Author Archives: zeno hromin

Striperthon wrap up and winner of a Guided trip with Bill Wetzel

I would like to thank again all the sponsors and participants of the SJ Spring Striperthon 2015. We are glad you all had fun and won some awesome prizes from our sponsons,

Our sincerest thanks goes to the sponsors for making this possible, PENN Fishing,Lou Caruso, StormR, Guppy Lures, Super Strike lures and Spiderwire. We are really lucky to have such great sponsors and readers who share out belief that in the days when there is a drastic reduction in numbers of striped bass, we should be supporting and promoting catch and release.

Again, congratulations to all winners.

The winning fish came from New Jersey where Ryan Sherwood feed a Super Strike Darter to this 47.5 lb cow.

Let’s do it again in the fall !

The winner of a full day, 6 hours guided trip with NY Surf Fishing Gide extraordinary Bill Wetzel is Dan Radman…

trip is for one or two casters for a full 6 hour trip. Giveaway excludes trophy trips. Trip must be booked on or before 5/15/16. Winner should contact Bill Wetzel at 631-987-6919 and mention SJ giveaway.

I hope you guys are catching fish, I hope the have stripes, God knows this is the worst spring I have ever fished through in my life. But if you live and fish the Canal or RI you are probably having a decent spring. If you fishing NJ, you had a really, really good run in April/May. If you fish LI and you had an awesome spring with bass, my hat is off to you. Since I decided to kind of pull the throttle back a little to give myself more time for family and to fish, I fished and fished and fished. In fact, I might have fished more in last month and a half than in last two years combined. You have to understand that between writting the blog, contests,, giveaway, FB and twitter page, advertising sales, billing, video and God know what else, it does not leave a lot of time to do what i like most…fish. And I am glad Dave Anderson is stepping to the plate with his weekly contribution

bad elbow gave me the excuse not to fish last two years but now i am thankfully feeling better and fishing like I used to….however I am not catching like i used to !


but tomorrow is another tide…and I am psyched ..because just a thought of casting a plug in those legendary waters gives me the chills.

But more about that next time

Have fun, catch them up and have a great spring




All winners,  please email us your shipping address to



Ryan Sherwood 48 inches

Jerry Audet 45 inch

Brett Rainer 41 inhes

Steven Seeberger 40 inches

Chris Neves 39 inches

Dominic Rosello 39 inches

Michael Carr 39 inches

Frank Murphy 38 inches

now that is one impressive fish !!!




You MUST have this tag in the picture along with fish and measurement. Of course, the fish must be released unharmed as this is a catch and Release contest. Please read the whole rules before entering fish.



Good luck to all of you and please, if you are not familiar with rules click on 2015 STRIPERTHON brought to you by PENN button above for all the rules

give us nice CLEAR picture with measuring tape on the SIDE of the fish, not over or on it

Good luck to allfjyth



June 5-7, 2015

The STRIPERTHON 2015 is open to all Surfcaster’s Journal subscribers with active subscriptions. There is no entry fee, as a subscriber you are automatically entered. (Subscribe today to become eligible).

Only saltwater striped bass may be entered into the tournament.

All fish entered into the STRIPERTHON 2015 must be caught in a surfcasting situation. A surfcasting situation constitutes contacting the ground, rocks, beach or a dock with ones feet. Any means may be used to reach these destinations, such as boat, ferry, swimming or kayaking but the fish must be hooked and landed while the angler’s feet are in contact with the Earth or something permanently affixed to the Earth.

All fish entered must be caught using a rod and reel and a legal live (or dead) bait or lure.

The CONTEST TAG will be posted on the blog at 5 pm on Friday June 5th. The TAG must be included in the photo for each fish entered into the tournament. You may also download it onto your cell phone and show the TAG on your phone screen in the photo as well

All measurements will be ROUNDED UP to the nearest whole inch.

