Long Island Beach Buggy Association
                           "Keepers of the Beach"

*Since 1958*    * Conservation * Ecology * Beach Access * 

Tackle Tuesday, Volume 1- Bucktail

  A town in Nebraska; a state park in Pennsylvania and the end opposite the head of a rivet. What do they have in common?.....Bucktail!

The Bucktail is also probably one of the most multifaceted, all-purpose, all-species, and effective lures ever invented. Evidence to its effectiveness during WWII, our Navy included a bucktail and handline in the survival kits of sailors and pilots. For the most part it’s basic; a lead head with a hook and the hair of a dead animal. Yes, the hair is literally from the tail of a deer

It can be fished many ways and in many different conditions; shore, jetties or from a boat (even though boat fish don’t count). It mimics several baitfish; therefore, it catches a wide variety of species. It is a lure that should be included in everyone’s surf bag and comes in a wide range of styles and sizes.

Styles and Sizes

       Smaller jigs from ¼ ounce to 1 ounce are great in shallow water and imitate small bait like bay anchovies and peanut bunker.  Remember you want to try to “Match the Hatch”.  

       Larger bucktails weighing 1 to 3 ounces work well in deep water and fast-moving currents. They are great lookalikes to a wider profile baitfish like bunker or squid and are a favorite of stripers and blues. Invite Smilin’ Bill to fish with you.

Sometimes it pays to add something to make your jig look more appealing,  like a strip of Gulp or Otter Tail, and then you can always ask Uncle Josh what he uses.

Method to the Madness

      Since it is such a popular lure and has been around for a very long time, there is a lot of research you can do on your own to familiarize yourself with the Bucktail and the different methods of using it. There are tons of articles, videos, and books about fishing with them. A Long Island local John Skinner has a great book and YouTube videos focusing on just the bucktail. The best thing you can do is try it out; put in the time and effort and figure it out on your own. Is it better to use a slow or medium retrieve, bounce on the bottom or keep it high in the water column, what does a thick tuft of hair do vs. a thin tuft, white hair with a red split tail, or chartreuse with a white tail?  Practice different types under different conditions. Go to your local tackle shop, ask for their guidance and pick up a few.  Most of all get out there and fish! 

I hope you enjoyed the read!

Joe Pellegrini

Director of Courtesy Patrol


Tackle Tuesday, Volume 2-Minnow

The year is 1960, Tom & Mildred Hyland (my grandparents) bought a small piece of land on a big lake a few miles south of the Canadian border in the northeast corner of Vermont. Back then before major interstates it would take them, my mom,  two aunts, one uncle and “Lucky” (their dog who was prone to getting car sick) 12 long hours to get to the lake from Long Island. My grandfather built a house, a dock, and as a result still builds memories that our family has been making there ever since. Now picture this; a sunny July day in the late ‘70’s, me (with a full head of hair) pulling on a piece of rope attached to our dock and at the end of it in this odd-shaped metal contraption with tons of little fish (and the occasional crawfish) wiggling like crazy; MINNOWS! Like many of us, this is where it all started, our first fish encounter was with a minnow. I guess I can say I’ve been fishing since the ‘70’s, and by default I’m a seasoned fisherman and know everything there is to know about fishing. Well, the first part is true, the second part…not so much; I’m always learning.

The Minnow

This lure is another solid go to that has stood the test of time. The minnow also has crossover appeal with the freshwater community, where they are commonly referred to as “jerk bait”. Most have two sets of hooks, some of the longer ones have three and they are almost always a treble, although sometimes you will see a siwash tagging along. They are lightweight and easy to cast. They now come in a ton of colors; who would have ever thought that a striper would try to eat a “School bus”, that “Chicken Scratch'' isn't just sloppy handwriting and what the heck is a "blurple"?   Another bonus is that they are relatively inexpensive, which is perfect for a newer surfcaster who doesn’t quite have their knot tying skills down pat. 

Styles and Sizes

Style wise, they are all very similar in shape and easily recognizable. Usually they have a pronounced bottom lip, which helps with the action of the plug as well as the depth in which it will swim. Most of them commonly range in length from 5”-7” and weigh in at less than an ounce to 1.5 oz or more if there is a brave doctor in the house. 

