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The magic of video

This first paragraph is for all of you who are asking where is the new subscription page. It will debut the same day as the new issue. Some people have suggested that we put a subscription page up for holidays. They said that people would love to give and recive a SJ subscription as a gift. Although I won’t argue with that you also know me by now. I start to twitch if there is a bill on my desk unpaid for more than a day. And to me, to have a subscription option out there when there is no product yet available would just be wrong in my eyes. Just like some advertisers offered us money before the publication is published. I can’t take it. How can I take someone money for a product I have not delivered? What if it’s the end of the world tomorrow? Do I go to hell then?  Haha…just busting, but yes, the subscription page and new issue and new blog, and new instagram, and new twitter ,and new videos and new articles, and new flip viewer and new layout……all coming on a same day. Kids, this is how you write a run-on sentence in Cringlish. 🙂

I know I am a bit weird. I won’t deny that I stare at the ceiling at night thinking if I do enough. For our readers, for our sponsors. I always think we should do more, more. Some have said, hey dude, why are you killing yourself, just repackage the same thing, slap a password protected site and  people will love it. Yes, I am a surfcaster and I understand what they are saying. If I was the one on the other side of this PC, the one reading this blog, I would love anything and everything associated with the sport I love. Let’s be honest. I don’t care what publication you read or subscribe to, free or paid, weekly or monthly. If you get a dozen surf fishing features a year, you are a happy camper. SJ gives you that each issue, never mind the blog. But part of me always sees things that we could be doing. How we could be broadening your horizons by bringing far always places closer to you. By giving you strategies or techniques you did not explore yet. By giving you are in-depth interviews with people you might never met but you have always admired. By showing you how to do things like we are standing in your living room, right there next to you.

And that is where the magic of film or video really shines. To be able to read a story like you will read in this issue of SJ. A story from John Skinner fishing the Keys for the first time and then, just about when you think you “got it” ,when you feel you standing right next to him tossing to barracudas a video pops up embedded in the story to put you right there in person! To actually SEE John land this fish he is writing about. I think this is way too cool . And I am trilled we are able to bring you this.

When you’ve seen an ad for StormR jacket in other publications, it probably made you curios. But you wanted to learn more about the features of the jacket. What is it made from, how does it fit? What does it look like on a real person. Well now when you look at StormR ad in SJ you will see the video within the ad that will show you all the features the jacket has.

How about plugs? We all love plugs. In fact, most of us have enough wood in the basement to burn in fireplace for a week in case the world really comes to an end! (Why would you otherwise burn your plugs, you knucklehead). So you see a guy that makes a nice plug but you never seen his plugs in any shops. You know how this sport is. NJ guys sell to NJ shops, RI to New England and so on. Very few have managed to get their name out there and become well known like Choopy, RM Smith, Afterhours. There is a guy like Big Rock who is a regular contributor in the pages of SJ. Dude makes some mean swimmers but unless you live in NJ or attend some NJ shows in winter, you probably won’t find them in your shop. Maybe you wondered how his plugs swim. We’ll now you can see it on the video in his ad.

Maybe you wondered about or buddy Steve Adams aka Pap Bear. He makes these wonderful metal lures under the AOK Tackle brand. He might not be as well known as Hopkins of Charlie Graves tackle but as you will see in his video, his stuff catches a lot of fish, and not only small ones either.

Did you ever had a rod that had a reel seat you wanted replaced? You either got sick of it, maybe it broke. Maybe you bought a St Croix Legend like I did and loved the rod but the positioning of the reel seat was not optimal for your gigantic Frankenstein hands? You wanted it gone, cut, replaced. But most people told you , that you have to place the reel seat before you build a rod. Or they told you this can be done but its really hard. Our Rod Guru Lou Caruso will show you in less than 7 minute how to do this, safely, effectively and easy, depending on how many thumbs you have. 🙂

If you dabble in lure making, one of the most frustrating thing you probably encountered is drilling a trough hole for a metal lip swimmer. You might say what’s the big deal, but it is a big deal. Because the lip slots in many metal lip swimmers is placed right in the middle of the lure. Which means that your trough hole will be positioned somewhere on the bottom of your lure in the front. Yet the same trough wire must (or should) exit in the center, on the back of your lure. Kind a tricky to drill from two sides but different locations and meet in the middle, wouldn’t you say? Lordship Lures Ron DiCostanzo will show you how it’s done and in 5 minutes you will have an “aha” moment. And that is just one of the plug building secrets he will share with you in this series on lure making.

