Monday, September 18, 2023

Artificial Intelligence

I love everything about American eels. They are arguably the most effective and versatile bait when targeting striped bass. Many a book chapter, magazine article, and blog post have been written about their ability to entice stripers into gulping them down like candy. An eel was responsible for my largest bass ever landed and I’m sure the same can be said by countless anglers up and down the Striper Coast. 

For a long time now, lure makers have been trying to, with varying levels of success, duplicate the American eel’s shape, suppleness, and action. I have been fishing eels in nearly every fashion possible for as long as I can remember and don’t plan on giving them up entirely anytime soon. All that said, they are expensive, can be a pain to deal with, and are sadly becoming scarcer as the years tick by.  

Companies like Lunker City, Hogy, RonZ, Al Gag’s, Berkley were some of the OGs of my early days of fishing eel imitations, and they still make great baits today. However, it’s been intriguing to witness the arms race of long, slender soft-plastics come to market over the last 20 years. By names like Got Stryper, Game On!, Fish Snax Lures, JoeBaggs, Zinger Baits, and Gravity Tackle to name a few. There are limitless combinations of size, color, and rigging options available to today’s angler for nearly any situation they could encounter. So much so the choices can be overwhelming.

Over time, I have been building up my arsenal of soft-plastics and my confidence in using them. I am starting to find more consistency in my success and part of that can be attributed to selecting the right bait and rigging style to match the spot and its conditions on a given outing. Like in every kind of fishing that I do, it has been a fun, never ending journey of learning. The farther down this rabbit hole I go, the more I realize how much there is still to learn, explore, and experiment.

We’re on a loop. Enjoy the ride.

The author with a healthy striped bass that fell for a 13.5" GT eel rigged on a 1/2 oz. jig head. 

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