Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Intimidating Nature of Saltwater Fishing

Just popping in for a second to direct you to a guest post of mine over at The Functioning Fishaholics. I had a great conversation with Func on G+ a few weeks back about breaking into the saltwater scene and this post is an extension of that. You can find it here : The Intimidating Nature of Saltwater Fishing.

There's also a great follow up to my post over at Fly & Gin , which is an excellent addition to the subject at hand. Find it here : On Salt.

On another matter , I'll be taking a break from blogging over the next several weeks as I celebrate the holidays with family. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

From Something's Fishy : Give a Man a Fish....

And he'll most likely do something to make his doctor cringe. Sorry Doc.

A good friend of mine was kind enough to bring me a nice little Striped Bass he caught the other day. I'm not proud of stooping to the level of accepting "Charity Fish" , but I haven't been for a while and my buddy doesn't eat Stripers. I LOVE Stripers , but only if they are prepared correctly , and by prepared correctly I mean deep fried into greasy goodness.

I'll spare you the pics of bloody hands and fish being filleted , but I'm going to share my Striper recipe. First you'll need to fillet the fish , remove the skin and cut out the "Red" meat along the fish's lateral line. Next cut the fish into chunks - maybe 1 inch wide by 2 inches long or so. I like to soak mine in a mixture of salt water and lemon juice over night. No exact measurement , but probably around 2 or 3 tablespoons of salt , enough water to cover the fish and a few good splashes of lemon juice. This removes blood from the meat and the strong fish taste that some people don't like. **Very Important** Rinse it well , let's say 2 or 3 water changes , before cooking or it will be way too salty! You should have something that looks like this when you are done :
Next you'll need enough beer batter to coat your fish. Again , this isn't an exact science , just the way I throw things together in the kitchen. All measurements are approximate.

* 2 cups self rising flour (or all purpose flour with baking soda & powder)
* 1 egg
* splash of milk
* 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
* 1 can of beer (drink what you don't use)
* Old Bay Seasoning to taste ( I like about a tablespoon , maybe a little more)
* Pinch of garlic powder
* Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

Whisk it all together until you have a nice thick batter. It should only take about 1/2 to 2/3 of a can of beer , so don't get carried away. If the batter is too thin it won't stay on the fish - adjust beer and / or flour until it is the desired consistency. Now is a good time to make hush puppy mix if you're going to , because it will turn out better if you let it sit for about 15-20 minutes before cooking.
Next , I like to dump the batter on the fish or if I'm doing other seafood like shrimp or scallops , just start dipping it and putting it in the deep fryer. I only put about 5-6 pieces in at a time. Any more than that and they won't all be done at the same time. So yeah , dump the batter on the fish and stir. It will look like this:
Start frying! Your oil should be hot at around 375 when you start. Fish will float when it is done , but let it go a little longer for thick pieces and to give it a nice golden brown color.
Take em out when they're floating high and place on several layers of paper towels to allow the grease to drain a little.
After you've done the fish , you can do a few hush puppies. They take a little longer than the fish , but not much. Just until they are golden brown.
That's it. I need to eat a salad today. Dinner was delicious last night
More than enough for a family of 4
Have a great week!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Something's Fishy!

In about two weeks the blog will have it's first birthday. I'm pretty surprised that it made it this long. I did it just to see what would happen and I must say , I'm glad I did. I've "met" some great people and a lot of very talented fishermen (and women) , artists and writers. I've also had a very positive response to what I write here and also to some of my pictures and video. It's been a very rewarding experience for me.

When I first started the blog , it was mainly a place for me to go more in depth about the why's and how's of some of the surf fishing questions I was answering on message boards. I didn't mind answering the questions , but it was easier to be able to post a link to something here on the blog rather than typing out the same tired replies every time the same question came up. It worked , but I soon found myself running out of things to say. That's when I started branching out and including more of my own fishing exploits and those of others. I've had a great deal of help along the way.