All qualifying fish have to be photographed with the CONTEST TAG and next to a measuring tape showing entire length of the fish in inches visible in the photo accompanied by a SECOND photo of the angler holding the fish. This event is intended to be a CATCH AND RELEASE competition, remember all fish must be photographed alive. Minimum size 32 inches

The largest fish by length will win first prize, second largest second prize and so on. In case of a tie, the first entry submitted will be placed ahead of a second entry of the identical size.

You must send us your entry pictures by 5PM on Sunday June 7th. Email pictures to with email heading “SPRING STRIPERTHON 2015″.  Include your name and phone contact.

Anyone caught cheating in any way will be disqualified, ejected and publicly shamed.  This means any photo editing, unannounced substitutions, entering fish caught by non-members etc, will result in disqualification. We reserve the right to disqualify any entries in which the measurements are not clearly visible without enlargement. The SJ tournament committee will have final say in all disputes concerning the legitimacy of photos, size of the fish and quality of the photo submitted. Photos entered without a CONTEST TAG shown will not be counted, no exceptions.

Your CONTEST TAG must be printed at a size of 6 inches by 6 inches or larger.

You are urged to take whatever means necessary to protect the TAG. Designating a page in your leader wallet is a great way to protect the tag. It is also wise to print several extras because, water and paper don’t mesh well.

All anglers fishing in any STRIPERTHON 2015 tournament agree to do so at their own risk. Surfcaster’s Journal, it’s owner, partners, sponsors or employees are in no way liable for any injuries or accidents that may occur during the act of fishing or traveling, walking, boating or kayaking to or from a fishing location. By printing the CONTEST TAG you agree to indemnify and defend Surfcaster’s Journal, it’s owner and/or employees against all claims, causes of action, damages, judgments, costs or expenses, including attorney fees and other litigation costs which may, in any way, arise from your  participation in the STRIPERTHON 2015.


  • First Place PENN Torque Spinning Reel + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid
  • Second Place StormR Surf Top and Gloves + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid
  • Third Place PENN 706Z reel + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid
  • Fourth Place Sabre 11′ one piece rod by Lou Caruso + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid
  • Fifth Place PENN Spinfisher reel + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid
  • Sixth Place Set of Lures from Super Strike + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid
  • Seventh Place Set of Lures from Guppy Lures + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid
  • Eight Place SJ Gear package (SJ hoodie, shirt and hat)+ 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid



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.SJ Tournament_2015

STRIPERTHON 2015 this weekend !

Ok, we are two days away from SJ STRIPERTHON 2015 sponsored by PENN, STORMR, Guppy Lures,Super Strike Lures, Spiderwire and SJ. Our sincerest thanks to all STRIPERTHON 2015 sponsors

The tag will be posted here Friday at 5 PM. Print it, have fun and be careful. Remember that we are ultimate judges when it comes to quality of your picture and being able to correctly measure it

No kinked measuring tapes and yes, we are aware that measuring fish on the rock is almost impossible in a  wetsuit. But we rather you just release the fish in good condition instead hurting it by taking too long trying to take the picture

Click on STRIPERTHON blog button for all the rules please…and mist importantly have fun

Here is list of prizes SPRING 2015 STRIPERTHON

First Place PENN Torque Spinning Reel + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid

Second Place StormR Surf Top and Gloves + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid

Third Place PENN 706Z reel + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid

Fourth Place Sabre 11′ one piece rod by Lou Caruso + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid

Fifth Place PENN Spinfisher reel + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid

Sixth Place Set of Lures from Super Strike + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid

Seventh Place Set of Lures from Guppy Lures + 300 yard of Spiderwire Braid

Eight Place SJ Gear package (SJ hoodie, shirt and hat)+ 300 yard of Spiderwire BraidStormr-Mens-Surf-Top-Front-6371.jpgAAADSC_4385W

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SJ Tournament_2015

L51806 9500

Win a guided trip with NY Surf Fishing Guide Bill Wetzel

Today we have a special giveaway for you but first lets pick a winner of the last week GRS Big Water Pike giveaway. The winner is Karl