As you see, where others see headaches or are not willing to make an extra step without getting compensated in some way, we continue on. We never think, geez, if we make a rod building video maybe we can call XYZ Rod Building Tackle co and sell them an ad right next to it. We do it because we know you will appreciate it. Not that we wouldnt talk to them if ythey call ..haha

I am not patting myself or SJ team on the back. I am just trying to show you how my brain works when it comes to SJ and our readers. This is a big reason Dave Anderson will be handling writers, it gives me more time to immerse myself in the maddening world of film, bad takes, lousy lighting and awful sounds. Why? Because you don’t care if our videos are not made by Hollywood standards, all you want is a video that is made just for you. And that is what you want in magazine, a one made just for you.And we are here to bring it to you.

So hang with us until we have the new website tested and I hope many of you will support us in this exciting new chapter of Surfcaster’s Journal Magazine. I never been more proud of what our team has accomplished and I have never been more excited about what we can do for our readers in the future. In there ever comes a day when we are only fulfilling your expectations then that will mean that we stopped trying giving you our all. At that time, it might be the right time to move on other things but right now, from where I am looking the future never looked brighter.

And in closing, just a note of thanks to Richard Hedenberg, the owner of CTS Custom rods and USA distributor of CTS rods. Thanks to his generosity, each subscriber to SJ will be eligible to win a CTS rod of his choice, built by Rich. One winner announced in the November issue.


Win a great set of lures from Tactical Anglers

Another “working” weekend for us at SJ. I hope and pray that after all this work last few weeks you like what we did. We should be ready to go with a new issue this upcoming week. Hopefully after the website, blog and new vertical format has been set, all the heavy lifting has been done. We were proof reading the new issue last few days and one thing that jumped at me was that there are 8 videos embedded in this issue. EIGHT! Holy crap. Four are embedded into ads, Montauk Time and Tide preview . Skinner barracuda from the Keys and two original videos, one on lure making and one on rod repair. Me thinks that advertising with embedded video will be a big thing in the future, not talking about SJ but in general.

I wish I had few hours to sit here and write a lengthy post but I been staring at this PC for 5 hours a day after my regular job all week. Looking forward to taking my wife out to dinner and shutting my phone off. I know Tommy, who has been working his ass off to make this happens sure feels the same. For those of you that preordered hoodies from online store, we placed the order yesterday. Expected shipping date is 1/24. Thank you again for all you guys do.

Let’s celebrate this “SJ wrap us weekend” with a giveaway of a large Darter and a large Pencil Poper from our friends at Tactical Anglers

Montauk Surfcasters

Let’s start your morning off on the right foot, by unveiling the first preview of the Montauk Surfcasters series that, God willing, will appear in March in the pages of SJ. I might be bold by then if I keep pulling my hair out working with videos. It’s fun when it works but a bitch when it does not want to play nice



my apologies but I found out late that YouTube disabled this video for mobile device and tablets….they only allow you to see it on desktop
here is a diferent version for you phone freaks. The music is different, the video is the same


Wednsday is the last day to pre-order your sweatshirts

We are taking the order page down on Thursday and ordering the stuff. Thanks to all of you that have put the order in. Expect a shipping on or around the 24th

Moving along

Let me take this opportunity to answer few questions publicly that I got via emails in last few days about the SJ subscription makeover.

