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!