Congrats you have 5 days to email us your shipping address at


Today giveaway is very special and something that we do once a year

A full day, 6 hours guided trip with NY Surf Fishing Gide extraordinary Bill Wetzel.
The trip is for one or two casters for a full 6 hour trip. Giveaway excludes trophy trips. Trip must be booked on or before 5/15/16. Winner should contact Bill Wetzel at 631-987-6919

Bill runs an awesome site and forum at and in our opinion is one of the best fishing websites on the internet. You get forum with some great advice and conversation but you also get something that you will not find anywhere on the internet.
Every time Bill goes out fishing which is just about every day he posts a log for his subscriber detailing the trip, conditions and catches. Its like fishing next to him every day.

Bill also runs of the largest surf fishing month long tournament on the east cost which is absolutely free to all subscribers to the

Just look at this list of prizes and if that is not enough, this is followed up with a awards shindig at
1st Place-SRB TROPHY, Van Staal BX250, FSC Marauder 1329 11′ heavy.
2nd Place- Pelican 64 quart cooler
3rd Place- Stormr- Surf Top

srb 31

then you got all these donations to be raffled off at shindig after the tournrey in July and raise money for to help kids life threatening illness

Contact Bill today to subscribe at


1. Chunks Custom Rods Nick Meola- Rod to be announced
2. Pelican- – Micro cases,Reel cases, IPhone cases,Heads up lamps – Head lamp, Water proof flash lights,Cooler- 65qt
3.Campsite Sport Shop- -products TBA
4. Steve Knapik- – 2 Ultimate Surf Belts and 5 Cree flashlights.
5.Vito Orlando- $50 gift certificate to Johnny’s B&T and plugs.
6.Annonymous Donation… $500!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
7.Keep Em Bent custom Rods– Rod to be announced.
8. Charles Deverna- $50 donation
9. Matt Ianotti- Super Strike Plugs
10. Fish Till Death- 100$ Gift Certificate toward a Fishing related TATTOO done at Davinci Tattoo in Wantagh
11. VAN STAAL- VS250BX!!!
12.LIFISHVT- Custom plugs
13.DT Lures- – plug
14. Flatlander Surfcasters–…19461?ref=br_tf – To be announced
15.Bill Wetzel- Six Hour Guided trip for two
16. Guppy Lure company: – Fine custom plugs
17 Big Water Lures aka GRS– – Fine custom plugs
18. FSC Rods– Marauder 1329 11′ heavy.
19. Surf Casters Lures: – fine wood plugs.
20. : Rod to be announced from the man who builds all my rods Lou Caruso.
21. Jeff the Chef- Our officail cook that brings most of the food! Thank ya!
22. Super Strike- – Plugs
23. Guys American Kitchen- – The famous ribs from Rich P. YUM!!
24. Mike Handlesman- Beach Permits T- shirts, and Plugs
25. Snow Flake Ice Cream. – One again providing us with the best homemade ice cream on the planet!
26. Charlie Graves tins by Ralph Votta-
27. The Fisherman magazine- Prints and Subscriptions-
28. SS Bucktails – – well… bucktails.
29. Aquaskinz- to be announced

30 Cow Harbor B&T-

31. Causeway B&T- – $50 Gift certificate

32. Stormr- – Surf Top!!

33. Ru Ru Lures by Billy Wriker-

34. Northbar Tackle–

35. Smith PointB&T-…116604591732887 – Plugs

36. Johnnys B&T – Montauk NY- To be announce

37. J&H B&T- – To Be announced

38. Tom P. aka Lordhelment– Plugs and teasers.

39- Twisted Plugs by Scotty Lehman– YUM!

40. Beinlich Custom Lures – By Jim Beinlich

41- Century Rods-

42. Rock Sand Reds- 2 5ft all aluminum sand spikes made by myself, 1.5″x1.5″x3/16″ 6061 aluminum

43. LI Surfcaster aka Nick B. – Custom Darters. The kid can build!

43. DeanoNYC-hats, hoodies, and guides secret lures

44. Montauk Surfcasters Assoc. – Hoodie and two hats.

John Papciak- The Midnight Rambler-Islamorada

The Midnight Rambler

John Papciak


Instant Islamorada

These days, it seems, everyone has his “bucket list.”

