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August 05, 2011

Boston Night Stripers

Trolling huge wooden plugs through a treacherous rip at midnight is not for the faint of heart, but it sure can produce some monster stripers.

Trip Planner

Although Burgess’ go-to plug is the venerable Gibbs Danny Deep Diver, which has an 8-inch body and is some 12 inches overall, he’s also had great luck with some handmade creations crafted by Gary Soldati of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, who formed a company called Big Water Lures back in 2006. “As a surf-caster, I fished eels for years, then started using plugs,” says Soldati. “I wanted bigger plugs than most that were on the market, so I figured I’d have to make them myself.”
Soldati’s plugs are true works of art, with a glasslike finish second to none, and he custom-makes all his stainless-steel lips. Prices, which range from $30 to $45, reflect the amount of time it takes to handcraft each lure. “Burgess caught over 60 big bass in two consecutive nights on an 8-inch Giant Pike in 2010,” says Soldati.

The Troller, with a 10-inch body and a weight of 712 ounces, comes in five colors and is ideal for night trolling, as it runs 15 feet deep. The super-long Jointed Eel, with an 11-inch body, looks to be another hot bat in the lineup.

For complete information on Big Water lures, check out For information on Stan Gibbs’ Danny plugs and other models, visit

Rods: 6-foot medium-action trolling rods.

Reels: 4/0-size level-wind, star-drag or lever-drag.

Lines: 50-pound mono.

Leaders: No leader. Attach the lure directly to the line with a large snap swivel.

Lures: Gibbs Danny Deep Diver 1 and Goo-Goo Eyes Big Daddy 2; Big Water Lures Troller Bunker 3, Giant Pikie in Squid 4 and Jointed Eel 5.

What: Season-long striped bass fishing.

When: Mid-May through mid-October.

Where: Boston Harbor, Massachusetts.

Who: Boston Harbor has a number of launch ramps, with distances to the rips ranging from a mile or two to 10 or more, depending on point of embarkation. For a free copy of the 2011 Massachusetts Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide, which lists launch facilities in the Boston area, regulations and more, call 617-626-1520 or e-mail your request to There’s also lots of good information at To set up a trip with Capt. Russ Burgess, contact:

Capt. Russ Burgess

Pete Santini
Fishing Finatics tackle shop