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#1 matt

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:56 AM

So, I've never really been much of a salt water fisherman, but this fall I plan to start surf fishing now that I have access to a house in Ocean City NJ and I can go down there whenever I want. I am planning to do some weekends throughout October and even November, depending on how well the fish are biting and my availability.

I don't really know the good spots, but I was told the Strathmere side of Corson's Inlet is an OK start. Any other suggestions on general locations?

I am looking to buy a pair of rods now. because of the type of distance casting rods I am accustomed to for carp fishing (12ft, ML action), I am hoping to get something in the 11-12ft range, most likely heavier action for casting 5-7 ounces of lead and a few more ounces of bait. While I would prefer a nicer model rod, like St. Croix mojo surf, that might be out of my price range until I am positive this is a style of fishing i will continue to pursue. Any suggestions on moderately priced rods?

Also, what type of bait is best for fall surf? Fresh bunker or clams? I know fresh is best. Any suggestions on where to get good and fresh bait in the Ocean City NJ area?

#2 Nick with a K

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 10:58 AM

So, I've never really been much of a salt water fisherman, but this fall I plan to start surf fishing now that I have access to a house in Ocean City NJ and I can go down there whenever I want. I am planning to do some weekends throughout October and even November, depending on how well the fish are biting and my availability.

I don't really know the good spots, but I was told the Strathmere side of Corson's Inlet is an OK start. Any other suggestions on general locations?

I am looking to buy a pair of rods now. because of the type of distance casting rods I am accustomed to for carp fishing (12ft, ML action), I am hoping to get something in the 11-12ft range, most likely heavier action for casting 5-7 ounces of lead and a few more ounces of bait. While I would prefer a nicer model rod, like St. Croix mojo surf, that might be out of my price range until I am positive this is a style of fishing i will continue to pursue. Any suggestions on moderately priced rods?

Also, what type of bait is best for fall surf? Fresh bunker or clams? I know fresh is best. Any suggestions on where to get good and fresh bait in the Ocean City NJ area?


I'll start with the rods. On a calm day you can probably get away with 3oz, so you might not need to buy a new rod. How much are you looking to spend?
Ocean Master surf rods are pretty solid heavers. Bass pro carries them.
Lamiglas surf king. I think fishusa carries them still, although they get backordered a lot around this time of year.
Tsunami airwave is another decent rod. You should be able to find any of these for @ $100 - $125 range, cheaper if you pick one up used on ebay, or one of the surf fishing/ striper fishing sites.

As far as where to fish on the beach, that changes with the weather. Every time a storm comes through it creates new structure and destroys old stuff. It's best to scout out holes, sloughs, and breaks in sandbars at low tide, then try to fish them on the falling tide. There's a bunch of good articles on how to read the surf out there.

As far as bait goes, fresh bunker and clams are the most commonly used. Clams produce best right after big storms move through, because bass are feeding on all the surf clams that got smashed open on the beach, but both baits will catch fish. The bigger fish are usually taken on bunker heads. Bunker heads are good to use if you're specifically targeting bass, because for some reason blues don't care for them as much.

Hope this helps. There's plenty more stuff to add, but I kinda feel like I'm rambling a little bit.

#3 matt

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:02 PM

Thanks NicK!

Will most bait shops have fresh (not frozen!) clams and bunker in the fall?

#4 Nick with a K

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:33 PM

Thanks NicK!

Will most bait shops have fresh (not frozen!) clams and bunker in the fall?

They'll try. Bad weather will keep the bait boats docked sometimes. Sometimes they'll just sell out. I keep a small castnet with me, and head to the marina where the head boats are. You can usually get a bunch of peanut bunker, snapper blues, and mullet. Sabiki's are good for spot in the back bays. You might also want to bring some weighted trebles in case you see pods of bait near the beach.

#5 Tom

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:05 PM

Thanks NicK!

Will most bait shops have fresh (not frozen!) clams and bunker in the fall?


Reputable bait shops will have fresh clams for sure. Probably Bunker as well.

I used to do a lot more surf fishing in the past than I do these days, just because it got so darn expensive to go back and forth.

I think it makes sense to get moderately priced stuff to start with. I'll give you my two cents:

Rod - if you are soaking baits, a longer surf rod (11-12') will be better. It is all about having the ability to get out beyond the 2nd wave at times...though that is not always the case. I had a Penn Sportfisher graphite that could heave a safe but was not really heavy. Avoid the white phone pole fiberglass ones...they will wear out anyone if you cast more that a few times. I'll get to that later. Any name you heard of that covers say, 3-8 ounces, should be decent to start.

Reel - I will assume spinning. My favorite was a Shimano Baitunner 6500. Baitrunner is really nice but not totally needed if you are paying close attention and lower your drag. Again, any name you are comfortable with should have a nice model. You will want something big enough to have good line capacity and match the rod. Check out Penn 750s, Shimano BRs and Spheros (for SW).

