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New to SF and striper fishing; in need of advice

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Hello all. I am a recent transplant to SF from Chicago. I moved out here May of 2021 and was really looking forward to getting into some striper action, being a lifelong largemouth and smallmouth bass angler in the Midwest. Unfortunately, one year later and I have yet to find success from the surf. I'm hoping for feedback on what I have tried so far.

 

Places I have fished: * (all from the surf)

Setup: Shimano Saragossa 6000 with a Lamiglas Carbon Surf 10'6" M Mod/Fast

Terminal: 30lb Power Pro with a 2ft flourocarbon leader and size 7 snap 

Baits: I have mainly been throwing white Spro bucktails between 1 and 1.5oz as well as Kastmaster spoons, but have given floating SP minnows a shot too

 

A majority of my time has been spent at Ocean Beach * . Some important notes about my strategy that I think are in need of refinement:

  • Time of day -  I normally fish 2 hours before and 1 hour after midday high tide. 
  • Casting distance - I was told that Ocean Beach is shallow and that I should go no heavier than 1.5oz. However, even with the 10'6" rod, my casting distance is limited to 50-60 yards max. I have waders that allow me to extend this a bit, but the breakers and rip current prevent me from gaining significant distance. It feels like most of the time my bait is either swallowed up in the breakers or getting caught up in the rip current, and if I could cast into the trough in front of the offshore sandbar, my bait would spend more time in more promising water.
  • Identifying fish-holding beach features - This has been the most difficult thing for me. The waves during high tide have been so rough that it has made it hard for me to identify any breaks/sandbars/troughs/holes within casting distance. I'm mainly fishing blind, walking up and down the beach in hope of hitting a productive spot that fish are stacked up on.

 

Any and all feedback on my setup, tackle, strategy, or location is greatly appreciated. I'm hoping to make big progress this spring and summer season and finally land the first striper. Tight lines. 

Edited by TimS
I’m sorry but we don’t go into overly specific locations here - everything else….just no spot burning :-)

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Don’t fish blind, look for bait/wind/tides. Also Ocean Beach is tough, I’d recommend heading south 10mins and targeting sunrise/sunsets. Where do you live? Sometimes you’ll find better conditions, and fishing, inside the bay

Edited by Fishermandan
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I live in SF, in the Mission. What patterns are productive in the bay? And what types of structure are fish usually found around?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Leave the rod home and go out and dress like a tourist on an early high tide or very low minus tide.  Observe where the fishermen are fishing and try to figure out the structure they are fishing.  Observe their techniques used to cover that particular structure.  Take pictures with your phone so that you have a record of the spots and can return to explore them.  If they feel like engaging some bewildered tourist and engaging/enlightening them, well so much the better.  I'm not saying it's like recon behind enemy lines, but a little friendly conversation and observance can go a long way towards shortening your learning curve.:D  And always wish them good luck upon parting.

Edited by bass11

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We have all been there. 
 

As the others have said, pay attention to holes and troughs. Some will be big and obvious. Others will be the “ why am I casting here” variety. You just gotta put in your time.

 

If it makes you feel any better, it took me until today to get my first beach striper this year. 
 

SP minnow in bone should be a good choice. Maybe drop to 20 lb braid for extra distance and less wind resistance. It was blowing straight down the beach today. 
 

Some around here swear by buck tails but their performance (for me at least) hasn’t been that great. 4” swimbaits on a 3/4 oz jig head should be in your rotation. I fish Shimano coltsniper stick baits and have been pretty happy with them.

 

My homie who grew up fishing the beach swears by Deadly Dicks.

 

Winch is down in Pacifica. You should reach out to him and pick up one or two of his small poppers, a metal-lip or two, a pencil, and maybe another recommended lure or two.

 

If you feel like a drive to Santa Cruz reach out to Mike Fixter. Stop in and see NorCal Kat the next time you head up to Tahoe. 
 

The fling is in July, be there. 

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13 hours ago, bass11 said:

Leave the rod home and go out and dress like a tourist on an early high tide or very low minus tide.  Observe where the fishermen are fishing and try to figure out the structure they are fishing.  Observe their techniques used to cover that particular structure.  Take pictures with your phone so that you have a record of the spots and can return to explore them.  If they feel like engaging some bewildered tourist and engaging/enlightening them, well so much the better.  I'm not saying it's like recon behind enemy lines, but a little friendly conversation and observance can go a long way towards shortening your learning curve.:D  And always wish them good luck upon parting.

If you follow this advice just make sure you are not observing a bunch of guys that just moved here from the Mid West..

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I assume u have a trailer on your bucktails? Strike out and fish other beaches too as stated.

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All I can say is put in time. Surf Striper fishing has been slow (for me) until just recently this year. Conditions have to be right. Finding them is tough. You've got to move around and just plain get lucky. Signs of bait in the water is huge. 

 

Getting off long casts can be important, but often you'll get fish in the first trough. The last one I got smacked my spoon right at the lip, 15' from my feet. It was cool because I actually saw the strike. Nice 25" fish. Definitely reel in slowly until you're dragging sand in the shore break.

 

Bucktails can be tricky. You've got to experiment with weights until you find the right one for the conditions where you can get it to ride just above the bottom without dragging. Definitely use trailers. 

 

I like to throw metal, especially when it's windy. It took me a while to get the feel of the retrieve in the surf to where I can feel and dial in the wobble. Again, slow but not dragging bottom. ALL THE WAY IN. My last Striper hit a 1 1/2 oz. tin with a dressed hook right in front of me.

 

If you can hit an incoming high right around sunrise, awesome! That being said, fishing can be good at all stages of the tide. As long as the current is moving.

 

I'm also in the Bay Area over in Alameda. I've got catching Stripers from shore around the bay down, but I'm on a mission to master getting them from the sand. I fish from Marin to Santa Cruz, my go to areas being from south of SF to HMB. You've got access to a lot of beaches a short drive away. Maybe I'll run into you one day.

 

I wanted to ask you how you like the Lami Carbon 10'6".  I've had my eye on that same model. How does it perform with lighter 3/4 to 1 oz lures?

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