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Surf Fishing

Joined:
2009/6/17 20:11
From central pa
Posts: 35
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I enjoy PAFF, a lot of good topics and useful information on here. While I've been lurking for awhile have never posted before. I met a few members near Cherry Run who were attending the Jamboree this year during the green drake hatch, nice guys.

I fly fish mostly for trout and smallies here in Central Pa but like many others, not been fishing lately due to the warm weather. Also have my six year old grandson casting a little 4 wt for farm pond bluegills and he's hooked already. We will be going for our annual week at Bethany Beach the week after Labor Day and our one daughter is going along this year to relieve me of gift shop escort duty with the wife - I'll have some time to fish!

Therein lies the problem, I plan to take a rod along and try fishing the surf but have never done this before. What species of fish might I encounter in the Atlantic surf in early September? I have a fast action 6 wt rod set up with a sinktip line that I use for bass and trout streamer fishing. Is this enough rod or might I do better to buy a reel and line for my 8 wt rod that's been sitting tubed in a corner for years and never been fished? I have a few size 2 and 4 Clouser Deep Minnows and Decievers that I use for bass. Would they be good general type flies to start with or should I have some bigger stuff to throw? The ocean water all looks the same to me but would around jetties be a good place to fish?

Guess that's enough questions for my first post. Thank you in advance for any helpful tips, I'll let you know how I made out.

Posted on: 2010/7/23 10:02


Re: Surf Fishing

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11344
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I go in late August, and hope for fluke, skates, blues and will gladly accept croaker.

On the other hand, I get nothing but sunburn and blisters. :)

A 6wt is gonna be awful light for what you're doing, which is trying to chuck-n-duck a hunk of lead into the wind and get it down between the waves. Most people seem to end up with 8 through 10wt, with 9 being the most common.

Look for structure as best you can, and the key is to check the shore to help you. Look for points and cusps, and fish along the sides of the cusp where the water goes back out. Look for bars and cuts, or areas on the beach where junk seems to be accumulating as a sign of something different in the water that channels it to that point.

Work tides as they move in and out, early and late in the day when teh sun's off the water even better.

Try to time your casts between the swells, and paralel to the swells so you can get the line down ASAP and not get picked up by the waves.

Wear a stripping basket, remember lots of these fish have sharp teeth and that a clouser with extra large eyes on a 1/0 hook will shatter your rod and leave a dent in the back of your head. :)

Posted on: 2010/7/23 11:20
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
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Re: Surf Fishing
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Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
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Kilwell,
Gfen gave some good advice (if a bit pessimistic)
For Bethany Beach in early Sept you can expect to find small bluefish, fluke, weaks, and spanish mackeral. While you can fish with a 6WT, an 8 is much better. Fish in the early morning or otherwise low light conditions when the wind is usually lighter. Walk the beach or jetties and watch for swirls, "nervous water" or diving birds and you ought to hook something. Good luck with your trip. By all means post a report if you care to.

Posted on: 2010/7/23 12:52


Re: Surf Fishing

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From SEPA
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Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
Gfen gave some good advice (if a bit pessimistic)


To be honest, my attempts at fly fishing the surf have been asbolutely abysmal, BUT... I've never had as much fun fishing for trout as I do at the beach. I cannot wait to go back this year, and am anxiously trying to convince my surf-fishing friends they need to take up light tackle and work some small, sheltered water so I have buddies.

The best part about it is that you never know what exactly is on the end of that line, and since they're fish that live in the oceans, and more specifically the surf zone, they've got power that no trout can possess. Even the 8" snapper blues I was catching on a 10wt were putting a nice little bed in the superfast 10wt I took last time.

This year, I'm taking the 10wt and a 5wt for back-ups and special needs, but I plan on plying the inlet, tidal creeks and beach surf with a 6wt switch, which is effectivly throwing an 8wt line.

FWIW, if I had a real 8, I probably wouldn't bother with the 10wt at all. When I was shopping for it, I would open with the lines "stripers in the surf," and salesmen and advice-givers would glaze over and point at the big guns. If I were in your position, I'd just strip the line off that 6wt and put on an 8wt line and not sweat a new reel.

You'll want to see how badly the bug bites you for that.. ;)

Posted on: 2010/7/23 13:53


Re: Surf Fishing

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2008/12/16 10:37
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Gfen

I'm heading to maryland this Sunday. I do have a glass 6wt with 6wt line. Will bunny leaches work on #6 and 8 2x streamer hooks. Or what flies can I lash up in a pinch. I didn't consider taking the fly rod until reading this post.