Here are a couple of Old School and New(ish) school examples worth looking into:

Cotton Cordell Red Fin- this is an old school plug, that swims close to the surface with a nice V wake, and wiggle.  The major downside of it is that  out of the box it's on the lighter side and casts poorly in even a little wind.  To overcome this many anglers “load” the plug by drilling a small hole in the body and filling the hollow cavity with either water, mineral oil, or BBs. You would then close the hole and get to casting. If you are brave enough to give it a shot feel free to add “Plug Surgeon” to your resume. 

Bomber Long A- Another longtime favorite that’s made a great impression among the surfcasting community. It is a decent caster out of the package weighing in at 1.5 oz. and it’s long at 7”. That big profile makes it a great target for larger sized stripers. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and its lip is more pronounced making it a deeper swimmer.  

Daiwa Salt Pro or SP Minnow- a newer school plug that has magnets in the body that help load your cast. This plug by far is the best caster out of the box.  It has great action, and can be found in a variety of flashy colors that add to the attraction. It only swims about 3’ below the surface so it’s great for shallower water. The one downfall of it is that the stock hardware is a little flimsy, so it might be a good idea to change the factory split rings and hooks; dust off your “plug surgeon” diploma from earlier.

Method to the Madness

The main goal of these lures is not only to look like a bait fish but to mimic a wounded one. Here’s where time, effort, trial, and error come into play. What retrieve work best for the conditions at hand and the style lure you are using. Should you use a fast retrieve or a painfully slow one? What kind of wiggle or swagger do you see when you change it up?  Do you twitch (jerk) it every three cranks? Or is a twitch-twitch-pause going to do the trick? Did you inject too many CCs of water during surgery and mess up the plugs wiggle? So, what’s the right amount, is 5 too little, 12 too much or is 10 just right? That’s all part of it, remember there’s a reason it’s called fishing, and not “catching”.

I hope you enjoyed the read!

Joe Pellegrini

Director of Courtesy Patrol


No photos
Updated on: March 14, 2024

Tackle Tuesday, Vol. 3-Diamond Jig

What’s the hardest known natural material? I hope you said a diamond and not your stubborn friend’s head. So, what does a diamond, an eating utensil and some medical supplies have in common? You’re about to find out….

The “Jig” is up!

Take a slim piece of metal and attach a hook to it. Truthfully in terms of a fishing lure, it doesn’t get any simpler than a Diamond Jig (sorry bucktail fans). Sure, over the years there have been tweaks and variations. Some are enhanced by a tuft of bucktail, some are hammered with dimples like a golf ball, holographic stickers adorn others, and others have a colored piece of surgical tube attached to the hook. However for the most part the standard has remained unchanged.  The old salties call it the “Ava” jig, (more on that in a later volume), they are also sometimes referred to as “spoons” so don’t be confused by the lingo.  Put on your “plug surgeon” cap from the last volume; drill a couple of holes in an actual spoon, tie your line to one end and a hook on the other, cast it out and see what happens; talk about simple.  Stripers love them, blues go crazy for them, fluke will give them a taste and when their buddy Albie shows up, he can’t resist them either. They are durable and inexpensive and should definitely have a slot reserved in your plug bag.

Styles and Sizes

For the standard diamond jig, the most common weight is a 007, which weighs .07 oz. Then there is the A17 which is 1.7 oz., the A27-2.7oz., and the A47 which is 4.7 oz.  If there is very little current, pretend you’re James Bond and start with a 007. If there is a stronger sweep, a little windy or you need to send it deep over a sandbar, switch to an A17. The heavier A27 will sit deeper in the water column which is great for an inlet not to mention the heavier weight will help you cast far when a stiff wind is in your face.

Color-wise the three usual suspects for our area: red, white, and green. The color is a result of the small rubber surgical tube that covers the shank of the hook.  White is probably the most common one you’ll see and is very versatile. Red when slowly dragged on the bottom looks like a sand or bloodworm, a striper delicacy, and green…bluefish can’t seem to stay away.

As mentioned previously, there are a lot of styles and shapes. Some are flashy and dressed up more than others.  Definitely own a few choices of the standard rubber tubed version. If you’re looking for a wide range of sizes and styles pick up some Charlie Graves Tins made by West End Fishing Tackle Inc. they're made locally here on Long Island by one of our own LIBBA members and are proven fish catchers. A version or two of a  Deadly Dick, especially when the Albies make their way to our shores will be effective.  Always buy from your local tackle shop and pick their brain as to what works best and when.