As you know, Tommy and I do this in addition to our regular jobs and families. And yes ,I understand that the economic times are hard for many of us. But that is one of the primary reasons why this is happening, don’t forget our advertisers are facing hardships just like many readers.

Someone asked if they can download the SJ to their tablet, pc or whatever and view it offline, the answer is no. We thought about allowing our readers to download pdf but then we did not wanted to wake up one morning to find out the pdf plastered on some fishing site. The whole point of doing all this is to make the magazine unique and beautiful, pdf is great for documents but it would cheapen the look and experience of the publication.

Besides, you can’t show videos in the pdf and videos are something that will be big part of the SJ going forward. We have 5 videos that should appear in this issue. Two are embedded into sponsor pages by our new supporters Tackle Direct and StormR. It’s a unique way for our sponsor to showcase their products.

There is a preview of the Montauk Surfcasters original series which will appear regularly in the pages of SJ starting in March. This original series, developed exclusively for the readers of SJ will look at the history of Montauk surfcasting from WWII to today. It’s based on interview with Fred Schwab, Richie Gerbe, Willy Young, Bill Wetzel, Manny Moreno ,Charlie Ruger, Joe Bragan, Jack Yee and Vito Orlando. Yeah Foul Mouth Bob is in there too 🙂

Another exciting thing is a another original series, the Plug Workshop with Ron DiCostazo of  Lordship Lures (you can contact Ron at ) . The first of his how-to make lures videos will appear in this issue. We did about year’s worth of videos last weekend in his shop in CT and every issue should have one embedded in it. They cover sealing lures, wood selection, offset trough drilling, tail wraps , lip placement and so on. We are very excited and proud to have him.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with our Rod Guru Lou Caruso (you can contact Lou at  ). I have to give props to my son Steven who helped me with cameras while making some more videos for you. Again, we shot another years worth of videos ranging from how to remove and replace reel seat on a rod that is already finished, cork tape and butt caps, tying bucktails, refitting VS reel knob with rubber for a better feel while reeling, eliminating the dreaded VS hourglass line on your spool, replacing a guide on location and so on. Yeah, we work on weekends too to give you what you crave.

We also made some changes to our editorial stuff, Dave Anderson is taking over managing the writers, Roger Martin will give a shot on writing column on his experiences over the decades in the surf, Al Albano has recently been added to out columnists staff and the dude spends a LOT of time on the “hunting” part of fishing. I think you will find his unique perspective refreshing. And last and never the least is the addition of great John Skinner who will have a column starting in March. I sincerely do not believe we could have pulled all this off, spent all the resources on cameras, new writers and new platform, blog, website if we stayed only ad supported. We wanted to create even better experience for our readers and I think you will be pleased with what we have done. And I can tell you this is only the beginning. Tommy is wrapping up the new issue and then we will take some time to test it to make sure all works fine. Then we will unveil it when we are satisfied. Yes, I expect some bumps in the road but I hope that you, our readers, understand that on the end of the day, this is a effort by a artist and a construction worker, not some corporate juggernaut. Sometimes I look back and cant believe what we have done already….ok, I think that all the time 🙂

Although you will not be able to download the publication to your computer, you will be able to log on from anywhere or with any appliance and read it, as long as you have access to the net, wherever you are. The beauty of this platform is not only the  video integration but the ability to automatically convert format to any appliances it detects that you use. So if you read it on the IPAD the software will (should) automatically detect that and convert the SJ for best possible reading layout on the IPAD…and if you switch to PC the layout should be automatically configured for best experience on PC.

That is it for now, I have to take a break from writing and videos to go cooking and then watch a little pigskin with my son. After all, work can be satisfying, especially if you do something that you love but there is nothing like spending time with family especially if you have interests that you share


SJ sweatshirts, Night Crew and Lighthouse

Ok, we do this once a year and as you know, we do it via pre-order only. We are not a retail outfit to hold inventory, we try to concentrate on doing a magazine , blogs and video. But we always get request for hoodies so here they are.

