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July 08, 2010

5 Winning Eel Tactics

Stripers love live eels; here are five ways to fish them.

Joe Mahler /

5. Deep and Fast

The first time I drifted eels in Ambrose Channel, the main shipping channel out of New York Harbor, I couldn't believe how deep the fish were holding or how fast the tide was running. The rigs we used were tied on three-way swivels with a dropper line to a heavy sinker and a 3-foot leader to the hook. We used conventional tackle stout enough to handle the big sinkers needed to get down 70 feet. As long as we were bouncing on the bottom, the fish ate the eels with abandon. As the tide picked up, we had to up the ante to 16 ounces, but the hits just kept coming. I've encountered similar conditions fishing the Race out of Orient Point, New York, and in the ship channels in Delaware Bay, where bass were holding deep and currents were strong. In all cases the results were remarkably consistent: Get the eels down, and you'll be rewarded.