Method to the Madness

These lures are one of the better choices to throw from the beach for two reasons; they target multiple species and their casting ability.  Because of their weight and relatively streamlined shape, they cut through the wind with ease and allow you to cast quite a distance; a big perk if you’re trying to land it over a sand bar or to impress your friends. They’re also excellent if you’re in the middle of a blitz. The straightforward one hook design gives you an efficient turnaround to quickly send another cast into the boil. Being bluefish tooth proof allows you to unhook and get to casting immediately; no re-baiting or swapping out damaged plugs when you’re using a tin. What color works best? Should you use a slow retrieve dragging bottom or a crazy fast retrieve to spark a finned multicolored torpedo to pursue your offering? There is only one way to find out...get out there a cast.  As I said earlier, these are basic looking, and unlike other lures; these are ones that catch more fish than fisherman. 

I hope you enjoyed the read!

Joe Pellegrini

Director of Courtesy Patrol


Tackle Tuesday, Volume 4- Metal Lip Swimmer

A 1956 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday; my dad’s first car. “It was 1969 and I was working at my uncle Albert’s gas station in Merrick. An older lady pulled in to get the car checked out; turns out it needed a new starter. She couldn’t be bothered to have it fixed, so I bought it from her for $25 bucks. It was two-tone pink and cream color, big shiny chrome bumpers, power everything, the car was a classic, it was mint…drove it for maybe a year then it died.” -My Dad.  

I’m sure a bunch of you are reminiscing… you might have owned one or knew someone who did. For the young folk, if you don’t know what one looks like (I didn’t), I’ll pause so you can Google it.  Moving on… Years ago a reporter was interviewing Mike Tyson regarding an upcoming match. The reports asked him if he was worried about his opponent and their fight plan. Tyson famously replied, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. So that brings me to this… What does a 67-year-old car and Evander Holyfield’s mouth have in common…. a fat lip!  (OK fine, maybe that was a bit of a stretch.)

Metal Lip Swimmers

  Like my dad’s Oldsmobile, these plugs are old school; first hitting the surf in the 1940’s.  Metal lip swimmers are just that, plugs (historically wooden) that have a large metal lip at the front of them. They are designed to have a “swim” action, and that large wide metal lip (among other things) is what gives it its mojo.

They are big, and for some people a challenge to cast. With the large body flipping and flopping in the wind, the hooks sometimes tangle with each other or on to your line, resulting in it hitting the water “balled” up and ineffective. As a result of this, most people think of using them in calm conditions, but many will tell you the more white water the better. Out of all the plugs in your bag, these are the costly ones. Prices usually start in the high teens up to the mid-$30 range. Trust me on this one…It's heartbreaking to see a $35 plug being launched further than you’ve ever cast before. So, practice your knots, and then practice some more.

Styles and Sizes

Flat head, slope head, rounded, and jointed; surface, sub surface and divers.  For a plug with such a long history and has so many styles (not to mention styles within the styles), I can probably write a Tackle Tuesday Volume highlighting each one. Honestly, I probably will so we can pay homage to each style as well as the people who created them; both plug and the people themselves sure deserve it.

Most of them usually come with two treble hooks, one placed behind the front 1/3 of the body and the other placed at the beginning of the last 1/3. Commonly there is a “tail” that is dressed in the look of a bucktail, some plug makers add a single siwash on the end while some have another treble.  They range between 4 ¾ inches up to 11 inches and from 1oz up to 4 oz. With the most popular sizes in the 7.5” 2 ¾-4 oz size.

  The version you usually see the most is the surface swimmer (self-explanatory). There are also versions that swim below the surface (2-3 feet down) and deep swimmers; that for the most part is just heavier in weight and with an adjusted lip or different placement of the line tie

     In order to keep things manageable, I’m only going to expose the tip of the iceberg regarding these plugs and put more focus on the most popular (also most fun to use in my opinion) and probably the first style you will purchase; the surface swimmer.

