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PlasticMan

Fish the Surf Like a Pro - Knot a Rookie

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Most rookie surf anglers think that since the ocean is so large, they can just grab a rod, their freshwater tackle box from the garage, head to the beach and expect to catch a boat load of fish. But when they rig up their usual bobber or trout rig and try to cast their line as far out as possible with some left over bait from last weeks freshwater outing, things just don’t turn out as planned.

Sure fishing is fishing but there are different techniques and procedures that should be followed to make sure that when you do go out, at least you greatly increase the chances of a nice catch.


Here is a list of common mistakes that beginners make:


1. Most rookie surf anglers hit the beach and look for the biggest span of beach with nobody around. I do understand this! After all who wants to pony up next to somebody else's AO. So the next step would be to look around, look for STRUCTURE. Yes there is structure on the beach. A good way to find structure for a beginner is to analyze the location when the tide is OUT. Arrive a little early. Yes Low Tide. This way you will be able to properly examine the beach and find the "Holes", "Trenches" and maybe even a Rock Outcropping. These are ALL features likely to contain fish when the tide comes in. So this is where you should rig up accordingly.


2 . But on so many occasions I see novice anglers failing to check the tides. Tides have a HUGE influence on whether the fish are going to bite. In short, when the tide is out the fish are out. Sure you may get lucky and find some really deep trenches and some hold outs in them waiting for bait fish to swim the super food highway, but certainly this does not happen on a regular basis. Not to mention that it is really hard to get those fish to bite. Did you ever dangle a toy in front of a lazy cat? And they just don't want to play. That is what the pull of the moon does to the bite. Turns it off.


So check the tide charts for your area and try and hit the tide on the incoming, about an hour before High Tide and a couple of hours after. This will be your best chance to get a WIDE OPEN BITE.

What happens with the incoming tide here is, the waves break and that force churns up the sand, which in turn reveals the tender morsels surf species the fish are looking for and so they start to feed and that is what you are trying to get into.


3. The next most obvious consideration is the type of bait you are going to use. Yes some freshwater lures cross over to saltwater but there aren’t too many. Especially not the hooks, as salt wears freshwater tackle very quickly. After you start reeling in some fish, you need to invest in some good saltwater surf lures and tackle. This will in turn also improve your catch rate. So make sure that you understand what surf species feed on. If you have the time, for the most part, surf fishing bait can be obtained freely. Surf fish species feed on a very select diet and as with humans, they prefer it to be fresh! So here are a few baits you can find on your local beach.


• Sand crabs - you can find them at the water and about 15 feet out. It all depends where the sand crab beds are. These look like little "V's" in the sand and normally you can see large numbers of them. Have a look around and if you see "smooth" sand followed by some "fuzzy" sand, then start digging and you will probably find some. A sand crab rake is a great tool for this.

• Mussels - Green mussels can be taken from rock jetties pretty easily at low tide. But NEVER! turn your back on the ocean. One rouge wave can do serious damage if it catches you off guard and hits you unaware.

• Ghost Shrimp - these need to be pumped from their homes in the "black sand" or bays at low tide. A special ghost shrimp can be purchased or made. Plenty of videos are available on youtube on how to harvest and make a pump. Check your regulations, as you do need a fishing license for all of the above. I believe Ghosties are at 50 per license. But check out your local regs to be sure.

4. And last but not least, PRESENTATION of the bait. Surf Fish do this Tide in and Tide Out day after day. They know what real snacks look like. They know the difference between some kids dropped snack and a live sand crab. Keep the presentation as Stealthy and Natural as possible. Hide the hook; use clear beads and the smallest weights that the conditions will allow.

Don't forget to check your local fishing reports, and communities, like socalsurfrats.com and Fishthesurf.com ! They are a wealth of knowledge and will usually reveal the general area of what is Hot and what is working at that time of the season. So get out there and get bit! Catch some fish! Have fun!


Plasticman

Socalsurfrats.com - A California Surf Fishing Community.

Comments

  1. Dogman's Avatar
    Well I have made a couple of those for sure

    Dogman
  2. daveinmissionviejo's Avatar
    going to San Clemente tomorrow. Lets see if I have any luck and apply what I learned after going to the seminar on Saturday.
  3. Mistermark05's Avatar
    This is good stuff. I just started this and the first paragraph described my current technique exactly.
  4. PlasticMan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by daveinmissionviejo
    going to San Clemente tomorrow. Lets see if I have any luck and apply what I learned after going to the seminar on Saturday.
    If you listen to what Bill and Ken have to say you will definitely step up your game. I couldn't make it due to work restrictions.

    Plasticman
  5. PlasticMan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermark05
    This is good stuff. I just started this and the first paragraph described my current technique exactly.
    Thanks a lot nothing new but sometimes good to refresh ..
  6. VALLEYCENTERWAHOO's Avatar
    I've been trying to find clear beads but can only get red ones . Where in Oceanside can you find clear beads ??
  7. PlasticMan's Avatar
    I get all my beads at the craft stores.. really cheap.

    Good Luck. Wheres my baked croaker w/ beans and rice?

    Plasticman
  8. VALLEYCENTERWAHOO's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PlasticMan
    I get all my beads at the craft stores.. really cheap.

    Good Luck. Wheres my baked croaker w/ beans and rice?

    Plasticman
    Lol . I never would have thought to go to a crafts store . I love to cook so when ever you've got a Sunday with some spare time let me know . Give me some advanced warning so I can get some fresh Croaker and have my Wife make some fresh beans . It takes a day to cook them fresh . She makes a mean Caldo De Arroz too !! I'll put a pic on my profile of the rice .