When summer kicks into high gear it brings sunny, warm days which increase water temperature. Unfortunately for surfcasters, this brings a major reduction in Striped Bass action. Increased water temperatures cause the fish to either move north or seek cooler water offshore. Those surf fishermen planning to fish the traditional places along the “Striper Coast” will find frustration which will result in a serious reduction of time spent on the water seeking these fish.
Adding to the frustration, a lot of surfcasters do not have the flexibility in their schedules to travel to places like Cape Cod Canal where the summer bite is usually consistent and sometimes even epic. Therefore, anglers must find strategies to help improve their catch when the conditions in local waters are not in their favor. The surfcaster utilizing local waters must be willing to put in longer hours in summer than other parts of the year in order to achieve steady action as July and August in the northeast will typically see water temps climb into the middle 70’s vs the Striper optimum of 55 to 65 degrees.
So, when dog days make it hard on us, anglers need to increase their focus on when and where and turn their energy to fishing hard structure areas such as jetties, groins, and boulder fields. These are the areas that usually hold some kind of bait all year long, and if there is bait in an area there is always the likelihood that predatory fish will make their way to that area in search of an easy meal. This is when the true Striped Bass fisherman knows what Ray Charles sang about- “the night time is the right time”. https://youtu.be/PuNzqDUvods Striped Bass are nocturnal feeders, especially the bigger fish we are all seeking. So if you want to be with the fish you love, then you must accept that the night time IS the right time and be willing to put in your time at night. Of course there are benefits to offset the infringement on your sleep- the air temperatures are cooler at night, and this reduces the surface water temperature along
the shoreline. This will entice predatory fish to move within range of the surfcaster. If you are not completely comfortable fishing your local waters at night, familiarize yourself with those areas during the day. It’s also a very good idea to use the buddy system for safety or hire a local guide familiar with fishing the night tides.
Lastly, it may be against your normal nature but, you must be willing to use live or fresh bait. Personally, I do not use this type of bait often. However, I’m no fool, and I will always do what it takes to put myself in the best possible position to catch fish- no matter the season. If you want to increase your catching consistency during these months when bait is abundant and fish seem not to be around, you need to adopt this same strategy. Trust me, it will pay huge benefits. Hands down the bait of preference for me is a live or rigged eel (dead eel rigged with hooks). Many good fish have fallen to these when nothing else was working, and that is anytime of the year, not only during the summer months.
In closing, if you want success during summer months you are going to have to focus on consistency- Consistently getting out there and Consistently put your time in, especially at night. Consistently pay attention to your tides, moons, winds, and weather patterns as these are important all year, and yes, remember the fall migration will be here before you know it. . Finally, consistently trust your instincts and don’t get frustrated, and, oh yeah, consistently keep your lines tight, 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 of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at 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, and Eposeidon.com 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