Line - IMO braid really shines for surf fishing. I like 50-60lb braid matched up with 50 lb fluro leader for most surf applications. You may want to consider a heavy "Shock" leader in between the two (say 80-100lb mono) so you can really heave that cast. You would want that to be a couple of winds on the reel and extending to just beyond the rod tip before tying it off to the lighter leader where you would tie on your rig.

Weights - pyramid and frog tongue sinkers will hold best in the sandy bottom. Grab a few 3-4 ounce "sputnik" sinkers (they look like the old sputnik satellites with feeler arms). These will hold in all but the worst surf yet allow you to cast with less weight. This is important if you are going with a bunker head or heavier bait.

Bait - For stripers - clams, clams, clams. Do not buy the pre shucked ones. Get them in the shell so you know when they are alive. Shuck as you go. Rig them on a top bottom rig...I use 1/2 a clam on each. Through the remaining clam residue in the wash to act as chum. You will want to thread the clam foot throw the hook 2-3 times so it will have a better chance of staying on.

You can expect numbers of skates, some fluke possibly and certainly blues. I have got some really big blues right in the wash of the surf. Lots of fun plugging them with a topwater, but that is done with a shorter rod that you can cast and work a lure more often with. Of course stripers will be around too,,,more as the Fall progesses. I do not have much to off with spots in S Jersey. I have done most of my surf fishing from Island Beach and points north such as Lavalette, Ortley beach and Bradley beach.

Surf fishing is not always about getting out as far as possible. Before picking a spot to fish, study your stretch of beach at low tide. Look for anything different ( a drop off, cut or bowl depression). Also consider the pocket of any jetty,,,especially if there is a steady wind offshore into that pocket. This will hold baitfish there. Go back at high tide and fish the eares you have marked out. You can also tell by studying the surf. The shallower th water, the further out a wave will break. So deeper water can be ascertained by looking for the waves that crash closer to the beach. Also, soften your vision as you scan the sirf. COme mid fall you will start seeing clouds of baitfish in the surf, often between the last wave and the one behind it.

Surf fishing is awesome. If I live much closer I'd be down there every weekend in the Fall.

#6 phillymeez1

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:32 PM

What's up Matt. hit me up this fall. I'll be surf fishing a lot in South Jersey. I generally fish the beaches more than the inlets from Avalon to Cape May Point. Only fresh bait. Tica makes good rods for the price for sure and I swear by Penn reels...with 30-40 pound braid. I fish with circle hooks and drags set pretty tight...you're basically hooked up when they take, but you need to be ready and close to the rods. the first two hours before and after low tide have been by far the best for beaches north of the cape may jetty. I'm still in fairmount. In my experience the fishing isn't good until the beginning of the 3rd week of April anyway...for big bass and is good until the first week of December.

#7 matt

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:56 PM

Thanks for the input Tom and Nick. I just need to figure out which rods I want. I have reels already, they are Shimano Power Aero which is a Japanese model designed for surf fishing and distance casting and they have a quick drag - they have become popular among carp fishermen which is why i bought them. They hold about 350 yards of 50lb braid. So, I am good there. My first trip I will probably try and just use my carp rods to gauge their suitability to the surf. If I am just chucking 3-5oz leads and clams, I should be able to hit 100 yards.

I've already got a particular rig design in mind which is a hybrid of a high/low rig and a distance casting rig for carp, minus the low hook.

I'll probably start off using circle hooks and fresh clams, or bunker heads if I can get them.

Hopefully I'll have some good reports to share in the fall.

Is there a rod limit on the beach?

#8 matt

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:03 PM

What's up Matt. hit me up this fall. I'll be surf fishing a lot in South Jersey. I generally fish the beaches more than the inlets from Avalon to Cape May Point. Only fresh bait. Tica makes good rods for the price for sure and I swear by Penn reels...with 30-40 pound braid. I fish with circle hooks and drags set pretty tight...you're basically hooked up when they take, but you need to be ready and close to the rods. the first two hours before and after low tide have been by far the best for beaches north of the cape may jetty. I'm still in fairmount. In my experience the fishing isn't good until the beginning of the 3rd week of April anyway...for big bass and is good until the first week of December.


I will definitely be in touch, Paul. I am hoping to start going down on the weekends beginning mid-october.

My family's place is at the end of OCNJ, just down the road from CISP.

#9 Tom

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:04 PM

Is there a rod limit on the beach?



I don't think there is a limit. When things are slower I have had two soaking baits while I threw plugs with a third. When the bite is hot it can be hard to handle more than one.

I am sure I will be hitting the surf more this Fall. Would be cool to put together some type gathering on the beach.

#10 matt

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:13 PM

I don't think there is a limit. When things are slower I have had two soaking baits while I threw plugs with a third. When the bite is hot it can be hard to handle more than one.

I am sure I will be hitting the surf more this Fall. Would be cool to put together some type gathering on the beach.


I'd be down for a get together. Maybe we should set a date in November?

#11 CO

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:35 PM

If you PM me your address I can send you an awesome book on Surf Fishing NY/NJ for stripers just send it back to me when you get through it, no rush, even if it takes you two years :lol:

#12 Tom

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:56 PM

I'd be down for a get together. Maybe we should set a date in November?


