Cape Point Conga Line etiquette
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Thread: Cape Point Conga Line etiquette

  1. #1
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    Cape Point Conga Line etiquette

    Cape Point Etiquette

    Having spent the better part of the past month in Buxton I thought I'd put together a little refresher on "how to" fish Cape Point. I'm not talking 100 yards north or south but jumping in at the point proper.

    The dynamics seemed to have changed a bit over the past few years and it seems not necessarily for the better. I'm hoping this will help fishermen/ women understand a little better how to avoid tangles and keep things working smoothly.

    I'm not trying to step on toes or upset anyone here, just a refresher or a guide for those that haven't fished there much and would like to have a more enjoyable experience.
    • When the wind is SW for a day or more, there will normally be a left to right drift. This sets up what is known as the "conga line". Everyone's line will move south to north as the sinker bumps and rolls along the bottom. It is important to find out how much weight it takes to bump along at the same pace as the other fishermen. 7-8 oz and a short leader drum rig is common, but please take a few minutes to watch or just ask someone.
    • If the drift dictates 7-8 oz, DON'T jump into the fray with a 3 oz sinker and a two drop bottom rig. Your line will drift faster than everyone else and unless you are very careful, cause inevitable tangles when someone reels in over your line. If your gear won't allow you to throw 7-8oz then just move north or south a bit. You will have a better chance at a drum if you're fishing and not untangling lines.
    • Move to the end of the line when you cast. When your sinker lands, assess where you are in relation to others and move to the appropriate spot. If you cast over three people it is OK, just fix it then by walking behind them and take your place in the conga line.
    • KEEP YOUR LINE IN FRONT OF YOU. This is the single most important step in avoiding tangles. If your line drifts faster than the guy beside you just move past him. If you're out farther, lift your rod tip and pass behind, if you're shorter, just dip your rod tip and walk in front to take your place in line. This is key to navigating the conga line.
    • FISH ON has priority. Help the guy coming through with a fish. His hands are full and he'll need help to avoid tangles. If he needs to go under your line, lift the tip and let him through. If his fish has taken off a lot of line (as often happens) and he is outside of your line then drop your tip and let him pass behind. If there is a tangle with a fisherman that has a fish on then do whatever you can to help untangle the mess without causing him to lose the fish. He will return the favor when YOU have a fish on.
    • Don't be the smartass/loudmouth. It causes tension and short tempers, especially if a fish is on.


    Hope this helps,

    Tommy

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  3. #2
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    haven't fished out there during this time of year (big drum season into striper season.) most out there using mono or braid?

  4. #3
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    I think Tommy meant right to left current All good advice, and if I may, I'll add one more thing ...

    Not everybody walks to the end of the line to cast, I know I know, but people don't. I'm guilty of it too. Sometimes all the fish are holding just off the tip of the point, and people want to have their baits in the zone quicker. I get it, its cool. However, when you do want to throw "down the middle," make sure you walk a ways out in front of everybody. The boys will lower their lines to make room, they get it too. Sometimes I'll wave my hand up and down if I have to. I saw a guy standing right in the line casting two weeks ago, rod and rig right over people's heads, including mine! Not cool.

    Adam

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  6. #4
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    Good advise Tommy and Adam, Mono ONLY

  7. #5
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    Adam, you are correct. It's funny how you can type as you have a scenario in your head and it comes out DYSLEXIC... lol

    The SW wind at cape point sets up a RIGHT to LEFT or south to north drift.

    Tommy

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    I think Tommy meant right to left current All good advice, and if I may, I'll add one more thing ...

    Not everybody walks to the end of the line to cast, I know I know, but people don't. I'm guilty of it too. Sometimes all the fish are holding just off the tip of the point, and people want to have their baits in the zone quicker. I get it, its cool. However, when you do want to throw "down the middle," make sure you walk a ways out in front of everybody. The boys will lower their lines to make room, they get it too. Sometimes I'll wave my hand up and down if I have to. I saw a guy standing right in the line casting two weeks ago, rod and rig right over people's heads, including mine! Not cool.

    Adam

  8. #6
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    Opinions will fly on this one but mono really is the line of choice on the point. Mono and braid don't mix well in tangles (mono loses) and I've seen tempers flair.

    When in Rome....

    Tommy

    Quote Originally Posted by kurazy kracka View Post
    haven't fished out there during this time of year (big drum season into striper season.) most out there using mono or braid?

