I’ve been fishing for bass since I was a boy, but until recently all of my experience had been freshwater, usually tracking down bass through the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY where I grew up. I was transferred around a year ago to the New York City area and to get away from the crowded lakes around my new house, I decided to adapt and start surfcasting along the coast. I had no idea what I was getting in to! I had heard stories and seen pictures of monsters that people had caught, from striped bass to sharks! The potential for a trophy was enormous and I was anxious to hit the water. I grilled the local bait shops for as much info as they’d give me, beefed up my tackle, and headed out as soon as I had some free time.
Once I was armed with my new equipment, I hit the beach closest to my home and waded in. Back when I was on the Finger Lakes, walking the dog with a plug over glassy water was one of my favorite tactics. The water was dead calm, so I figured it’d be best to go with what I knew, even if the plug was about ten times bigger! I was encouraged by a couple hits, even though I was so excited by them I yanked the lure out of the water before the fish even had a chance to take it. Then, about 45 minutes before I was planning on leaving, I saw the water explode and it took every ounce of my discipline not to set the hook right away. I counted two full seconds, set the hook, and in an instant my drag was screaming! In my mind I might as well have hooked a shark. After a couple thrilling minutes, I finally got the fish in, a striped bass about 20” long! Not a monster or trophy by any means, but my emotions were going crazy as I simultaneously laughed out of pure joy and cursed myself for forgetting my camera.
After that first catch, I was convinced I had found my new favorite sport. I know I was lucky to have such a great experience my first time out, and I give a lot of credit to the local shops for filling me in on what tactics worked best. I’m still in search of that trophy, but have caught a number of other fish since then, and sometimes don’t even know what species of fish I actually have at the end of the line! If you’re looking for a new challenge, I would tell you to give surfcasting a try, I promise you’ll have a blast!