The famous tennis player Arthur Ashe once said, “Success is a journey not a destination”. No truer words have been spoken, especially when it comes to becoming a successful surfcaster. Is success measured strictly by the size of the large fish one catches, or by the number of fish caught in any one outing, or even over the course of a season? Judging success using these factors can be a good a measuring stick. However, what a real surf fisherman wants to know is how to achieve these measures of success trip after trip, season after season. In my view, the key to being successful is establishing consistency. When consistency is established, catch rates will increase and the catching of larger fish will become more prevalent as well.
So how do we obtain consistency throughout a fishing season? First, you must be willing to dedicate the necessary time. Whenever possible you want to maximize time on the water. It really is a simple equation. More time on the water gives you more opportunities to catch fish. To increase your time on the water it takes sacrifice. There’s a fine line between guys who like to fish and fishermen. The guys that are willing to wake up early, go out late, and even show up to
work tired, are going to be the guys who catch more fish- plain and simple. This kind of commitment is not for everyone. However, this kind of commitment will result in larger catches and more consistent catches throughout the season.
Maximizing your time on the water will also result in experiencing many of the different conditions that mother nature can throw at you. This will help you learn which conditions are beneficial and which are detrimental to your fishing success. If you are an angler looking to step up your game and find consistent success, it is essential to keep a journal that documents all those conditions. A journal should consist of dates, times of day, locations, water temperatures, moon phases, tides, winds, and lures used. A journal that details your experiences will help you identify patterns which will assist you on future trips.
Consistency throughout a season also comes from doing your homework in the off season. This is the time you want to be researching new areas by studying maps of potential fishing spots for the next season. Refer to the journal and use those patterns to also help pinpoint areas likely to have similar conditions for success. Once you have established new spots, you’ll want to go look at them and see where the access points are to those areas. You’ll also want to pay attention to the structure when observing these new areas, so plan your visits at low tide when hidden structure will be visible. The off season is also a good time to research new products and equipment that will be available in the coming season.
The ability to establish consistency also means with having an open mind. An angler must be willing to try new things. Be willing to try a variety of lures, colors, and retrieve speeds. Just because something worked in the past doesn’t guarantee it will work in the future. The
successful angler must be flexible and experiment as conditions change. This is especially true along outer beaches and bays along the striper coast that will change characteristics from winter’s storms. If you’re not willing to adapt to these changed conditions you could just be wasting your casts, which means wasting your valuable fishing time.
Lastly, you must remember not to get frustrated. For me, this can be a very tough thing to overcome. Fishing can be just as frustrating when you are not catching, as it is rewarding when you are- maybe even more so when you’re not. There’s no better feeling then when you’ve done your research, put in the time, established your patterns, and then get to
experience the resulting great day of catching. You have to keep a positive state of mind during those frustrating times, and continue to have confidence in your abilities, and in the hard work you’ve put in to bring you success. In the end, you know if you do everything right, it will result in many successful bites. This will quickly remind you of why you have such passion for fishing. Nothing great has ever been accomplished without patience and perseverance, and being a successful fisherman is no exception.
iBass360.com features a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt , a NYS Certified Fishing Guide with over 30 years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast. Bernie offers trips along the outer beaches and inlets of Long Island, as well as Cape Cod Canal, Cuttyhunk, and other Northeast Striper locations. He is a pro-team member for S&S Bucktails, ODM RODS, and KastKing, as well as a member of the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the Montauk Surfcasters Association. You can contact Bernie on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass, and through his website at https://www.berniebass.com/