Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: demystifying the beach

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    907

    Default demystifying the beach

    I found this on Russ Bassdozer's site. This guy's knowledge blows me away, good read.

    http://www.bassdozer.com/articles/surf_demystify.shtml

    Demystifying the Beach
    It had to be done
    By Russ Bassdozer


    Where should I fish? It's early September, and that will be an often asked question for a lot of guys who will be hitting the beaches the next few weeks. Even guys who only fish the surf occasionally or who generally fish back bays and sheltered waters will be crawling out "front" to hit the suds a few times for the fall run. The pilgrimage is on!
    "Any beach" is the easy answer right now. That's right! Practically any beach along the entire striper coast is currently infested with mass quantities of mullet, peanut bunker, peanut herring, assorted smaller baitfish and plenty of snappers and baby weakfish chopping them up in the first break. Fishing has been very predictable from late afternoon going into dusk and again at dawn. The simple key to success right now is to get out a little early in the afternoon to drive the coast a few miles. Spot check ANY accessible places looking for signs of birds, bait and fish. You can usually spot them, and get action from late afternnon into dusk and early night. Of course, you can return to those same spots at dawn or hit those same spots for some late night innings too if you are a night fisherman.

    What to use?
    As for myself, the Super Strike Little Neck poppers and leadheads with 4" plastic shads have been dependable in day time for me. Several evenings the fish clearly preferred Charlie Graves tins at sundown. Transitioning into the early darkness, I am getting good action off small blue-backed Danny metal lip surface swimmers leaving a pronounced vee wake. At night, small white Super Strike bottle plugs, various plastic lip swimmers, rigged and plastic eels for me.

    Where to cast?
    So the hot spot right now is "any beach". But when you're standing in the sand on "any beach", where exactly do you cast for best results when you get there?

    That's the topic for the rest of this article. How to dissect the layout of any sand beach, and how to target the best spots on any beach for best results. I have fished many surf areas on the east, west, and gulf coasts, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. I have found several generalities about all sand beaches everywhere. I would like to share them with you. Basically, I find that there are only four primary sand structures that define the character of a beach and that attract fish to feed on a beach.

    All fish-attracting sand structures on the beach can fit into one of the four following descriptions:

    1) POINTS

    What is it?
    Points extend out from shore and can be way big or surprisingly small protrusions. The classic point configuration extends out at right angles to the beach. Sometimes the beach may take a turn and it may look more like a "bend", but it still is a big, rounded point to me. At the other extreme, even the smallest of points generate small, hardly noticable "rips" very close into the beach. On an otherwise straight stretch, fish will linger off the smallest of points. Sometimes, points are actually the beginnings of sand bars, and in these cases, I categorize and fish them as bars (see below), not as points.

    How to fish? It is not uncommon to have wadable shoal water, more white water, and a faster sweep going past points. It is classic for fish to feed at the "tip" of a point, including right on the tip, or in the open water to the left or right of the tip. Going back towards the beach, anywhere along the sloping sides of a sandy point can hold fish, particularly in the "pocket" which is a scooped out depression just out from the base of the point on both sides.

    2) BOWLS

    What is it?
    Bowls indent into the shore and typically form between two points. Bowls can be wide and deep in a classic "teacup" configuration. At the other extreme, they can look like hardly much more than a straight, featureless stretch between points - but still a bowl - as you will see as wind and tide subtly shape it over time.

    How to fish? Fish along both the upper right and upper left "rims" of a bowl, especially towards the area where the upper rims of a bowl begin to transition into the base of a point. Also fish the very apex, or dead center of the bowl, which often holds good bait and fish.


    3) TROUGHS

    What is it?
    Troughs are long depressions that parallel the shoreline or parallel sand bars (see below). Sometimes, but not always, a trough can exist paralleling the sides of a bowl or a straight stretch even if there is no accompanying bar further out from shore. But usually, a trough accompanies and parallels sand bars.
    How to fish?
    Fish often prefer to feed along the sloping sides of a trough rather than in its center - particularly if the side of a trough has a stiff upper "lip" where the edge of the trough transitions into the adjacent shallower structure (bar or beach). It is important to note that troughs have both an "inside" edge and an "outside" edge, but fish show a tendency to gravitate towards whichever edge is the sharpest, which may change sides as the trough meanders down the beach.

    4) BARS

    What is it?
    Sand bars parallel the shore, often for long distances. On some beaches, there may not be any bar at all. On other beaches (or parts thereof), there is typically only one bar, but some beaches have a series of several bars running progressively further out paralleling the beach. Troughs often gouge out long depressions along both the inside and outside edges of a bar. Typically, the most important bar is the outer bar. Generally, bars are really only wadable towards low tide. Often, however, the bar is too far offshore to wade even at low tide. However, if you can reach the inside edge of the bar on a long cast from shore, you can be rewarded big time. If you are new to surf fishing, then there's two more words you should know about wading bars, and you've got to make sure they aren't your last words either: BE CAREFUL. Be careful if you try to cross through troughs, and ALWAYS make sure you can cross back safely after fishing on the bar.

