Surf Fishing tips

Started by Shellbelly, February 10, 2023, 08:19:50 PM

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jurelometer

Quote from: Shellbelly on February 16, 2023, 06:07:15 AMSand fleas.  I think I've seen these attached to redfish.

Maybe what you saw clamped onto the redfish were parasitic isopods. They look similar. Mole crabs don't have the equipment or incentive to catch a ride.

Never saw a spawning mass of mole crabs.  That must have been interesting.

The baby Pacific surf perch squirt out tail first, and are relatively large considering the size of the mom. Doesn't look very comfortable.  Rather than playing the numbers game with thousands of egg and larvae, surf perch invest in around  one to three dozen fully formed swimming mini-perch that are are released one at a time. So no feeding frenzy event for predators. It's kind of amazing that they have held up to the fishing pressure with such a low reproduction rate.

-J

Shellbelly

Quote from: jurelometer on February 16, 2023, 07:19:33 AMNever saw a spawning mass of mole crabs.  That must have been interesting.
Never saw that again, either. They were smaller than a ladybug. If I would have been thinking like a fisherman, I would have skimmed up a few thousand in a bucket, dumped them in deeper water, and fished it.  No telling what that could have started.  Maybe nothing, but I should have tried. 
"Little boy,  you can get glad in the same pants you just got mad in."  (My Momma)
"You shot it boy, you're gonna clean it and eat it".  (My Dad)

Shellbelly

I didn't go out today due to the probable very high and rough surf.  Spots could be or become impassable.  Getting cut off isn't an option.  We had a front come through early this morning so the surf has had a north wind on it all day and this will continue for another day, almost two.  It usually takes a day of this wind to push the surf back and calm it down.  Tomorrow, the 17th is the day.

The evening before I go, I ALWAYS check the tide charts and make mental plans for where I want to be when the tide changes and when it's going to be high.  Depending on conditions, this can dictate how far I go and when I need to head back.  Next is where I want to be when the tide changes, how many tides will occur, and their relative effects on water levels.       

The next chart I ALWAYS check is currents.  I  want to know when the current is approaching slack and plan where I want to be when this occurs.  Speed is also a good thing to know.  Will you be able to keep a line in place?

There's plenty of other data that I find somewhat useful and geeky.  Just search tides and currents and dive into all kinds of data and charts.  I like the basics:  can I get on/off the beach and can I keep a line out.
Then I'll dig into fishing details and plans to conquer the world.

I hope these two charts are legible.  These are the predicted conditions for the water. 
"Little boy,  you can get glad in the same pants you just got mad in."  (My Momma)
"You shot it boy, you're gonna clean it and eat it".  (My Dad)

Breadfan

Quote from: JasonGotaProblem on February 15, 2023, 03:52:21 PMSo far I've met a few people who were netting huge mullet near where i was fishing. I talked to them a bit and the consistent answer is that to them mullet taste better than any predatory fish. One fella went as far as to say that he's a commercial fisherman and can eat whatever fish he wants, but he prefers mullet over any fish in the Gulf.

But then I also know a fella who targets crevalle jacks to eat and will throw back slot snook or reds because he doesn't like the taste.

So clearly some of it is just personal preference.

Ted Peters in St.Petersburg (Pasadena) smoked fish's main dish is mullet and they have been there since the 1950's. While slightly oily, it is my favorite smoked fish. Others must agree, they are still open, a very iconic place.

http://tedpetersfish.com/index.htm

Jenx

Are we talking about the same mullets that live down here in SoCal? The same mullets where reports of someone catching one on hook and line are almost as rare as unicorn sightings? The same mullets who on slow fishing days, when you are facing a skunk, seem to jump out of the water a little more excessively than usual as if they are mocking you? Or is that a different species of mullet? I have also heard they are good eating. I have also heard they put up a fun fight if you are lucky enough to hook one (usually foul-hooked).

JasonGotaProblem

Quote from: Jenx on February 17, 2023, 03:54:36 PMAre we talking about the same mullets that live down here in SoCal? The same mullets where reports of someone catching one on hook and line are almost as rare as unicorn sightings? The same mullets who on slow fishing days, when you are facing a skunk, seem to jump out of the water a little more excessively than usual as if they are mocking you? Or is that a different species of mullet? I have also heard they are good eating. I have also heard they put up a fun fight if you are lucky enough to hook one (usually foul-hooked).
https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/mullet/
Any machine is a smoke machine if you use it wrong enough.

Shellbelly

Quote from: Jenx on February 17, 2023, 03:54:36 PMAre we talking about the same mullets that live down here in SoCal?
Striped Mullet.  They jump for the heck of it.  They like to body surf in the crests of waves.  Their insides are really nasty.  Don't cut one on the cooler lid and let that stuff dry out.

Kids can't leave 'em alone when you try to keep some alive in a 5-gallon bucket.  You have to give the kids their own bucket of mullet.  Trust me on this.

Pretty sure it's the same mullet you're talking about. 
"Little boy,  you can get glad in the same pants you just got mad in."  (My Momma)
"You shot it boy, you're gonna clean it and eat it".  (My Dad)

Shellbelly

Quote from: Breadfan on February 17, 2023, 01:54:52 PMOthers must agree, they are still open, a very iconic place.
I would try it in a place like that.
"Little boy,  you can get glad in the same pants you just got mad in."  (My Momma)
"You shot it boy, you're gonna clean it and eat it".  (My Dad)

Shellbelly

I went out yesterday and took some photos while the tide was low and the north wind had the water pushed way-way out.  These show the "structure" I've been attempting to describe.  All of this would normally be within 100 yards of shore and offer plenty of casting opportunities while your long lines are parked beyond this space.  Or, you just want to wade out and cast for a while.

