Go take a look at a beach at low tide, a spring
low tide is even better. You will see a lot structure that will be hidden under
the water come high tide. A beach is not as featureless as one might first think.
Fish the beach on a low, high, flooding or ebbing
tide. Observe what happens on each state of tide, get to know your beach. Generally
fish a moving tide, a flooding tide is often the best as fish will follow the
tide in hunting shallow pools. Use any currant or rip to sweep your fly over structure
Begin by casting parallel to the beach into the
trough of breaking waves. If there is no noticeable structure, fan cast from one
spot and vary your retrieves. No action? take a few steps down the beach and repeat.
Wade slowly and feel your way along the beach. Fish will move with the tide from
one feeding spot to another, you must move with them, do not stand in one place
casting into the same area for hours on end.
Small schools of baitfish do cruise parallel to
the shoreline, so don't neglect fishing the breaking waves close in, rough water,
your quarry is watching for those disorientated baitfish.
On calmer days
you may spot spraying baitfish, this is a sign that your quarry is on the attack,
get your fly into this area. Terns and gulls diving into the water will also show
where baitfish are under attack from predators below.
Dawn, dusk and night being the prime times for fishing,
cloudy days can also be productive.
|You're asking yourself "Where do I begin"
as you look down onto the beach. A high vantage point is a good start. Note the
troughs of water, these are fish highways allowing your quarry access to shallow
water on a rising tide. |
Shingle, sand, rocks, wooden stumps, a fresh
water stream, troughs and pools.
All these structures will attract baitfish
and will hold food, and your quarry will gravitate to this type of structure.
|Sandbanks create movement, drift a fly around
them and through the currants and rips. If drifting achieves nothing mix up your
retrieves. Fish will swim up through the deep water pockets into the troughs in
their search for food. |
Sand meets rock, fish will patrol these sandy
areas on the lookout for food being washed out of the rocks by wave action. When
the incoming tide begins to cover the rocks fish will also move over the same
searching for food.
|Bedrock, rotting seaweed and lots of small
rock pools which hold crabs, shrimp and small fish. The incoming tide will bring
your quarry in to dine. |
|Rocks, sand, a fresh water stream and wooden
stumps. Perfect food holding areas and ambush points for your quarry. |
Some excellent advice below from UK Guide
"I've found that Bass don't seem too keen on holding
over loose sand, as it seems to irritate their gill rakers, they pass through
it chasing bait that's in it, but don't hold there. They seem to prefer broken
ground, I look for tethered kelp which holds peeler crab and you sometimes find
good bass just mooching around cherry picking them off the fronds, good for popper
fishing. Also look for where a large expanse of beach has a very slight undulation,
where I guide there is a flat 2-3miles round with a 9" furrow running through
it, you probably wouldn't even notice it but what seems to happen is the more
homogeneous the area (wide open spaces) the greater the potential for prey to
get eaten,,i.e no cover for them, concentrations of baitfish congregate around
this one furrow as do the bass, so even though the beach may look bleak or featureless
you need to look for the "edge" i.e any change in contour no matter how small,
in fact the more featureless the beach the greater the concentration will be.
I think it's called "herding instinct"
When you see "Spraying baitfish"
I usually guide clients to the margin of where the main action is occurring as
larger Bass have a habit of letting the smaller predators do all the work while
the more experienced hunters conserve their energy and just pick up stunned or
injured quarry getting washed through them, you find that this is very common
with most predators, as the older they become the more expedient they are.
Access to some sandbars could involve wading,
remember on a flooding tide you have to wade back through those channels to arrive
back on safe ground. Use fixed points to measure the rising water level. Rocks
or shingle spits will help to gauge the time for crossing.
tide hides even the smallest undulation on a beach which when dry you don't even
notice but can be "uncomfortable" if retreating with the tide at your maximum
Wind does play a factor, a flooding tide could be pushed
in early by a onshore wind, the same tide could be delayed by a offshore wind,
keep this in mind".
UK Guide Justin Anwyl www.bass-fishing.co.uk
Be aware of what's happening around you, watch the
wave action and always face into the incoming surf, heavy surf can knock you over
and the undertow can pull your feet away from under you. Never panic, see the
Info section on this website for guidance on rips, currant and wave action.
There is an element
of risk associated with SWFF but if approached in the right way it is no more
dangerous than any other pursuit or interest which involves water. Be prepared,
let someone know where you're going, have a mobile phone on you, have the number
of the local coastguard, wear a PFD ( Personal Flotation Device ) see the Tackle
Enjoy the beach and the surf, and learn about