Texas Fishing Forum

What's the deal with surf fishing?

Posted By: Dylinapickl15

What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/21/20 05:02 PM

Let me preface by stating that I'm not a very experienced saltwater fisherman. I've fished the surf/piers once or twice a year (at most) for the last 20 years. I learned the basics from my dad, but he wasn't an expert either. I also grew up in NC, so maybe the surf is just more productive there?

That said, when I fish the surf in Texas, I rarely catch more than one or two gamefish per 3 day trip. And I've usually got bait in the water from sunrise-sunset each of those days. I was down there from the 16-19th and caught nothing but small whiting in the surf. I went to the jetty for a couple of hours and had good success, a couple of trout. One was 24". I'm just kind of baffled that I never find consistent action in the surf, even when there are tons of mullet in the surf like this past week. I tried the wade gut and the 2nd gut. I used a fish finder rig with live mullet and fresh mullet. I tried fly fishing a bit. I threw a few hardbaits for cruising trout. We spent most of our time at the Newport Pass access at Corpus. But in the past I've tried Follet's Island and Little Shell at PINS.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?
Posted By: JohnButte

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/22/20 05:40 PM

Do I get in trouble if I refer to another website? There's a fella named sharkchum out there on another site who is expert at it.
Posted By: COFF

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/22/20 07:37 PM

The most consistent place you will find fish in the surf is under the birds. When you see the birds diving, cast underneath them.

I'll defer to others for how to read the surf to find fish.
Posted By: Mckinneycrappiecatcher

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/22/20 09:57 PM

I hit the surf for the first time ever back in August, took me a while to figure it out but on day two once I figured out a technique that worked and how to look for good spots I caught my limit of reds and some really nice trout in about 30 minutes, so the fish are no doubt out there. I would change techniques and consider trying a more natural presentation than on the bottom or throwing hard baits. Look for irregularities in the wave action.
Posted By: Dylinapickl15

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/22/20 10:31 PM

Originally Posted by JohnButte
Do I get in trouble if I refer to another website? There's a fella named sharkchum out there on another site who is expert at it.

Well that guy sure has it figured out...
Posted By: Dylinapickl15

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/22/20 10:35 PM

Originally Posted by Mckinneycrappiecatcher
I hit the surf for the first time ever back in August, took me a while to figure it out but on day two once I figured out a technique that worked and how to look for good spots I caught my limit of reds and some really nice trout in about 30 minutes, so the fish are no doubt out there. I would change techniques and consider trying a more natural presentation than on the bottom or throwing hard baits. Look for irregularities in the wave action.


I probably do need more practice trying to read the waves. I've watched some videos on it and what I see when I'm actually at the beach never quite matches the easy examples used in videos. I can usually tell where the guts are, but I have yet to locate a cut.

I forgot to mention I tried freelining some mullet too and even modified the fish finder rig with a float to keep the mullet up.
Posted By: 1956Zebco

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/22/20 11:46 PM

Quote
I probably do need more practice trying to read the waves. I've watched some videos on it and what I see when I'm actually at the beach never quite matches the easy examples used in videos. I can usually tell where the guts are, but I have yet to locate a cut. .


Maybe try this out (this wasn't made as a "read the beach" video but it works: at 3:19 I mark a cut on the beach with a GPS marker (from Google Maps) that I'm going to fish. I know full well off that mark there's a cut - no guessing about it. Go through the same procedure on your beach and see what it looks like at the time when the tide will be changing so you get a feel for what it looks like when tide is coming in and going out. In my experience when the tide is going out you have a flat spot on the outside of the cut - opposite for the incoming tide. First things first though - find a cut you know is there and study it. Good luck!

Posted By: Dylinapickl15

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/23/20 12:01 AM

Originally Posted by 1956Zebco
Quote
I probably do need more practice trying to read the waves. I've watched some videos on it and what I see when I'm actually at the beach never quite matches the easy examples used in videos. I can usually tell where the guts are, but I have yet to locate a cut. .


Maybe try this out (this wasn't made as a "read the beach" video but it works: at 3:19 I mark a cut on the beach with a GPS marker (from Google Maps) that I'm going to fish. I know full well off that mark there's a cut - no guessing about it. Go through the same procedure on your beach and see what it looks like at the time when the tide will be changing so you get a feel for what it looks like when tide is coming in and going out. In my experience when the tide is going out you have a flat spot on the outside of the cut - opposite for the incoming tide. First things first though - find a cut you know is there and study it. Good luck!


