Surf fishing is a recreational activity of catching fish whilst poising on the shore or by trudging in the surfing waves on sandy or rocky shores or fishing piers. It is the hurling of artificial baits from the surf beach, far into the ocean with waves crashing around. A surf beach is an arid place, with miles and miles of open water, foam-engulfed banks and crashing shorelines. No chart can keep up with the altering contours and water depths, resulting from millions of tons of sand being displaced from one area to another by tidal swells, rips and wave motion of the water.
Tackle and Gear
The tackle used by surf fishermen incorporates an extensive range of technicalized rods and reels, along with a comprehensive assortment of artificial lures, natural baits and terminal tackle. Tackle selection depends on the species targeted, required casting distance and water conditions.
Rod selection primarily depends on the distance and the weight of the lure or bait to be cast. Regardless of the length, the rod should have a stiff butt end, a mid-section of passable flexibility and a soft, flexible tip.
Short rods stretch to about 6 to 8 feet in length and are used with modest baits or lures, incapable of casting great distances and are useful when fishing for small, bottom-dwelling fish. Medium-length rods run from 8 to 10 feet and are able to support moderate weight lines and baits. They can be cast close to the shore, yet are capable of casting fairly long distances to reach outer waters. Trout, bluefish and smaller drum are usually caught using medium-length rods. Long rods or heavy gear can run from 10 to 14 feet. The dominant intention is to cast heavy weight bait over long distances and to catch large fish.
Both spinning and conventional reels are effective but it is really a matter of choice and comfort. Spinning reels endure the best casting distance capabilities whereas the latter is preferred if the target fish are larger and stronger species.
Natural bait is more advantageous than artificial lures. The speculation of bait, which is usually sliced, depends on the target fish. The key is to know what the target fish finds appetizing and making it resolute enough to linger on to the hook when casting. Shrimp and live or dead bait fish are both compelling baits. Sea worms and sand crabs are also modish and competent.
Three kinds of lures are employed in surf fishing: spoons, plugs, and lead head jigs. Spoons, especially the blazing versions, work well for those depending on vision when hunting. Other species may be hesitant and prefer a dreary spoon. Most plugs used are of the subsurface, because of the long distance to be cast. Jig styles work well and are often lined with natural bait.
Even though the usage of baits is more common than artificial lures, many species will take a lure. In fact, species like Spanish mackerel and bluefish may fancy a lure to bait.
Invariably, even small picking fish like whiting or herring will not take long to strip the soaking soft baits such as pilchards. Moreover, they last only a few casts and soon become squashy and spongy to hold up through the process of casting. Usage of salted baits is one way to get rid of this problem, that is, layering the fish constantly with salt till the moisture is absorbed. Wrapping the bait a few times in thin, white cotton called ghost cotton is another option. This will hold it together and keep it tighter on the hook.
Pick Your Spot
Engaging in assessment and perusal of the beach where fishing is to be rendered from accrues to the possibility of procuring a good catch. Things under the water are different with gutters and sandbars altered by the rip, wave and tides affecting the dwelling of the fish. Usage of Polaroid glasses enhances the ability to identify these guts and holes by curtailing the light’s reflection off the water and hence presenting a favorable catch.
Casting the Bait
Usually, distance is accrued as the key for a good catch wherein the further the line is cast the better the chances of catching fish. It may hold value pertaining to the species but can actually act as a counterfeit. Fish tend to amass around structures and drop-offs, sometimes being close to the shore as well. Before casting, the pendulum movement of the bait is used so as to reach farther distances. Surfing boats are also used to cast baits rather than casting from the shore. These boats are very small, making them easy to carry and provide fishermen with the required balance.
There are a lot of dangers faced by surf fishers, mostly faced by those who move on to the rocks. Since white water beaches are preferred for surf fishing due to the availability of fish along the shores, there is high possibility of hard and rough waves coming along, resulting in serious and grievous injuries. Sea conditions should be checked and accounted for before proceeding for fishing.
There are numerous factors pertaining to successfully fishing the beach. Though observation and visual identification of the structure plays an important role, comprehending and studying the banks, gutters, drains and rips is of utmost significance. Additional observations of swooping birds and identifying bait fish and the species of fish to be targeted gives an edge over 99% of other fishermen.
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