If you’re unfamiliar with weakfish, they are a northern cousin of the spotted seatrout. Now weakfish are known for their wariness. The bigger ones especially are the kind of fish that require you to be in the hole on the perfect stage of the tide, usually at some unGodly hour. Then if you can’t fool them on the first few casts, the lure ripping over them spooks them into lockjaw. So I found it rather odd that my friend Darren suggested we chase them midday on Labor Day when surely the water traffic on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey would be insane.
And insane it was, but we had something onboard that I never used before. It was Darren’s secret weapon…six quarts of live grass shrimp. Of course, that many live grass shrimp are as hard to find as the next world-record striped bass, but within five minutes of chumming them behind the boat, we had weakfish in a frenzy, and darned if they didn’t care about the roar of the cigarette-boat engines and wake of the jet skis on the bay.
“Is this changing everything you thought you knew about weakfish?” Darren asked.
It certainly was. We caught more weaks in five hours than I had in the last five years.
“It’s amazing how their behavior changes when you feed them drugs,” he said with a grin.
So you tell me, what is the fish drug where you wet a line? Are there similar baits or lures out there that no matter what the conditions, no matter how spooked the fish are, you swear they work even if no one else is catching crap? --JC