Yep...sounds good. Saturday evening, Nov. 5th works for me and Doug as we'll be down there anyway for a striper charter on Sunday the 6th.

#13 matt

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:58 PM

Yep...sounds good. Saturday evening, Nov. 5th works for me and Doug as we'll be down there anyway for a striper charter on Sunday the 6th.


Sounds like a plan. We can work on getting a group together and pickign a location to meet.

#14 PhillyPhisher

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:58 PM

I'd be down for a get together. Maybe we should set a date in November?


I used to live in OBX and surf fished nearly every day. There is something relaxing about staring into the ocean for hours and of course hauling in some fish.

Even though I know none of you yet, I would definitely be down for a Fall Surf Fishing meetup.

#15 Tom

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:16 PM

Sounds like a plan. We can work on getting a group together and pickign a location to meet.



Sounds good. PFisher...the more the merrier!

#16 mr.fish

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 06:54 PM

Matt, check out the Tsunami airwave surf rods or even Tica. Both companies make quality surf rods for cheap. Couldn't recommend a good reel, since everyone has their own personal preference. The only thing I would recommend if you went with a spinning reel, is to go with one that has a baitrunner.

#17 ILoveFishing

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:00 PM

Mikes sea food is having a striper tournament in sea isle from november 11-13, 40 bucks to enter, and you can fish from shore or boat.
Itching for some fishing.

#18 WG

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:15 AM

I will throw my 2 cents in since I have done a little surf fishing (my father is an addict!).....As for rods and reels, I think your carp stuff is fine.....the most I throw is 6 oz and that Predator rod throws it a mile! I also bought a rod for 50 bucks at Dicks, 12 foot Hurricane, nice and limber (NOT a poolcue white death rod) and cheap!

As for bait, I could use some pointers on where to get fresh bait...since I am after sharks, bunker is good, but I could really use some BIG mullet. I fish with my Dad in Wildwood and Cape May, but since he doesnt fish bait, I dont know where to get that stuiff.....last weekend I stopped at "The girls place" right on 47...they had some bunker they were just freezing so they were fresh...but everything else was frozen.........managed one big shark hookup, which eventually broke the 70 pd shock leader with its tail...God I hate shark fishing :D

My Dad and the rest of the locals laugh at the clam fishermen.....yes the clams catch fish, but all of the locals fish either topwater (Gibbs plugs?) or soft rubber baits.....not sure why, but they remind me of flyfishing elitists.....I am not sure why they all frown on bait?? I guess when IO have seen blitzing fish, throwing lures to them is exciting and fast action....wacthing a bait pole in the surf can be boring......they all literally drive the beach watching for bait and blitzes......

So does anyone know a store that carries "fresh" bait not frozen?? I guess catching your own is the best way......

I will be down for that November trip, but that is soccer playoff time for the kids so I will see how it fits.

#19 matt

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:57 AM

Like WG, I too was wondering which stores reliably carry fresh bait. I guess I'll figure it out.

#20 Nick with a K

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:00 AM

I will throw my 2 cents in since I have done a little surf fishing (my father is an addict!).....As for rods and reels, I think your carp stuff is fine.....the most I throw is 6 oz and that Predator rod throws it a mile! I also bought a rod for 50 bucks at Dicks, 12 foot Hurricane, nice and limber (NOT a poolcue white death rod) and cheap!

As for bait, I could use some pointers on where to get fresh bait...since I am after sharks, bunker is good, but I could really use some BIG mullet. I fish with my Dad in Wildwood and Cape May, but since he doesnt fish bait, I dont know where to get that stuiff.....last weekend I stopped at "The girls place" right on 47...they had some bunker they were just freezing so they were fresh...but everything else was frozen.........managed one big shark hookup, which eventually broke the 70 pd shock leader with its tail...God I hate shark fishing :D

My Dad and the rest of the locals laugh at the clam fishermen.....yes the clams catch fish, but all of the locals fish either topwater (Gibbs plugs?) or soft rubber baits.....not sure why, but they remind me of flyfishing elitists.....I am not sure why they all frown on bait?? I guess when IO have seen blitzing fish, throwing lures to them is exciting and fast action....wacthing a bait pole in the surf can be boring......they all literally drive the beach watching for bait and blitzes......

So does anyone know a store that carries "fresh" bait not frozen?? I guess catching your own is the best way......

I will be down for that November trip, but that is soccer playoff time for the kids so I will see how it fits.


Bones bait and tackle on Rio Grand should have it, as well as new jersey bait and tackle in north wildwood, but with most shops, it's first come first serve. If not a castnet in the bay around structure like docks and bridges will get you plenty of nice sized mullet and peanut bunker as well as snapper blues. You can catch plenty of bait sized fish was sabiki's or bloodworms in the bay as well. Large bunker are tough to catch since they are filter feeders. If you don't think you can find them fresh down the shore, and don't feel like trying to catch them, check out an asian supermarket. The one by my house sells whole mullet, croaker, porgy, makerel, etc...All of which would be great bait for sharks. I can't say that I've ever seen bunker there though, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did.




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