5 surfing tips for an exciting catch

I heard about last night’s hot bite and decided to check it out. When I got to the water, it looked dead. I walked up the sand about a mile and glad I did. The saltwater fish that had been standing outside the parking lot had moved, but they were still there.

Surf tips

1. Know your structure. Check out the water at low tide, preferably at full or new moon. You will see bars, ocean holes and canals. Fish-like structure because it is easier for them to pin down the bait. Breakwalls, stakes, seaweed or grass beds also provide structure.

2. Fish move in the current. Fish move in the current because the water flowing through their gills brings them oxygen. They sometimes swim with the current, but only for a short time. Check the direction the current is flowing and you will know which way the fish is moving.

3. Do not let the paint dry. Saltwater fish move with the tide. So if you’ve invested a decent amount of time and you haven’t had a bump, move on. Keep a winning game plan, change a losing game plan.

4. Fan casting. Cover the water with a fan shower. Throw left, straight forward, then right. Repeat this sequence as you vary the spacing of your throws. Once you’ve covered the water and didn’t have a bump, try two different approaches. The first is to change the plug. Once you’ve worked a surface bait, try a darter or float to get deeper. When no one is home, walk down the beach. Throw and go, throw and go, and in no time you will find the saltwater fish.

5. Retrieve. Small fish are aggressive and a quick, aggressive retrieval will make them glow. Brief twitching of the rod in combination with fast rolling up trigger explosive blows. If they miss your plug, keep twitching and staggering. You’ll hit it harder on the next pass.

Larger fish are more cautious, so a slower retrieval will hit them. To make your plug look natural, twitch, twitch, and twitch your rod as you retrieve. In between every twitching roll quickly to collect your slack line. Always keep contact with your plug to keep it moving and looking realistic.

Check in to your local fishing shop, make sure your fishing license is up to date, and join in!

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Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, author of Covey Rise magazine, editor of Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and blogger of the Take Me Fishing program of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.

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