DeepBlue85

Fishing the surf zone

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While I personally would enjoy the notion of diving head long into the subject in an instructional direction, there are many more than I entitled to do so before I make the attempt.  With that said iv more than enjoyed and learned over the course of the last two decades which alow me to appreciate and reflect on the fact that so few north eastern "surf fishermen" still spend the majority of their time in the surf vs the bay.  It seems to me that most surf fishing by definition ends up happening in an inlet, a bay or other backwater environment which in my opinion detracts from the idea of what fishing the surf truly means.  With the exception of seasonal runs, I find fewer and fewer experienced fishermen spending their time in a dedicated way to fishing the surf in a purist fashion.  I know I'm reaching here but who still spends a lot of their time in the true surf through the slow spells waiting for those better fish or simply enjoying the process of being on an open beach....

Edited by DeepBlue85

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In the heat of the summer you will never see the true surf fisherman. He or she stalks the night. They are well versed on structure and current. They may only be on the beach for an hour or two a night. 

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I’ve always been drawn to the open surf but fish all areas.  I don’t consider myself surfcasting while fishing in a protected salt pond.   IMO we tend to fall into a few different catagories: surfcasters ply the open surf, surf fishermen or shore fishermen  might fall into any area. 

Edited by DZ

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Guys used to fish open beaches religiously, mid summer first light with pencils or finding a slow pick of fish on needles at night all season....if you put in your time on open beaches you would be rewarded. Observing how conditions and fishing changed during and around weather events and having a nightly familiarity with the less obvious changes that occur only seem to exist in Montauk anymore.  Some guys chunk with the same calculation they do a plug and it seems the art of fishing open beaches has been lost or forgotten by many.  

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2 hours ago, Mr. Bigdeal said:

.....and most can't read the beach anyway.....they have no clue.

Surf fishing is Practice Casting as Dead sticking Rules 

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I fish the surf during the summer sometimes, I start early morning, barley any light out. I fish to about 10:00am the leave before the googans and circus tent people show up. I'll now start fishing days and nights. I'm heading down to IRI this weekend to fish the night shift if there's any action. No action I'll fish the surf night shift.  

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It depends on where you are and what time of season. I'm not calling myself an experienced surfcaster but for the last 5 or 6 years I've spent way too much time on open beaches in the summer pencil poppers first light bombers and sp's at night, bill Hurley's all day you name it. I even have a decent understanding of beach structure curtesy of rich troxlers YouTube. There are plenty of fish where I fish in June and early July but very hard to find any size it's just not worth it if your looking for big fish, much better off fishing an inlet or Montauk. The only time worth it on the sand is in the spring and fall. 

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I fish the sand probably 70% of the time over the full course of a season. It is by far my favorite. Love figuring it out and driving by my "spots" along the beach all night long. My schedule this year had me fishing a lot more in the morning than the evening and I caught a lot of stripers over the summer in the bright sun between 7 am and noon. It was a very specific bite but it was on. 

 

I like it because there is usually no one else fishing or fishing near me and it is ever changing even more so that hard structure based spots. 

 

Downside is sand everywhere. But I don't mind that too much. 

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4 hours ago, DeepBlue85 said:

Guys used to fish open beaches religiously, mid summer first light with pencils or finding a slow pick of fish on needles at night all season....if you put in your time on open beaches you would be rewarded. Observing how conditions and fishing changed during and around weather events and having a nightly familiarity with the less obvious changes that occur only seem to exist in Montauk anymore.  Some guys chunk with the same calculation they do a plug and it seems the art of fishing open beaches has been lost or forgotten by many.  

I still do this. For me there's nothing in the world that compares to fishing open beaches.  I fish the same beaches I did when I was a boy with my stepfather in the early 70's. Those beaches are spiritual places that I will visit until my last day.           

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6 hours ago, DeepBlue85 said:

 

 

Guys used to fish open beaches religiously, mid summer first light with pencils or finding a slow pick of fish on needles at night all season....if you put in your time on open beaches you would be rewarded. Observing how conditions and fishing changed during and around weather events and having a nightly familiarity with the less obvious changes that occur only seem to exist in Montauk anymore.  Some guys chunk with the same calculation they do a plug and it seems the art of fishing open beaches has been lost or forgotten by many.  

I’ve watched all the videos, read books and I still don’t see structures on South Shore LI beaches.  It’s not for a lack of effort but man I just don’t see it.  I do drag Bucktails or sinkers to try to find holes though.  That helps but I want to see what guys like Rich Tronx and Skinner sees.  

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1 hour ago, Birdsnester said:

I’ve watched all the videos, read books and I still don’t see structures on South Shore LI beaches.  It’s not for a lack of effort but man I just don’t see it.  I do drag Bucktails or sinkers to try to find holes though.  That helps but I want to see what guys like Rich Tronx and Skinner sees.  

 

 

Nothing beats a moon tide at low water with northwest winds.  Those conditions have their place for fishing but I try using the opportunity astronomical low water levels afford to assess beach structure during these times.   The monotony of the open beach lends its self to subtle changes not ordinarily associated with productive water but when miles of uninterupeted sand bar open by a few feet or drift further from shore, or closer...or a steeper section of beach lip or a sand spit stretching out on the down current side of a subtle point....such subtlety is how I find productive areas and walking a featureless stretch of beach is the best way to find the variations fish will use to their advantage.  Some of the best bait fishermen move up an down a beach hitting key areas just the same as a plugger...no matter how you fish, covering ground is important.  Another aspect of the open beach vs a back bay, inlet or jetty scenario is it obviously fluctuates and a shift in wind direction can reposition sand bars, remove or replenish sand within a tide rendering the featureless stretch of beach you walked past yesterday, a productive ambush point where sand eels now seek refuge.  That dead stretch of beach now holds bait in a way it hadnt just a week prior and during an oncoming swell event, fish stage as breaking waves dislodge the prey at hand.  Nothing replaces time and observation on an open beach and it's a discipline in the shadow of all the easier more predictable fishing most everyone, including my self have come to enjoy.

Edited by DeepBlue85

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2 hours ago, Birdsnester said:

I’ve watched all the videos, read books and I still don’t see structures on South Shore LI beaches.  It’s not for a lack of effort but man I just don’t see it.  I do drag Bucktails or sinkers to try to find holes though.  That helps but I want to see what guys like Rich Tronx and Skinner sees.  

Many beaches don't have any, you need to check lots to find one with good structure, a great time is after a big storm especially in the fall they kind of re set all the beaches, delete some bars and make new ones.  A major key is having a buggy and getting to drive the whole beach that’s how you find the good stuff. you also don't need a massive outflow between two bars to find fish, sometimes they relate to the slightest hole or bar, and even the beach lip that exists on every beach. 
 

 

Edited by liambrouillette

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3 hours ago, Birdsnester said:

I’ve watched all the videos, read books and I still don’t see structures on South Shore LI beaches.  It’s not for a lack of effort but man I just don’t see it.  I do drag Bucktails or sinkers to try to find holes though.  That helps but I want to see what guys like Rich Tronx and Skinner sees.  

Sometimes the structure can be very subtle. Sometimes it is very obvious. Just walk and plug and write down what you see and where and when you catch. If it were all the same the surfers wouldn't all be in the same spot. 

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