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The Surf Fisherman Forum => From The Surf => Topic started by: ped579 on December 18, 2007, 06:52:14 PM



Title: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on December 18, 2007, 06:52:14 PM
Reading the Sand

When I first started to surf fish I had no one there to really teach me.  It was like a secret society that was hard to break into.  I was after all just a kid to most of these guys and this was serious business to them.  I am talking about the Seaside Park area around the years from 1955 to the middle 60ís.   I was given hints but nothing solid to go on.  They kept telling me to learn to read the water; well as a kid I thought there was some mystical insight to the reading of the ocean.

I had a good idea but really was not sure.  It was not till I went to college till I finally realized what these guys were talking about.  I had to take science classes so I decided to take a couple of classes in Oceanography, at Richard Stockton College, in Pomona, NJ.  It was Dr. Stuart C. Farrell PhD. and his description of beach morphology and physical processes affecting shoreline dynamics, that allowed me to finally understand what was going on.

You want to talk about a light going off well it was like the whole room lit up.  After class I talked to the professor and had him go into detail as to what goes on.  WOW, that was easier than I thought.

I hope I can relate what I learned here in as simple terms as possible.  The ocean because of its never ending movement causes the sand to shift constantly there by morphing the shoreline constantly.  This can be seen especially after a storm.  The beach sand is scarped away by the waves and their constant pounding and loosening if the sand.  Where does it go?  In simple terms it sits just off shore waiting for redepositing back up onto the beach once more.

In doing so bars are formed a slight distance off shore.  Now you have what is called a slough which is a depression that runs parallel to the shoreline.  Again lets go back to the constant wave action remember that?  Well as it goes over the bars a wave or up swelling is formed sometimes curling and breaking over the bar is it becomes shallow enough.  Then the wave flattens out till it comes crashing onto the shore. 

What just happened?  Well the ocean just delivered a huge amount of water over that bar and now it wants to escape. How?  By the force of the water it finds the weakest point in the bar and breaks its way through causing a cut or depression in the bar.   It might not be much in fact most of the time it may be only a couple of feet or so.

Knowing this you can use this to your advantage, the fish do.  What do I mean by that?  Well. As the predator fish attack the bait the bait look for a place to hide, our bottom here is pretty much just sand so any depression the bait can find they make use of.  More of this later. 

Another distinguishing effect is the rip current.  This is caused by the current running through the cut in the bar perpendicular to the beach.  In the summer you hear once in a while a person swimming and suddenly is taken a long distance off shore.  What happened now?  The current is strong enough to carry anything off shore and that is including people.  For us, it can be a problem, for the bait and fish feeding it is a super highway to either a good meal or safety.

When the water is high or it is too rough to see the cuts or the rips caused by the cuts simply read the beach.  Now were are getting to the point of this article.

As the water caused by the tides rise and fall carve out sand from the beach and carry this off the beach and through the cut in the bar.  This is a good place to try your luck as the fish you are trying to target are looking for bait that are washed out by this rip current.

Try the sides of the rip and also in the back parts of the slough between the bar and the shore line.

As you look at the pictures also look at the beach and you will see that there is a low area forming caused by the waves and the current of the fast moving current off the beach.

I hope this makes scenes and opens up a lot more spots to try and land that big one.  I want you to also notice the amount of sand that has eroded off the beach since Thursday and Friday.

FYI, I noticed that there were 7 new rips on that short section of Ortley Beach alone.

Good Luck, Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: IrishAyes on December 18, 2007, 08:04:38 PM
Nice lesson Paul.   t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Hotrod on December 18, 2007, 08:18:36 PM
Nice Job Paul t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Luna Sea 5 on December 18, 2007, 09:00:21 PM
very nice post


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Fishin Dude on December 18, 2007, 09:51:30 PM
Paul, that was the best description/explanation on the subject I've ever heard. Plus photos, great job! <'((((><


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on December 18, 2007, 11:34:47 PM
Thanks guys I hope this helps. 