If you wade out 50-75 yards, you have 360 degrees of work to do in overlapping circles for miles or until your arm gives out.  If you only use artificials, I strongly suggest a snap swivel for quick changes.  Sometimes things occur that only last for a minute or two.  (think: white bass)  Some might cringe at using a snap swivel instead of a knot.  This is moving water folks so get past it... or stand there and tie-away while trout blow up then disappear while you mess with a knot.  Your goal should be 30 seconds from the time you see the need to switch to the time you cast it.

Using live bait works a bit slower due to, well....lugging live bait somehow or going back and forth to get it.  It can restrict your range but can also be more productive with little or no tackle changes while you work.  More convenient when you have long lines out and aren't wandering very far from those.
"Little boy,  you can get glad in the same pants you just got mad in."  (My Momma)
"You shot it boy, you're gonna clean it and eat it".  (My Dad)

Shellbelly

#54
The top (1st) photo (of previous post) shows the decline into the 1st gut and the latest high tide line to the left. 

2nd photo is standing in the (mostly empty) 1st gut.  Look at the windblown water surface near the center.  This will be a break between the bar you see coming at you in the distance and the bar beginning at the right.  You can see the water colliding and going out here.

3rd photo is a bar showing how it curves and if you understand flow and eddy, you can see where you would fish this while standing on it.  Look at the water pooled around it.  If the current is L-R, where will bait hide and where would the predator likely approach?  How will bait act in this when it's submerged and in the current?  All these clues tell you what to do with any lure or natural bait you might throw at this.

Now, those 3 photos are small-scale examples that just happen to "fit" the field of view of my phone camera.  They give a basic idea of the formation.  Normal formations are larger, deeper, taller, and longer.

4th photo is a large "pool" where the currents collide and go out between bars.  There is a pretty steep drop there on the shoreside.  These can hold good numbers of bait.  The downside is trash.  Loose vegetation and stuff will collect here and swirl around...when present.  These spots are numerous, easy to see from the windshield, and offer plenty of options.  Sometimes they are close together or can be a couple of hundred yards apart.  I like to work the ones that are closer together.

5th photo, left, is a shell bank on the decline toward the bottom of the gut.  This tells you that the wave action here is strong enough to toss big shells and the current can be strong enough to keep the bottom of the gut deep and clear of them.  When submerged, this bank will hold small bait that will have to move around as these shells get tossed and rolled.  To me, these banks say, "Whiting....then Black Tip".  Get it?

6th photo is a clay-mud bottom.  Pretty obvious that things will swim and crawl around here.  Good chance that sheepshead will work this type of bottom.  Not good for spider weights or big hooks.

The last photo shows a long stretch of shell bank and how it transitions into a more sandy bottom.  These are usually steep so don't go striding off into these quickly.  Ankle-to-knee deep can be one step and the next can be up to your nads.  Seriously guys and gals, you can lose your balance.  Walk slowly, kind of drag your feet, and feel what the bottom is doing.   This photo shows a point at the truck shadow.  Usually, this means the currents are colliding here.

To you who are surf lovers, this stuff is already imprinted in your DNA and what took me so many paragraphs, you interpret at a glance and in seconds.  All this was intended to help somebody who wants to fish the surf but just doesn't think they could be any good at it.  I'm sure there are so many more ways to break this down, but this is how I see it and what it tells me to do. 8)     
"Little boy,  you can get glad in the same pants you just got mad in."  (My Momma)
"You shot it boy, you're gonna clean it and eat it".  (My Dad)

JasonGotaProblem

#55
So I got to do an hour of surf fishing this weekend. I had to pack light this trip so all I had was my small 2 piece rods. So I tried to fish the structure close to shore. I did a bit of walking to find a spot the wave action was different, and what I found interesting was that in the high surf (probably 4-5' choppy but surfable eaves) the inflection point of the coastline was seemingly moving down the coast at about 50' per hour. I was basically following a point that waves were crashing against and carrying my line out.

Nothing landed but the big shrimp I was using kept getting bit in half by fish that clearly didn't have big enough mouths to swallow them.

I did get a 24" snook from the dock, but that was quite separate. All in all an educational experience.
Any machine is a smoke machine if you use it wrong enough.

Shellbelly

Quote from: JasonGotaProblem on March 12, 2023, 11:00:09 PMNothing landed but the big shrimp I was using kept getting bit in half by fish that clearly didn't have big enough mouths to swallow them.
YES!  Step one....check! You followed the clues of your beach and found biting fish. (Don't minimize success.)  If they were snatching half the shrimp in one hit, not pecking at it, that's an aggressive bite...and your next clue. 

What I do in that situation is go to a smaller hook and use half a shrimp...even try peeling the shrimp back a little.  I want to see what's feeding because THAT could be the bait to use....if it's "legal" to use as bait, of course.  I keep little wire hooks and split shot just for bait if that's what I have to do.

If I catch the bait-stealer, I'll put it on a hook, cut or whole depending on size, and park it where I think its predator might be.  Or, rig it for casting if you want to....it's all good.  Just keep climbing the food chain that you find because that's what's going on where you are at that time. 

BTW, if the bait-stealers are hard-head catfish or little gaftop, you'll have to switch to live finger mullet or go into your arsenal of artificials.  Change your presentation somehow to get the bait out of their realm of feeding habits or they'll eat everything you've got.  They're like seagulls. 
"Little boy,  you can get glad in the same pants you just got mad in."  (My Momma)
"You shot it boy, you're gonna clean it and eat it".  (My Dad)