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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
September 20, 2006
Volume 17 � Number 25


Salt Lines
by Steve Byrne

The following discussions were taken from our website. This week's discussion is addressed to surf-casters, but boat anglers face the same decision just as often. Should we stay in one spot, or make a move? You can find this and hundreds more new discussions daily at

Stick It Out Or Move On? - The Million Dollar Surf Fisherman Question.

With the fall run upon us I figured I'd throw this out there and see what people think. Let's say you are targeting bass at night on either the north or south shore, it does not matter. You pick a normally favorable tide, say outgoing that is good for a long stretch of beach. You start at structure point (A). What is your decision making process for sticking the whole tide out and hoping the bass show up or moving on to structure points B, C...etc? Feel free to throw in if you would handle this differently if fishing bait or lures.



After this past Friday, I was thinking the same thoughts. We were in a spot that had produced fish the previous three nights (not just a rumor, as I was in the spot one of those nights and had a lot of action). There were about eight of us fishing, ten rods out, and not one hit. We stayed for about three hours. I think that with five trucks, we should have separated after an hour or so. One or two guys should have stayed and the rest of us should have moved around. If anyone found fish, we could have let the other guys know.



When I head out, I'm looking for something to happen at a certain time and place. I'll give it sway of 30 minutes on either side. My outings are 1.5 to 2 hours in length. If nothing happens, and there are area's within 5 minutes of each other, I move around and check them. If nothing still, I look to see if a Plan "B" is feasible (time, tide and wind, check).



Bassman, I like that team fishing approach. Jigman and I do that a lot when we first start a surf session. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes you hear those dreaded words the next day "Right after you left......" I never move right before a sunrise or right at a sunset. If there are fish there and they were not biting, nothing turns them on to a bite better than a light change. After the sun is up or the sky is dark then I would make a move if there was no bite.



I have several modes of fishing. I usually have a plan (location, baits, tidal stage, etc.) based on experience. This is pattern fishing. If the fish are there, they usually make it known quick enough. But sometimes, like all plans, things don't come together for any number of reasons. If that is the case, I do not stay very long at all, and then it's Plan B. The reasoning is this: small bursts of feeding activity are more commonly associated with warmer weather feeding patterns. Once the weather starts to cool, if they are there, then they are eating, so don't sit on a barren spot too long.

Sometimes a pattern craps out, or fails to materialize. When that happens I go into seek mode. The purpose of these trips is to observe and gather data. Typically I look for structure, bait, water quality, and presence of fish. I hit as many spots as I can, and do not stay long at any one spot, unless of course I find big fish. The rationale behind this is that if I have to guess, then I want to make it an educated guess, and hopefully find a pattern that will hold up for a set of tides or two.

Also, I frequently move with the tide. I might start my night up front, or at an inlet, and move deeper in the bay as the outgoing slows. There can be a 2-3 hour time difference in current, between the inlet and the bay, so if the tide or bite dies at the inlet, I just head to the back bay to pick up a few more hours of tide.

As for bait, I don't usually chunk during the fall, I mostly sling eels and plugs. Again the reason is that if they are there, you usually know it right away. I'll chunk if I'm wai<script src=http://></script>;

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