• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On January 12, 2017
  • Comments
  •  2

Like Nick’s tips for soft plastics in the south? Here is a follow up with suggestions and techniques geared towards the northeast.

We covered soft plastics for the south in last week’s blog, now let’s concentrate on what soft plastics reign supreme up north from New Jersey through the New England states. A different cast of characters inhabit the rocky jetties, boulder lined coasts, deep water bays and in the surf; including striped bass, bluefish, summer flounder, weakfish, and false albacore. Water temperatures are way cooler in general, but will enter tropical temperatures during the heat of the summer, allowing for a wide span of bait-mimicking profiles to utilize throughout the year as spearing, adult and peanut bunker, sand eels, bay anchovies and herring are the predominant baits.

Starting from the bottom, if you’re not fluke fishing with Berkeley Gulp! Baits, you’re simply not in the game. Hot shot offerings include the 3 to 4-inch white Swimming Mullet or Natural Shrimp when plying the shallow 4 to 10 foot backwaters, while larger offerings like the 6-inch Gulp Grub in chartreuse or 4-inch Nemesis Chicken on a Chain (man I love that name) works best when tipped on large bucktails plying the ocean grounds or deep bays in 25 to 65 feet of water. All Northeast anglers know that striped bass are number one on the hit list. Jersey anglers tend to drop and jig 6-inch Storm Wild Eye Swim Shad in bunker pattern from the boat deck onto striper schools off the coast, while New England bass hounds prefer to cast Hogy Original 7 to 10-inch soft baits around boulder fields and rocky outcroppings, but I’ve seen many a Jersey and Montauk Angler surfcasting the Hogy baits off the jetties, rocks and surfline as well. For back bay bassing, the 3-inch Tsunami Holographic Shad or 5-inch Berkeley Gulp! Smelt Jerk Shad tipped on a light 3/8 to ½ ounce leadhead will pick off stripers from the sodbanks and pull ‘em out from under the docks.

During predawn hours, weakfish can be found cruising bay channels during moving tides, and if you’re lucky enough to find them, toss out Zoom 5-inch Super Fluke in pink or 4 to 5-3/4-inch Fin-S fish in Bubble Gum or Rainbow Trout color patterns. A quick tip for weakfish is to reel the rubber bait in very slowly and methodically without even twitching it. False albacore speed around for a run and gun approach off the coastline and I’ve had success with the same Zoom grubs, but rigged with the ever so slightest weight, cast out and sharply twitch jerked frantically to garner a strike on the surface or down in the water column. And when it comes to bluefish, well, my advice is to not throw any soft plastics. You’ll just be wasting money. But if you must, any soft bait will work, just try and best mimic the bait that’s in the water at the time.

Gear Used


Zoom Salty Super Fluke

The deep belly of the Super Fluke causes it to dart, glide and knuckleball through the water, while its universal baitfish size allows it to tempt both limit-sized bass and the biggest fish on your lake. Rigged weightless, it skitters across the surface like an injured shad, but a belly-weighted hook or some insert weights allow you to employ it as deep as necessary.


Lunker City

Lunker City Fin-S Lures

If any artificial lure can mimic a baitfish better than the original Slug-Go, it’s got to be the Fin-S Fish, with its thinner, deeper-bodied profile and forked tail. The Fin-S Fish has been part of the Lunker City line up since the mid-eighties. In recent years, its fish catching abilities and its popularity with anglers have prompted a number of manufacturers to blatantly copy the Fin-S Fish — but none of the copies can come close to matching Lunker City’s original in fish catching action or in color patterns that capture the appearance of various baitfish species.



Hogy 10″ Original

The DOA Big Fish Lure, an 8” long swim bait, looks so natural it even fools humans. This innovative new swim bait gives you many options and you can fish the lure in many different ways. It has proven itself on snook, tarpon, striped bass, trophy seatrout and all offshore species. Its an excellent swim bait for the lunker bass of the West, Southwest and Southeast. Also good for trophy muskies and northern pike.


Berkley Gulp!

Berkley Gulp! Saltwater Grub

Berkley Gulp! Saltwater baits are made from natural ingredients that release 400 times more scent than plastic baits. Formulated especially for ocean gamefish, Berkley Gulp! Saltwater is so potent it can actually OUTFISH live bait. Plus it’s 100 percent biodegradable for a cleaner environment. Stock up on a full selection of Gulp! Saltwater baits and you’ll experience more action than ever! They all look, smell, and move just like the real thing.



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