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Our experts answer your most burning questions.

September 21, 2007
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Finer Filleting
Q: I occasionally keep a striped bass for the table, and I want to know what is the best type of knife to use for cleaning fish?
– Joe Richards,
Fairfield, Connecticut

Dibenedetto: A few years ago I asked the same question of a couple of mates working on Montauk, New York, charterboats. They answered unanimously, “Buy a Dexter.” More specifically, they were talking about a Dexter 1378 (www.dexter-russell.com), which has an eight-inch carbon-steel blade. The knife is inexpensive, durable and holds a nice edge. Like any fillet knife, buy a sharpening stone and hit the blade before you dress a fish. Remember to obey bag limits and only keep as many as you can eat.

Hot Fishing
Q: I recently purchased a 32-foot Luhrs and plan on keeping it in Delaware’s Indian River. After years of inshore fishing I’m preparing to venture farther offshore. I am curious if temperature charts are worth the investment.
– Geoff Flemlin,
Columbia, Maryland

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Caputi: Definitely. Sea-surface temperature (SST) charts that are produced using data from NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellites are not only worth it, but will save you money over the long haul by reducing running time and fuel costs. Don’t be fooled by “free” charts on the Internet, which can end up costing money because they are notoriously inaccurate.

Numerous private services provide SSTs along with expert analyses grounded in current fishing reports. Some services incorporate additional data, such as chlorophyll content, salinity levels, altimetry and current movements, gathered from other satellites or sources, all of which can point you to the most productive water before you leave the dock. That’s a huge advantage.

Bull Speed Ahead
Q: What is the best trolling speed to catch dolphin with ballyhoo?
– James De Maio,
Port St. Lucie, Florida

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Poveromo: The correct speed is part of my four-step dolphin game plan:
1. Acquire ballyhoo and rig them properly-freshness makes a huge difference.
2. Arrange baits into a spread and stagger them over a broad distance behind your boat. Once a pattern is uncovered, reposition your spread closer to the zone of activity.
3. Make sure the baits are doing exactly what they’re supposed to-skipping ballyhoo should be barely splashing along at the water’s surface.
4. Experiment with your trolling speed. Sometimes bumping the throttle up or down can excite an unmotivated dolphin into striking.

Gary Caputi
SWS Offshore Editor with extensive fishing experience throughout the world

David DiBenedetto
SWS Editor; author of On the Run: An Angler’s Journey Down the Striper Coast

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George Poveromo
SWS Editor at Large; host of “George Poveromo’s World of Salt Water Fishing”

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