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Spring is a time for new beginnings and new possibilities. For the Surf Fisherman, it is also a welcome relief from the winter doldrums. This winter was even more aggravating than usual due to bad weather and all the restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic. The virus has caused another fever to spread throughout the fishing community- Cabin Fever! This has been made worse by the cancellation of most of the local and regional fishing shows throughout the winter. There has however, been one positive from the cancellation of the many events, and that is the additional time you should have had to prepare for the upcoming season. By now you should have all your gear in order and you should be ready to hit the surf- if you haven’t done so already.

So, since you’re ready (and if not, go back and read my blog on preparing for spring), where should you “Spring” into action first? A good starting point is always to hit the back bay and creek areas. These places should "heat up" first with both hold over stripers and some new arrivals looking for an early meal. You should look to fish for the warmer, sunny days because these shallow areas will warm up at a faster rate. A good rule of thumb is to look for outgoing tides in the late afternoon when the water temperatures have had a chance to warm up throughout the day. These places can be sure bets to find consistent “schoolie” action throughout the early spring. You may even land a few decent holdovers that will get your blood pumping before the spring kicks into high gear. It is always nice to catch one these unexpected “hibernators” to add to the anticipation for a great season of fishing. Just as in any other part of the fishing season, you must create "opportunities to catch" and that means

getting out in the suds as often as you can. It’s a simple equation: The more time and effort you put in, the better your chances of getting the line tight.

During the early part of the season, when it comes to what lures to use, it is wise to stick with smaller profile baits. The readily available food sources in your target areas will consist of smaller bait, so you'll want to “match the hatch”. Given that, good lures to start off with in early spring include slim profile soft plastics. Soft plastics from Hogy and Tsunami are always fish finders for me during the early season. Some other lures I really like during this time of the year are the S&S Bucktails Rockhopper bucktail. The bucktail is actually great anytime of year. You can also use it to create different profiles by changing the size and width of the trailer, as well as create the profile of bait that is present in the water. When it come to trailers, I prefer using jig strips from Fat Cow Fishing or Twerk Tailz from Green Head Baits. The S&S Bucktails Slimfish is another “go to” for spring. This lure matches all those slim baitfish that will be present in the back bays and creeks. One other

benefit of the baits mentioned here is that they decrease fish mortality rate of smaller fish as they are each outfitted with single hooks, which makes it easier for a quick release and less handling of the fish.

In closing, enjoy the new beginning and new opportunity to make this fishing season your best. The return of the spring stripers is always a welcome sight, especially after being cooped up and quarantined. Try to get out there as much as you can, It not only increases your chances of catching more, it is a "must" for our well being. Live the Passion! Tightlines! 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

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