The surf and its fish
Surfcasting Striped Bass
Fishing from the beach is known as surf fishing. Fishing from the surf refers to not only areas of pounding surf but also locations where the surf doesn't roar in , with basically the same accepted equipment set ups for any number of inshore species at all times of the day and night.
Some anglers prefer the surf, not just those fishermen without boats. It may be preferred by those who simply like the sights, sounds, challenges, and camaraderie. And surf fishing has been an angling mode since before there were boats with motors. New rods, reels, and lines have made casting easier and 4 x 4 s have made it possible to access remote beach areas. Federal land is now accessible along our coast lines for recreational fisherman.
Surf fishing fortunes took a nosedive in the late 1980s as striped bass, weakfish, bluefish, and red drum populations suffered because of commercial overfishing, poor reproductive rates, and a myriad of environmental problems. Moratoriums by congress on striped bass have helped restock the Atlantic fisheries. Cleaner water from coastal states using sewage treatment facilities have had an immense contribution to the fish resurgence and continue to generated a lot of surf fishing activity.
And although specialized attention is devoted to some species, especially when fishing with lures, a majority of the effort is directed at catching anything that is available.
Certainly the tackle and the techniques that are devoted to surf fishing for particular species vary according to the habits of the fish as well as the conditions, but certain similarities are evident no matter where you plan to fish.
Surf fishing pits angler against fish in a place where almost everything favors the fish. It is an act that requires total confidence in the ability to pick the exact spot along thousands of miles of coastline where a fish will find the angler's single offering. Presenting bait properly is the key to catching a fish but you also need some basic understanding of the fish your after, its behavior and its habitat as well as what it likes to feed on in different conditions. You will find all the information you need on these pages to prepare you and increase your chances of catching your quarry from the surf. It is an exhilarating experience to be out in the surf with a huge striped bass on the end of your line.
The most important aspect of surf fishing after safety precautions and the proper protective gear and footwear is fishing productive water
Learn how to read the water and the beach front. Go at low tide and scout. Baitfish are present or not?
Look for areas that are irregular and have some structure to it. Areas like creek mouths and inlets are good places to start. Here the water funnells out into narrow passageways and accelerrates out on a dropping tide. Baitfish are flushed out through here and can provide easy meals for those big slower metabolism cow belly bass.
Fish Fish and Fish.
PART 1 For beginners an approach to the surf
This article is designed for the beginner and for those new to the saltwater.
Maybe its a generational thing but Ive seen too many guys show up to fish and say ok now what? I spent an entire outing rerigging for a group of my guys who decided they wanted to go fishing with me. Im old school and I expect you to be self sufficient. All you need to know and be prepared is all here. So having said that we will not follow anyone around with wet naps. Remember to watch and observe others if you want to learn. See one - do one - teach one. This will apply to just about every phase of your learning curve.
First. Asssuming you have a sturdy saltwater rod and reel. A medium to heavy action rod capable of holding 17 to 40 pound monofilament test and a reel capable of holding 2 to 300 yards of 20 lb. monofilament line.
Now. Terminal tackle.
A few packages of barrel swivels 80 to 130 pound test.
Package of three way swivels
Dozen or so sinker slides aka fishfinders
Hooks. 4/0 to 10/0 sizes Several in various styles and sizes.
Baitholders. Octopus style Live bait and or circle hooks'
The 0 means Ocean
A wheel of monofilament leader material in 30 to 50 pound test. Flourocarbon is pricey and usually only necessary in super clear water
bank Sinkers. lead in sizes 2 ounce to 8 ounces.
This will cover most of your needs. You will need extras if your getting hung up around rocks. The price of lead sinkers has gone up astronomically. Head lamp Pliers / wire cutters These are essential to your tackle box. You will soon want to be mobile and need to travel light with a shoulder bag. next is what lures can you buy with just 50 bucks.
PART II 50 bucks startup for your plug arsenal
Storm wildeyes. If nothing else 6 inch paddletails pearl belly or bunker color Crippled herrings assorted sizes Kastmasters and other metals (tins)
1/2 ounce to 3 ounces Bucktails in sizes 3/4 ounce to 3 ounces
Soft plastics Like FinS and Lunker city sluggos
What you see below is a good starter kit. You should have at least these for your surf arsenal.
Plugs 101 Essentials for the surf. ~$60 pictured Cotton Cordell red fin - Creek Chub Striper strike - Acme Kastmasters - Luhr Jenson-Needle Fish. Hopkins No Equal Spoon - Atom Striper Swiper - 1 ounce crippled herring Luhr Jensen - Krocodile 1oz. Chrome Baby Striper - A-Salt Bomber - Mambo Minnow - Smiling Bill Bucktails (not shown)
6 and 9 inch Inch storm shads bunker pattern 6", 7/8 oz., 4 per pack $4. 9", 2 3/4 oz.,
1 per pack $4 Popping plugs or surface lures are most effective during low light conditions such as dawn or dusk. Metal lures, such as Kastmasters or Hopkins are best during bright sunlight conditions. Swimming lures, both shallow swimmers and deep divers work best during the day when fish are less likely to come to the surface to feed and at night when they are close to the bottom and less active. Bucktail Jigs and eel lures like the sluggo and tube lures take fish during both day and night. These should be worked along the bottom at an extremely slow retrieve even better when a piece of pork rind or squid strip is added to the hook.
Wood plugs can come later. Tackle bag. (~$80 )
Nail cutters pair of cheap Pliers / wire cutters and a Head lamp with the red light for nights Duo-Lock snap swivels
All Stripers All The Time!!