Now that's an interesting idea I'll be trying out! Thanks for the tip!
Posted By: 1956Zebco

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/30/20 12:40 PM

Originally Posted by Dylinapickl15

Now that's an interesting idea I'll be trying out! Thanks for the tip!


Been a week -- got a spot marked to try?
Posted By: David Welcher

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 09/30/20 01:01 PM

I love to fish the surf when it calms down quite a bit. It will beat you to death when its rough. I truly believe the bigger trout are in the surf in the summer than in the bays. I've caught some 5 and 6lbers in the surf. Wade out, or swim to the 2nd or 3rd sand bar, take one of those small styrofoam paddle boards with you to assist in getting out there as swimming with the rod in hand will kick your [censored]. Once your there, it should be about 3 to 4' deep, you can tie the paddle board to your belt loop, it will also help you when you go to take a fish off the hook.
Posted By: karstopo

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/01/20 09:59 AM

There’s about nothing better when the surf is on. Fish every cast or about every cast kind of action. Little gear needed, just a rod and a set of pliers maybe. Drive to your spot, walk a few feet into the water, you are fishing.

Most of the time, the surf is so rough that it isn’t much fun to wade. When I lived at Surfside Beach, it was easier to keep an eye on the conditions and hit it when things were good. That’s harder to accomplish from a position inland.

I’ve soaked bait out there, but much prefer lures and flies. The bait is actually much more work, catching the mullet or something with the cast net or whatever, then keeping it on the hook. I could never manage more than 2-3 rods. Lots of sharks and gafftop like the bait, too. I’m not into sharks and gafftopsail. My cousin soaks live croakers and tears up the trout in the surf, but I’m not into croaker soaking.

My favorite way is the fly rod and something like a borski slider or baitfish pattern. Two surf trips I’ve made this summer. One was one of the days you dream about. No wind, miniscule waves, tons of fish, all while standing in thigh deep water. 40-50 foot casts, fish on virtually every cast. 5 nice trout and a bonus redfish in the box by 7am.

Second trip was an afternoon trip, too many swimmers, water too hot, ladyfish (hate those fish) and little jacks. That’s about how it goes. A great trip, then a not so great trip. Good news, either can be as short or long as you like. Not anything to trailer or much gear to mess with.

First two photos from the good trip this summer. Probably caught about 20 or more trout by 7:45. Most 15” or more. All but two fish on a red and white Gartside Soft hackle streamer. A pink skitterwalk got two fish early.

The other photos are of past outings. But standing in thigh deep water making 45 foot casts with the fly rod and getting a trout every cast is not just a once in a lifetime event. The first gut can be terrific like that more than maybe you think.

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Posted By: Dylinapickl15

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/01/20 02:24 PM

Originally Posted by karstopo
There’s about nothing better when the surf is on. Fish every cast or about every cast kind of action. Little gear needed, just a rod and a set of pliers maybe. Drive to your spot, walk a few feet into the water, you are fishing.

Most of the time, the surf is so rough that it isn’t much fun to wade. When I lived at Surfside Beach, it was easier to keep an eye on the conditions and hit it when things were good. That’s harder to accomplish from a position inland.

I’ve soaked bait out there, but much prefer lures and flies. The bait is actually much more work, catching the mullet or something with the cast net or whatever, then keeping it on the hook. I could never manage more than 2-3 rods. Lots of sharks and gafftop like the bait, too. I’m not into sharks and gafftopsail. My cousin soaks live croakers and tears up the trout in the surf, but I’m not into croaker soaking.

My favorite way is the fly rod and something like a borski slider or baitfish pattern. Two surf trips I’ve made this summer. One was one of the days you dream about. No wind, miniscule waves, tons of fish, all while standing in thigh deep water. 40-50 foot casts, fish on virtually every cast. 5 nice trout and a bonus redfish in the box by 7am.

Second trip was an afternoon trip, too many swimmers, water too hot, ladyfish (hate those fish) and little jacks. That’s about how it goes. A great trip, then a not so great trip. Good news, either can be as short or long as you like. Not anything to trailer or much gear to mess with.

First two photos from the good trip this summer. Probably caught about 20 or more trout by 7:45. Most 15” or more. All but two fish on a red and white Gartside Soft hackle streamer. A pink skitterwalk got two fish early.