I never liked to think about fishing that way. What is the point of that dream trip if you might never return?

Give me realistic goals …places you can re-visit…assuming the place lives up to the billing.

Sure …there’s giant sea run Brown Trout in Tierra Del Fuego, Giant Trevally in Christmas Island, or maybe Salmon fishing in Russia. Then there’s the Keys.

It’s kind of embarrassing, actually. I think of myself as a salt water fly fishing aficionado. I’ve been to a few exotic places, but for some strange reason, I never made it down to the Keys. With a young family it’s easy to sneak in a long weekend in Montauk…But airfare and a week down to the Keys?

And so the years went by

But then as 2013 came to a close, I was hit with that corporate policy regarding vacation days – use em or lose em! And for the first time in nearly two decades, I got the green light from my wife to pick a vacation get-away that fishing featured prominently on the menu.

The catch? It had to be a warm place, and since we only had 4 days, it had to be reasonably close…, not to be consumed with time in the air, or at some airport.

In the end, we agreed on the Keys, Islamorada to be exact.

And since this was (a) near our 20th year anniversary, (b) I wasn’t sure when I was going to get more time off, while (c) there was an excellent chance I would be leaving her for a day of fishing, I had to at least make sure the digs were quite nice.

We confirmed local coverage for our teen-aged kids that we would be leaving behind.  And at the very last possible minute, we found a reasonable flight, and booked the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada.

The truth was, I had no clue where to go…Cheeca was the only place I knew of, and the only “fishing lodge” I was 100% sure would be female friendly.

No sooner had I keyed in my credit card, and hit submit when I got that sinking feeling weather would be a major factor, both in NY and FL.

We arrived at JFK at  6am on Jan 2nd with snow swirling, and newscasters on various television monitors hyping the cancelled flights from the Midwest. A major winter storm was now bearing down on New York.

Weather in The Keys would be iffy as well, at least according to various sources. Clouds and a good chance of precipitation were expected every day. And if that wasn’t enough, each day included small craft advisories. As much as it hurt, I didn’t even bother trying to book a charter or a guide.

We did take off from JFK on schedule, and after a good nap, I woke to hear the captain announce we were getting ready to touch down in Miami…with partly cloudy skies, and temps now in the mid 70s.

“Any good weather is a bonus,” I said to my wife.  She agreed, this was the best way to approach the weekend.



In less than two hours we were at a road-side restaurant in Key Largo (Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen), in shorts and T shirts, enjoying local beer and conch fitters… the winter storm in the NE was the big news on TV screens, but NY felt 1000 miles away – and I guess technically speaking it was.

Temps were now almost 80…the sun was out…so why did it take so long for me to finally get down here?

The Cheeca Lodge lived up to the billing as well. Rooms looked more like suites. There was a long pier with kids fishing alongside a line-up… of pelicans… parents close by at a strategically located Tiki Bar.

We grabbed a couple of chairs under a palmetto tree. Fishing would have to wait.

I did want to make the most of the nice weather with my wife… while it lasted.



But in Islamorada it is virtually impossible to go more than 1/10th of a mile in any direction without being reminded that it’s all about fishing. 1/4th of a mile south of Cheeca we found Worldwide Sportsman, a place I’ve done plenty of business with by mail over the years. This is a tackle shop that feels more like the fishing shows I go to each winter, complete with a large wooden yacht right smack in the middle, and a fish tank holding live tarpon, snook, redfish and jacks.

By the end of day 2, thick clouds were moving in, along with the wind. I realized that coming home without at least TRYING to do some real fishing in Islamorada was totally unacceptable.

With drink in hand, I sat down at the Cheeca concierge desk and pleaded my case. This was a full-service resort, I reasoned, and if anyone could pull off a fishing trip on zero notice, they could.