The most common style of surface swimmer has a flat face behind the metal lip. It’s got a wide body that bellies out in the middle before tapering to a slightly slimmer tail. As a result of this style, while swimming on the surface the plug pivots from the center of its body (unlike minnow plugs that swim from the nose) causing the tail section to wag side-to-side. This swagger is usually enhanced by a dressed Siwash hook or a hookless flag. Like the Beach Boys say, this sends out good vibrations in the water that predator fish can’t resist. In my opinion nothing gets your adrenaline going like watching your plug throw off some top water waves and watching a Striped Bass or Blue Fish stalk your offering and then slam it. 

Method to the Madness

Along with the assortment of styles and colors of these plugs, there are also a lot of videos on them, so invest the time and look at some of them.  Take note of the various versions and see which one(s) you’d like to try first.

To start, let the current do most of the work and vary your retrieve as you move the plug through different types of water; pay attention to how it moves. What is the best approach? a slow wide wobble, or a fast tight one.  An occasional jerk of the rod tip that causes the plug to twitch or splash lightly can be very effective. This extra sound and vibration will set it apart from the common sound of the water and will potentially trigger a fish to investigate and strike.  Like most things, these take some practice.

The shape or bend of the lip as well as the placement of the line tie play a major role in the way the plug moves. Bend the line tie up slightly to obtain a deeper retrieve and down for more surface action.  Should the fine-tuning  be kept to the line tie or the lip; maybe both? try it and find out. Take notes (remember you have a logbook for a reason) of any adjustments you made, or style of your retrieve. Pay attention and learn the little nuances on how the plug reacts to each tweak.  Take 20 casts one way, if nothing happens; take 20 casts trying something different..The best piece of advice is:  you guessed it…practice.  

These are some handsome looking plugs with some substance to them. Size wise they are the largest ones that have been covered so far. Heck some of the bigger jointed ones won’t fit in your regular plug bag. That said, with the big shiny lip, big eyes, and some cool colors these plugs catch both fish AND fisherman.


“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau

I hope you enjoyed the read!

Joe Pellegrini

Director of Courtesy Patrol



Tackle Tuesday,Volume 5-  "Lingo"

       Well, here we are again, good ol’ Tackle Tuesday. I’m having fun writing them and from the huge response I’ve been getting, you guys enjoy reading them. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, I appreciate all the kind words, and my mom is very proud.

       In the world of surfcasting there is more than just talking about what plugs should be in your bag and how to use them.  There is a ton of information out there that will help you become a well-rounded angler; you don’t want to be a one trick pony, do you? Sure, I’ll still cover tackle, but in my opinion other topics should and need to be covered. Today is the first installment of “Not just” Tackle Tuesday. So, sit back and relax, it’s time to broaden your horizons.

Picture this: You’re a ‘plus one’ at a party that your date’s friend is throwing. You know not a soul, it’s awkward; your decision to attend was helped by the idea of free food and drink. You’re a confident person who likes to socialize; a smart fella that does fairly well at Jeopardy  and can hold his own in any conversation. You tell yourself “It’s just small talk at a party… I’ll never see these people again…piece of cake…  It’s not rocket science. “

As your date mingles with her friends you look around the room and see small clusters of people chatting. You see a group close by and latch on; eyebrows down, head nodding with agreement, (you know the face, you just tried it) One girl says “….the amount of Flux was incredible” Another adds “How many Janskys do you think it was?” she replies “36!”;  a third person jumps in “that’s incredible for a Maria on the dark side of the moon” You interject with a chuckle and a wink and say: “oh that’s nothing… I’ve seen more Janskys in the parking lot! Am I right ?” They all turn and look at you. In your head you hear a record scratch, you look like a deer in headlights and all your confidence is out the window. You think back to just 5 minutes ago when you told yourself “Come on it’s not Rocket Science”. That’s true; until in fact, it IS Rocket Science.  Who knew your date’s friend works for NASA…what are the chances?

Side note: One Jansky= 10-26 W m-2 Hz-1 bandwidth; it’s a unit used to express flux. (Source for all 3 words:  ATICOURSES.COM)

Right about now you may be thinking “Hey Joe, what’s your point?” My point is Know the Lingo!    

This week’s volume will expand your knowledge regarding surfcasting lingo. Today I’ll give a few examples to get you started. In future volumes I’ll sprinkle in one or two to help increase your vocabulary. Work them into conversation or write them down in your logbook for reference. You do have a logbook, right? (More on that in a future Volume) 


 The More You Know!!!