I see people going to the beach to surf fish and moan, groan and complain that you can't catch anything off the surf.  I explain that you can if you know how to read the beach and match the hatch.  They look at you kind of funny and say Yeah sure and walk away. 5hrug

Then I tell them it is just the basics man, just the basics.  Learn that and you will never go hungry. grtn

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on January 04, 2008, 12:32:01 PM
I know I mentioned about rip current and how it works but there is another reason to fish the sides of a rip especially during slack tide time.

Because there is an over abundance of water that builds up in the slough it will have a chance to escape during this time.  By doing so the current makes for a good place to drop a chunk of bait.  Try using less weight and allow the bait to travel out the rip or at least drift with its current.

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: IrishAyes on January 04, 2008, 03:29:31 PM
 t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on January 24, 2008, 01:02:44 AM
Here is another piece of information about the beach.  You have probably heard of fishing the points.  Well how do I find these points?  Simple, look to the water and you will see the waves breaking out over a bar if the white suds form all the way into the beach sort of a triangle, this is a good indication that there is a point there.  Try fishing either side of it and be ready to hook up.

If I had to pick which side to start with I would choose the south side of the point.  Cast out to its apex and reel in on an angle parallel to it. 

This would be a good starting place.

I finally had a good day for pictures to explain the process.  Enjoy.

Click on Picture to enlarge. TT^

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: IrishAyes on January 24, 2008, 02:42:34 PM
Great pics, Paul.  And nice explainations with them.   t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Capt. Mike on January 24, 2008, 08:12:56 PM
Great Job Paul!!!  TT^
This would make for a great article.
1 Down!
 chrz


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Hotrod on January 24, 2008, 10:36:23 PM
Nice Job Paul!!

AS Mike Said t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: wingshooter on January 24, 2008, 10:56:00 PM
thnks for the insight,
,, i'm going surf fishing with you this season


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on January 24, 2008, 11:50:09 PM
Any time guys.  I am just trying to make it a lot easier for people to learn that there is structure even on what seems to be a flat beach.

If you learn to read the beach you will up your percentages for catching fish.  Granted I don't catch fish every time out but I will catch fish if the conditions are right and I know I'm in the right place.

A big percentage of the process is looking for the right signs.  Incoming tide is easier to catch fish, knowing where to place your lure, matching the hatch, and watching for birds over some bait.

I am looking forward to fishing with many of you this summer.  Can't wait to hit the beach.

Happy Catching

Paul



Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Pops Soul on January 25, 2008, 02:56:03 PM
Very nicely done Paul  t^ Great job  slt


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: seanr8w on April 19, 2008, 12:58:29 AM
Gonna Hit the beach tomorrow with all of this new found knowledge....Thanks Paul! I will let you know how it goes tomorrow evening! t^ TT^ slt


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on April 19, 2008, 04:28:58 PM
Sounds good Sean,

Ii hope you do better than we did yesterday.  The waves were out of control and the currents were insane.  I did hear of one skate caught by one of our new lady members.  If I remember it was FishinGirl or something very close to that.  TT^

Then my neighbor said his friend was out also and caught a black fish.  5hrug

Oh well next time, tis still early but we tried.

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: seanr8w on April 21, 2008, 09:12:12 PM
Hey Paul, Saturday was my day to get out on the beach. I gave it a shot on the beach at Ventnor, but I was have troubles with the gear I had (or more to the point, didn't have!! :'() -vs- the waves and currents. I tried to keep in mind the lessons on reading the beach and waves, but I found it very difficult since it waas so rough. After a number of tries and a couple of hours I decided to pack it all up and give the Longport Jetty another shot.
When I got there there were a dozen or so other fisherman out there with high hpoes of some action, but aqfter a little investigative reporting I realized that no-one had brought up anything today other than a couple of small skates.  bngh
I found a spot that looked promising and started casting my bait into the suds behind the first row of breakers, using a 4 oz dipsy on a slide and baiting w/ live clams. I fished the jetty for about 3 1/2 hours before I decided to call it a day.
FISH.....4
Sean.....0
 5hrug


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on April 21, 2008, 11:26:56 PM
Thats OK Sean, I was out with Ash from the board on Friday and the wave action was really bad.  There were times you could not see the horizon.  I even had a rough time reading the beach.  You had to look for the rip currents running horizontal to the beach and where the north current met with the southern current I figured there was where the cut was.

