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smokey

Time for a fishing question

22 posts in this topic

I have fished with every bait striper eat but the bait store is the only way I've ever gotten bait (other than river herring)

I know river herring are off limits and I for one am glad. But there are still lots of good choices out there. I'm particularly interested in sand eels, sea warms, macks, and squid.

so lets here some tricks/techniques on obtaining live bait. like were can you find them, do you need any special permit, how do you catch them, is there a better time to find them (time of day/year). I know most of the basics but others might not so give details

Thanks :banana:

Bill H this should be right up your ally.

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Smokey,

First thing you're going to need is a license from the coastal community your going to dig/net/rake in whether it be for eels, clams, seaworms, or....

Then, I'd ask that town where you can dig legally and any other details like that and I'd ask the best places.

I don't think there are enough sandeels up your way to rake for them. Mackerel you can get on Sabiki rigs and Squid on Squid jigs when they are around.

Probably your best bet is to get an eel pot (or use a wire mesh minnow trap) and set it out in some marsh where it's in the water at all tides and you can reach it daily. Bait it with fish, the older the better.

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I like to get macks, when they're around, on a schoolie rig or even a freshwater rig. Just put a small Kastmaster or any other kind of tin on and you'll hook up on every cast. With a light enough combo you can have almost as much fun catching the bait as you do fishing for stripers.

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Macs and squid are a very unreliable bait source. Your best bet is to stock up on macs when they run in the spring and freeze enough for the season.

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i don't wanna go off topic but scoobe.........

say a person did that with herring from last year ( froze them) i wonder what would happen if ya got caught.

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i don't wanna go off topic but scoobe.........

say a person did that with herring from last year ( froze them) i wonder what would happen if ya got caught.

My understanding from DMF is that if you are stopped with Herring in your possession the burdon of proof is on you that they are Sea Herring. If you can't prove it, you pay whatever the fine is.

It is illegal to "Possess" River Herring/Alewife.

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I think people are confused a little abot the Herring ban

Just so everyone is on the same page, Alewife/river herring are ban

Blueback herring/searun herring are ok to catch and use

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Last summer, I got smart and bought a used freezer for my bait.

That made my wife very happy, as she used to cringe when I stole freezer space for bait.

Then in Oct/Nov, when most of the stripahs headed out, the macs invaded, chowing on the peanuts.

I was able to stock up with macs and some smaller pollocks.

Sabiki rigs, small metal and small jigs was much fun on lite tackle.

I noticed the macs come in close for a while in spring, then head out to the river mouth and shoreline rocks.

I used to see tons of sand eels in one of our local rivers, but not in the last couple years. Makes me wonder what happened?

Smokey! You coming up to Maine this year to help me use up my bait? :banana:

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Guyza, there use to be a lot of sand eels in the Ogunquit river and the estuaries. I was given a bunch (from Ogunquit) two summers ago. Never tried to catch em however, how did you catch them...pot, net, rake? Thanks

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Thanks guys,good stuff.

How do you find Macks and squid? is there any thing on the surface to look for or are they just gona show up on the fish finder in the same place every year?

I'm planning a trip to Brewster for a week in late July with my boat.I wasn't sure if the flats were a good place to dig eels.I've heard there are often macks around the target ship but not that late in the year.

I think if I had some river herring leftover from last season I'd use them for chum so they wouldn't be recognized.

Guyza sounds like a plan,we'll work on it later in the spring.

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Guyza, there use to be a lot of sand eels in the Ogunquit river and the estuaries. I was given a bunch (from Ogunquit) two summers ago. Never tried to catch em however, how did you catch them...pot, net, rake? Thanks

In the Ogunquit, huge balls of sand eels would swim between my legs as the tide came in.

Didn't have anything to catch them with as I was just casting plastic while my kids were swimming nearby.

Did not witness any eels last year. Perhaps it was timing?

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How do you find Macks and squid? is there any thing on the surface to look for or are they just gona show up on the fish finder in the same place every year?

im pretty sure macs show up and people find them with the FF in the spring. in the fall they will chase peanuts on the surface

I have mostly seen squid in RI they seem to prefer docks where theres bait and if theres a light on the water even better. Maybe you can buy a powerful light and attract them to your boat.

What do you need bait for? are you actually gonna fish this year :P :P

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What do you need bait for? are you actually gonna fish this year :P :P

Ha Ha :lol: True I didn't get out as much as I wanted to (about half as much) But I did manage to boat a 42" fish and witness the blitz to end blitzes in Boston harbor 2 days in a row so I'd call it a decent year.

This year I'll do better

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Normally make a trip in late May to load up on mackerel for the season. If you want good quality bait keep them iced down when you catch them and freeze them as soon as possible. When you freeze wrap them individually in plastic wrap then aluminum foil. Put them in the freezer on wire racks, don't stach them on top of each other. You want to freeze them as fast as possible.

The main way to get sand eels is to rake them. I'm not sure where to get a rake up here but down on the cape you can get them. The hardware store in the middle of Ptown, I think it's an Ace, has them at a good price. the most common way to rake them is wade out at low tide in a soft sand area. If you find them swinning a cast net works well and dosen't beat them up like a rake. Sand eels really are only good when fresh, they don't freeze well.

Squid are best caught at night with bright lights on the water. There around in the late spring. The Yo-zuri squid jig works really well. You can sometimes pick them up from well lit docks around Portsmouth. Some of the party boats on the cape make night runs for squid. I usually buy them fresh and uncleaned at local fish stores.

Eels are fairly easy to get using a trap. If you can get horseshoe crabs these are by far the best bait for eels. Get and old 50 quart cooler and a fish tank aerator, keep in a cool place, don't feed them, change the water every 4 or 5 days and you can keep them for at least a month. Paint the inside of the cooler black and the eel will stay dark.

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That's a lot of good info Mike, thanks

I'll have to practice with my cast net.

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Thanks Mike. Another ? It was stated previously in the thread that a license may be required for for eels. Anyone do this? Is it local? How much? :P

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If your from NH you can get a free permit for eels. I'm not sure what NH is doing with alewives but the permit for them was free last year.

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Permit? I didn't know you needed a permit to dig sandworms? I carry a small three pronged digging tool in my kayak and ha.ve sued it to dig forworms at low tide at the edge of mussel beds on occasion. Big honking ones BTW

I might dig a dozen or so in 5-10 minutes--- I didn't know I needed a permit to do that.

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Kind of crazy you can catch fish all day long, but if you want to use a clam, worm or eel you need a permit :P to catch bait.

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You got a point there Zippy! I could possibly see harvesting "bait" commercially, but not for personal use. :P

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My Dad used to dig worms 40+ years ago (for recreational use) and you needed a permit even then.

I'm thinking of getting back into it this year. If you do a lot of fishing a non resident, non commerical digging permit will save you money in the long run instead of paying 5 bucks a dozen for worms.

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In NH you need a sea worm license if you want to take more then a quart a day. No permit needeed for personal use, quart or less.

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