As my way of saying thanks to everyone who has helped out or read the blog , I'm having a giveaway / contest starting today and running until September 15 , 2011 at noon!

Prizes are as follows.

1st place : One 12" Star Crab Trap , One Filet/Bait knife kit , One filler spool of Suffix Elite Monofilament in  14 pound Hi-Vis Yellow , One filler spool of Suffix Siege Monofilament in 14 pound Neon Tangerine , One hand tied bottom fishing rig and One hand tied Fireball rig.

2nd & 3rd : One filler spool of Suffix Elite Monofilament in 14 pound Hi-Vis Yellow , One filler spool of Suffix Siege Monofilament in 14 pound Neon Tangerine , One hand tied bottom fishing rig and One hand tied Fireball rig.

The idea behind these prizes is to get you started fishing at the beach. While not fancy or sexy , this is the stuff I use. A tribute to the humble beginnings of Something's Fishy as a surf fishing how-to blog!

How to win : I'm going to make this easy , post a comment here saying " Happy Birthday Something's Fishy " for one entry. Post another comment below saying " I Want to Fish at the Beach " for a second entry. That's it!

How winners will be determined : Winners will be determined by a Random Number Generator after 12:00 pm on 9/15/11 and announced on the blog shortly thereafter. Reasonable efforts will be made to get shipping info from the winners , but if I have not heard from the winners by 9/20/11 prizes will be awarded to someone else.

Legal Stuff : Anyone found to have made multiple accounts to increase their odds of winning will be immediately disqualified. Maximum of two (2) entries per person.

Prizes are awarded AS IS. Something's Fishy will not be held responsible for damage incurred during shipping.

Use at your own risk. Something's Fishy will not be held responsible for any damages to persons or property that occur as a result of use or misuse of these prizes. (Be Careful with the knives and hooks)

Follow local regulations. It will be the responsibility of the winners to ensure that they are following all local fishing regulations when using any of the prizes.

That's it. Let's get this party started!

Good luck!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Guest Post at Foggy Mountain Meanderings

Here's a link to a guest post I did with Justin at Foggy Mountain Meanderings :

Tips for The Beginning Surf Fisher

Seems like he's putting what we talked about to good use! Be sure to check out the rest of his site for some awesome Trail Cam shots , Gear Reviews , Hunting Reports and Freshwater Fishing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time for Something New (Repost from Something's Fishy)

Do you ever run across sunrise or sunset pictures that are just breathtakingly beautiful? I do. It is probably one of the most common scenes that just about everyone who loves the outdoors will photograph at some point. Outdoorsmen and women are out early and late , and quite often take a few seconds to click away with the camera while Mother Nature does her thing. The amazing colors that stream out across the horizon as the sun climbs up into the sky have always left me somewhat awestruck at the wonderful world we live in. I've always been fascinated with the ever changing face of the sun at the start and end of the day.
Courtesy of Outdoor Adventures

So what's this all about? I've been toying with this idea for quite a while. Making blogs is kind of fun addictive and I had this idea sometime last year. I've been through about 10 different names for it and almost as many design ideas. I'm just now getting to a point where I feel comfortable sharing it with my regular followers here on Something's Fishy.

The idea behind this new blog is to have sunscapes (is that even a word?) from across the country and around the world. It's going to be more of a simple photo blog than anything else , but all of the pictures submitted by bloggers will have links. I think it will be interesting to have the pictures labeled in such a way that will draw people in to look at them and also help promote the blogs of those who submit pictures for me to use. If someone is searching for a sunrise from Virginia Beach , they'll find it and also a link to a blogger who fishes that area or whatever. It's worth a try anyway.

