Surf striper are one of the most elusive yet rewarding saltwater species to catch. If you live in the Bay Area, you know it can be difficult to have successful trips with so many anglers to compete with. You not only have to battle your peers but the sheer elements as well. Battering waves, howling winds and the most dreaded enemy of all – sand. Sand invading your expensive surf reels, wading boots and just about anything else a destructive granule can squeeze between. Despite the odds, we’ve set out to help you tackle the challenges. These tips will help you be more efficient and comfortable out in the surf so you can focus on fishing hard instead.
1. Buy Breathable Waders
Seem simple? It really is. Pure neoprene waders are not only heavy but don’t allow much air flow to pass through the material. If you’re fishing in the summertime it can be extremely uncomfortable especially if you’re wearing long pants, socks and other thick clothing. Having to fish while sweating bullets can definitely take your focus away from fishing so it’s worth it to invest in a breathable pair. Brands such as Hodgman and Simms offer a wide variety of high-quality breathable waders, just make sure to read reviews and study up on the warranty info.
2. Stay Away From Wading Boots
This is a tip I’ve learned from the old-timers. Having wanted to deck out in cool gear, I bought a pair of breathable waders with matching wading boots, only to suffer from the excessive weight later on. Wading boots are only necessary if you’re fishing areas with rocky or mossy bottom, otherwise they are too heavy and take on a huge amount of sand with each wave.
What did I do? My peers saw a bunch of surf anglers wearing sandals and Crocs effortlessly walking up and down the beach. I picked up a pair of Crocs Classic Clogs and they have been an absolute blessing. Sand shoots in and straight back out, not to mention they are incredibly light. Halfway through the trip you’ll forget you even have sandals on. I don’t have to tie any laces, simply slip on and off in a matter of seconds. Invest in a pair and you won’t regret it.
3. Stay Away From Sand, Whenever Possible.
This totally sounds like a no-brainer, but believe it or not some people don’t fully take care of their gear. Working at a tackle shop has given me the chance to see an unnecessary amount of reels destroyed by the elements while the owner blames the gear itself.
Don’t get me wrong, you will get water and sand on or in your reel – it’s inevitable. However, you can greatly reduce the amount of damage by being mindful at all times. Here’s a list to go over in your head as you’re fishing:
- Keep an eye on every wave.
- Never put your reel on the sand. Always bring a rod spike or hold it.
- As you’re walking, keep your reel tucked away. Your footsteps often kick up water and sand onto your reel.
- Keep a water bottle in your tackle bag in case of emergency rinses. If you really want to go all-out keep a can of compressed air too.
4. Protect Your Rod Tip
While fishing in pitch-black conditions, I’ve cracked my rod tip reeling the swivel all the way up to the top on accident. It’s extremely hard to see (if you can even see at all) so I’ve started using a plastic bead pegged with a bobber stop right before my surf leader. This helps act as a cushion in case you end up reeling all the way and can save you from slicing off lures and worst of all, fish. Any cheap plastic bead works perfectly fine, just make sure you peg it so it doesn’t slide around during the cast.
5. Check The Weather
Sometimes it’s completely not worth the trip. Researching wind and wave conditions can make or break a surf trip, and sometimes even the veterans call it quits. It’s better to stay home than get swept away by a rogue wave or cast into 30mph winds. If you’re willing to fish in nasty conditions, more power to you. I’m not saying the fish won’t bite but it’s important to stay safe.
We Welcome Your Feedback!
If you have any other personal tips, please leave them in the comments below. I love learning new tips and tricks to improve my experience and it’s nothing short of exciting to hear from all of you. Thank you for your continued support, I hope you all limit out soon!