“You are actually in luck,” she said. “We have customers from various places in the Midwest and Northeast, but with that crazy storm, now they can’t get down here. I just got off the phone cancelling some charters…Sailfishing has been pretty good, or you can try something in the back country.”

“I really prefer fly fishing,” I said. “I know the weather is getting bad, but do you think you have anyone who would still want to give fly fishing a go?” I asked.

And within 5 minutes I was booked with Drew Moret, who agreed to meet me at the Lor E Lei marina across the highway at 7:30 the following morning.



But when I met up with Drew the following morning, he was not looking like the pumped up optimistic Keys guide I was hoping for.

“John, before we begin, let me just ask…are you here for a few more days?”

He showed me his cell phone, the screen displaying a radar imagine depicting large bands of rain moving in from the southwest.

“It’s not looking good at all,” he said. “I don’t want your trip to be a complete washout.

“Well, you are already here…and I am here,” I said.

“I am not here tomorrow, I fly out later tomorrow…I am ok if we call it a boat ride… I would even settle just to get out on the water, and have a look,” I suggested.

He agreed. “Well, this may in fact amount to nothing more than a boat ride.. but hey …the rain is still a bit off, so maybe we can sneak in a few casts.”

And so we were off

And as we moved into the open bay, I could see his mood change as he refreshed the radar images on his phone.

“The water has really cooled down,” he continued. “Two days ago we had good shots at some resident tarpon, but at 68 degrees… it will be real tough to get them to bite.”


“68 degrees?” I laughed. “We just wrapped up the fall striper fishing in New York. This is wonderful weather, even with a little rain…We were striper fishing some November mornings with air in the 30s, and water in the low 50s…even a few days with some snow.”

I then asked about the Moret connection. I noted his last name on the reservation slip provided at the Cheeca concierge desk.

Drew confirmed his dad was in fact Sandy Moret… I remembered Flip Pallot sometimes fishing with a Sandy Moret on some of those memorable episodes of Walkers Cay Chronicles.

“Yep, dad still fishes a ton,” Drew proudly reported. “And he still runs the fly shop over by the Green Turtle.”


We talked about some of the personalities on Walkers Cay, all of whom Drew knew, and the impact that this show had on a generation of budding salt water fly fishermen like myself

And as we moved further out into the bay, with each refresh of Drew’s phone, the mood grew more and more optimistic.

“I think we can get in a few casts” …

“I’ll definitely be able to get you to some spots for at least a shot at some fish”

“I think we’ll get you some shots at fish on the fly rod, for sure.”…

As the drizzle ended, I unzipped my raincoat.

We would fish!

Drew handed me a spinning rod with a jig head, sweetened with a piece of fresh dead shrimp. The hit came so fast I was stripped of bait before I had a chance to set the hook. After a few jacks on each successive cast, Drew suggested I switch to Gulp. The bite cooled, but not by much. It wasn’t until a school of dolphins came through the channel a while later that things really slowed down




We then moved about 3 miles to another channel, just as the mist turned back to a steady rain.


I zipped up my rain jacket. It became clear to me that things might start to deteriorate rather quickly from this point, and I think Drew had come to the same conclusion.

After a succession of jacks and small groupers on the shrimp “jig thing,” he began chumming with bits of shrimp. He handed me a 9-weight fly rod with a shrimp pattern. I was told to cast out and let the fly sink a little. But a jack picked up the fly before it sank. After a swing and a miss, I was solid to a jack on the second cast.

Then another. Then another. Yes, I know what you might be thinking…Jacks? I did not see my backing, but they pulled and gave a great account of themselves…the fight was as strong as the 12 pound bass that made up the majority of my late fall fly fishing.

The trip could now officially be called a success, but Drew was not done. He offered to inspect the fly. When I lowered it toward him, he tied on a popper just as the rain and wind continued to build.



“Lot more fun to get them on the top, as long as we can keep ‘em here,” he said.

I was solid to a jack on cast #2 or #3, depending if you counted the botched back cast into the building winds. I did catch a few more on top, but then had a hard time hooking up for the next 15-20 minutes, despite plenty of vicious strikes. Drew offered to take a look at the fly.

