All eyes were locked on the horizon: a mix of stripers and blues had owned a school of sand eels to the surface.
The frenzy drew in a flock of gulls, which in turn brought in a picket line of anglers planting their feet right at the water’s edge. I stood among the surfcasters, ready the blitz to move into range.
Come on, a little closer … a little closer … Here we go!
What Are the Best Surf Fishing Metal Lures?
The diving birds and breaking fish lastly moved within the 100-yard mark, and every angler sprang into action. I unleashed a herculean cast with my 11-foot browse rod and listened to the line put through the guides, brought by the weight of the lure. I saw it land with a plunk right in the middle of the school of fish. A few other fishermen landed casts ingot he fray too, however as I picked up my slack line and started my retrieve, most of the other fishermen were desperately drawing in surface poppers to take a 2nd shot at reaching the action. Three develops into my retrieve, I hooked up, and a quick glance down the beach exposed that every angler utilizing a metal lure was leaning back into a fish.
It’s for minutes like this that every surfcaster needs to keep a few of these basic, reliable, long-casting lures in their plug bag. Reaching far-off fish, nevertheless, is not the only reason to stock up on metal lures, or “casting tins,” as they are frequently called by surfcasters.
For many years, I used metal lures for two reasons only: to reach out-of-range blitzes and to feed bluefish an offering they couldn’t ruin. I bought into several prevalent mistaken beliefs about these lures: that metals just catch bass during a blitz, that metals will not operate at night, that metals need to be fished with a quick recover. As a result, I failed to make the most of the remarkable versatility of metal lures in the surf.
So, what are the top surf fishing lures? Metals are available in a range of sizes and styles from a number of makers, but there are a few qualities that apply for all them. For one, metals are the best-casting lures offered to the surfcaster, period. The combination of heavy weight and fairly little size allows anglers to fill up the rod and send the lures seaward with very little wind resistance. Metals can be operated in a variety of methods: bounced along the bottom, swum through the middle of the water column, even splashed throughout the surface area as topwaters. Metals can simulate almost any baitfish and will lure practically every types that ventures into the Northeast surf. I have actually captured stripers, blues, fluke, weakfish, croakers, cow- nose rays, false albacore and Spanish mackerel on metal lures cast from the beach.
Metal Selection and Tactics
Your local tackle shop most likely has an entire wall devoted to metal lures, and the question of which to buy can be a bit confounding. Choosing a metal depends mostly on the target species, the common baitfish and the water conditions. For surfcasting in the Northeast, I divide metal lures into four classifications: sand eel impersonators, peanut bunker/sea herring copy cats, basic function metals and specific niche metals.
Sand Eel Imitators
Sand-eel-imitating metals, like the Point Jude PoJee and the Ava Jig with tubing, are long-term fixtures in my plug bag. Slim, sand-eel-mimicking metal lures don’t have much fundamental action, but anglers can impart their own action to make them tempting to fish. When fishing these lures, keep the routines of sand eels in mind. They will burrow into the sand, so occasionally dragging your metal along the bottom to send up a puff of debris might get the attention of any close-by bass. Lifting and dropping these lures is another effective retrieve. A constant recover while periodically pumping the rod will also draw strikes from sand-eel-crazed bass and blues.
When diving birds or spraying baitfish aren’t betraying the area of feeding fish, attempt casting these metals over sandbars and working them through the white water formed by breaking waves. If there are sand eels in the area, this technique is close to a sure thing. Waves breaking over sandbars dislodge the slim baitfish, and bass and blues wait in the much deeper water at the edges of these bars for an easy meal.
Lures from 1 to 2 ounces will work under many conditions, however if the current is running hard or there is a strong onshore wind, bumping up to a 3-ounce metal could conserve the day.
Given its little profile, this type of metal lure will sink quickly, so it requires a relatively quick recover if you wish to keep it above the bottom. If a slow obtain is had to hook fish, you’ll have to rely on a wide-profile metal lure.
Peanut Bunker/Sea Herring Imitators
When deep-bodied baitfish like mullet, peanut bunker and sea herring are running the beaches in the fall, I clip on metal lures with similarly large profiles that ride high in the water column, have a great deal of wobble and give off a great deal of flash. The Point Jude Butterfish, Point Jude Sea Scallop and the Krocodile spoon perfectly mimic these baitfish.
