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Old 09-14-2005, 08:03 AM
kosowskj kosowskj is offline
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Default surf fishing newbies

My boys (ages 14 & 12) moved to Manasquan with their mom this year and we have spent a great deal of their time there fishing. So far, mostly time in the inlet for blues and fluke and the backwaters for snappers.

They and I want to try surf fishing this fall for stripers and we need some advice.

We went out early Sunday to the beach in Manasquan armed with a dozen clams. I must be doing something wrong as I could not keep the bait on the hook at all. We burned through all of the clams in less than an hour.

So my first question.... What's the secret to keeping clams on the hook.

Second question....

Assume I wanted to spend between $50 - $100. What would be a good collection of lures and jigs to get us started.

Any other advice to get us started is greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-14-2005, 08:37 AM
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BennyB BennyB is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

First thing, welcome aboard!

With clams, fresh in the shell is best. Buy them where you can check them out first. If they are open, squeeze the shell closed a couple of times, if it "clams up" then it's good, if not it's bad. You want them still moving when you cut them open. Next best would be fresh salted. If you have left over live clams, you can shuck them and put kosher salt on them and put them in a container. Drain out the fluid that builds up, add a little more kosher salt and they will keep good in the fridge for a long time. The salt will toughen up the clam and stay on the hook better.

When putting clams on the hook, I suggest using Octopus Circle or Circle hooks size 6, 7, or 8. Hook the meaty part two or three times and then hook the lips and the other tougher parts over that. This will help the clam stay on better.

Now the most important thing, the cast. You don't want to whip the cast with your wrists. You wan't to use momentum to load up the rod. The rod is what should do most of the work. I would suggest doing a search in the articles on the actual StriperSurf.com website for much detailed information on such things as "The Off The Beach Cast", "Reading The Beach", Pendulum cast and using clams for bait. There is a wealth of information out there.

In the Manasquan area, fish the beach right next to the jetty, that's called "The Pocket" and it can be a very productive place to fish.

As for lures, get Bombers, long A or A-Salt types in the Yellow and Black (schoolbus type), Black, Black over Purple (Blurple type), Storm Wildeye Shads in the 4 and 5 inch Bunker and pearl patterns, Pencil poppers, Danny plugs and definitely something at least 6 inches long that is white with a red colored area in the front.

Great questions! Keep em coming.

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Old 09-14-2005, 08:37 AM
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wishfish wishfish is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

You will probably get some more detailed advice from some of the regulars here who are more experienced than I, but I will start the ball rolling I guess.

Personally, I would stick with just using clams/bait for now, and once you get more accustomed then start throwing out some plugs. Just my suggestion of course, but I think you'll get more action on bait and thus keep the interest level up for your sons.
For keeping the clams on the hook:
1) Use large hooks --5/0-6/0 ( 7/0 if using circle hooks ). Use a whole FRESH (in the shell) clams. Take the stringy "guts" off and chuck them and the shell in the wash, a little chumming cannot hurt. Insert the hook into the clam 4-5 times, using the firmer part of the clam ( the "foot" ). I rarely lose clams this way. I have never needed to use thread, but some people do and it is another option to try. I also prefer the hi-low rigs as opposed to the fishfinder style, but again it is just my preference. I find they cast better than the others. Not to turn this into a commercial, but you might want to try the SSC rigs for sale here. I got my first legal striper using these, and they are superior than what you will find at a B+T.There is a column in here on the main page about using clams for bait in NJ. Lots of great advice...definitely check it out. Anyway, I think you can expect more advice/suggestions from others to help get you started.
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Old 09-14-2005, 08:40 AM
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Shipwreck Shipwreck is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies


I would certainly look through past posts. All your questions are answered there. However, since there are kids involved you will get alot of responses.

As far as clams, are you hooking them through the tongue ( the thick hard part) I use different hooks but a common rig would use 6 to 7 size baitholders or 7 or 8 circle hooks. I put the hook through the tongue and then turn it 180 degree and hook it once more. That holds for about 15 minutes. Also make sure you have enough wieght to hold it down. If it is churning good and the wieght is not holding bottom the bait will work free faster.

As a fledgling surf fisherman you might want to order Bob's Hi Lo rig. It works great. I bought 12 rigs 2 years ago and I am still using them. (even if it is to learn how to tie em myself ) It will cut down on time and the kids will certainly pick up fish.
What size rods and reels are you using. That will to a great extent dictate what type of plugs, and size wieght you can throw effectivley.

