Originally Posted by mojo
Few questions for you Riptide (actually a lot) I've never been to the east or west coast to check out fishing like this:
What kind of set up do you use for fishing surf like this? Rod, reel, lines, flies? Do people use spy outfits to fish this?
How far out are the majority of the fish (from shore)?
How big is the wind factor? And how big generally are the waves?
So you cast out and then- what?
First of all, yes, spey rods are the new hip method for the cool kids, but I'm a little slow to change myself.
I use two setups depending on the wind. In a breeze of 15 mph and under I'll use a 10' 8wt rod, overlined one or two sizes, SW reel with a decent drag, floating line. When it's really windy I'll use a 9' 10wt with a 10wt.full sinking line to better cut through the wind. I'll fish the surf until the waves get to about shoulder high. After that I'll leave it to the boys with the big 'meat rods'
For flies, you try to 'match the hatch' but big is better (7-8").
A regular set-up for me would be a 2/0, 8' flatwing with 1/0 4' 'blonde' for a dropper.
When you're reading the water, it's very much as if you were fishing for trout or any other fish that's holds in current.
Current plus structure equals holding water.
In the picture that I posted above, the whitewater in the rear is wave that's crashing over a sandbar.
Between the bar and the shore there's a trough where current travels along the beach toward a cut between the bars where water can exit the trough.
Bait fish get pummeled by the white water both on the inside of the bars and in the trough right against the shore.
Game fish will hunt along both of these areas and also hold in the fastest part of the current. Large and small points and 'bowls' along the beach also hold bait.
Often you'll need to cast out to the edge of the sandbars ...maybe 60-80', but just as likely the fish are right your feet, less than a rod's length away.
Knowing when to cast is half the battle.
Waves come in sets and some are bigger that others. Casting over the largest ones gives you a second or two extra to get your line under control.
Only the on-shore breakers will grab the line and drag it up the beach.
Waves that haven't broken will only move the line and fly up and down.
Like trout, the game fish like the bait to be at certain level. Sometimes on the bottom is best, but a dead drift combined with a little additional action from the waves is often the ticket too.
.....this is Surf 101, the basic version.... there's a lot more to it, of course