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Timing the cast when facing breaking surf

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A friend of mine was telling me about a monster day of fishing he had a few years back on a rocky coastline. He was casting into the breaking waves and hooking fish after fish that were approx 36" to 40" in length. Then, his friend came around the corner having had no luck. My friend graciously offered up his rock to his fishless friend, who then proceeded to hook up significantly larger fish (using a small popping plug), consistently, from the same spot, with the biggest two being 50" and 54", respectively. cwm12.gif The explanation for his friend producing bigger fish in the same spot? "He had grown up fishing the open beaches and knew how to cast into the breaking surf, timing the cast just right so that the stripers were surfing the wave right into the plug."

 

Since hearing that story, I've been trying to visualize the timing involved, and it has gotten me thinking more about the proper way to time the cast in the surf- either on a rocky shoreline or on the open beach. I've searched through the board cwm15.gif and found some discussion in the West Coast forum about timing the cast when pencil popping so as to land the popper on the back of the breaking wave to avoid it getting gobbled up by the surf, as well as discussion in the fly fishing forum on timing the cast when you want to work the wash. But I still haven't quite answered my question...

 

Does this explanation of timing the cast so that the stripers could surf the wave into the plug sound right? What other different ways/ devices do you use when timing your cast when fishing the surf? I feel like a dumdum for asking such a question redface.gif but it seems like timing, at least in this case, was the difference between one guy catching some respectable fish and the other guy catching the fish of a lifetime.

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A friend of mine was telling me about a monster day of fishing he had a few years back on a rocky coastline. He was casting into the breaking waves and hooking fish after fish that were approx 36" to 40" in length. Then, his friend came around the corner having had no luck. My friend graciously offered up his rock to his fishless friend, who then proceeded to hook up significantly larger fish (using a small popping plug), consistently, from the same spot, with the biggest two being 50" and 54", respectively. cwm12.gif The explanation for his friend producing bigger fish in the same spot? "He had grown up fishing the open beaches and knew how to cast into the breaking surf, timing the cast just right so that the stripers were surfing the wave right into the plug."

 

Since hearing that story, I've been trying to visualize the timing involved, and it has gotten me thinking more about the proper way to time the cast in the surf- either on a rocky shoreline or on the open beach. I've searched through the board cwm15.gif and found some discussion in the West [Coast forum about timing the cast when pencil popping so as to land the popper on the back of the breaking wave to avoid it getting gobbled up by the surf, as well as discussion in the fly fishing forum on timing the cast when you want to work the wash]. But I still haven't quite answered my question...

 

Does this explanation of timing the cast so that the stripers could surf the wave into the plug sound right? What other different ways/ devices do you use when timing your cast when fishing the surf? I feel like a dumdum for asking such a question redface.gif but it seems like timing, at least in this case, was the difference between one guy catching some respectable fish and the other guy catching the fish of a lifetime.

 

The best explanation is as the west coast forum statedI dont understand stripers surfing into a wave.I time the wave so my plug drops behind a wave.And if another wave catches up to the plug drop back so your plug rides the backside of the wave.When fishing a lighter plug you can let the wave break and form the white stuff and time your cast so your are casting into the foam.

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Since when fishing for bass I'm usually working the plug much slower than the waves, the plug isn't hanging out in any particular part of a wave for long, so I don't quite see how timing the cast would make much difference. However, I do believe that it is important to work the lure and vary its speed in accordance with where on the wave it is - slower on the front edge and fast on the backside, to make up for the variance in water speed.

 

Maybe your friend is just better at working poppers wink.gif

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i do the same- aiming for the back of the wave, but its not to catch 'surfing' stripers.. with a metal lip, you can cast behind the wave and just let it sit there in the foam without taking one crank on the reel handle. As the next wave begins to form, the first wave that has already crashed will flow twards it and will give the plug great action. If you can do this over a trough or a hole, you can leave your plug over the strike zone much longer than if your retrieving normaly. There are some great beaches in RI that have deep dropoffs just feet away from dry sand where this works like magic. shallow beaches with slow foamy rollers makes it much harder to do this trick.

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Indeed he is pretty masterful at working the popper biggrin.gif, I should stop and watch the next time I get the chance...

 

As for the fish surfing into the plug, I am now wondering if it had something to do with the fish using the forward momentum of the wave to launch its attack, but not being there I can't say for sure and I certainly don't have enough time on the water to contribute my own experiences to the matter. Perhaps it had to do with getting the plug into the right position where it is being held by the wave before it gets tumbled in the white water confused.gif ?

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Here's how I do it. When you see the biggest wave crash on the beach start counting waves. Then when you see the biggest wave crash again you are say, at 10 waves. Every 10th wave is thus the biggest wave.

 

So, keeping this in mind...

 

Just before any wave crashes on the beach, cast! You should time how long it forms and hits the beach and how long the surge comes up the beach depending on your comfort level being in the water and how far you can cast. Or just time it so that when your lure hits the water, its right behind the the crest of the wave before it crashes.

 

... and if you venture too far out wading, remember the 10th wave...

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RocketCookie to me there are two parts to a cast,first part is when I cast I want to cast just beyond a incoming wave.You have to know how far you can cast and time your cast.If you cast in front of a wave your plug is going to tumble and its going to be ineffective.You want the plug to be working behind a wave as the fish will running parallel to the beach.You also time your retrieve to keep the plug working behind the wave.Your hits will come behind a wave and not in front of it.You keep working the plug to the beach as it gets close the second part comes in and you can follow Nebe's explanation on this part.Alot of times especially at night the fish are in close and following the trough so you have to work the plug until it gets on the beach.When it gets close I drop my rod to almost horizontal so not to lift the plug up and lose its action and reel in slow to keep it working.I think your friend may have explained what we have said in a different way.If you get achance to go to the ocean and visualize what has been said,however practice and someone you can show you is the best.

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I think I am starting to get the picture cwm40.gif... of the following sketches I've attached below, it sounds like scenarios C & D are closest to the target everyone is describing...

525

525

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Sounds more to me the fish just happened to be "in" that day and the guy gave up his rock at the wrong time.

 

No question a superior presentation catches more fish, but to assume that it's THE reason for catching larger fish in an isolated instance doesnt sound justifyable to me.

 

Working the wave makes more sense to me if the fish are sporadic and you need to work everything you can to your advantage in order to just hook up with something.

 

The one place I know you DONT want to be is the wash with a slack line. Plugs just tumble around, foul up on rocks or get washed up behind you, all things I like dont like.

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In many situations I basically try to do the same thing with my presentation. Casting so my plugs and sometimes also eels are catching the backside of a breaking wave. It is at this point that bait is momentarily disoriented in the turbulent white water and stripers being the opportunistic feeders that they are time this for an easy meal.

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