Posted on: 2010/7/23 15:29
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Re: Surf Fishing

Joined:
2009/10/5 18:50
From Elizabethtown, PA
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I just fished the surf and jetty of OC, MD yesterday. Fished for several hours and nothing. I think it really depends of what the tide brings in. I was out far enough to in the surf and up to my neck in the water, I was casting far out as possible. I tried all positions on the beach. I fished from the evening to dark(high tide as well) If any fly is going to work for you though id choose a clouser.

Posted on: 2010/7/23 16:22


Re: Surf Fishing
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Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 9183
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Never pass up a chance to FF the salt. It's quite a different game than trout fishing and will broaden your fishing horizons to give it a try and allow you to look at water in entirely different ways. Many folks fish the surf and jetties during summertime obviously because that's when most folks visit the beach. However, the prime season is May/early June and late Sept-early Dec. Fishing in the fall really is when surf fishing breaks out however, even then, it's hit or miss from terra firma.

Posted on: 2010/7/23 17:05


Fun and different

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2007/4/25 10:02
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Saltwater fly fishing is like the final frontier to me. (might not feel that way if I lived closer to salt water, seems alittle mysterious)

So many waters and species to fish- you never what can end up on your line- as was previously stated.

I think salt water is a little more difficult than trout fishing for two reasons. One is, so much of the water seems the same- many times pretty featureless- so spots to fish are not as obviuos as trout fishing.

But again, not having much time to explore areas or have tons of cash to hire guides. Not to mention elusive "runs" of fish are infrequent. Guess, chalk that up to expereince. As with expreince you can begin to narrow down areas,tides,time of day,winds etc...

Secondly is casting. Salt can really test your casting abilities. Shooting a line 50 feet or more is nothing for saltwater- throw in some wind and that makes for a sore arm.

I enjoy it though. It's a challenge and will make you a better caster. For me, I can usually wade closer when fishing for trout where I really dont have to double haul. Salt kinda forces me to get better.

Some guys will make casts into the surf and then put the rod under their arm and strip line in with two hands. It seems like an easy concept but it was hard to get used for me. Guess I need more time working on that.

Can't wait to boat a Tarpon some day. I think about it alot- I anticipate many hookups ending in failure before I am able to boat one.

In the several times I have salt fished- clousers, shrimp and crab patters have worked for me. It's a nice change of pace-good luck.

Posted on: 2010/7/23 19:49


Re: Fun and different

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2008/8/24 20:26
From Mount Joy, PA
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And from what I've read, saltwater fishing is tough because the fish are rather "nomadic". At least with trout fishing, you can find likely holding water or lies; the vast expanse of saltwater doesn't offer much in the way of structure to hold fish (with the exception of reefs, etc.). Must be a tough world out there in the saltwater with predators always on the prowl!

Posted on: 2010/7/23 22:50


Re: Surf Fishing

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11344
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Trout and bass are easy, because you know where they are. They're resident, they live there... but the ocean, they don't really live anywhere, they're always on the move and its a much bigger playground.

Well, always on the move, I guess, isn't quite true... Because you can work things to your advantages... Just like stepping up to an unfamilar lake, you know the sort of places to look for the big largemouth, the lurking pickerel, and the roving 'gills you can sort of play the area to your advantage, but the bigger playground is always a factor.

The thing is, you have to know what's in the area, and you have to know what it wants, and where its looking. The biggest thing to consider is that while you may not be pulling in 40" stripers and 15# blues, there's always feeding fish, and they're probably right at your feet.

Ever put on a pair of polarized glasses when you went to the beach and played in the breakers? If you haven't, try it.. Go out on a nice, sunny day and just stand there... You'll be shocked when you see just how many fish are swimming mere feet from yrou feet (first time a school of skates went by me, I nearly crapped myself in surprise). Heck, you start to do things like watch the swells in front of you...there's fish IN THEM, even. Its amazing, an entire active feeding and dying ecosystem is within fingertouch distance of a thousand active bathers, and no one ever thinks about it.

So, yeah, take a rod... The only reason you go big rods is to throw heavy or wind resistant flies into those winds, and because you don't know when something as pedestrian as a skate is going to take your fly and muscle out beyond the breakers.... And, for what its worth, I don't dream of slob stripers or sand sharks, I dream of big stupid rays and skates, common trash fish, because like carp they'll bulldog and pull and use that muscle to their utmost the whole damned time.