I've been very fortunate to meet a great group of bloggers since I started Something's Fishy. Some of the guys I've featured and interviewed here on my blog have been kind enough to contribute the photos that will eventually be on the new blog and for this I am deeply grateful. If you look at the new blog , take a minute and visit the blogs of those who contribute as a way of saying " Thanks for sharing. "

I guess I should probably put a link to the new one in here somewhere , so here it is : Coastal Sunrises

Be kind when you look at it , it's still a work in progress. I haven't even decided if I'm keeping the name or changing it. Time will tell.

Now for the fun part! Do you have any sunrise or sunset pictures you'd like to share? You will receive full credit for the images and also links to your blog. I think I'm going to have a full list of everyone who contributes on the side bar over there and also links with the pictures. If you have something you'd like to share , you can reach me HERE for now , until I can get a contact form or something working over there. Go check it out and be sure to check back over the next few days for a series of shots from Alex at Outdoor Adventures who was kind enough to send me several amazing pictures from his home water , like the one above.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Howdy folks!

I'm just sticking my head in the door here to remind everyone about my other blog Something's Fishy. It's my original blog and it gets more attention , so I post over there a lot more than I do on Surf Fishing for Beginners.

This blog is more of a repository of older stuff that I like and that I hope would help people new to the surf and/or fishing in general.

Anyway , I always have my good eye on both of my blogs ( as LB @ Bullets and Biscuits would say ) and I can always be reached through the contact page above.

For more recent stuff - go to Something's Fishy. Big tournament coming up :)

Tight Lines!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Greenfish Movement

Back in February , I wrote an article over on Something's Fishy that was inspired by an Outdoor Blogger Network writing prompt sponsored by Greenfish. I had fun doing it , regardless of the serious subject matter , but I feel like I didn't do enough to get the word out about the Greenfish Movement. The individuals involved with this project have chosen a noble cause to support : sustainable fishing , and I stand behind them 100%

The future of fishing is something many anglers never think about and I'm guilty of this also. It's hard to think about the "what ifs" when you're out enjoying yourself on the water. In 2003 , I learned a hard lesson about the horrible things that can happen to a great fishery in a short period of time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Using Lures from a Pier

This is another article that was originally published on a previous incarnation of OwlJones.com and I dug it out today because it won't be long until fish start running in the surf. I can't wait!

Fishing with live bait isn't your thing , eh? Have no fear freshwater angler , there are plenty of lures that will produce fish for you from the surf or from a pier. Just keep in mind that many of the aggressive saltwater species that will readily bite artificials have razor sharp teeth and often feed in large schools , so we'll have to get you set up accordingly.

In this article , I'm going to focus on catching Bluefish and Spanish Mackerels from a pier , because these are two species that are often found together around a lot of the piers here on the East Coast. The best time of year for Bluefish is debatable since larger Blues are often caught during the cooler months , but for your best chance at catching both Bluefish and Spanish Mackerels , I recommend trying sometime in July or August. Both species are hard fighters and fast swimmers that feed most actively when the water is fairly clear with a good number of baitfish present. Bluefish and Spanish Mackerels both have a single row of sharp teeth along their upper and lower jaw and are capable of decimating an entire school of bait fish in minutes. Small bait fish are known to beach themselves rather than face a marauding school of these predators during what saltwater anglers call a " Blitz " , which is basically a feeding frenzy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saltwater Fishing for the First Time

This article was originally published as a guest article by me on one of the previous incarnations of OwlJones.com . I think it's worthy of a place here on Surf Fishing for beginners as well.

I find that many freshwater anglers are intimidated by the idea of fishing in the ocean. Like most types of fishing , it is only as complicated as you make it. If you've ever fished for bass or catfish you probably have just about everything you need to get started catching fish from a pier here on the East Coast.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fishing Lines : Part 2

Yesterday I wrote an article about some of the pros and cons of the different types of lines available. In continuation of that train of thought , today I'd like to discuss how to spool up and how to take care of your line.