He let out a hearty chuckle.

“John, you know it helps when the point of the hook is not broken off.”

Next he offered to tie on something entirely new, a larger streamer… but by now the wind driven tide was rushing under the boat … and it was now much harder to get a pattern down into the water column.

In between casts, and gusts of wind, we talked about the state of salt water fly fishing industry…what it was like be a real full-time guide (doing over 220 trips a year)…the status of the declining bonefish fishery – all that ‘pick yer brain’ the stuff that makes a guided fly fishing trip so valuable and so much more fun in the first place.

But as the wind and rain increased still more (almost now officially a downpour), we agreed to call it a day.

I pulled the hood over my head and Drew kicked the flats skiff into gear.

We were back at the dock by noon – not too bad for a half day, especially when most of the other guides had come back a long time ago – others never evedn bothered to head out.

As I bid Drew a hearty farewell, I got a text from my wife. She had taken our rental car down to Marathon.  It would be quite a while before she would be back up to get me.

Someone would have to twist my arm I’d have kill some time at the marina bar over a few drafts…maybe some shrimp wrapped in bacon… shooting the bull with all the other fishermen and guides.

I texted my wife back and told her to take her sweet time as I imagined what Islamorada fly fishing would be like on a “good” day.



Capt Drew Moret can be reached at


Win a Lamiglas Infinity INF 11 MHS11 , 11 foot rod

I been meaning to do something special for our subscribers but as you know we have had some slight hiccups in the last weeks and I had more colds in the last month than I can ever remember. Fortunately the subscription software seems to be working fine and those of your whose cards are expired for whatever reason probably got notices to update your cards to renew your subscription. Fortunately, you are getting a single email unlike a little snafu we had on Monday. All a learning experience I guess. Glad that is fixed , now I just need to find someone to slice my elbow up and get rid of this tendonitis. I got to tell you, you don’t know what discomfort is until you physically cant open a bottle of soda for now almost two years. The fishing seems like such a stretch now but I am learning to live with it.

I have a Lamiglas Infinity INF 11 MHS11 foot rod, rated 2 to 6 ounces . It was given to me by Lamiglas to test two falls ago. It was the rod that was supposed to go to retailers before they decided to straighten the top portion of the rod before sending it into stores. I tested this rod on the hardest day of northwest wind I ever experienced in my life at Shagwong Point, NY. I still  have a sandblast damage to my car to prove it. Bunch of us were lined up at the tip casting pencil poppers into the wind. Wouldn’t you know it, that for a rod that had a “weak” tip and a guy who sucks at casting and has tendonitis, I was the only one who took two fish that evening as I was able to drive Surface Cruiser far enough into that wind. Go figure. In my opinion, the rod was just fine the way it was originally designed.


So today, I will give one of you a chance to win this Lamiglas rod valued close to five hundred bucks I guess ? Three rules, you must pick the rod up (a) either in person in Nassau County, or at the fishing show in  NY,NJ or RI. Rule number two, you must be a Surfcaster’s Journal subscriber to enter this giveaway.


And you can only enter this giveaway by telling us in your post what is your favorite column, story or video in the current issues of the Surfcaster’s Journal Magazine at

If you say “I am in”, I will delete your entry. If you are not subscriber, you are not eligible either. Its a little thanks to all of you from all of us at the Surfcaster’s Journal.

And while we are talking giveaways, the winner of Pelican Nemo flashlight is terry61


You have 5 days to contact me at with your shipping address.

Thanks to folks at Pelican products. You can purchase Pelican flashlights right on their website at


picture copyright of  Nicola ZIngarelli

Big stripers videos and GT too

Hmm, lets see , what is one thing that would make you warm and fuzzy on this brutally cold day? I don’t drink so I cant offer you any of that and both Kate Upton and Amanda Drury have restraining  orders on me

Fresh video about catching a big striper?


