the most success on the Power Team Craw D’oeuvres in green pumpkin, 2 1/2″ black tubes, War Eagle gold shiner spinnerbaits, and Lucky Craft Pointers in various colors. He is looking forward to the upcoming weeks as these fish finally get active and will be moving to stronger current.
That sounds great, but I just looked at the river level report and here we go again! There has been heavy rains in the North Central area of PA and also in the Southern parts of NY overnight, which we all know what that means. Areas that have seen one and two inches of rain and even more will be dumping it all down the Susquehanna again, plus there is potential for up to another inch of rain through Thursday morning which will bring the levels at Harrisburg right up to flood stages again. We just can not get a break.
There is one bright spot in that the Flathead catfish have been eating and eating well. After getting frustrated with ripping muddy water Dave hit some of his Flathead spots and was able to catch some nice ones, including two catfish, one at 22 lbs. and the other at 32 lbs. Even though he was bait challenged in that he was not planning on fishing for flatheads he was able to provide a great day of fishing for his clients. He says that the next few weeks will be absolutely some of the best Flathead fishing you will find. In fact he is so stoked that he anticipates breaking the 40 lb mark and maybe even 50 lbs!
Be sure to check out the next issue of In-Fisherman where some of Dave’s catfish techniques will be featured and possibly even a mugshot or two!
If you are interested in catching what could be the biggest fish of your lifetime, see about taking a guided flathead catfish trip with Dave of Jst Fishin’ Guide Service. Visit his website at jstfishin.com