Fishing Lines : Part 1

Fishing line , something I love and also something I love to hate. Good line spooled correctly and taken care of is a joy to use. Bad line with lots of memory and twisted because of poor installation can ruin even the best day of fishing. Handling line can be frustrating at times , but with a little bit of effort and a few simple steps you can tame even the most twisted line.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Favorite Saltwater Lure

I've used a bunch of different lures over the years for a ton of different species. Everything from tiny hair jigs for trout and crappie to gigantic swim baits and plugs for bass and stripers. I won't say I've tried them all , but I've certainly used more than most people. Bucktails , spinnerbaits , topwater plugs , spoons and just about anything else you can think of have all been on my line at some point. I'm not proud of it either , since a lot of lures seem to catch more fishermen than they do fish.

The idea behind lures is simple : use bits of hair ,  metal and plastic to make something that closely resembles things that fish normally eat in their natural environment. The lure is tied on , cast out and reeled in. The weight and shape of the lure , combined with a diving lip or concave shape , come together to give the lure " action " that attracts strikes from predatory fish. Some lures are simpler still , requiring the angler to twitch and shake the lure in order to fool the fish.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Leaders for Surf Fishing

In my last post I discussed a few tips about fishing line used in the surf. Today , I'd like to cover some of the basics about the use of leaders in surf fishing.There are three general types of leaders that I use and they cover just about everything you'll need for most surf fishing applications.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Few Tips About Fishing Line

Just a short post today about a very common question : what type of line do you recommend for surf fishing?

I almost always recommend that people new to surf fishing use whatever brand of line they are most comfortable with , but just a heavier test line. Most of my surf rods are spooled with either 17 or 20 pound test and I have always used clear Berkley Trilene XL or Berkley Big Game. If you have a favorite brand that you are used to fishing with , just get it in a heavier size.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Favorite Saltwater Lure

I've used a bunch of different lures over the years for a ton of different species. Everything from tiny hair jigs for trout and crappie to gigantic swim baits and plugs for bass and stripers. I won't say I've tried them all , but I've certainly used more than most people. Bucktails , spinnerbaits , topwater plugs , spoons and just about anything else you can think of have all been on my line at some point. I'm not proud of it either , since a lot of lures seem to catch more fishermen than they do fish.

The idea behind lures is simple : use bits of hair ,  metal and plastic to make something that closely resembles things that fish normally eat in their natural environment. The lure is tied on , cast out and reeled in. The weight and shape of the lure , combined with a diving lip or concave shape , come together to give the lure " action " that attracts strikes from predatory fish. Some lures are simpler still , requiring the angler to twitch and shake the lure in order to fool the fish.

5 Great Fishing Knots

Years ago when I first started fishing I learned to tie the Improved Cinch Knot. For a long time this was the only knot I knew how to tie and I used it for everything. When I matured as a fisherman and started chasing after more and bigger fish it became necessary to learn some new knots.

Let me start by saying that the knot is the most critical connection between you and the fish. Poorly tied knots can make you lose fish and expensive lures. In most cases the line will break at or near the knot. The best way to prevent this is to tie your knot correctly and check it often for nicks and abrasions , retying as needed. It's a good idea to moisten the knot before you pull it tight to prevent damage to the line. I recommend practicing any new knots you learn before you're on the water.

When to Go Fishing

Short answer : two hours before through two hours after high tide for most species, though some do well during the same period around low tide. Night can be better with a full moon, daytime with a new moon or for sight feeders. Read on for more specifics...

I've heard the question " When is the best time to go surf fishing? " many times. The simplest answer is : go when you can , but there are several factors you can use to determine when you might have a greater chance of success , just in case you have a tight schedule. Keep in mind that what follows is my opinion based on my experience and observations. Most anglers have their own theories on the best times to go and there are a wide range of opinions on this subject.

