From the Surf: Bottle Plug Lures

bottle plugs

Pictured Above from Left to Right:
Sporting Wood Bottle
Gibbs Casting Swimmer
Super Strike Little Neck Swimmer
Northbar Bottledarter

Stan Gibbs created his Casting Swimmers for the Cape Cod Canal some 50 years ago, so they have some history, and they have some history with me as well. I’ve always been interested in how the original wooden ones were made and was impressed with how well they cast. The Casting Swimmer, later nicknamed the “bottle plug” on account of its narrow-necked profile, was a big, solid plug designed with large fish in mind.
 

striped bass
The author with a big, bottle-fed bass.

When I first began fishing bottle plugs, I was told that they should be fished only during rough conditions and when I had a northeast gale in my face. After all, those are the conditions they were made for, yet I may have missed some other opportunities when I failed to pack bottles in my plug bag during other conditions. My attitude toward bottles being rough-weather-only plugs changed one night while fishing with friends. One of them schooled me while fishing a bottle plug during what I would have called a perfect “darter night.” I watched as my buddy hooked multiple 45-inch-plus striped bass out of the same rip where I was swinging darters on one of the calmest spring nights I can remember.

The extra casting distance, different profile, or swimming action made the difference that night, and taught me that it’s always worth having a bottle in the plug bag, even during calm conditions.

The following night, the bite set up much as it had the previous night, and once I found the rhythm of swimming my parrot Super Strike Little Neck Swimmer through the zone, I began landing fish, despite the calm conditions.

Then another night, I experienced heartbreak when I encountered a school of much larger striped bass. I hooked into one of them using the same Super Strike bottle, and I could tell it was my largest of the season, but I’ll never know just how large because I dropped it. The hooks simply pulled out and left me haunted, wondering about the size of the fish and what I could have done differently.

striped bass
This bass bit off more than it could chew when it inhaled this GooGoo Man Bottle Plug.

Shortly after that encounter, I found ideal bottle plug conditions as I approached the water’s edge for a night of fishing. The northeast gale and whipped-up surf conditions prevented me wading in too deep. Reaching the fish, and making the right presentation was going to be just about impossible with any lure—except the bottle plug. I clipped on a GooGoo Man Plug Bottle in my favorite blurple color pattern, which is a little bigger than the Super Strike in length and weight. I launched that plug with my CTS Vapor Trail and it landed on top of a cresting wave. The large lip immediately dug in with the first couple cranks of my handle, and a few seconds later, the plug was slammed.

Another great option to have in the arsenal is a bottle darter, sort of a cross between a bottle plug and a darter. This hybrid plug can be fished in moderate to rough surf and is at home in good current, yet it can also be fished in very calm waters.

This all means that I need to find even more room in my plug bag. It’s getting heavy, but it’s worth it to be prepared for wherever and whatever the stripers will be striking.

Click Here to Learn More About Striper Plugs.

22 on “From the Surf: Bottle Plug Lures

  1. Jimmy from RI

    Can’t agree more. I dare any subscriber to try and outfish me on a breachway with my trusty North Bar bottle!

    1. Patrick Aponte

      Thats a bold statememt. You must surround yourself with inferior fishermen.

  2. LOU

    THERES NOTHING LIKE SURF FISHING AT NITE , IT GETS EVEN BETTER WHEN YOU LET OUT MORE LINE THAN YOU REALLY NEED FOR THE CAST AND YOU HOOK YOURSELF IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD WITH SOME REALLY SHARP TREBBLES . AND IF ITS A CLOUDY NITE YOULL SEE MORE STAR THAT SECOND THEN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.

    1. Chuck

      Hey jimmy,I’m fan of north bars myself but in just about any current you let any bait hang long enough and bam fish on! I hope you’re not one of the guys on quonny last year with all bells and whistles of fishing equipment and got beat up by older guy throwing buck tails and then put on a rigged eel game over.been fishing south county whole life but mainly from surf not much patience to stand high on rock pile,cast,count,flip bail,retrieve,rotate,duck repeat process…northbars work great in rips also from surf!!!! Try it might make you better fisherman!!!! Again I’m all about in the surf but sometimes I will fish breachway when no one around but if you see some old guy ratty jeans and a rigged eel ask me my name I will tell you…..

    1. Patrick Aponte

      I got the point of what he was trying to say Lou. No need to play fucking speech teacher you arrogant prick.

      1. Ruth

        Ease up Patrick! Read the comments again. Lou corrected his own message not you. Besides, there’s a lot in that article. If you have much experience with salt water, I’d rather hear what it’s been and how you decide on a lure for the conditions.

  3. GOO

    IAGREELOU!
    WHEN YOU’RE BANDYING ABOUT WITH A BIG BONKY PLUG SWINGING ABOUT LIKE SOME MAD MAX PENDULUM- THEN FOR SURE DAMAGE CAN BE DONE- MILKY AND BLOODY MUCILAGINOUS DRAINAGE FOR SURE ONCE YOU’RE CONKED IN THE HEAD WITH THAT BEAST!!!

  4. Ryan

    Do you have to wear leggings and a wetsuit to throw these lures? That’s what I see everyone wearing, My girlfriend has some I can borrow if so

  5. LOU

    HEY JIMMY ILL OUT FISH YOU ANYTIME SO LETS DO IT. AND ILL JUST USE MY BANJO MINNOW 16 ONCE PINK.

  6. Butch Krauth

    I’m putting on my waders and leggings just to read this article!

  7. Butch Krauth

    Lately I’ve had great success using the 3.7 ounce “Jackhammer” created by R.M. Smith, I was worried about the size at first but my first fish was a three pound Striper so I quickly forgot about the size and started using it to create a massive ruckus thrashing around in the surf and it works!

  8. Timmy Diklik

    I will fuk-slap jimmy from ri with a 3/8 oz bucktail bitch….bring it on ass fuk

  9. Timmy Diklik

    Well Jimmy,I will Kik the fuq out of you then call you Sally with your butt,bottle plug ass whore ,I use a spinner bait dik lik

  10. Timmy Diklik

    And Patrick Aponte..shut your dick suk mouth before I fuk Kik you in the hed and small kitchen your boyfriend while you like his asswhole

  11. Geoff

    New to this… what size rod and action are recommended with bottle plugs? What line? Braided? Test?

    Thanks in advance…looking forward to trying this.

  12. Timmy Diklik

    Getoff,I suggest a 6′ or smaller rod with no less than 80# braided line and a 6# mono shock leader for stretch factor.,if that’s not good ask that Fuckin faggot,panty hose wearin Ryan to suk yoir cok and he will put some make up on his ace-hole so a man can punish himy when he puts various vegetables up his ass and suks a cok at same time

  13. Chuck

    Hey Geoff,I use a 9 ft from breachways and 11 ft from the surf both with 30 pd braid and with 40 pound florocarbon leader med heavy on both sticks … throw anything over 2 ounces good luck……..

  14. Timmy Diklik

    Oh hi…Butch,take that gay fukin “jackhammer” @nd shove iy up your ass gay dik suker!
    FUCKIN Goo sounds ds like a dik hug per in his mouth after money shot fag/GOO like da dik

  15. Timmy Diklik

    Jimmy from RI shut the fuk up dik hole lickr…,I will Kik fuk yor he’d twice on Tuesday with a 14/oz buk tail while yous suk on Goos goo

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