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Thread: Techniques: Bucktail

  1. #1
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    Default Techniques: Bucktail

    I am a terrible Bucktail Fisherman and not much better at fishing Rubber Shad types of artificials.
    Any thoughts at when you would use one of these over the other? Advantages at times of one over the other?
    Times they are interchangeable?
    I have more confidence fishing the rubber shad types of artificials. Have a better feel of them. And have caught more fish on them than bucktails.
    The big drawback for me is BLUES and rubber. The rubber shads get taken off first sign of the yellow eyed demons.
    White Water Monty 2.00 (WWM)
    Future Long Islander (ASAP)

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    For a shad I just bring it in as slow as possible. No movement from me because the tail has all the action. When they are there they will whump it!With a bucktail I keep the retrieve steady and try not to get hung up on the bottom. They are fun too because bluefish seem to love them. weakfish too.

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    Basshunter gave good advice. What I would say differently is that when I fish montauk there are boulder fields everywhere.The goal is too keep the bucktail on the bottom but also at the same time keep it moving. Hope that makes sense to you. If you snag something, immediately let some slack in the line. See if the wave action will get you out. If not try to twang it and maybe you will be lucky. The best luck is that you make yourself, keep it moving so it never gets stuck. After a while you will get a feel for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nitestrikes View Post
    . The best luck is that you make yourself, keep it moving so it never gets stuck. After a while you will get a feel for it.

    I agree, and sometimes change it up by adding a little twitch. When the water is dirty or stained my retrieve is slower. Remember the fish have to find what you are throwing. Another little trick if fish are not feeding well is to substitute a gulp swimming mullet for the pork rind. Works well in rivers, breechways, or deep rips.

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    While I feel in no way qualified to answer your question as I am just getting started coming from many years of freshwater bass fishing. I just read John Skinners book Fishing the bucktail as well as Doc Mullers book fishing with bucktails. Both authors say that the number one mistake most anglers make is going too heavy with the bucktails. Many applications only require 3/4oz or 1oz and that the 3/4 oz-1 1/4oz being the most common size they use. For color White mostly. Chartreuse for stained water and black or red for night time. Both recommend Uncle Josh pork for trailers (especially around blues) 240s for the 3/4 to 1oz and I believe a #70 for bigger. They recommend the red and white striped pork trailers. John Skinner recommends getting the feel for the bucktail in the surf. It is just a sandy bottom and way more forgiving than bays, inlets, jetties etc. I hope this helps.

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    Default Re: Techniques: Bucktail or Rubber Shad:

    I love rubber shads but once the bluefish show up I take them out of the bag to resist the temptation of throwing them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monty View Post
    Any thoughts at when you would use one of these over the other? Advantages at times of one over the other?
    Times they are interchangeable?
    I have more confidence fishing the rubber shad types of artificials. Have a better feel of them. And have caught more fish on them than bucktails.
    The big drawback for me is BLUES and rubber.
    As JBarbosa said, its a waste of time to fish rubber when bluefish are around unless you buy cheap in the winter flea markets or have another cheap source. Shads are not cheap so I'm the same way I will not use them much when blues are around. The exceptions are near bridges in the summer. There will be times when the blues are closer to the inlets and not all the way in the back. Those times you will have mostly bass and weakfish so it's a good gamble to throw.

    I like smaller rubber like the fin-s or bass assassins because without the paddle tails sometimes you can survive the bluefish bites. When there are a lot of bluefish around thats really the time I like to switch over to bucktail and pork. Or bucktail and white or chartreuse grub when the water is a little dirty. The advantages to the bucktail is you can bounce it closer to the bottom. Also rough surf I feel its a better thing to throw than the shads because it creates more disturbance and gives a fish a better chance of finding it. The shads for me are a great thing to fish to find fish when they are all over the water column.

    When they are strictly on the bottom a lot of times they are either dormant or eating crabs. For that reason the bucktail is more versatile and is one of the first things out of my bag. Hope that helps, good luck dude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jigfreak View Post
    The advantages to the bucktail is you can bounce it closer to the bottom. Also rough surf I feel its a better thing to throw than the shads because it creates more disturbance and gives a fish a better chance of finding it. For that reason the bucktail is more versatile. Hope that helps, good luck dude.
    I agree jigfreak. I have seen some guys fishing the bucktail and just reeling it in. I suppose that works good for them. it is a good technique to use when fluking as well. I think there is a chapter in Skinner's or Doc Mueller's book that talks about fishing that way. For me, I would rather bounce it. It's more exciting that way. You toss out, bounce bounce, and then all of a sudden BAM!!!!!!! You never know when you will get hit, Alot of the pros say it's on the drop. When that hit does come, its like the fish hooks itself they hit so hard sometimes. It can be pretty addictive.

