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Hi, Gary Soldati here...
For over 35 years, I've loved the thrill of the chase.
A moonlit night. The sudden strike
of a strong fish.
better, I love catching quality keepers.
to Cape Cod, on Block Island and at Montauk...I've
caught my share.
And I'm always on the lookout for a plug that can
Gary's 51lb. Striper
Bigger, The Better
thought about the old saying "big bait, big fish" and
wondered what happened to the giant pikes that used to be so readily
I looked and
looked, and couldn't find a consistent supply anywhere. So I did what any
normal, frustrated angler who's pretty good with his hands would
do: I made my own.
I read everything
I could get my hands on about plug making. I browsed websites,
introduced myself to other lure makers and pestered them with
questions. I visited plug workshops from Cape Cod to the Jersey
Shore. All in an effort to learn the best materials, techniques and processes for making a larger wooden
lure with great swimming action.
By summer 2005, I
tested my first 8" giant pike at Block Island -- and quickly
caught my fill of sizable stripers.
My friends took
notice, and tried them, too. Before long, our fishing
expeditions consistently became catching expeditions.
"Remember Block Island
When I worked every kind of lure with no luck --
until you loaned me one of yours. Within two casts,
I roped a
big one. Awesome."
tackle shops, guides and fishermen along the New England and New York coasts took
notice...and placed an order...then another...and another.
The next thing I
know, I'm invited to exhibit at the Asbury Park (NJ) Fishing
Club annual plug show -- one of the largest plug shows on the
East Coast...an amazing event, with some of the best-known plug
Since those early
days, it has been quite a ride. And the success of my original
giant pikes encouraged me to make additional large plugs -- a
6-1/2" junior pike, a 10" troller, a 12" jointed eel,
Giant medium and deep divers, a line of
medium and deep diving SLIMS, and most recently, a line of
lipless sand pikes.
Why Such a Blitz?
Because these are
with great swimming action in calm or rough water.
Each pike is turned from northern white cedar or
Alaskan yellow cedar.
They have glass eyes from Germany, and stainless-steel lips
custom-made by me to get the desired action.
The entire unit is through-wired for extra
strength, and the hooks are the strongest and sharpest available
-- VMC trebles. Even the split rings have been eliminated for a
I hand paint the plugs in many signature and
custom colors. I also tie the tails using different materials, including buck tail, crystal
flash, saddle hackle, and chenille - tailoring each one to a plug's
How To Get Your Very Own Pikes
Because I personally hand-make
each lure, I can only make a limited number each year. When
stock becomes available, I post the plug styles, colors and
costs on the inventory pages of my website, and I notify
subscribers to Big Water News via email. Be sure to sign up for
my newsletter, at the top of this page, right corner.
"Iíve fished Garyís lures at
Montauk and Block Island --
and they've caught fish when other
lures haven't produced a thing. They can be worked slowly, or
even stopped, and they still have
great action that produces
strikes. Iíve fished them at night
with great success, and they
were especially effective during
the fall run when big fish are
active during the day."
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Surfcaster's Journal -
Interview with Gary
Going Deep for Surf Stripers
by Steve McKenna
On The Water,
Super-Size It! (p. 28)
On The Water, August, '07
Lure of The Month
Fisherman, May, '07
Cover Photo - Giant Bunker
What folks are saying...
They are extraordinary. When you see these, you get the feeling
the man puts a little love in each one.
My wife and kids think they're cool and they don't think any of
this is cool.
Really, that is a huge compliment. Even when a non-fisherman
holds one of these plugs and examines it, they can sense the
quality. The craftsmanship is immediately evident.
But we still have an inward appreciation that makes us smile to
ourselves, 'cause we get to fish them.
Can't wait 'til it warms up a little.
There are breeder lakes in my
area and I usually do a little casting (for musky) at dawn. I
hooked up the Black Pearl Pike and tossed it out just as it was
turning light. It sounded like a boulder when it hit the water
on this quiet little lake and I figured that was the end of
that. After a few minutes, I gave it a jerk and slow reeled for
just a few turns. A huge swirl around the plug sucked it right
out of sight! No taker though -- just checking it out, I guess.
I spent the next week and a half trying to get this fish to hit,
but got nothing. One morning I tied on the Black Scale Slim and
tossed it... first cast she took it down and I got a nice little
musky in the tweens... I'm guessing 18-20 pounds.
Thanks for building quality
Just wanted to drop you a line
to thank you for the best day I ever had surf casting. Caught
blues to 18 lbs. and bass to 35 lbs. on your White Pearl Giant.
I lost count of how many fish were caught --somewhere in the
mid- twenties. I've never caught so many good size bass in 1
day. The finish held up awesome and still looks great. Thanks
Frank, Long Island
jointed eel was deadly for me in Montauk last year on the very
deep south side -- with 2 fish that easily broke the 30 lb.
What a thrill!
of the 28 lb. bass
I caught at Fisher Island
using Gary's giant blackfish.
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The first thing I
noticed when I received the bluefish and the blackfish was their size. Not a whole lot of plugs made
Then I took a hard look
at the paint job and hardware. Absolutely beautiful, with great
detail and unique metal lips.
But did they swim and catch fish?
I fished the two plugs
exclusively in Montauk during the mullet run. They had
great swimming action, and I was able to bang some nice stripers
when other casters were scratching their heads.
Good job, Gary!"
New York State,