Just had a look at your blog which is very interesting. Great to see you are already getting your son out on the water.
I was a big fan of surf fishing when I lived in San Diego from 1999-2007 and in fact still write about it in a regular column for Pacific Coast Sportfishing magazine.
Now based back in the UK the surf is not so good as there are just not that many fish to be caught close to shore. Some of the bays and estuaries near to me in the south of England can be good for bass, mullet and mackerel but the better fisheries are in the south west - Devon and Cornwall particularly.
You should share more of your stories from Japan with us - I'd be very interested to hear more and compare notes.
Fishing the surf is just about my favorite way to flyfish here in the northeast
For the most part, I've gone to fishing a floating line with a 10' rod. Relatively short casts with dead drifts and swings.
Most of time I fish two flies. Often a flatwing on the point and a smaller deceiver for the dropper. Large crab and worm flies in season on non-slip-mono loops.
With the floating line, you're not constantly dragging your fly through the sand.
Mending over the breakers and into the troughs with the long rod and a short line gives you excellent control.
It's just like the 'high stick' dead drift in trout fishing.
Game fish in this area are often hunting right in the wash of the surf so casting a country mile is very often counter productive.
I just pasted this photo to another thread but it works better here. I fish for salmon in the surf. Sometimes they are visible just as a wave begins to break and sometimes they will be moving in a slack water depending on the tides. I was casting a Greys Platinum X 9'6" in this photo but am thinking about moving up to a longer rod. Any suggestions about long rods (12 - 13') for this type of fishing?
Many interesting fishing gears and tackles from very traditional style to high-tech style. It's a torture to try staying within the scope of fly fishing!
Feel free to PM me for inquiries.
Extended single-handed rod with floating line using wet fly technique! That's THE fly fishing. You are absolutely right. I did make my first catch of halibut on fly from surf which was right behind the wash with surf candy without any stripping whatsoever. I thought of it as pure luck, but I should try that again.
It's just this... this karma for distant fish. Keep hitting, she will eventually come to your fly. That's like casting a bouquet of rose to your favorite supermodel on a catwalk. I know it's sinful act driven by instinct, but I just can't help myself when that happens. More of "lure" than "fly" fishing, I think.
I see many northern anglers in Japan who go after sea-ran pacific salmon/taimen/char are equipped to use 2 systems like Scandinavians. 10-11' switch rod 6-8wt for sensitive games using small flies and 12-14' two-handed rod 8-10wt with faster action for lifting interchangable tip shooting head and casting big flies. Loop and G.Loomis produce good product line covering this.
The idea is to use the same setting to carry out spey cast in quiet water and over head cast in rough water.
I'm headed in that direction as far as rods go. I am going to pick up a kit and dress it to cut costs a tad. Wish I had one right now because I'm headed for the far north shores for a session of surf, estuary, tide water river fishing.
I just came back from fishing in estuary and surf, and tried your method of drift and turn using floating line on 11'3'' rod. I used weighted Fritz Shrimp and Copper Fredge (rug worm-like woolly bugger) on 9 feet leader.
IT WORKED REALLY GOOD!
I got strike from dozen seabass and surf perch. Fish spot fly better this way and I don't know how it works, they stayed in the area long as if it worked as a teaser. Some chased hard into the wash.
My friends tried to mimic the same action with their 9' rod, but they couldn't. Probably, it's the amount of rod stroke that made the difference. 80% of the strikes were all made on pick up.
Glad that worked for you
As far as I'm concerned the traditional fly rod methods are a more enjoyable way to fish than the cast and strip with a sunken line that most others do.
Using a longer rod is key I think. My 10' might even be shorter than ideal, but it's what I have
I strongly agree that conventional method you recommended gives good amount of time for both angler and predator on this game of trickery, and it is elegant way to fish.
Laid on water, drift & fall, swing, then speed up before pick up.
All in one circular motion. Never thought it would work outside stream before I tried it. The fact presented fly is on the constant move may be the reason it worked like a teaser.
It's probably the same for streamer. Fish decides whether it's edible or not on the first eye contact. If streamer does not move in unison after the dive, fish would probably find it false.
I'll try using rod stroke on my next trip to surf to see how it could be applied on shooting streamer on sinktip situation.