Anyway welcome, and have fun. KEEP THE KIDS FISHING AND AWAY FROM TV!!!!!!!!
"The Wheel is Turning and You Can't Slow it Down."
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Old 09-14-2005, 10:48 AM
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chris c chris c is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

Hey Benny! You forgot to mention metals... Even if you're going after stripers it's good to have some metals like the a crippled herring and deadly dick in you bag for when those demons come through. They also work for stripers! Love the storm shads in bunker and in pear(if blues are around though you'll have alot of them with no tails!)l. Bombers are good too and I perfer the schoolbus, chicken scratch and burple!

Benny, btw... the boat is out for repair on the motor since I couldn't figure out the problem but am looking at hitting the surf Saturday morning before dawn.. drop me an email or I'll drop you one!
O&A party rocks-XM Satalite Radio Channel 202
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:26 PM
Sam Zen Sam Zen is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

To keep the clam on try using elastic thread. You should be able to find it at nay bait shop that sells clams. Once the clam is on the hook wind it up with the thread... I've found it to help for sure.
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Old 09-14-2005, 09:02 PM
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CarpenterSteve CarpenterSteve is offline
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Location: Bellmore, NY USA
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

Start the hook in the siphon, and thread it as many times as you can until you reach the end of the tongue. Typically, i get around 3-5 piercings on a single clam. I find it easiest to hold the hook still and rotate the clam. The business end of the hook should end up near the tip of the tongue, I like to have the point and barb exposed, and the remainder of the clam hiding the majority of the hook.

I get clams here freshly shucked and lightly salted by the 1/2 bushel. That usually lasts me 2 outings, with a bit left over to throw in some kosher salt.

Start the kids with #6 or better Gamagatsu circle hooks. That makes catching a fish easier, and more importantly responsibly releasing the shorts.

SSc High low rigs are awesome. Well worth the investment. Buy some!

If you can find some decent white water near shore, have the kids fish there. If stripers are in the area, you can land a pile of schoolies there. They will have a blast.

Read all the articles you can on the main page of this site. Anyone who reads and understands the articles will instantly improve their chances.

Good Luck!

The Pickens Plan

"Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it" - Jean-Francois Revel


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Old 09-15-2005, 02:16 PM
Kareem Soda Kareem Soda is offline
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Wink Re: surf fishing newbies

K, thanks for asking that question! It is one I have been wanting to ask but thought it too trivial. Has there ever been any thought given to the idea of creating a "Newbies" section of the boards. It would be a place where we could ask each other about things, trade experiences and what we have learned that may be too basic for the seasoned salts.
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Old 09-15-2005, 02:32 PM
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ragman ragman is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

Dont think there is a need for that.No matter how long you have been doing it,there is always something to learn about surfcasting... Everyone is the same here,newbie,old timers,and just curious.Dont be afraid to ask,someone will respond.Thats one of the things about SSc.No matter how insignificant you think your question might be,there are those who thought of asking the same thing,but didnt.Then,someone else asks,gets an answer,and everyone benefits....
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Old 09-15-2005, 02:36 PM
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StriperKnight StriperKnight is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

Get some lures

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Old 09-15-2005, 02:42 PM
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silverfox silverfox is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

I think you will find there is no trivial question and the seasoned surf caster is willing to share their expertise. Besides even the seasoned will learn something new from time to time.

All the suggestions so far all are good. There is no one way to do things just pick one or two and go with it. The only thing, I can add is don’t forget the Hopkin’s Shorty. A great metal for those NE winds. As for bait StriperSurf Hi/Lo rigs rule.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:33 PM
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row4fun row4fun is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

Like benny said take it easy with the cast, that can make any bait fly off. No need to try and cast across the atlantic, read: Readin the Beach you find the soft structure and the fish can be at your feet.
The only stupid questions are the ones left unasked.

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~Henry David Thoreau
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Old 09-16-2005, 05:17 PM
Kareem Soda Kareem Soda is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

OK, do you put any kind of bait on a metal lure such as Deadly Dick?
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Old 09-16-2005, 08:52 PM
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ragman ragman is offline
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Default Re: surf fishing newbies

No bait on a lure Bait is for bare hooks.The idea of a lure is to imitate a live bait.
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Old 09-18-2005, 10:25 AM
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Homer S Homer S is offline
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Angry Re: surf fishing newbies

How come nobody mentioned the snappers, sea robins, skates and crabs that are eating the clams as soon as they hit the water?
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