Flies? Flashy bottom stuff. Your best bet is things like fluke, and yeah, zonkers and clousers and decievers, or half-and-halfs, or whatever all work here. You want to get your fly into the drink and on the bottom where it won't be lifted by those swells, and you want to work that area, the "wash" or the "suds" right up on the beach where it comes crashing in, because that's where the baitfish are being smashed against the bottom, and the predators are picking 'em off while they're easy.

On my own, without a charter, I took _one_ fish on the fly in a week of almost daily fishing. A herring. How lame does that sound? But y'know what, stripping back in a streamer and suddenly seeing the rod dive, and then a foot of gleaming silver rocket into the moon light was a blast, and was easily as much a feeling as the first stocked rainbow who ate a BHPT for me in the Saucon.

But, the journey of a million miles and one step, and all that nonsense.

Don't miss a chance to give it a go, you might get lucky.

Last year I learned, this year I'm going to make it pay off.

Posted on: 2010/7/23 22:53
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Re: Surf Fishing

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An addendum...

For those of you going down for extended stays, use google maps to see what's out there and then don't think about trying to work that big ocean surf zone, but look at some of the salt ponds, creeks and estuaries that you've got.

IE, Bethany Beach, DE seems to sit smack dab on a giant estuary, with a nice, jettied inlet and lots of creeks and ponds back there. Take a day, scope it out, then arrange a night to go back and ply the outgoing tides (or incoming, but moving!). Structure points that provide shelter and breakwaters for predators, but that will push bait right by 'em, the flooding or draining ponds and creeks which are flushing all those baitfish and crabs that sought refuge in the sunken cordgrass at slack, and the predators parked right out there waiting for them.

A word of warning, though... Those sod banks are pure muck, you WILL sink in and it could be dangerous. It stinks, its nasty, its absolutely covered in ticks and bloodsucking, stinging, hateful flies and sometimes, you gotta make sacrifices to fish.

In this case, probably a blood sacrifice.

Bridges, and bridge lights, attract bait and the best fishers stalk the places where those lights shine into the water.


Oh, and I'm not above a Fish Bites brand piece of bait on the end of my fly.. I'm not here for records or purity, Im hear for fun. ;)

Posted on: 2010/7/23 23:06
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Re: Surf Fishing

Joined:
2006/10/31 23:00
From 7 Springs , Somerset County
Posts: 53
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Kilwell.... Just North of Bethany you will find the Indian River Inlet where Rehobath Bay connects to the Atlantic... When the tides are running in or out ( there are those who argue one is better than the other) and if you fish under the bridge or close to it you will think you are fishing a major strong running river flowing in either direction... Guarantee the fish will be there and particularly sea trout... Go for it... Personally, in the heat of summer the best I ever did was Spots, Croakers and Blowfish in the surf however that was well south on the Outer Banks and rarely any luck off Delaware or NJ shores..

DrFAS

Posted on: 2010/7/24 10:39


Re: Surf Fishing

Joined:
2009/6/17 20:11
From central pa
Posts: 35
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Many thanks to all of you for the helpful tips and good information - you guys got me pumped about fishing the salt with fly tackle! Salt water fishing is not new to me, just never used a fly rod. I do enjoy a new challenge and a change of pace and it sounds like this venture will provide both.

Gfen- I will take your advice, strip off the 6 wt line, buy an 8 wt line and install it on the reel and fish my never used 8 wt rod. I may have to take some backing off the reel to make room for the heavier line though. If I do enjoy the fishing I'll pick up a good 8 wt large arbor reel later on.

DrFAS - I'm familiar with Indian River Inlet, have fished there before and often ride my bicycle up there from Bethany. I will try fishing the area around the bridge as you suggested with streamers unless there is still construction work going on.

I will be back in Delaware in October for the early muzzleloader deer season and hope to do more fishing then. We only hunt a few hours in the morning and then a few more hours before dark so I'll have plenty of time in between for fishing which sounds as though it may be better then.

Posted on: 2010/7/24 20:26


Re: Surf Fishing

Joined:
2009/10/5 18:50
From Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 203
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There is still construction going on but you can still go fishing there. I did last week.

Posted on: 2010/7/25 1:03


Re: Surf Fishing

Joined:
2006/9/14 11:19
Posts: 56
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What kind of licenses do you need to fish off the surf in MD?

Posted on: 2010/7/25 9:00



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