NEW YEAR, SAME RESOLUTION
RESOLVED: I WILL CATCH MORE, AND BIGGER FISH IN 2023
When turning the calendar for the New Year, many people make resolutions and goals for the year ahead. Unfortunately, many of those resolutions- especially those concerning exercise and weight loss, fall by the wayside in the weeks and months leading to spring. When it comes to surf fishing, if you’re serious about having a consistent, productive season, the resolutions and the goals you set should be just as consistent, and start paying dividends about the time other resolutions are falling by the wayside. The big difference is you need to stick to it and efforts to reach your goals must start now.
Your focus, and the goals you set, should always include having a better season than the previous one, including catching a new personal best Striped Bass. To do that, begin your off-season preparation long before your first cast into the suds. What preparation needs to be done? For me it starts with reviewing the areas that were most productive for me the previous season. Review your notes as to whether the most productive areas had mostly hard or soft structure. This will determine how much recon I will have to do during the months before the season to see how the structure has changed, especially if the area had soft structure that is subject to constant change due to storm activity, dredging projects etc.
Next comes scouting new spots for the upcoming season. Today’s technology, such as Google Earth, makes this task a little easier and less time consuming. You can research many different areas without wasting time driving around. Once you have pinpointed new target spots, you’ll need to get out to these places, look at where to gain access, and see the structure that is present at low tide during the daytime. This is essential to knowing what exists long before you get there, especially if you fish at night. You never want to show up to a spot “blind” at night without seeing it first during the day at low tide. If you do, you are literally just “taking a shot in the dark”. Don’t forget to make lots of notes on what you see during recon.
Your prep needs to include making sure your equipment is in optimum shape. Check those waders for any leaks or dry rot spots that may present a problem. There is nothing more annoying than having leaky boots and wet socks, especially in the early part of the season when the water is still very cold. You also want to check your rods and reels. Look for burs on the guides, and any signs of stress on the pole. Check the reel seat for rust and make sure it tightens freely. If you need more than lube, take your reel to your local shop for service. They will also be glad to spool it with your favorite line. Don’t wait on this, the closer you get to the season, the longer the turn-around at the shop. You don’t want to be waiting on the shop because the fish wait for no one.
Look at your tackle. Make sure you check and replace hooks or split rings you the previous season, and be sure to use new hooks and rings with the proper capability to hold him to battling big fish. There is no frustration greater than losing a big fish due to a rusted or broken hook or split ring! Remember, waiting until you get to the beach to change hooks just cuts into your all too limited fishing time.
Lastly, change that line! I cannot stress this enough. Your line should be changed every season, even multiple times during the season if you consistently fish around hard structure. Your fishing line is your only connection to the fish and the most important part of your equipment. You can break a fishing rod or reel and still have a chance to land the fish. When you break your line, it’s all over! It can be heartbreaking, especially if it’s that trophy fish and personal best you made your “resolution” to catch. Preparation. It’s the one resolution you need to honor this, and every season. Happy New Year! Live the Passion! Tightlines!
Bass360.com features a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt , a NYS Certified Fishing Guide with 40 years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast, and now has a podcast HOOKED ON SURF FISHING WITH BERNIE BASS where he offers listeners the latest in gear reviews and techniques for the surf fishing scene. You can also follow Bernie on the radio Saturday morning and Sunday evening on 1390WRIV AM. Contact Bernie for details on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services.