These metals work well on a straight, slow retrieve because their broad profile causes them to airplane towards the surface. I’ll add in the occasional stop to let the lure flutter to the bottom, and on a regular basis the strikes will come as quickly as I resume my obtain. I’ll cast them along the edges of peanut bunker schools or next to jetties or rockpiles that decrease the baitfish on their migration south.
With these lures, the goal is to fish high in the water column with a reasonably slow recover, so draws from 1 to 2 ounces work best. Clip on something heavier than that, and you’ll have to obtain too quickly for it to be reliable.
General Purpose Metals for Surf Fishing
General function metals are the ones that I use throughout the year for a wide variety of types. The lures that fall under this classification are the Hopkins No= Eql, Kastmaster, Point Jude Nautilus and A.O.K. T-Hex, all with bucktail teaser hooks. I particularly like utilizing these metals along sandy beaches that have structure a long way from the coastline. In these scenarios, when soft-plastic lures, bucktails and even most plugs will not reach the fish-holding water, I turn to “basic function” metals. These lures can be effective on really sluggish retrieves, permitting you to keep the lure in the strike zone longer, particularly if that strike zone is at completion of your cast.
I likewise use these metals as prospecting lures to discover fish that are expanded. One early September morning, I walked along about a mile of sandy beach casting a Hopkins Shorty. There was relatively little structure and just a few scattered schools of small baitfish– nothing to concentrate the fish. I made my way down the beach, casting indiscriminately, switching my recover from slow and consistent to quick and irregular to bottom-bouncing. By the end of the trip, I ‘d captured stripers, bluefish, and a number of fluke, including one keeper. By slightly changing the obtain, I was able to target numerous types with the very same lure.
Specific niche Metals
The term “niche metals” describes lures that stand out at one particular application. For example, 3⁄4- to 1-ounce Deadly Dicks and Swedish Pimples are impressive false albacore and bonito lures, but I rarely, if ever, use them when these speedsters aren’t around. Other metal lures in this category are the heavy 4- to 5-ounce Crippled Herring lures I use in the Cape Cod Canal and the 4-ounce Kastmasters and Ava jigs I use during fall Nor’easter s. During these storms, when the wind is yelling and the waves are developing however the water has actually not yet become silted up, heavy metals shine.
No matter which metals you purchase, I can provide one piece of recommendations: do not wait till the bite is on to go buy them. The popularity of metal lures is almost cyclical, as if anglers never ever think about purchasing them till they absolutely require them. In the spring, when the blues show up, it’s pretty much guaranteed that take on shops will sell out of Krocodile spoons and Kastmasters. The first reports of incorrect albacore are sure to clear out supplies of Deadly Dicks. When the stripers start making a pig of on sand eels in the late fall, finding Ava jigs in the right size can be a chore. It’ses a good idea to buy the metals you may need well ahead of when you prepare to use them.
Tips for Fishing Metals
Though fishing with metal lures is quite uncomplicated once you’ ve found out which designs to fish and when to fish them, these suggestions will help you catch more fish on these timeless lures.
An 8- to 11-foot surf rod ranked from 1 to 3 or 4 ounces will cover most of your metal fishing needs. Simply make sure the lures you are casting fall within the capabilities of your rod. A moderate- to fast-action rod will work just fine, but the quicker the rod action, the farther you will have the ability to cast metals.
Because metals periodically spin during the obtain, use a barrel swivel to attach your leader to your primary line. Otherwise, your line will twist and eventually cause a major tangle.
I do not like utilizing metal lures with treble hooks. It makes unhooking fish harder, and hooksets merely aren’t as solid with a treble hook. A large Siwash hook has more “bite,” enabling more secure hooksets and less lost fish. A single hook dressed with bucktail gives the lure some added appeal, too.
Metals make an excellent lure to “provide” light-weight teasers to fish that are focused on little baits. In the fall, when bass, blues and albies key in on little bay anchovies or sand eels, fishing a teaser will sometimes be the only way to get a bite. Due to the fact that teaser rigs increase an offering’s wind resistance, fishing teasers decreases casting range. Coupling teasers with metal lures, nevertheless, will mitigate this issue and help you reach the feeding fish. When utilizing slim metals that likewise “match the hatch,” double headers are not uncommon.
The only constraints metal lures have in the browse are the ones you impose on them. When you consider how well metal lures cast, they may be a lot more flexible than the bucktail jig. So toss a few of these oft-overlooked lures into your plug bag next time you’re headed for the high browse. Casting tins have actually been catching striped bass and blues for generations and will continue to do so for several years to come.