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Written By: Steve ‘Hippo’ Lau, July 11, 2014
It wasn't too long ago (or so it seems to old guys like me!) that surf fishing for stripers was a "manly" sort of endeavor.
The ten to thirteen foot fiberglass rods coupled with reels capable of holding 250 - 350 yards of 30 pound monofilament line were quite weighty, and it took a bit of working out to be able to handle such beastly tackle for hours at a time. We were tossing four to six ounce lures with these outfits and these outsized lures counted for some outsized stripers!
The number one lure at the time was the time honored four ounce "Miki-mouse". The Miki was a lead spoon that for all intents and purposes kind of looks like a flats boat's hull. Flat on top (often with an embossed scale pattern) and with a bottom that resembles a boat's v-shaped hull, this heavy lure would swim upwards on a retrieve, true to its boat-like shape.
A classic Miki sported a nice single hook that was tied with some white buck tail. I have never seen a Miki tied with anything but a white buck tail. I have often wondered if it would be more effective with say, a red or yellow or even pink buck tail, but that question will have to be answered in the near future.
Some of us tricky guys would always have a hairless Miki tucked away somewhere in our tackle bag for those days when the wind would come up and a Miki with a plain hook would fly just a few feet farther due to less wind resistance.
Another popular lure was the Giant Pikie Minnow. The popularity of this lure stems from its ability to catch big fish. It was indeed a rarity for this lure to catch any striper smaller than fifteen pounds.
Resembling a little league baseball bat with a metal lip, the Giant Pikie had this slow motion side to side wobble that to me looks like a big baitfish that is oblivious to any imminent danger. The mere sight of one of these lures swimming by a hungry striper was enough to get that striper to attack the lure violently. This was not a lure for the weak of heart!
A third lure that could almost always be found in an old timer's tackle bag was the Pencil Popper. The Pencil Popper, a surface lure, was shaped like an elongated tear drop, with the tail hook attached to the fat end of the lure.
Shaped as such, the lure could certainly fly on a hard cast, and could do so without tumbling mid-air. This lure was often fished with a "shock leader", a short piece of 50 - 80 pound test mono with a snap on one end and a large 2/0 - 4/0 swivel on the other end.
When the lure was worked by shaking the rod and cranking the reel, the large swivel would bounce in front of the Pencil Popper and make a big splash. I suppose that this would look like a big baitfish desperately trying to chase down a dinner in front of him. Whether or not this is what it is supposed to look like, stripers were more than willing to keep the lure from catching its prey!
Well, things have changed a bit since those old days, and next time we will explore the present world of the lures for surf stripers.
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