Rockfish, striper, linesider.
More than 300 pages dedicated to your favorite fish, the striped bass
Here for The Striper Room
An approach to fishing the shore
The advice below
is more about angling in the surf than casting. The methods
of casting are discussed in the section on overhead
soon in greater detail. The Hatteras and the Pendulum cast
will be featured.
To be successful,
a surf angler must be prepared to put more than casual
thought into the whys and wherefores of the sport. Those
who live close to the sea have the advantage of constant
observation. Others must rely on information in respect
to weather reports and Fisheries reports.
It is not possible to give advice with any degree of certainty
but there are obvious indicators which will allow the travelling
angler some promise of success.
First choose a rising tide, either early morning or evening.
Bright sunlight is not always a condition to be avoided,
but mid day flood tides do not usually produce best results.
Beaches in the vicinity of estuaries are surf angling beaches.
By fishing as close as possible to submerged reefs, or from
the rocky approaches, the surf angler will often be rewarded
for his efforts. When working the beaches after dark, short
casts are most advisable.
During rough seas, watch the amount of sand lifted in the
breakers. Where constant sand curtains exist, it is unlikely
surf feeders will be present. Choose the edges of sand bars
bordering channels to place your bait, and where fast drifts
and sweeping currents are present, look for where such conditions
become less active.
Fresh bait is almost essential though salted varieties will
be found successful when small fry are scarce and when fish
are working the surf. Heavy seas are not a deterrent, but,
on the other hand often bring in surf feeders to dine on
the disturbed food.
If you are going to fish the surf on the beach, the recommended
rod is an 9 ft. to 12 ft. fiberglass or graphite surf rod.
The rod should have fast to medium action and support 2 to
5 ounce lures. The surf rod needs a reliable saltwater reel
capable of holding two hundred and fifty yards of 20 pound
monofilament. I use a Penn 9500SS and a 704Z. They last forever
and it is easy to obtain parts. The new Penn SS series with
skirted spool is becoming the reel of choice as it helps
to keep the sand away fom the gears.
Lighter line test will
cast further, but you give up breaking strength, so dont
go less than 15. I use ande 20 or 17 lb. trilene big game
monofilament. For a discussion on braided lines see
here. It is a discussion on the properties of flourocarbon leader material
vs. monofilament line. New braided lines will cast much further and have a
very small diameter and have virtually no stretch but that discussion is for
Striped bass, bluefish, blackfish, fluke,
porgy, sea bass and weakfish were the mainstays along the Northeast
and mid-Atlantic States.
Blue fish in the surf
need to use wire leaders because of there teeth. Do not put
your fingers near their mouths. You may lose a finger.
Red drum, channel bass, spot tail bass, puppy drum, and redfish
had a large following along Southeastern and Gulf Coast
And on the West Coast, you will find drum, cobias, spot, croaker, sea mullet,
blowtoads, trout and transplanted striped bass.
The best hook size to use is a 4/0 bait holder
for a variety of species. This hook will catch almost anything
out there unless the fish are small. When using large bait
for large fish, I use large size hooks. 7/0 and above. For
bluefish use size 7/0 with the wire leaders on them. Fireball
rigs float the bait off the bottom These will help keep your
bait away from crabs and Skate..(As will constant rebaiting
with fresh bait.)
Puppy drum and stripers can be caught on regular bottom
rigs, the Eagle Claw snelled hooks will work but a big one
can straighten it. You will be better off getting some good
strong 4/0 hooks and snelling them yourself with heavy monofilament
line for those.
Fish Finder Rig -
For catching bigger fish in the surf like drum, cobia and stripers use
a fish finder rig. Check catching
a striped bass for the right approach
amd some discussion on using a fishfinder. Instead of using one of those
use a big snap swivel rated to a 100 pounds and some people just use
a McMahon snap but it will work better with a swivel, if you use a swivel
with the snap it will let your sinker roll in the current and won't wind
your leader and bait up on top of it. You can also use a bead to
prevent it from going past your shock leader knot. You snell a short
piece of 4 to 8 inch 80 pound test monofilament leader to your hook and
your shock leader is attached to that with a good snap swivel. The hook
size will depend on what you want to catch. Any where from 4/0 to 13/0.
Some companies size their circle hooks differently, for big drum and
cobia use the Mustad or VMC 13/0 size or the 8/0 size Gamakatsu, Owner
or Eagle Claw. Use a smaller hook size puppy drum. If your going to use
it for sharks replace the monofilament hook leader with a 9 inch coated
steel wire You might also want to use an 80 pound shock leader because
the shark might get its tail wrapped up in the shock leader which could
break the line.
Sand Spikes -
You can cut some Pvc pipe from your local hardware store. Or you can order
some inexpensive o 22' 28' or 36' sea strikers from us.
Finding your spot
Finding the right spot on the beach to fish isn't that hard to do. Low tide
is the best time to survey the terrain.You want to try to find deep water
that is close to the beach, if the waves are breaking all the way to the
beach it's not deep. Sloughs are deep areas between the beach and the outer
bar. The waves will hit the outer bar and break then reform again before
they hit the beach. Look at the beach for spots with a lot of gravel and
shells around it. If it's during the summer and you see a spot that looks
good, take a look around on the beach. If you see a lot of sand flea shells
and pieces of them washed up on the beach that's a good sign there's fish
around eating them.
Use at least one rod out with cut bait on it all the time. You never know,
there could be something big out there that might come around. If the fishing
slows down try throwing different distances. The fish move around sometimes
as the tides change. Sometimes they are up close and sometimes they will move
way out there around the outer bar. If they still won't bite then they have
moved on down the beach or back out. Be patient. You have to put your time
in. That big one will make it all worthwhile.
Surf angling is a sport which calls for a knowledge of fish
and the elements that favour their presence. Experience is
the only tutor. Learn the use of the implements of their
capture and the hours spent in gaining the experience of
locating them is the most enjoyable aspect of the sport.
You can practice casting by dry casting on
land in a field. Dry casting is a sport, but
more importantly, it is a means of learning and practicing
the skills which will make you successful angler when you go
fishing, because you will be able to cast long distances and
We've all met the difficult situations where the water is
rough, the wind is strong in your face or side on, you need
to land the sinker in a sand hole near reefs, cast a bait
in front of a school of fish, avoid tangling with the person
next to you, the person next to you is casting a bit further
and catching all the fish, and so on. With the right gear
and skills, you can fish almost anywhere and in any conditions.
Lighter line means longer casts, while shock
leaders allow much
heavier weights and the caster's strength to be used more.