Bucktails_and_beers

Frustration setting in

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So I've fished my whole life. And I've always prided myself in being able to catch when no one else seems to be. Freshwater river fishing, bass fishing, saltwater boat fishing, etc. I am fairly new to surf fishing, and I absolutely love the whole dynamic. I've asked for advice, tried every suggestion regarding bait, rigging. I've read the thread about reading the beach and feel like I have a good idea on what to look for. But so far this year I have very little to show for my efforts. A few skates, a shorty striper way back in May and a couple horseshoe crabs. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing wrong. Is it really that hit or miss on the surf or am I just absolutely terrible at it? At this point I'm half tempted to go back to bass fishing just to feel like I haven't lost the mojo completely...lol. Sorry for the rant guys, I know it will take time to figure it all out but damn...it's embarrassing at this point.

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Don't be depressed,it's not you., Almost every surf caster in CT is not having much luck.  If you have been reading this site you have seen many reports of the striper decline.  It is real.  The boat guys have the best shots,but even they are not happy. There are pods of stripers that show ,but it's not very predictable.  If you see others catching when you are not ,then look for reasons, baring that go fresh water fishing.

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2 mins ago, John P said:

Don't be depressed,it's not you., Almost every surf caster in CT is not having much luck.  If you have been reading this site you have seen many reports of the striper decline.  It is real.  The boat guys have the best shots,but even they are not happy. There are pods of stripers that show ,but it's not very predictable.  If you see others catching when you are not ,then look for reasons, baring that go fresh water fishing.

I talked to the owner at Old Inlet and he basically said the same thing. Big blues aren't coming in and neither are the stripers. I'd just be happy with some whiting or spot at this point. I'll keep my chin up. Think I'll go snakehead fishing this week...lol. Thank you.

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It took me 25 years of surf fishing as an adult to catch my first trophy sized fish from the surf in the DelMarVa.  Most of that time I was not serious about the fishing, I just enjoyed the time on the beach with the hope of catching a big one.  Over the last 4 years I've focused on Casting, Reading the Water/Beach(I did fluid simulations in a 3D modeling software that helped a lot), Weather(I posted the first iterations of my Catch Data to Weather reading here a few years ago) and the feeding and migration patterns of my target fish.  I always catch fish, spring summer and fall, with big sharks and skates mixed in with small pan fish and blues.  Stick with it, you'll enjoy the catches more because of the work it takes to get good at surf fishing.  Good luck.

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1 min ago, rwilliamsjr26 said:

It took me 25 years of surf fishing as an adult to catch my first trophy sized fish from the surf in the DelMarVa.  Most of that time I was not serious about the fishing, I just enjoyed the time on the beach with the hope of catching a big one.  Over the last 4 years I've focused on Casting, Reading the Water/Beach(I did fluid simulations in a 3D modeling software that helped a lot), Weather(I posted the first iterations of my Catch Data to Weather reading here a few years ago) and the feeding and migration patterns of my target fish.  I always catch fish, spring summer and fall, with big sharks and skates mixed in with small pan fish and blues.  Stick with it, you'll enjoy the catches more because of the work it takes to get good at surf fishing.  Good luck.

That does make me feel better. I have considered the weather, the chop, all of that...but I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface. I don't plan on giving up the surf...like you I enjoy being out there and hell...if nothing more a couple cold beers with the salt air breeze blowing over you sure as hell beats working any day of the week. Thanks a lot man!

 

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Personally I don't fish the DE surf a ton outside of seasonal windows and certain areas, and I believe Delaware is one of the most difficult places in the surrounding area to successfully surf fish (especially if you exclude small panfish, skates/rays, and sharks).  It's likely you'd be having success if you were located in NJ, or OBX, or somewhere with more structure and bait.

 

Having said that, don't give up, September is right around the corner and there are plenty of fish to be caught in Delaware from the surf and back bays.  A mentor or someone with local knowledge/experience can really help cut the learning curve and greatly increase your success rate, even if it's just a one or two time outing.    Most of the year I find much more success in the inlets, bays, and river mouths.  If you can find some good fish holding areas and learn them well you'll be rewarded.

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Just now, Catskill John said:

Do things right, put in the time, it’ll happen. 

I appreciate it. Hearing that people have struggled as I have makes it all clear that this is a marathon. Not a sprint.

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Just now, sbcbmx112 said:

Personally I don't fish the DE surf a ton outside of seasonal windows and certain areas, and I believe Delaware is one of the most difficult places in the surrounding area to successfully surf fish (especially if you exclude small panfish, skates/rays, and sharks).  It's likely you'd be having success if you were located in NJ, or OBX, or somewhere with more structure and bait.