Here is Surfcaster’s Journal columnist John Skinner video landing a 33 pound striper on a pencil popper that he just uploaded to YouTube.


Need something more “artistic”?


How about this new video from Larry Wentworth from Big Fish Bait Co he just uploaded top YouTube? I got to tell you, Larry much better half (trust me, I’ve met Angie. She is a doll and a hell of an angler in her own right ) has some very, very good editing skills.


Not only that, but he makes some mean wood plugs and I got a box from him this week which I will share with you guys in the days to come. Yes, your membership to SJ has its rewards beyond the publication itself.


After shutting down our automatic email notification service for those whose cards are declined or expired on Monday and after our web genius updated software, he activated it today. We wont know the results until after midnight but if ANY of you get multiple emails from the magazine after midnight that are identical please contact me at He is pretty confident that all is well but to be honest with you, I have not slept well in days and I wont until I know this issue is resolved to my satisfaction.


And last…I don’t know why,  but these GT’s are spinning in my head last few days. My buddy Ray keeps telling me they are on his bucket list and I am starting to see why. The power of these fish is incredible. I need to go get a rag to wipe the drool off my face



Boat but what power !


And why don’t we toss in the best short surfcasting movie ever made?



Making Room By Dave Anderson

Making Room
By Dave Anderson

In our sport you meet a lot of characters. I have so many stories from my years fishing the surf I could fill a book, some are scary, some are just plain awesome and some downright hilarious. My friend Don is the source of many of my most hilarious stories. I met him back in 2002 and despite being more than 30 years my senior, we struck an immediate friendship that lasts to this day. I have learned a lot about fishing from Don but what I’ve really learned from Don is that people will believe anything if you can sell it with a straight face.
One day while fishing the Canal, this was before the great invasion of experts, probably around 2005. Don and I were fishing in the vicinity of the Herring Run and it was already late in the tide with a high, hot sun. We were among the only people left casting, there were a few fish still trickling through, but the bite was mostly dead. And then I heard some commotion on the service road behind me. Three people with fishing rods, a rolling cooler, two brand new 5-gallon pails, coffee, doughnuts, suntan lotion, you get the idea, were making a beeline for the mouth of the Run. Don was stationed about 50 feet to the left of the outflow and this “ménage a trois” was hell-bent on staking a claim on that last 50 feet!
What I haven’t told you is that Don is THE master at messing with people. He takes on many guises to do so, from pretending he’s blind, or acting like a manchild or that he’s a halfwit, he’s a pro and he can keep a straight face through ANYTHING.

As the three stumbled down the embankment and set up camp in Don’s pocket I recognized a change in Don’s posture, his body went stiff, his head listing uneasily to one side, a look of pure vacancy washed over his sun-punished face and wide eyes. He started off by fishing with his Van Staal reel facing upward—reeling backward—and yelling out incoherent gibberish, casting his lure practically straight up and working it like he was trying to dislodge a rogue lobster pot. His neighbors looked over in puzzlement while I tried to keep a steady jaw. But they didn’t budge.
Don then brought his rod back to cast again releasing the line at the apex of his backcast, launching the lure backwards into a low tree. He then pitched his $1000 rig into the grass, lurched forward and half fell into the rocks. He began picking up garbage left behind by ignorant anglers, studying it closely (like 1-inch from his face) and then haphazardly tossing it around all the while squawking more of his odd ramblings. Our three friends started to look and sound a little nervous, but they again elected to stay.
At this point, Don was in it to win it and was not about to break character. On his hands and knees now and getting louder by the second, he crawled along the rocks staggering in a way that only Don can; and then, like a gift from the heavens, he found the prop that he was looking for. Don came up with a discarded beer bottle clenched in his fist, made a loud sound that I could only compare to drunken version of ‘eureka!’ and tipped the bottle back as if to feign a heavy swig.
What he did not plan for was the payload of brown, stagnant water and other gulge that had been swilling in that bottle for an untold number of days, weeks or months. A cascade of ick leached out of the bottle, onto his face, all over his neck and down the front of his shirt. Fazed only for a millisecond, Don spat several times, let out another squatchy yowl and C-R-A-W-L-E-D down the rocks to the water’s edge where he washed his face like a well-fed otter. At this point, I was in absolute hysterics—Don flashed me a satisfied smirk and crawled all the way back up the rocks to prepare to make some kind of insane attempt to retrieve his plug from the bushes. But there was no need as Don’s neighbors packed up their shantytown and hurriedly headed west.
Of course, they moved about 300 feet away and Don went right back to fishing like a normal person. As the bite had already fallen off to almost nothing, we made about six or seven more casts before heading to the Crow’s Nest for some breakfast. That’s just one of the many stories in the saga of Don, perhaps I’ll share more here at a later date. So if you ever find yourself taking surf fishing too seriously, channel your inner Don and remember it’s supposed to fun and it’s REALLY fun when it’s hilarious!


