I’ll be the first to admit I don’t fish the surf as much as I’d like, but it’s absolutely my favorite type of fishing. And it’s hard to say exactly why, but I’ll try.
It doesn’t have as much to do with the fish, for me, as one might guess. Don’t get me wrong — that feeling when your bucktail stops and line starts peeling off the reel in the opposite direction is amazing — but that’s not quite it.
Putting on still-wet waders before sunup isn’t terribly pleasant, and neither is trying to get the feeling back in your hands after an hour on the beach on an October morning.
But that first moment when you walk down to the beach, and see the sun pulling itself up out of the ocean, with perhaps a few birds diving off in the distance… for a moment… absolutely anything is possible. If you remember that feeling when, as a kid, you saw a handful of presents underneath the tree on Christmas morning — presents that might be anything — you might know what I’m talking about.
Mark Twain said: “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” After a few casts, depending upon the day, the fish and the lure you’ve chosen… you might start to understand how the remainder of the day will go…
But in that first moment of setting a wader boot on the beach, absolutely anything is possible. Maybe there will be so many bluefish pushing bunker up onto the beach that they’ll be flipping from the surf onto the sand. Maybe you’ll cast fruitlessly for hours, or, like I did on this past trip to Fire Island, maybe you’ll snag and land a skate.
But no matter what happens after that first cast — it’s what precedes it that is absolutely magical. For a frozen moment in time, you’re on the edge of absolutely anything. And if you love catching striped bass and bluefish, you’re on the edge of, perhaps, one of the best days of your life.