A lot of you are new to fishing, (we all were at one point) and there is a lot to learn besides the basics.  So, if you’re at your local tackle shop and you overhear someone say “Yesterday at the ‘Pill Box’ the water was ‘boiling’; the ‘line siders’ were ‘on the chew’' they weren’t at CVS making spaghetti for dinner.  There are a ton of terms used relating to fishing, some make sense, some don’t, some are common words that you’ve used before but never in this context.  Chances are you won’t hear much of them at a NASA cocktail party, but you might hear it on the beach, and now you’ll know what everyone is talking about. 

Here are a few to get you started:

Googan- You (it's ok for now).  Someone who is new to fishing, or someone who is usually oblivious to what’s going on, or who makes dumb mistakes. “That guy is such a googan” or used by an experienced fisherman to describe themselves “I forgot to close the snap on my swivel and my sinker fell off… total googan move on my part”.

“Wet a Line”- To go fishing. In relation to casting the fishing line into the water thus getting it wet. “It’s supposed to be nice weather tomorrow, I’m going to call in sick to work and wet a line”. 

“The Water is/was Boiling”-(from earlier).  A good indication of a feeding frenzy. A concentration of bait fish that are balled up and are being attacked from all sides by predators. This gives the appearance from a distance that the water is boiling like a pot of spaghetti.  From below, the baitfish are commonly being attacked by Bluefish or Striped Bass from above in the air: gulls, terns, and gannets. (See: Birds are workin’)

“Birds are Workin’”-   A multitude of birds’ dive bombing into the water partaking in a feeding frenzy of bait fish riled up by predator fish underneath the bait ball. When you see people scanning the beach with binoculars chances are they’re looking for birds. It’s a beautiful sight to see from the beach because it indicates exactly where the fish are; also, a very disappointing sight to see when the “boil” is out of casting range.

Birds Nest- when a cast goes foul/fowl and your line is all tangled at the reel in a jumble, looking like a bird’s nest.  Sometimes a byproduct of the line leaving the spool unevenly, or too much slack in the line.  You may feel compelled to take a break and untangle it, trust me on this one; don’t. This will only lead to mass frustration and time wasted.  Cut the line and start fresh.

“Match the Hatch”- (speaking of birds, sort of). This is a crossover term that is more in-line with fly fishing. It generally means choosing your offering (lure) based on what bait fish  that your target fish is eating.  If sand eels are prevalent, maybe try a Charlie Graves tin from West End Fishing Tackle Company; all your local tackle shops sell them.

Salad- Usually referring to seaweed. “How was the fishing today…conditions were good, but tons of salad on every retrieve”. Also, what you’ll be having for dinner if you don’t catch anything. (See: Skunked)

Skunked”- You didn’t catch anything or at least nothing impressive while fishing. “I hit Demo at first light, fished for a few hours and got skunked”.  This is something that you need to get used to, it’s going to happen…. A lot! On days like this you’ll never reach your creel limit.

Creel or Bag Limit- the total number of fish by species that you are legally allowed to harvest in any one day.  A “Creel” is a wicker basket used to carry fish; you’ve seen them but just didn’t know what they were called.

“On the Chew”- (from earlier) The fish were biting, and you were catching. This usually means it was a good day. (Opposite of Skunked)

First Light- (self-explanatory, kind of) it’s the first light you see but does not mean that it is sunrise. Sunrise occurs when the sun is visible on the horizon. First light appears about 30 minutes before sunrise, this is also technically what is referred to as “dawn”.

Snotty- (regarding weather not your handkerchief) Usually windy and rainy, with choppy water. Unfavorable weather to sunbath, favorable weather for fishing.  Nor’easters have provided some epic fishing experiences.  You might get skunked, but sometimes the fish are on the chew.

Foul Hooked- Term used when a fish is snagged by the hook anywhere but the mouth.


So, there you have it, a baker’s dozen of terms that you can add to your vocabulary, so you’ll be in the “know”.  I hope you learned something from today’s volume, I also hope you were not too disappointed that I didn’t cover a lure. Like I said, it’s important to broaden your horizons, there’s a whole lot more to the surfcasting game than just pieces of metal, plastic or wood with hooks attached to them.

“Fishing is not an escape from life, but often a deeper immersion into it.” – Harry Middleton

I hope you enjoyed the read!

Joe Pellegrini

Director of Courtesy Patrol


© L.I.B.B.A.