Editors note

 We had a major headache over the weekend when some of our subscribers whose credit cards were expired or they changed them from the time they subscribed last year received unnecessary emails from the magazine. The software went a bit crazy in spitting out emails one after another Monday morning. Although Tom and I already apologized to you privately I want to take this opportunity to do it again. We believe we isolated the issue and have our web guru working on fixing it. There is no way in the world we would ever configure this renewal system where you would get more that one email per day. That was a little disturbing and even more disturbing was that I did not know about it until an irritated subscriber contacted me at which point I immediately shut the system down and contacted our web guy. Guys, we know we are going to have some growing pains but please in the future, if you are receiving unnecessary notices from SJ of any kind, particularly same email over and over contact me ASAP. After all, I had no idea until I was told by our reader. Another egg on the face..but I guess we all have to take our lumps and learn from it.



Win a Pelican Nemo StealthLite 2410 LED Flashlight

Its not often that after we write a review, we have the actual item to offer to our readers as a giveaway but in this case we have a little treat for you guys.


But first the winner of the Super Strike  Bunk O’Lantern Darter giveaway, provided graciously by a reader who prefers to stay anonymous. The winner is nightfighter/

You have 5 days to contact us at with your shipping address. Congrats

Back to folks at Pelican Products…I used to be a big fan of Princeton Rage lights but I got tired of going though them faster than Kate Upton goes trough swimsuits. One day I stopped by Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh, NY and out of desperation bought the only light they had on a wall, little Pelican Tracker. It wasn’t as cheap as Princeton but I was in the rush to head to the beach and I grabbed it.

This was more than four years ago and don’t you know that I never, ever went fishing at night without that little light and its still around my neck to this day. That light paid for itself over and over and in fact, I have not bought another light since. Which is crazy considering I am used to going trough bunch every year. Its a testament to quality of Pelican Products.

But if anything is driving me up the wall, its the constant insertion of the light into my mouth full of fake (and very expensive) teeth  which  Tommy calls  my “Game Show host” teeth

The light we are giving away today is much larger and sturdier then my little Tracker and it has a thumb switch which you can easily operate even with Storm gloves when it gets cold. No more flashlight in the mouth!

Pelican Nemo 2410 LED light. Retail price north of $50

The StealthLite 2410 has Pelican’s new LED technology – now with 126 lumens and 7.5 hour runtime.

What you get: Pelican Stealthlite 2410 LED flashlight, wrist lanyard and batteries

Features of Pelican StealthLite 2410 LED Flashlight:
The Pelican Nemo StealthLite 2410 LED Flashlight (Blue) features a slide thumb switch that is easy to operate, even with gloves. This Pelican flashlight makes use of the new Deep Mount LED system, which uses an upgraded deep dish reflector and a state of the art opti-mechanical system to boost the power output of the Pelican 2410 StealthLite Flash Light. The StealthLite 2410 is corrosion proof, resistant to extreme temperatures and submersible. In addition, this flashlight comes complete with 4 AA alkaline batteries.
• suitable for Scuba Diving applications, batteries and wrist lanyard,  assembled in the USA

• lifetime guarantee through Pelican