View Full Version : Three questions from a Canal beginner

09-17-2008, 01:10 PM
Today I caught my first stripers out of the Cape Cod Canal -- probably all between 3-7 pounds, I'd guess, which isn't any great shakes for most folks but was a great way to break the ice, as far as I'm concerned.

But I have three questions that someone with more experience can surely help me with.

1. I can understand why some people love the super braids, particularly for its ability to transmit what's going on with your lure/bait. In those swirling currents, anything that can help your "feel" would be worth it. But I got hung up (just once) and had to break off, which was not all that hard since I was using 15 lb. mono. Just how exactly do you break off 50-lb. braid? (I'm asking this seriously; maybe it's obvious, but I do worry about it.)

2. Also, it wasn't much of a problem with schoolies of course, but if I had to land a bigger fish on those slippery rocks, I would have needed something better than the cheap, imitation Boga grip I had. What do most people use? The real Boga? A gaff? something else?

3. Finally, I did what I saw most fisherman doing today, namely fished from (more or less) dry rocks, however little room there was to swing the rod behind me (it was steep). Would it make more sense to wear waders and fish from lower down? (I'm thinking it might also make landing a bigger fish a little easier. But I didn't see anyone doing that today. Maybe everyone knew there weren't going to be any keepers caught today...)

Thanks for all suggestions/help.


The Dad Fisherman
09-17-2008, 01:59 PM
1. Use a 40# leader and you won't be breaking the Braid you'll be breaking the leader.

2. Your Hands

3. Just wear some rubber boots....or hip waders and you'll be fine. Just be careful

09-18-2008, 12:54 PM
1. I'm with The Dad Fisherman. 50# braid with 40# leader. When I get snagged and have to break off, I find a place with a solid footing and no jagged rocks behind me, wrap my hand with a good amount of cloth, grab the mainline with a couple wraps of the braid(enough so it doesn't slip), open the bail, plant my feet and slowly pull. With 40# test, you have to give a good amount of pressure. I learned the hard way what happens when you don't have a firm footing and go from pulling 40# of pressure and then the line going slack in an instant. You can easily break your neck out there.

2 & 3. I have found that felt soles are a Godsend when moving on the rocks. I find it exponentially easier to move on the rocks with felt soles. I almost exclusively fish the canal with waders. With my felt soled waders, I rarely have trouble getting to the water to pick up a hooked fish. Also helps you get access to the water for reviving a fish. If I don't feel I can safely access the water with a fish on, I move to a different spot.

Now, I'm not experienced canal fisherman - this is my first year fishing there. The above is just what I've found works for me. These boards hold hundreds of years of combined experience when it comes to the canal. Do some searches to help you slightly demystify the place. Mike P's posts on the canal have greatly helped me improve my technique.

I've found the Canal to be like an abusive girlfriend. Doesn't matter how many times I leave broken and bruised or how much money it steals from me, the sex is great and I still go running back for more.

09-18-2008, 07:52 PM
1. I haven't transformed into a braid user (yet), but I use anything from 15-25 mono depending on the set up. I usually use a 50lb leader with plugs and jigs but sometimes go lighter with slug-gos and other plastics.

2. Definitely no gaffs. I've seen people use Bogas, but I've been fine with just my hands.

3. I usually wear my work boots which are waterproof to an extent and provide pretty good traction; however, I just picked up a nice comfy pair of Penn rubber boots for the boat and they just may make it to the canal a few times. I'm hesitant to wear my waders there as a friend of mine once pulled a fisherman (wearing waders) that was helplessly drifting down current out of the canal. Luckily my friend was on an oyster flat near the west end or else that poor guy would have ended up at Cuttyhunk before he knew it.

09-18-2008, 08:05 PM
I'm hesitant to wear my waders there as a friend of mine once pulled a fisherman (wearing waders) that was helplessly drifting down current out of the canal.

This is exactly why all of my straps are quick release clips (waders and surf bag) and I keep a knife on me. I can't swim more than 20 feet, so I don't take many chances.

Unless I'm on the east end, it's very rare that water gets much past my knees. I'd think it's easier to get sucked in and carried away by a wave at the beach than at the canal.

09-21-2008, 08:21 PM
korkers are a nice accessory for those rocks at low tide

12-14-2009, 11:45 PM
nice post.

12-15-2009, 01:49 PM
Although I can't really give a great answer for 2 and 3, I was taught another method of breaking the line without much of a hassle for mono and braid. If you are snagged just open the bail and get a few wraps around the crank of the reel (around 2-3, nothing major). Get your footing and aim your pole DIRECTLY at the direction of the snag. Slowly pull straight back and the line will break. Saves your hands and is a quick way to get the sad job done. Though 4/10 times I get my gear back with hitchhikers.