SUPER STRIKE LITTLE NECK POPPER
This article is based on my personal experiences in using the SS little neck in surf fishing for striped bass. I would say 90% of my surf striper hookups were enticed by the little neck.
How I discovered the productivity of this lure was by pure experimentation. I had a 1.5 oz. yellow redhead (sinking) which basically stayed in my garage for the entire 2008 season. In 2009, I was motivated by my good friend Joe to try different plugs. (Joe, by the way, is a plugaholic. He changes lures just as often as someone who changes their underwear during diarrhea season...) I’ve only read about how the little neck works and how it can also swim like a metal lip with a steady retrieve. I had no experience whatsoever in using surface plugs or know how to even make them “pop.”
So there I was at Montara beach at sunrise in 2009. Joe decided to try a different spot that morning at Whale Cove beach----which is a well known nude beach for “pecker puffers.” I casted the little neck into the moderately calm surf and the first thing that impressed me is that it launched like a bullet. I started cranking the reel and about every after fifth crank would jerk the rod foregrip 1-3 times. I had no idea what the little neck was doing since it was not really visible from the surface of the water. As it got closer to shore, I would crank faster just to see it surface and then crank slower and it would sink again. I basically didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I remember Joe telling me once, “work your lure like as if you’re playing with a cat.” So I repeated this process several times, until…..wham! Big splash and my rod tip bends with a vengeance! I land my first striper on a popper! I landed a second striper in less than 5 minutes. What I noticed is that each hit was when the little neck was just below the surface while I was doing a moderate retrieve.
And so the rest was history and the beginning of my love affair with the SS little neck as my go-to plug when the surf conditions are ideal….
Popping Techniques: Steady retrieve and pop the rod every after 4th to 8th crank cycles. How many times you pop it is totally dependent on you. I only pop it 2-3 times in between retrieves. My usual rhythm goes like this: crank crank crank crank pop, pop, crank crank crank crank crank pop pop pop, crank crank pop, crank crank crank pop pop. Mix it up just like when bodies are slapping while doing the wild thang.
I’ve also worked the little neck like a pencil popper whereas I use a steady retrieve and vigorously shake the rod above the foregrip. This works best with a 2 ¾ oz little neck or higher. The short, zig-zag action it does is just as crazy as a pencil.
Swimming Techniques: Super Strike Lures claims the little neck will swim like a metal lip with just a steady retrieve. Well, it does! Once it hits the water, wait a couple of seconds and start a slow to moderate retrieve. If you use the sinking (black eyes) model, the depth it dives is dependent on the speed of your retrieve (sound familiar?). You can also briefly pause in between retrieves, jerk it once, and proceed with a steady retrieve. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a strike using this technique.
Surf Conditions: In my experience, the SS little neck works best in calm to moderate surf conditions. Just as any surface or sub-surface plug, it will not swim well during rough surf or when the wave sets are too close together. If there is a strong under current, it’s also difficult to control. It will cast very well during windy conditions, particularly the 1.5 oz.
Terrain Conditions: Just like any other surf plug, the weight class is also dependent upon the kind of structure. I’ve used the floating model (green eyes) in low water, grassy bottom, or rocky structure. My first striper in Montauk hit a floating black/white, 1.5 oz with a dressed tail hook at Camp Hero, very rocky terrain. The sinking models, in any weight class, work well in deeper and less structured terrain.
Color Choice: Yellow redhead (daytime) and White redhead (night time) has been the most productive colors for me. However, Black/White and Black/Orange have had their share of big fish too.
Modifications: First and foremost, change the stock hooks to VMC 4x trebles or similar. Those stock hooks are as weak as east coast limp dicks. I use size 1/0 for the 1.5 oz. and 2/0 or 3/0 for the 2 ¾ oz. and up. You can also use a dressed siwash hook on the tail to give it more wiggle when swimming it.
So there you have it folks, I’m not saying the SS little neck is the plug of all plugs in surfcasting. My humble opinion is…it doesn’t matter what plug you use in the surf, if the fish are there and your presentation on a particular plug is “right,” it will get bit. I like using the little neck since it has been the most productive for me in most conditions. I’ve used it as a surface, sub-surface, and mid-surface lure. Besides, there’s nothing like seeing the explosion of water when it gets hit! I also find great satisfaction in using a productive plug designed by a surfcaster (Don Musso) for surfcasters.
Disclaimer: I too am not an “expert,” and anyone who considers himself an “expert” in any field is a glorified bullshitter. No person can possibly know everything about anything, so therefore “experts” are overrated.
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This article is based on my personal experiences in using the SS little neck in surf fishing for striped bass. I would say 90% of my striper surf striper hookups were enticed by the (read more)