It did not really help, it was just to rough.  We were using clams and went through 2 dozen.  I know I lost a number to crabs I bet. 

I will be going out Wednesday with my daughter I hope thing quiet down by them.  I figure to start down by the North Jetty on IBSP and work our way up north.  Unless I see the back section or the flats are working for blues.

I was talking to Ray from Grumpys (we met in Shop Rite of all places) and he said things are about to pop.  The stripers are all around now and all we are waiting for is the water to warm just a tad and the spawn to be over for the cows to start feeding.

All I can say is bring it on...

Happy Catching

Paul



Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: RocksandReds on August 28, 2008, 11:17:02 PM
Great post , great info, Thanks!


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on August 28, 2008, 11:18:06 PM
 t^ grtn


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: RocksandReds on August 29, 2008, 12:51:36 PM
Had a hard time finding this spot,it didn't just jump out at me as a good spot to fish ;D ;D.

I'm 6'1" and the hole at dead low tide was over my chest waders with bare sand on both sides, and a 2ft trough on the inside of the bar. caught some great fish out of that hole! t^ t^.

(http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg157/rocksandreds/100_0199.jpg)


(http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg157/rocksandreds/100_0204.jpg)



Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on August 30, 2008, 12:00:49 AM
Great shot of the hole.  They are there all you have to do is put your time in and make the effort to get out at dead low tide and ride the beach.

This coming week should be the end of the lifeguards at many beaches and will be open once again to fisherman.  I am looking forward to getting back onto the beach at Ortley as that has been very productive in the past during the fall run.

Again thanks for the pictures.

Happy Catching

Paul



Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Hotrod on October 07, 2008, 09:57:08 PM
Paul.  you need to reload up your pictures t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Hotrod on March 17, 2010, 08:54:50 AM
 Bump.. Fishing From The Beach | Reading The Sand (http://njsaltwaterfisherman.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=415&Itemid=1)


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on March 17, 2010, 11:45:36 AM
I see the ones on the link.  What others were you talking about?

If there are more I will have to find them.


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Hotrod on March 17, 2010, 12:05:21 PM
Nah.  you did last year..


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: bugmannj on March 17, 2010, 05:59:09 PM
Nice job t^ Paul, thanks for the info. I've been fishing for a long time and your pictures explain it very well.


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on March 17, 2010, 11:09:31 PM
Thank You Sir,  working the surf the angler needs all the help he or she can get.  Just knowing what to look for besides the obvious schools of what ever blasting through the suds and birds working.

It is not hard to just look at the waves and read what is underneath.  Plus put that new info to use when you realize that the bass will be feeding on either side of a particular bar depending on the tides.

I hope more people use that information this year and bring in that trophy fish.

Happy Catching, all.

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on March 18, 2010, 06:37:34 PM
DUH...Man I have to slow down and read the posting dates... fcp


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Jeffish on March 18, 2010, 08:03:58 PM
I'll take anything this year and call it my trophy fish. Skate, boot, shag nose rug, anything.


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: archivesguy08 on June 02, 2010, 09:28:05 AM
Thank you very much for this information.  I used to surf fish with my Dad when younger, but he wasn't real big on explanation, and we were never very successful.  This past weekend, when hanging on the beach with wife and kids, I tried "reading the beach" as you suggested, knowing I was going to come back in the evening with my surf pole.  I think your lessons worked well.  Oh - not because I caught any fish!

