Saturday, November 5, 2011

Skipjackin' at the Chick

Joe "Cornbread" Alissandrello with a nice skipjack.


The skipjack herring is a flat-out cool fish. Aggressive, strong, sleek as a bullet. Dead ringer for a small tarpon, a hooked skip will take the fight to the air early and often in the fashion of his salt water brethren. Nip and tuck all the way to the net and that 5 wt. suddenly feels a bit flimsy.

And yet many anglers would rather see an old shoe on the hook. Another worthy gamer relegated to "trash fish" status.

Skipjack Awesomeness
Unfortunately, the best skipjackin' occurs during the prime carping months, so I haven't pursued these fish like I did a few years ago. Spent a couple of hours below Chickamauga dam this morning getting reaquainted. Even better than I remember.

13 comments:

McTage said...

I caught a couple in Florida a while back. Spunky little guys and they sure hit the fly hard. I was stunned to find they were considered a trash-fish. Guessing they dont table up very good because in the end trash fish status or good fish was set by our granparents stomachs.

Jay said...

I've only ever caught one ultralight spinning gear. I would love to target them with fly rod. I can tell you that the meat is probably the reason for the trash status... it is what I would describe as a creamy consistency. I brought one home as food for a pet snapping turtle once... it was pretty gnarly.
I've heard they're a highly prized catfish bait though... probably thanks to that slimy quality.

Ty said...

Yep, those dudes will jerk the rod out of your hand McTage. They hammer the fly. Pretty sure they're not good to eat, but man they're great on the fly rod.

I think you're right about the meat, Jay. Not good. And the catfish anglers down here definitely prize them as bait. The flesh is pretty oily, so probably chums up the cats like nobody's business. Huge schools of skips hang out in our big tailraces for much of the year, so they've been on my list of favorites for a long time.

Bill Trussell said...

Ty
Skipjacks usually come up the tailrace below the dam at Smith in the early spring. I have never landed one but after talking to some of the local fisherman there, they tell me they are a blast on the fly rod. Your post only reinforces that fact. Great Post.

Ty said...

Yep Bill, spring is when I start looking for them here. When the mimosa trees bloom, I know it's time to check out the local tailwaters for skips. Hope you get into some next year at Smith. Highly recommend it.

Trout MaGee said...

I have never caught a skip jack or even seen one before. Looks like it would be a lot of fun. Nice size to them too. How big do the typically get?? Poor hated Skip Jack. Kind of like the Dog Fish except not nearly as ugly. If it swims and eats flies it has to get two thumbs up :) Tight Lines.

Ty said...

I'm with you MaGee. If it swims and will eat a fly, it's ok by me and I'm gonna cast to it.

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