The other photos are of past outings. But standing in thigh deep water making 45 foot casts with the fly rod and getting a trout every cast is not just a once in a lifetime event. The first gut can be terrific like that more than maybe you think.



Looks like I just need to make more trips to the coast so I can hit the weather right!
Posted By: Dylinapickl15

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/01/20 02:25 PM

Originally Posted by 1956Zebco
Originally Posted by Dylinapickl15

Now that's an interesting idea I'll be trying out! Thanks for the tip!


Been a week -- got a spot marked to try?


Yep, I've got several spots marked in case I'm wrong about some, but it may be late October before I can get back to the coast to try them out.
Posted By: V-Bottom

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/01/20 08:53 PM

What type of arti's are ya'll throwing?
Posted By: karstopo

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/02/20 12:08 AM

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I like these flies. Borski sliders, steve Farrar blend baitfish, shrimp patterns

Lures, skitterwalks, corkies, mirrorlures, mirrodine, catch 2000,
Posted By: 1956Zebco

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/08/20 11:51 AM

Originally Posted by karstopo
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I like these flies. Borski sliders, steve Farrar blend baitfish, shrimp patterns

Lures, skitterwalks, corkies, mirrorlures, mirrodine, catch 2000,


Those work well as teasers for flounder in a hi/lo rig too. Excellent catches you two are making!
Posted By: COFF

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/08/20 12:49 PM

Originally Posted by 1956Zebco
Originally Posted by karstopo
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I like these flies. Borski sliders, steve Farrar blend baitfish, shrimp patterns

Lures, skitterwalks, corkies, mirrorlures, mirrodine, catch 2000,


Those work well as teasers for flounder in a hi/lo rig too. Excellent catches you two are making!

What would you put on the bottom?
Posted By: 1956Zebco

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/08/20 01:09 PM

Originally Posted by COFF

What would you put on the bottom?


In order of my preference: a gulp shrimp on a jig (however heavy you need to cast) - a brined shrimp on the same - a large shrimp rubber banded to stay on - a brined mullet strip about 5" long. Brining for me is simply taking the bait and dumping non-iodine salt on it the night before to fully coat & ready in the morning. With the gulp I'll take a little bottle of menhaden oil and coat them with it.

I have worked a weight in (3 oz) with nothing but the teaser and caught them well, only thing about that method is if they cut the line you've lost the whole rig vs just the jig that you can tie right back on.
Posted By: yak dog

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/17/20 12:17 AM

Karstopo those are some nice trout ! Soooo where is the spot or at least the beach ? Bryan , Surfside , Quintana the mouth of the Brazos ?
Posted By: Bruce Allen

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/17/20 04:10 PM

Just like on the outer banks of NC and in most lakes in Texas the fish are never in one place to long.
They move up and down the beaches following the bait fish.
While most surf anglers set up on a spot where they can reach a sough between the sand bars with their long casts and put the poles in sand spikes it is far better to try to keep mobile.
If your beach allows beach buggies or atv's you can stay more mobile and will be able to move with the schools as they chase the bait down the beach.
But there are certain places along the beach that seems to hold the fish you seek better than others. That slough that comes in from the ocean and brings the fish closer to the beach, A good spot is just up ocean from a jetty or fishing pier depending which way the gamefish are pursuing the bait fish.

With the advent of drones I would think that flying one over the waves to see where the sloughs are would be an advantage. Something that I did not have my years of surf fishing.

One thing I will say is that while artifical lures are fun catching the game fish, local bait from either a nearby inlet or in the surf with a throw net or pogy rig will increase your hookups on the bigger fish you are after. Ever hook a tarpon in the surf? Woohoo and it will burn your thumb before you realize it is happening.
Posted By: karstopo

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/22/20 07:33 AM

I fish Surfside and Quintana/Bryan. I generally like Quintana/Bryan better, but only if the Brazos isn’t dumping too much fresh and muddy water.

I think Bryan beach is so eroded now it is very tough to get to the mouth of the Brazos. May be wrong and probably tide level depending.
Posted By: 1956Zebco

Re: What's the deal with surf fishing? - 10/31/20 02:14 PM

Originally Posted by Bruce Allen

With the advent of drones I would think that flying one over the waves to see where the sloughs are would be an advantage. Something that I did not have my years of surf fishing.


In that same vein - learn to use the Bing/Google imagery to locate structure/cuts and flip back and forth between the two as the differences in images for the same point can be striking. With the distance feature on you can see if the cut or reef is in realistic casting distance or not.
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