When I returned to the beach, several anglers had already set up.  I could tell they were more experienced guys, because of their gear.  And where did they set up?  In the spots I had picked out as the No. 1 and No. 2 spots to fish!!!!  I fished No. 3 (what I think was a slough from watching the rollback during the day) and had no luck in about 3 hours of fishing in the tide, but I watched the guy in the spot I wanted to fish in pull in a striper out of the hole to the right of the jetty. 

So I learned two lessons over the weekend - thanks to you, how to read a beach, and also, if you want to fish - get to and set up in your spot EARLY!!!! 


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on June 02, 2010, 02:02:07 PM
First Welcome Aboard archivesguy08,

Second thank you for taking the time to read my article and use it to target fish.  What area was this that you were fishing in?  I might be able to give you further pointers.

And third, I am glad you got to see the demo in action and how it produces fish.  Mind you it is not always fruitful but at least it will put you into the area where the fish like to hang out in.

The beach can be a place that seems to many a barren place.  If time was taken to look into the biology of the surf one would see that it is a very vibrant place with many inhabitants.

Happy Catching

Paul



Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: archivesguy08 on June 02, 2010, 03:31:37 PM
Thanks for the reply.

Since you asked, I will give you the particulars:  I was fishing in Sea Girt - first time I have ever been there in my life.  I had the good fortune of being on the beach during the day at low tide, around the area of New York Avenue.  I could see even then, easily, that there was a deeper pool of water to the left of a rock jetty.  I figured that would be the first place I would want to fish, but, as I said, when I returned it was occupied.  That's where I saw the guy pull a striper out later (from 50 yards away, it didn't look quite big enough to be a keeper, but the guy kept it so I guess it was OK).

From watching some guys surf (at low tide, haha) I could also see there was a lower spot in the bar to the left of a water return pipe, but not as large as the one next to the jetty.  Lastly, I noticed a spot that seemed to be at the confluence of the return swell or outrush of the tide water after it surged up the beach, from either side.  After watching the breakers for a few minutes when I returned at high tide, this seemed to be one of the "points" you illustrated in your attached video. 

BTW, I was using a fish finder rig with bunker chunks (previously frozen)and was holding with three ounces against a fairly calm surf.  I thought I might have had a nibble once or twice, but never had a nice tap that made me even try to set the hook.  Never lost any bait, either.  High tide was supposed to have been at 10, but I only fished from 7 to dark. 

Since my sister-in-law just bought a house in Sea Girt, I may be fishing there again from time to time, but most of my old surf time was on LBI (Surf City, occasionally taking the ride up to the Lighthouse).  Since I live outside of Trenton, the beaches of Belmar and surrounding towns are probably destinations for me as well.

It's funny, I kind of gave up on surf fishing years ago because it was so darned unproductive.  I knew I did not know enough to make it so, but I also did not know there was a website like this one, either. I am really looking forward to getting back into it with a little more knowledge at my disposal.   

Thanks again! 


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Hotrod on June 02, 2010, 06:52:22 PM
 clp t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on June 02, 2010, 10:29:50 PM
Well it sounds like your second time around with the surf is going to be the charm.  It is not rocket science but it does take a bit of knowledge to bring a fish to the box.

My hat goes off to you for taking the infinitive to know your limitations and seek help.  If you have any further questions do not hesitate to ask.  I am on the site a few times during the day so I can respond in a timely manner.

I use to fish Sea Girt many years back and the jetties were the hot spots.  If you use them wisely you surly will be successful in your attempt to catch.

Just remember the most productive side of any jetty is usually the north side.  There is, for the most part, a deeper slough that runs east to west along it so cast close to the jetty on the north side and I think you will be into fish in no time.

Good Luck and as always,

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: archivesguy08 on June 03, 2010, 11:34:56 AM
Thanks!  I was wondering, why the north side?  Then I googled jetties, did some research, and discovered the concept of littoral drift.  Mystery solved.  Now I know why so many guys who fish the beach are always around the jetties. 

Still, I found that strange, because in the case of last Sunday, the "hole" was clearly on the left, or south side of the jetty.  But then I read how storms outside of the usual prevailing wind direction can cause temporary changes in depository patterns, or it can be affected by effluent sources - such as the water return pipe I mentioned earlier, which was 150 yards to the south of this jetty! 