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    Shads are my goto if I want to know if the fish are there...especially bluefish.

    Caught my first 2014 bass on a 4" rubber shad rigged on one of my ball jigs.

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    Default Bucktails

    Let's hear it guys and gals...spill all your secrets.


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    I searched and went through those threads, there is very little information in there on bucktails.

    I thought they are worthy of their own thread

    Ill add to this thread as we go...

  13. #13
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    Sorry John, buckethead pointed out just a few of the good threads here on bucktails.....
    there are several more if you do a search using that term.....

    As I mentioned in the fishing reports thread, my goal is to make things easy to find here.....and more organized than a site where you have 25 threads on one subject, and not much being said....so I'm gonna merge this with Monty's thread.......

    I'm also gonna post some of my own bucktail advice here....
    I try not to do that too much lately as I feel maybe folks are tired of my one page posts.....


    There is some stuff in here, that might be helpful.....If you go into the surf forum and search "bucktails" in quotes you will find the rest of the threads....
    Anyone has anything to add......this is the thread to do it in.......hope you all understand the reasons behind my actions and there are no hard feelings......and thanks for reading....

  14. #14
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    (previously posted....)


    There is nothing more satisfying to me, than the take of a fish on a plug....I can play those tapes over and over in my head all winter when the noreasters are blowing outside...

    But a bucktail can produce fish more consistently than other artificials......at both ends of the season as well, when the fish are very sluggish and most people think they only will take bait.....

    ...a lot of Jersey guys do not fish bucktails...some do, and those who fish bucktails the right way, and when conditions call for it, are the guys who consistently catch bass.

    I think I mentioned I have gotten legal bass every month this year (2012), so far....

    but the thing that saved me in the hot summer months., were the smallest plugs, and the bucktail, to mimic the smaller forage that the bass were feeding on during this time.
    Rubber also fills in, as mentioned in other threads it's the perfect choice when forage is small.

    During July and August, for me, there really were very few bass in the NJ surf, and I covered a lot of ground trying to find them.

    My last keeper in August, barely 28", I got from pitching a bucktail and grub, for over 2 hours, no signs of fish or any life anywhere.

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    (previously posted)
    http://stripersandanglers.com/Forum/...s-Year-and-Why


    Presentation and where the fish are....

    1. At different times of the season, day, or moon phase, fish will be sitting in different levels of the water column.
    2. Your job as a fisherman is to figure out where that is.
    3. If you don't present to them where there are sitting you will never know that they are there.
    4. In general, (my experience) colder weather, or a cold front, tends to put fish down, where they will sit closer to the bottom.
    5. In my experience, this will hold, in general, unless they are feeding actively on bait, at which point they may rise to the surface.
    6. There are so many variations for this, that the best thing I can say, is you need to understand the water you are fishing in front of you, and think about moon stage, time of day, current flow (during strong current flow fish at times tend to stay on the bottom or sides where current is less strong), water clarity, water temperature, day vs night time fishing, and some other ones I probably forgot to mention.
    7. If you can figure this out, for the place and time you are fishing, it will allow you to work your casts more efficiently.
    8. You will only be working on the part of the water column where the fish are most highly concentrated.
    9. If you really try to keep disciplined about this, you will see that it will result in more hookups, and more fish.




  16. #16
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    (previously posted)
    Winter fishing thread...

    Confidence in what you are throwing....
    For the new guys - finding a "Go To" Profile and presentation that works for you....


    I thought I would offer this to any other new fisherman/woman out there who is learning to fish with artificials...one who is still primarily fishing bait....because of lack of confidence and success, with artificials.....

    Again,, with the disclaimer that what works for me, may not always work for you folks....so this suggestion is intended to help you find something that works exactly for you....

    You will see a lot of discussion on "Go To" lures, plugs, etc etc.,....
    For me, that doesn't work because of my obsessiveness. I feel that different conditions can be such that a slightly different plug or presentation can give me an edge sometimes....

    other times this does not hold true. As long as you can get your offering to within a foot or so of feeding fish and can mimic the forage/bait movement, you should get action.....











    Then why is a Go-To lure or plug so important for the new guys????
    One word....Confidence.....

    My suggestions....
    1. Find a lure or profile (could be metal, wood, plastic, rubber, bucktail, etc) that works for you and you seem to be successful on.

    2. When you are out there, and the conditions permit it, throw your "Go to" as your first offering. If that is the right profile for the forage that is there, you will catch....