 

Having said that, don't give up, September is right around the corner and there are plenty of fish to be caught in Delaware from the surf and back bays.  A mentor or someone with local knowledge/experience can really help cut the learning curve and greatly increase your success rate, even if it's just a one or two time outing.    Most of the year I find much more success in the inlets, bays, and river mouths.  If you can find some good fish holding areas and learn them well you'll be rewarded.

That makes sense. I honestly don't mind panfish. A lot of the draw is being out there on the sand with my family. Them enjoying the beach while I kick back a few brews and try to land something. Maybe I'll just resign myself to a "hit or miss" mentality with surf fishing and try to locate better spots for actually landing them routinely. I appreciate the advice. Tight lines!

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Also new to beach fishing this year. A few skates and two dog fish in the spring and a handful of spot one afternoon a couple weeks ago I've just been enjoying the time on the beach.

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3 hours ago, Bucktails_and_beers said:

So I've fished my whole life. And I've always prided myself in being able to catch when no one else seems to be. Freshwater river fishing, bass fishing, saltwater boat fishing, etc. I am fairly new to surf fishing, and I absolutely love the whole dynamic. I've asked for advice, tried every suggestion regarding bait, rigging. I've read the thread about reading the beach and feel like I have a good idea on what to look for. But so far this year I have very little to show for my efforts. A few skates, a shorty striper way back in May and a couple horseshoe crabs. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing wrong. Is it really that hit or miss on the surf or am I just absolutely terrible at it? At this point I'm half tempted to go back to bass fishing just to feel like I haven't lost the mojo completely...lol. Sorry for the rant guys, I know it will take time to figure it all out but damn...it's embarrassing at this point.

It took me a bunch of years to be successful and I’m still learning a ton every year. 
 

I think the biggest thing is 1. Knowing what bait to use and when 2. Fish in close and be able to cast to the outer bar. If you can’t, find a place where the outer bar (or structure) is reachable and/or keep practicing your casting. 3. You aren’t always going to catch a giant Red Drum or Rock, you don’t always have to use super heavy gear. Use the lightest setups you can for then targeted species. You can cast farther and more accurately. Use a “lighter” 12’ rod and whip that bait where you want it. 
 

The most important thing I’ve learned is this, when you’re talking to an “old salt” and they are sharing their thoughts and secrets you need to shut up and listen. There are a lot of people on here that know a lot about fishing, so listen to everyone and everything and you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like. 
 

Embrace and enjoy the process. Successful surf fishing is difficult but extremely rewarding when you start to “figure it out”. 
 

wow that was long! 

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4 hours ago, sbcbmx112 said:

Personally I don't fish the DE surf a ton outside of seasonal windows and certain areas, and I believe Delaware is one of the most difficult places in the surrounding area to successfully surf fish (especially if you exclude small panfish, skates/rays, and sharks).  It's likely you'd be having success if you were located in NJ, or OBX, or somewhere with more structure and bait.

 

Having said that, don't give up, September is right around the corner and there are plenty of fish to be caught in Delaware from the surf and back bays.  A mentor or someone with local knowledge/experience can really help cut the learning curve and greatly increase your success rate, even if it's just a one or two time outing.    Most of the year I find much more success in the inlets, bays, and river mouths.  If you can find some good fish holding areas and learn them well you'll be rewarded.

I've said this for over 30 years.... If you can catch on regular basis from the beach in Delaware and from LeTort Spring in PA you can catch fish anywhere in the world.  The lessons you learn can be applied anywhere.  Don't expect anyone to just show you where to go and exactly when.  That's almost sacred info and is held very tight.  Giving up that info will get you no friends on Delmarva.

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3 hours ago, OPSteve said:

It took me a bunch of years to be successful and I’m still learning a ton every year. 
 

I think the biggest thing is 1. Knowing what bait to use and when 2. Fish in close and be able to cast to the outer bar. If you can’t, find a place where the outer bar (or structure) is reachable and/or keep practicing your casting. 3. You aren’t always going to catch a giant Red Drum or Rock, you don’t always have to use super heavy gear. Use the lightest setups you can for then targeted species. You can cast farther and more accurately. Use a “lighter” 12’ rod and whip that bait where you want it. 
 

The most important thing I’ve learned is this, when you’re talking to an “old salt” and they are sharing their thoughts and secrets you need to shut up and listen. There are a lot of people on here that know a lot about fishing, so listen to everyone and everything and you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like. 
 

Embrace and enjoy the process. Successful surf fishing is difficult but extremely rewarding when you start to “figure it out”. 
 

wow that was long! 

No I really appreciate all of that. Thank you so much!

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Well for whatever you are targeting, learn everything you can.  Migration, spawning, feeding habits day/night, bait preferences, water temperature preferences, sunny cloudy moon phase wind direction will do for starters.  pick a likely location based on the season, often not local, and then fish your ass off and keep your eyes open.

 

Oh, and the light hurts their eyes :-)

Edited by Steve Coleman

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