    How to fish? It is not uncommon to have wadable shoal water, more white water, and a faster sweep along the entire lengths of bars. Fish will usually feed along the outer sloping front side of the bar- particularly the bottom where the sloping front of the bar ends and transitions into the lip of the trough. A "cut" is a classic and highly productive spot where the water cuts through the bar, forming a "tip". The cut forms a channel at right angles to the bar where water from the inner and outer troughs sluices through between the bar, which is now cut. NEVER try to wade through a cut. It's suicidal. A cut can range from (1) very treacherous "rip" water running right in the cut, often full of fish, or (2) it can be a more complacent cut that doesn't exactly rip but which scoops out depressions or "holes" that hold fish just inside and just outside of the cut, or (3) a a really good cut can form both rips and holes.

    That's it! Points, bowls, bars and troughs are the only four primary sand structures on a beach.
    Other sand structures are secondary and cannot exist without the presence of a point, bowl, bar or trough. These secondary sand structures include the tips, pockets, cuts, rips, slopes and holes that we mentioned.

    The coolest patterns form. The coolest thing is to consciously make note of the exact kinds of primary/secondary structure where you hit fish. Why? Because you can then usually move down the beach and continue to hit fish in the exact identical types of structures for many miles. That is, if you bang fish on the right hand tip of a bar, the fish will pretty much be hitting on the right hand tips of all bars down the beach. That is, if you take fish dead center in a bowl, or in the left pocket of a point, then you can move along to the dead centers of other bowls, or the left hand pockets of other points - and expect to catch fish in these exact same areas. Often, this becomes a pattern, which may last for a night, a few nights, a week, or even form an extended pattern for an entire season. I can fondly recall one beach where the fish were all in the bowls one fall, and all on the points the next fall. You need to find out what the fish are doing, exactly what structures they are doing it on, and focus your efforts to be doing your thing in the same spots that the fish are doing their thing.

    It's reading the beach made easy! A lot of times people make a big issue about "reading the beach". But it is easy if you just focus on finding these four primary structures - points, bowls, troughs and bars - and then target the secondary "spots on the spots".

    You can dissect the layout of any sand beach into these four well-defined structures. Then you can methodically fish them, thereby identifying which structures the fish are currently using and equally important, discover which structures the fish are NOT currently using. If you do so, you can confidently eliminate unproductive types of spots for the moment, and you can consistently put yourself in the company of gamefish all up and down "any beach" where gamesters are using these four primary structures - and especially the secondary "spots on the spots" to put on the fall feed bag.

    Especially if you are new to the surf, welcome, and I hope you will gain some elementary knowledge of sand beaches from this post. Hope it helps you find many large surf fish over the next few weeks and over the following seasons!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    3,075

    Default

    I went to that site and checked him out. Bassdozer is an amazing guy with his knowledge, I would like to meet him someday. That article lays it all out for you. I copied my page and will put it in plastic for the beach. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,272

    Default

    Russ Bassdozer is an extraordinary guy and dedicated to fishing. This is important in areas like Island Beach state park, where you have flat undefined beach, and then a key area like a cut or trough. They all changed during the winter storms. I have had to spend a great deal of time scouting and marking them again. Should anyone desire to fish Island Beach and be successful, I would suggest you travel it at extreme low tide and take notice of the way it is laid out now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Posts
    1,134

    Default

    that's literally years of my life experience walking, swimming, surfing, and fishing the beaches of LBI boiled down into one post.

    ya know, ya put in a lifetime learning this stuff the hard way, and somebody just blurts it out.

    oh well. at least i enjoyed it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    3,725

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jonthepain View Post
    that's literally years of my life experience walking, swimming, surfing, and fishing the beaches of LBI boiled down into one post.

    ya know, ya put in a lifetime learning this stuff the hard way, and somebody just blurts it out.

    oh well. at least i enjoyed it.
    It's one thing to read it from an article, it's another to actually go out and do the work. You seem like you paid your dues, when you fish LBI now you probably hook up more than the other guys out there. Hard work always pays off in the clutch.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    ny
    Posts
    830

    Default

    Now I see why I didn't catch many fish last night. I was visiting friends in LBI and decided to try my luck plugging. I should have spent more time reading the beach. I did notice some small rockpiles, and saw the deeper water on different sides, but I didn't notice much else. DOH!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    640

    Default

    Here is another article about reading the beach.

    by: Sam

    Have you ever watched a nearby surf angler reel in a nice fish? It can really get your blood pumping with excitement! Initially, you try to guess the size of the fish by comparing it to the size of the angler. Next you wonder what kind of bait the angler was using and hope you both got it from the same tackle shop. Before you realize what you have done, you have reeled in your line, put fresh bait on your hook (even though you had done this only minutes earlier) and heaved it back out as far as possible. You now have proof there are fish near you and they could be swimming in your direction!