Perfect fishing conditions for me would be an overcast day with a slight chance of rain , winds out of the northeast at a steady 5 miles per hour and high tide occurring somewhere between nine and ten o'clock in the morning. I'd also like the moon to be somewhere between new and half , but I don't worry about the moon phase as much when I'm fishing in the ocean. On a day like this , I would arrive around seven o'clock , catch bait and have everything rigged and ready to go ASAP. I would definitely fish until noon and maybe later , depending on what the fish were doing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Braving the Elements

I've seen this scenario play out many times while fishing. Someone pays ten dollars to fish on a pier and everything is going great. Then it starts to sprinkle. The angler decides to tough it out thinking maybe the rain will pass over. Then it really starts to rain. Five minutes into the soaking , the unprepared angler grabs his gear and heads home , drenched and miserable with no desire to fish any more that day and ten dollars poorer. Twenty minutes later , I'm stowing my rain gear  getting ready to fish again. Today I'd like to recommend some things that will keep you fishing in all but the worst weather conditions.

8 Things I Wouldn't Go Fishing Without

We all know the basic equipment required to fish.You wouldn't think of going without a rod , reel , hooks and bait. Today I'm going to share a short list of other things that I use at some point during most of my fishing trips.

Driving on the Beach

Driving on the beach can be a great way to find new fishing grounds and enjoy quiet stretches of beach not frequented by others. There are several things you need to do before hitting the sand in pursuit of fish.

Unfortunately beach driving is a politically charged activity in many areas now. It's always a good idea to check local laws for restricted areas , speed limits and times of day when you are allowed to drive on the beach. In North Carolina one of the best resources for information about beach closures and regulations is IslandFreePress.org

Choosing a Surf Rod

Anyone who has ever visited a Bass Pro Shops store or any other large retailer that sells fishing equipment is probably familiar with the dizzying assortment of rods for sale. There are tiny ultra-light rods for trout and panfish , giant surf rods that can be as much as fifteen feet long and everything in between. It can really be confusing for a beginner. Prices can vary from $15.00 to $20.00 for small generic rods all the way up to $1000.00 or more for handmade custom rods. It is possible to get nice rods that cast fairly well and hold up to the abuse most fishermen will put them through for a reasonable price.

Reading the Beach

A big reason some surf anglers are so successful is that they are able to " Read " the beach to find fishy looking areas. The sheer size of the ocean is almost always intimidating to beginners when they are first learning to spot some of the features that make certain spots good for fishing. It takes a lot of practice and a trained eye to be able to find productive holes every time. There is also a whole lot of trial and error involved until you learn to read the beach well. It's also possible to find a good looking spot that just isn't holding any fish.

Making Your Own Rigs

I've put off writing this article for quite a while because I'm a horrible photographer. I've decided to do it today because bottom fishing rigs are one of the most effective surf fishing rigs and every surf fisherman will use them at some point. Monofilament is hard to take pictures of so the rig shown here is tied with 60 lb. line. I normally use 30-40 lb. test for these rigs and have never had any problems.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Welcome to Surf Fishing for Beginners!

This blog is going to be a leaner , trimmed down version of Something's Fishy. When I started Something's Fishy , I had a vision of a blog that explained the basics of surf and pier fishing in simple , easy to follow articles that would allow freshwater fishermen to jump in feet first during their next trip to the beach. Regretfully , I strayed from the path and Something's Fishy turned into a free for all of videos , guests , boat trips and holiday wishes.

I'll still continue just as I always have with Something's Fishy , but all of the great " How to " articles will be on both blogs from now on. Surf Fishing for Beginners will be a no nonsense blog that's going to cover everything you need to know to get started catching fish from the surf and nothing else. I'll keep my Merry Christmas and Happy New Year babble over on Something's Fishy.

Hopefully I'll be able to get the majority of articles I want to have on this blog copied and pasted over here during the next week. The next step will be to get several articles up with common surf fishing knots , rods and reels , live and artificial baits , and more of my rigging articles that seem to be popular.

Until I get things started here you can always find what you need to know over on this blog's ugly older brother , Something's Fishy !

Tight Lines!