Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Sea Fishing Phenomenon is here..

Hear what Esca staff have to say about this fantastic new product

It turns out that fishing from a party boat is an excellent place to field test a product. With a cross section of anglers, fishing with similar rigs, outfits and baits all in virtually the same location at the same time under the same conditions makes for a reasonably scientific laboratory for which to measure results of fishing products. It was a blustery, overcast day in mid May aboard the Peconic Star, out of Greenport, NY. We set out to test a unique new product called Esca for catching fluke and it was perfectly logical to think it would work, but I still couldn’t help being skeptical.

While I’ve experienced that certain fluke rigs and bucktails work better than others and I have become a believer in scented baits as well, Esca is different. Esca, a Norwegian Company, is a high tech fish attractor the size of a quarter that emits flashes of light, mimicking the luminescence characteristics of squid and other baitfish. Various marine species have developed specialized lightemitting organs called esca. Esca means lure light, and it is used by important organisms in the sea, such as krill and squid. Esca is also the name of the light organ of the anglerfish. This has a long modified dorsal fin with a light organ at the end, which is the esca itself. The anglerfish lies motionless on the seabed using its esca to attract other fish.

When the prey goes for the esca, the anglerfish strikes and swallows the prey whole. For the anglerfish, Esca is the ultimate lure. We figured that for Esca to be effective, it had to be in the darkness of night. But we were fluke fishing in daytime so we had to select a location for it to be used in deeper water, which is one of the reasons we decided to fluke fish with the Peconic Star, which fishes in water as deep as 70 feet. We needed enough depth for it to be dark off the bottom for the Esca light to be a factor. We also wanted to be in the Peconic Bay off Shelter Island, a known place where squid typically are present in mid May, as are some very large fluke. Capt. Dave Brennen of the Peconic Star has had many anglers featured in The Fisherman reports and covers for years. Rigging Esca was an unknown, so we had to improvise.

Esca is packaged either with a treble hook, or with special squid skirt. For one rig we removed the treble using only the Esca itself and rings as a component of a typical three-way rig. We tied the Esca in line with the hook swinging about 6 inches above the hook. Another rig was tied with the skirted squid body with a three-way rig. We used the bait that the crew of the Peconic Star offered: squid, spearing, sand eels. Current/ wind was heavy that day and we used 6-plus-ounce weights, but the rigging didn’t twist or tangle. What’s amazing about this product is that it really is a technological marvel.

The lure actually generates its own power when in contact with seawater through electrolysis so Esca needs no batteries. The light-emitting lure is deactivated when it is no longer in contact with seawater. It lasts through up to 100 hours of active fishing and can withstand pressures at depths of up to 500 meters, which is good news for tilefishing and other deep water drop fishing. So, how’d we do? There were four of us fishing with Esca rigs that day and another 25 people on the boat. Many seemed to be experienced anglers and had a reasonable pick of shorts, fewer keeper fluke counts and a mess of sea robins. We weren’t so scientific, or so obnoxious as to count every fish caught, but if you’ve ever been on a party boat, you know well who’s catching the most fish.

Clearly this day, it was team Esca. We simply caught more fluke than others on that boat that day, but more importantly we seemed to have a significantly better keeper ratio. Believe me; we don’t claim to be better anglers than anyone else on that boat that day. In fact, Morten Bilet of Esca won the pool with the largest fluke! The kicker is he’s never fluke fished before. There’s only one conclusion for what we experienced, Esca does give you an edge when catching fluke in deep water and deserves a closer look, especially for ocean fluking. Here’s a thought, as a next step, I’ll try Esca for Fluke at night! Why not? I’ll also try it for stripers, tilefish, cod, sea bass and other bottom dwellers. I’m definitely intrigued by the initial results. Try one yourself, visit

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