Surfcasters have a dizzying array of choices when deciding on which method of fishing to employ each time on the water. Spinning rods, conventional bait-casting rods, and fly rods are the main tools of the trade, but even within these applications, there are countless combinations of natural baits and artificials an angler can present to hungry fish. Knowing when and when not to use each tool is just one of the many keys to successful surf fishing.
For example, during summer full and new moon phases on Long Island Sound, a highly sought-after phenomenon known as the cinder worm hatch can sometimes occur. These worms hatch out of muddy flats, which can create a feeding frenzy among striped bass. The best method to duplicate this forage is with a fly rod, a floating fly line and small worm patterns. I have been in these situations without the right tools for the job and it is very frustrating to say the least. You would be wasting your time fishing during this hatch with anything but small worm imitations.
We all have our preferences when it comes to fishing, but try to keep an open mind before and throughout each outing. Leave all options on the table and keep your ears and eyes peeled. Ultimately, it’s not what you want; it’s what the fish want.
This article originally appeared in the New Haven Register on 8/1/2008