    3. But sometimes it will not be...and some people would say you would be stupid for throwing it....ex throwing metal when it's purely a plug bite and they won't touch anything else, not even rubber....so there is some thinking required on your part here, to implement these suggestions...



    4. By throwing something you have extreme confidence in, you will telegraph that confidence through your entire retrieve,.... be more alert, and paying more attention, so there is less likelihood you will lose a fish by being unprepared for the strike......


    5. If there is no activity on that after 5 or 10 minutes, try something else.

    Ex - when I was a child, my Dad taught me how to bowl, by "following through" - he explained that no matter how well I thought my throw would be, it would never optimal unless I saw my hand following through, and continuing in a perfect swing, to mimic what "should" get me a strike or at least 9 pins in the first frame....

    so, in essence, he taught me to pay attention to form, visualize myself being successful, and that visualization WOULD make me successful.....it did work, and when I did poorly he would always point out how I failed to "follow through"....
    Looking back on that early advice, I remember that he was absolutely right....










    ** John...I had a really good in-depth post on when and where and how to fish bucktails....will post it when I get a chance......
    Anyone else wants to add to this thread...feel free....thanks.....

  17. #17
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    ^ (Previously posted)

    Bucktails......

    Last year (2012) it was a goal to get keeper bass every month of the year from land and do it without leaving NJ....I did,, but July and August were extremely tough for me....managed a few keepers in July but very difficult as most fish were gone. I was picking away at needle in a haystack fish...

    August... have to check my logs for exact number but I think I managed to scratch only one or two legal bass. One of them took hours of casting and moving from spot to spot.... I remember spending about 12 hours of fishing over a 2 night period. Even with the time and tide in my favor I could not find one....

    The one thing that finally saved me was a 1/2 oz bucktail with grub....white......

    .,my experience with bucktails is you have to tailor them to the
    1.depth of the water
    2.the current
    3. Stage of tide

    Where you are fishing -
    There are times when you defiinitely need 2 oz in deeper water, rough surf, or the fast current of a full or new moon.,...but that also depends on tide stages...
    There will be times during a new moon tide, which I feel can be stronger at certain times of the year, when I am throwing a 2 oz, but then at the end of the tide I will be throwing 1/2 oz....

    When I fish inlets, rivers. or strong rips - at minimum I have 3 different sizes with me to adjust for changes in current flow.
    You should get in the habit of doing that too....with bucktails the best place for me to be is bouncing just off the bottom. When fish are stacked up it is less critical but there aren't a lot of weeks when you have that.

    The best bites I find on bucktails in NJ generally last from 1-2 hours at a time and are definitely stage of tide dependent.
    Migrating forage will sometimes extend that bite to a little longer, but as you fish more you will see a definite feeding window.











    ** Important points -
    A If the tide lessens and you are dragging on the bottom because your bucktail or jig is too heavy you're not presenting effectively.
    B. If the jig or bucktail is too light, and you are not bouncing the bottom or close to it, you could be missing all the fish that are sitting on the bottom half and never know it....
    C. Even with all our advice, the only thing that will make it work for you is to buy cheap, practice, don't be afraid to lose a few. You need to undertsand what it takes to get hung up and lose rigs, before you can learn the gentle finesse of keeping them just off the bottom

    D. Bucktails and bouncing bottom, IMO are not as popular in NJ as they are in LI, RI and MA. I have friends who bucktail or jig from land and consistently outcatch everyone else in cold water. or when the water is so hot it feels like bathwater (bass are sluggish at both these extreme temps)



    Learning to use them will bring you rewards as one night you will find the fish you didn't think was there, you will land that fish, being the only one on the beach, and let out a Caveman yell of triumph.... ...it will be sweet....but you have to lose some rigs to get to that point...JMO

    Hope that helps.....

  18. #18
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    Great advice guys thank you very much!

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    In the past when I purchased bucktails the first thing I would look at is the hook.

    I want a good strong hook that won't break on me and I want to be able to sharpen it once it dulls. I also want a reasonable hook size and thickness.

    To me this means a Mustad 34185 forged jig hook.

  20. #20
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    ^^^^^ That mustad is a bare hook. Are you pouring your own bucktails? I keep jumping back and forth to favorite hooks. One week I like owner, another week it's dai-ichi. I was using kalins for a while, but they can straighten out when the bass are over 30 lbs. I think you're on the right track if you're targeting bigger bass on bucktails.
    You don't want a whimpy hook, It also depends on how you play the fish. Too many internet surf jockeys post a pic of straightened hooks. It wasn't the fish it was that they had their drag locked down too tight.

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