Editor: iBass360 is pleased to introduce a new monthly feature “Surf’s Up” with Bernie Hoyt. Bernie is a NYS Certified Fishing Guide specializing in Surf fishing who will share his experience through monthly articles on the various aspects of catching fish in the surf.
Unfortunately, when it comes to fishing, there are a lot of factors we cannot control. Work obligations, family obligations, limited access to permissible areas (piping plovers, private property, etc) all impact our fishing. We would love to fish the best winds, tides, and moon phases, but that is obviously not possible. As fishermen we must concentrate on the the things we can control so that when we are finally able to hit the water, we can make any day a productive day of fishing.
So what can we control? Factors we can control on any given day are: 1) Presentation; 2) Profile, and 3) Color of the lures we use. There are times that all three of these factors can be interchangeable as far as importance, but for me, presentation is key. The way you present the lure you are using is of utmost importance. If the lure you are fishing doesn’t look authentic it will just not initiate a strike. I have noticed many anglers using similar lure selections on the beach or an inlet- some successfully, some not, perhaps simply due to lack of experience. I contend, however, that the unsuccessful anglers are not able to initiate strikes due to the lack of authenticity in their presentation. Most of the time this comes from “overworking” the lure- meaning, not allowing the lure to do what it was designed to do.
The key to presentation is first, to stay in the strike zone as long as possible. You must slow down your retrieve, especially if you are targeting larger fish, as fish, much like most of us, do not want to exert a lot of energy to find a meal. Second, make sure your presentation appears natural when moving in the water.
This leads us to the second factor we want to control- the profile. Here is where the “match the hatch” mentality must come into play. This may take some time to figure out when setting out for a day of fishing because baits cannot always be visible. However, when bait is evident, your lure of choice should mimic the look of bait in the water. This brings us back to the importance of presentation. Your presentation is going to look more authentic in the water if the size (profile) of the lure matches the surrounding bait.
The final factor we want to control is color. You’ve heard many an old timer say this- “Color doesn’t matter until it
matters.” I can honestly say this statement has affected me both negatively and positively. I was fishing Turtle Cove in Montauk with a friend. We were both fishing a Superstrike Bone Little Neck Popper. For two hours we were catching solid 20 pound stripers consistently. Other experienced anglers around us were throwing every color popper imaginable but only hooked up with the occasional Striped Bass or Bluefish. Some might argue it was the spot I was in that day. However, later that same day, I snapped my line and stepped back to re-tie. Another angler jumped in my spot but failed to land a fish. When I finished re-tying, I put on the Bone Popper in my bag and continued to hook Striper after Striper. On that day in that place, color mattered.
On the negative side, I have had days where the guy catching wasn’t me and no matter what I threw at the fish I couldn’t catch a thing because I didn’t have the color he was throwing. When this happens it can result in the most frustrating of days. In a perfect world we would always have the optimum conditions needed for a productive day of fishing. However, we know that will never be the case because there are so many factors out of our control. Therefore, whenever you hit the water be sure you are carrying a variety of colors and profiles of lures. Trust your experience, your instincts and always keep learning. Take the time to watch the techniques of other anglers around you and master the things you can control. Your production will increase. Tightlines and Live the Passion!
Bernie Hoyt is from Aquebogue, Long Island. He is a NYS Certified Fishing Guide specializing in surfcasting with over 30 years experience fishing the legendary waters off Long Island shores. He is well known for his informative seminars, particularly at off-season saltwater shows up and down the Atlantic seaboard. He offers trips for all ages and skill levels throughout the outer beaches and inlets of Long Island, as well as the Cape Cod Canal, Cuttyhunk, and other Striper locations in the northeast. He is a team member for S&S Bucktails, ODM RODS, Eposeidon.com and GOIN’ EAST as well as being a long time member of the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the Montauk Surfcasters Association. We are honored to have Bernie join the blogging Team! You can contact Bernie on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass and through his website at www.Berniebass.com