  9. #7
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    Good point Adam.

    Yea, if you make the move to cast from "down the middle", as Adam calls it, make sure the guys know what you are doing and that you have room to make the cast safely. Sometimes guys will not lower their tip unless you ask them to so make sure all is clear. On Thursday in the middle of a drum bite this young man walked straight out and cast. It was too tight (close) and I got cut off by his cast even with my tip down. It is your responsibility to see that you have room and that it is safe to cast. It sucks to have to re-rig or even re-line because someone didn't pay attention......

    It pays to have another rigged rod on standby.

    Tommy

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    I think Tommy meant right to left current All good advice, and if I may, I'll add one more thing ...

    Not everybody walks to the end of the line to cast, I know I know, but people don't. I'm guilty of it too. Sometimes all the fish are holding just off the tip of the point, and people want to have their baits in the zone quicker. I get it, its cool. However, when you do want to throw "down the middle," make sure you walk a ways out in front of everybody. The boys will lower their lines to make room, they get it too. Sometimes I'll wave my hand up and down if I have to. I saw a guy standing right in the line casting two weeks ago, rod and rig right over people's heads, including mine! Not cool.

    Adam

  10. #8
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    All good advice folks. Been a while since I fished the point proper, but I'll share this memory of something I witnessed a few years back on what not to do. Conga line was in force. This guy walks up behind the middle of the pack unannounced and let's a mighty cast go over everyone's rods. His sinker broke the tip off the rod directly in front of him. He walks off without saying a thing, not even an apology. Must have been his lucky day because all he got was a verbal lashing from the guy with the broken rod, who was mad as hell. As mad as he was, he had (many) other rods ready, one of which he quickly employed. I believe it eased his agony, AND may have saved the other guy from a worse confrontation. Everyone probably has a story to tell, thought I'd share that one.

  11. #9
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    Name:  CONGA LINE.jpg
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  12. #10
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    Thank you Tommy for taking the time to post this. What was once an every day thing to expect is now more the exception than the rule. Not as many folks pay the money to drive out on the beach and those who do may not be the experienced fishermen of years gone by so this stands as a good reminder of how things were done when the "line" was larger and those fishing typically all knew the routine. But to add to this point, thank you for taking a position on this board as an experienced fisherman and simply sharing what you know and love. When I first came on here it was common practice for the "veterans" to speak up and keep the "noobs" straight and that seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur. I know peoples lives change and priorities change, but there are plenty of people on here with lots of experience and a high post count (I just learned recently that in some peoples view a high number of posts is no sign of credibility, just a penchant for typing at the computer!) who can still make suggestions and for the most part people will listen. Heck, some of the best rules I've learned on here whether they were written or unwritten rules, were posted my Moderators. Fortunately you are one of those too and still take the time to add to the board. Glad you had a good week and I'm sure this thread has a place in the Bible where it can live on and be seen for ever!

  13. #11
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    Wow, that is a line of fisherman. I am not for crowds, but once I have a heaver I might try it once. Looks insanely frustrating though. Camaraderie and learning might be worth it. Might just watch.
    Does everyone shoot for the same distance out? I could see a big drum really play havoc on a run. Do people commonly reel in next to a guy with a fish on?

  14. #12
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    I was on the point one april day back in "99 (I think) when the ocean literally turned red.... with big drum.

    There were over 100 (conservative estimate) fisherman backed into a tight stretch of beach. Many fish were landed and many fish were lost. Tempers flared as experienced fishermen and newbies were tossed into the fray......

    As stated above, fish on has priority. If a guys is coming through (quickly with a big fish on) it is best not to reel in unless you have plenty of time to get in before the fish gets to and past you. Just let him through (under you if he's in close, over if he's long) and keep on fishing.

    Tommy

  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy View Post
    I was on the point one april day back in "99 (I think) when the ocean literally turned red.... with big drum.

    There were over 100 (conservative estimate) fisherman backed into a tight stretch of beach. Many fish were landed and many fish were lost. Tempers flared as experienced fishermen and newbies were tossed into the fray......

    As stated above, fish on has priority. If a guys is coming through (quickly with a big fish on) it is best not to reel in unless you have plenty of time to get in before the fish gets to and past you. Just let him through (under you if he's in close, over if he's long) and keep on fishing.

    Tommy
    Ahhhhh....Tommy, those were/are fun times....

