When you fish any of these three places you’ve reached the pinnacle of inshore fishing. Surf fishing, technically speaking, is fishing at any sandy shoreline where the ocean beats against the beach. Rock and jetty fishing is surf fishing too, except that here the tides beat against something more solid than sand. The rocks and jetties – there is so little difference between breakwater and jetty that this book will treat them as one and the same – are no places for your wife or Andy or Peg to use as a perch.
The sand beach is far safer, yet it can be treacherous, too. But here the family can go, provided you first pick your spot well and they continually keep their eyes open against the unexpected. Your favorite bathing beach, or a spot close to it, can be as good a feeding ground for fish as rock or jetty. The unexpected to watch out for can be an unusually high breaker or a heavy piece of floating debris. One more hazard to watch for: people swimming. Swimmers and anglers don’t mix.
The surf – whether it is beach, rock or jetty – offers its top rewards in the fish to be caught: fighting gamesters with minds of their own and the strength of the sea behind them. Stripers, channel bass, permit, tarpon, snook, croakers and corbina, squeteague and blues.
They’re battlers all and once you’ve landed your first you’re on your way to acquiring a mental strut that sets you apart from all other saltwater fishermen. You’ll be a Sultan of the Surf, a title than which there is no higher.
Surf fishing, obviously, is done to catch fish. But it is far more than that. What if there is a day when you catch no fish? Just being there can be reward enough.
The majesty of the open ocean, the pounding waves, the surging of the tides, the sun, the sand. And why didn’t you catch any fish today? Did you read nature’s signs right? Or did you read them wrong?
Was the wind too strong? Or was the wind too weak? Did you pick a day when the sun was too bright and pass up that day of rain and storm? Did you cast out two hundred feet when the fish were feeding just fifty feet offshore? Did you hook a demon and let him have too much leeway with the line? Or did you set the line up too tight and let him break away?
All these questions, and many more, there are answers for. But there is only one person to give you the answers. You. Answer them right, and if you caught no fish today, tomorrow’s another day.
The surf is a majestic place. But it is no place to fish if you have a weak heart or a physical ailment that cuts down on your agility and your ability to move fast – jump fast, perhaps. But if you have an ailment that can be cured by physical therapy, you’ll find no better set of therapeutic conditions anywhere at any price. And you’ll have fun taking the treatment.