Next time I visit my sister in law, I will try to get close to that jetty.   

In the meantime, I will try to do a little more research before I hit the beach again! 


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on June 03, 2010, 12:44:20 PM
Research is great but don't forget to fish.

When I was in College (many many years ago) I took a few coursed on Oceanography (just enough to get me in trouble) and was amazed as to how things work below the waves.  Many of the theories then still hold true today.

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: inthewash on April 28, 2011, 08:16:53 PM
Good info.   t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Kevin on September 24, 2011, 07:22:11 PM
I often surf before I surf fish.. I can tell where ALL the deep drops and bars are instantly.. its the best thing.

Winter time too! clp


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: SahJah on September 29, 2011, 08:18:50 PM
 t^ Thanks for the info Paul! Honestly, I have never been surf fishing. I usually go out on boats but I think this is something I would like to try!


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on September 29, 2011, 11:13:15 PM
Gamsahamnida SahJah,  The information in that article can be used anywhere so You might want to give it a try.  As you are just about surrounded by water and the currents and waves know no boundaries this works everywhere.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

Happy Catching

Paul



Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Flipper0516 on March 04, 2012, 07:54:51 AM
Very helpfull


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on March 04, 2012, 01:04:31 PM
I am glad you found it helpful as I see so many people fishing spots that I know will be unproductive and they wonder why they are not catching.  Well if you are fishing right on top of a bar that is only a few feet or inches deep not much will happen there.

Look for the rips and cuts and your percentage rate will defiantly go up.  But even with a beach the size of IBSP there are just so many spots available.  Plus after any good storm the beach will change.  Just by knowing what to look for you can be more productive.

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: flht_db on April 02, 2012, 11:24:27 PM
Paul,

Thanks, excellent info!! Will probably re-read multiple times. Then try to use and re-read again.

Dennis


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: BigAl13 on April 03, 2012, 05:43:48 AM
Glad it helped  t^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on April 04, 2012, 10:53:54 AM
That's great Dennis.  If you have any further questions just PM me and I will be glad to help you and your family out.

It takes some learning but once you know how the surf works and where the structure is out there the fun will begin.

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Easternbikes214 on June 01, 2012, 01:15:17 PM
Not 100% sure that I understand what I just read, but maybe when I get to IBSP and see first hand it will click. Either way thank you for this post.

 TT^


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ChrisL on June 01, 2012, 01:50:13 PM
Not 100% sure that I understand what I just read, but maybe when I get to IBSP and see first hand it will click. Either way thank you for this post.

 TT^

It definitely requires a little "hands on".   t^  Read Paul's article, visit the beach a few times, reread the article and it will start to make some sense.  It takes some time to really get a feel for reading the water.  Some days are easier then others based on wind speed/direction, the swell, etc. 


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: JeffL on June 01, 2012, 07:43:54 PM
 whs Yea also depends on the person some people catch on quick... I have a 2 buddies that started surf fishing last year.. We always went in a group of 3.. The one guy caught on what i was telling him to look for and what not with in 3 trips the other guy to this day still has no idea what he is looking for.. Alot of trial and error comes into play...


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: ped579 on June 05, 2012, 10:28:01 PM
If you have any specific questions just throw them out there and lets see what we can do to clear it up for you.

Mahalo for reading the article.

Happy Catching

Paul


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Tonyc1 on June 29, 2014, 01:46:09 PM
Just look for areas where the waves are not break in the bar & that is your opening in the bar.. Or if the waves are smaller.  In areas like LBI and IBSP it drops off quick try to fish close too shore...many a striper or flounder are hanging just on this dropoff waiting for bait washed back in by the surf.  Cast parallel to th beach to increase your lures time in that zone.
Go get Em!


Title: Re: Reading The Sand
Post by: Tmatt810 on March 16, 2016, 11:30:22 AM
 t^
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