    If people, noobs and vets alike would watch and wait, there's usually a good flow as pointed out by Tommy. That's not to say that a drum won't have its own opinion and decide to wreak havoc.

    Go with the flow even if it takes you out of prime position. As said, the SW wind is a right to left flow of the current. Soon enough, you'll be able to line up and recast again where you were, just keep moving with your line.

  16. #14
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    Well said!! The line when its working is really a thing of beauty. Posts like this need to be made a sticky at the top of the NC forum.

  17. #15
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    Great post Tommy. Short, sweet and to the POINT.

  18. #16
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    I could never fish in those conditions. Kinda like surfing in so cal and other areas that get crowded, too damn many people. Takes all the joy out it for me.

  19. #17
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    I enjoyed reading your post Mr. Tommy! I have often wondered how the Conga line worked so to speak. I'd like to see it and next year I will try to ride down to "the point" and see it (as in watch only). One thing I'll promise is I'll not be one standing in that line, lol
    Too many people and I don't throw 8nbait, I don't own anything that will, lol. I'd be scared to death to throw 8 oz beside all those guys, nope, not me. I'm a 4 to 6nbait kind of guy, lol I just find a spot on the beach respect the other fellow and hope others will respect my little spot, kick back and fish.
    Life is good at that point in time

  20. #18
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    Tommy, I think this was the day you spoke of. Name:  38371_112491585469352_4109711_n.jpg
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  21. #19
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    Was also in the mix this weekend and the past week. Normally it is not necessary to reel in everytime someone has a fish on, however, when current is running right to left, most fish will be landed on the northside of the Point. I was hooked up to a nice citation and after battling my way around at least 8-10 rods, was finally over to the northside. I looked to my left and two guys were fishing very "short" right in the landing zone. I asked them to reel in their rigs; they both just looked at me funny. I explained that if we are not tangled up yet, we WILL be very shortly as this fish gets closer and battles harder moving right/left trying to shake off the hook. They both finally understood and reeled in so I was successful. I told them if they needed to fish on the northside just move about 10-20 yards north and they won't cause any heartache for the other lucky fishermen moving that direction with fish on. As for casting behind someone, I literally stopped a young fellow who was winding up behind my brother's head to launch one over the crowd! I told him sternly yet nicely it wasn't cool to do that since no one wants lead moving from behind! He walked forward about 10 yards and hopefully understood. Education "on the fly" is sometimes necessary. Good thread, Tommy! John VA-Apraisr

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    Where's Jack? sounds like y'all need him.

  23. #21
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    Started fishing here in 1966 - not too crowded back then and everyone fished the point differently then because they used lighter sinkers and drifted over the points shoals - when your bait washed across the shoals you just cranked in and walked to the other side and threw out again - that way everyone had time in the zone -today everyone wants to anchor up in the zone and bitches about the problems - the old way is more equitable for all

  24. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RocknReds View Post
    Started fishing here in 1966 - not too crowded back then and everyone fished the point differently then because they used lighter sinkers and drifted over the points shoals - when your bait washed across the shoals you just cranked in and walked to the other side and threw out again - that way everyone had time in the zone -today everyone wants to anchor up in the zone and bitches about the problems - the old way is more equitable for all
    that sounds like a much better way to fish it. I was out there in august when the Spanish were running and you'd have noobs to fishing in general getting right out there and throwing fire-ball rigs out making a mess

  25. #23
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    It's because people are selfish.

  26. #24
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    One other point. If you have the line capacity, and hook up when you are on the south side, let the fish run out some and then, its easier to cross over and beach her on the north side. Most of the time, the fish will run with the current and you do not have as many lines to deal with.

  27. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RocknReds View Post
    Started fishing here in 1966 - not too crowded back then and everyone fished the point differently then because they used lighter sinkers and drifted over the points shoals - when your bait washed across the shoals you just cranked in and walked to the other side and threw out again - that way everyone had time in the zone -today everyone wants to anchor up in the zone and bitches about the problems - the old way is more equitable for all
    Interesting. Last year there were some locals (young guys) fishing with lighter weights and tuna belly. They caught a lot more drum than every one else. I asked someone in the know and he said that they used the lighter weights to get out farther and they wanted more movement of the bait across the bar. The presentation of moving bait was meant to be better. I think they were also using something different from a fish finder rig. (Perhaps a cannon ball rig?) I am sure the tuna belly did not hurt.

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