    After an hour or so, you watch the same angler catch his fifth fish, and you don’t even feel like getting out of your beach chair. Finally, you admit to yourself that nobody can be that lucky.

    So, naturally you decide to take a stroll down the beach to congratulate the angler on his excellent abilities and maybe even sneak in a question or two about his bait. To your surprise, you notice he is using the same tackle, casting approximately the same distance and even bought his bait from the same tackle shop! Before walking back to your spot, you quickly scan around his fishing area for signs of anything he might be using that would give him such an advantage. However, his advantage was there before he even set foot on the sand.

    As a rule, experienced surf anglers look for some kind of underwater structure. It can provide shelter for smaller baitfish and also great hiding places for predatory fish. Unlike offshore fishing, inshore structure does not consist of coral reefs or sunken wrecks. The structure found near the shoreline is made of naturally created variations of sand on the ocean floor. They can consist of deep holes, cuts in a sand bar, troughs created by strong currents or other areas carved by crashing waves.

    Experienced anglers constantly look for signs of submerged formations using a technique referred to as “reading the beach”. Becoming a skilled “beach reader” can take years, however you may find learning this technique a little easier during certain conditions.

    To many beach visitors, low tide just means more sand. However, to the angler who is trying to find that unique stretch of beach that has the potential to hold fish, low tide is the optimal time to search.

    As the tide recedes, more compact sand becomes exposed and what is normally hidden under several feet of water becomes visible.

    You may discover a sandy slope that drops into deep water only feet beyond the shore break. Then again, you may realize you had fished throughout the entire high tide, casting out as far as you could only to have your bait sitting in two feet of water. As you can imagine, this kind of knowledge can be extremely helpful.

    One way to read the beach is to find a “cut in the bar”. When ocean swells make their way inshore they are often forced over narrow areas of shallow water called sandbars. When this occurs, a wave forms and abruptly rises up to a peak then quickly crashes down into turbulent, white water. As you scan the outer sets of breaking waves, you may find a narrow area of water where the waves do not crest. Watch that section for a few minutes and you will usually see a set of waves begin breaking. However, if after 7 to 10 sets of waves pass over without breaking, you have found a “cut in the bar” and a good form of underwater structure.

    After moving above the sandbar, the wave may stay crested with white water until it reaches the shore and that would be a good indication the bottom is relatively level. If the white water dies down and the wave flattens out, it has moved back into deeper water called the “trough”.

    The trough is a channel of deeper water that runs horizontally along the beach in between the sandbar and the shore. A cut in the sandbar allows larger fish to bypass the shallow area and find their way into the trough. Then they are able to swim along the shoreline through deeper, inshore water looking for unsuspecting prey.

    If you are unable to scan the beach during low tide or if the wind is not cooperating, it can be difficult to read the beach. When all else fails, look for something “different”. For example, If you find an area in the surf that is calm and the surrounding water is choppy, that may be a great place to fish.

    Remember to scan the horizon for diving birds. You will see the “splash” and watching several birds diving into the water is always a great sign of baitfish activity. If those birds are diving relatively close to shore, I would certainly try fishing there for a while.

    On days when the water is clear, you can actually see bait in the water. When wading into the shallow water to cast I have often noticed hundreds of small fish all around me. Other times, I see larger bait, such as bunker, jumping completely out of the water in an attempt to avoid becoming a meal. If you ever see distant areas of water with a dark tint, they may be large schools of baitfish.

    Understanding how the waves react when moving over the ocean floor can take time, patience and practice. Once you begin to distinguish the differences and notice the structure without actually seeing it, you will have gained a valuable ability that will help you catch more fish. Before long, you may look over to see someone walking down the beach prepared to congratulate you and maybe sneak in a question or two about your bait.




    http://www.atlanticanglers.com/f311/...ing-beach.html

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    531

    Default

    Those were both great articles. Tons of info. I am no master a reading the beach yet but I know my way way around.

    I was just at Smiths Point tonight with my wife and the dog. I noticed some great structure that would form when the tide came up and also figured out where the outer bars and a few points were. This, along with the deeper troughs and, once high tide hit, where the rips would form. I tried to explain to my wife and she understood some of it but couldn't visualize what was going to be underwater and why this presented a good spot to fish. Along the points where she was picking up beach glass and clamshells I explained why they were there. Where my dog was splashing around in the soon to be submerged inner trough, I explained that. Where I wouldn't let the dog go because of the rip forming, she then understood that.

    She would not be able to fish these areas until she understood WHY. That is the tough part to explain since she has seen all of these things on the beach in the past.

    That is how YOU become a better fisherman. It is the "WHY" that should pique your interest.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    2,439

    Default

    Great thread thanks for posting that Willie. Bassdozer must live sleep and breathe fishing. I would like to meet him one day.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    781

    Default

    Was looking through the older threads and found this, Thank you for sharing.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    3,075

    Default

    Awesome read, kudos.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •