Surf Fishing tip: fish the tides

This is a very basic tip, but I've been really surprised how many folks have been out fishing at the wrong time and doing nothing more than wasting bait and getting sunburned.  At first, I thought that they just enjoyed fishing but, all week, I have been hearing complaints that "no one is catching anything."  I've caught fish and landed them every day but one and even on that day, I had fish bite but couldn't land them.  The reason is very simple: I fish the tides.

Each day, I go out two hours before high tide and fish until two hours after.  Sure, it is inconvenient, but that is when the fish are biting.  I have caught fish before, at other stages of the tide, but on a beach like Holden's, high tide is really the only consistent time when you know the fish will be feeding near shore.  At high tide, bigger fish come in to eat smaller fish, small crabs and shellfish whose shells get broken in the surf.

Beyond that, I've just been using the right bait and tackle combinations - I've been fishing for 12 - 15 inch bluefish.  Bluefish like cut bait.  In this size category, they require small, strong hooks.  They have very sharp teeth and powerful jaws, but they will strip the bait off of larger hooks faster than than you can believe - by the time your rig hits the water, your bait is gone!  Cut bait, "threaded" onto a small, strong hook (so that the hook passes through it many times and no long bits are hanging off) works well, because the fish will grab the whole hook in one bite rather than tear bits off.

So, fish the tides, use the right bait and tackle combo and keep the line tight enough to feel the strikes and you'll catch some fish!

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