Pre Order only until January 10th. You can order any hoodie in our online store  by 1/10/2013 . We then collect all the orders and have them made. Expected shipping date is January 24th. No pickups, no drop offs, they will be mailed to your house. The price includes Priority Mail shipping with Tracking. You will receive a tracking number via email once the label is made on or around the 24th.


New for this year, zipped Night Crew sweatshirts

Heavyweight Black Zip Up Front and back printing.

12 oz. 70% pre-shrunk cotton/30% polyester.

One-ply hood with double-needle hem and matching tipped draw cord. Double-needle
cover stitching on neck, armholes and band bottom. 1×1 rib cuffs and band bottom with spandex. Cuffs with concealed seam. Full-zip front with pouch pocket $55 including shipping. Available size S trough 3XL


and also available SJ Lighthouse pullover sweatshirt

Heavyweight Gray sweatshirt Front and back printing ,with pouch pockets

100% Super Heavyweight 12oz Cotton

Available size S trough 3XL

$50 including shipping.










This is limited time offer. Once January 10th hits we will take an order page down and there will be no more ordering until next year. Available size S trough 3XL. If someone needs larger or smaller than those sizes, drop us a line. To order go to our online store at or just click on any sweatshirt picture.

one note. something that drives me nuts. You DONT need to have a paypal account to use online store. Paypal just procceses credit card transactions if you wish to use one. Keep going trough the checkout until you get to this screen.

Happy New Year…and more news

I want to wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Fishy 2013.

I am very excited about what this year will bring and if my elbow stops hurting at some point, I might even get a little more excited. Hopefully this therapy will do and if it does not, the cortisone will have to do next month.

I hope all of you got all the gifts you wanted, I hope you enjoyed the holidays with your families and I know that many of you can’t wait for another season to get going. I hope we see many of you at the shows this winter. We will be at RISAA in Providence this year, I am honored that they asked me to speak and I am looking forward to return trip after few years of absence.

Let’s take a quick peak of what we at the Surfcaster’s Journal have in store for you. Tommy is working on our first issue in the new vertical format. All I heard from him was that “it looks sick”. I think he is reenergized to do something different. I am happy that for the first time we will have a true flip viewer for the tablets. We are also redesigning the whole website which should debut with a new issue. As we told you before, the SJ in 2013 will be a subscription magazine while the blog will stay where it is. We have some ideas for blog too but right now we are trying to get the magazine and new website and layout complete before we moved on to other things. Our new managing editor Dave Anderson has a lot of ideas that he wants to implement but like I said, they too will have to wait until we launch our first issue in a week or so.

I wrote yesterday that John Skinner will become a columnist starting with March issue, something that we are excited and honored to bring to you. In addition, I will be working this winter on creating episodes of the Montauk Surfcasters Time and Tide original series, which will encompass surf fishing in Montauk from WWII to today. Each issues starting in March will feature one original episode that will be made exclusively for the subscribers of SJ.

In addition to this original series, there will be more original videos embedded into the SJ just for readers. I spent this past weekend in Connecticut with Ron DiCostanzo, maker of Lordship Lures and also of the ZeeBaaS fame. We shot few videos on making wooden lures , from offset drilling to sealing lures, making tail twists and other stuff. These videos will also appear in the each issue of SJ in 2013. But that is not all (now I am starting to sound like an infomercial :-)). I will also be making some more original content for SJ with our Rod Guru Lou Caruso in few days. What I envision SJ to be is a very media rich publication, with original programming that you won’t find anywhere else. I hope that we can deliver the content you guys crave and fulfill not only ours but your expectations too. I hope that you support us as we embark on the new chapter for Surfcaster’s Journal. In this issue we have as a centerpiece a long and very detailed interview with Don Musso from Super Strike Lures. From his days of woodcarving little swimmers in 1961 to his break up with Dan Pichney and reason behind it all the way through today, a reflection on his glorious career as lure builder and his contribution to the sport of surf casting.

Here is a little video on what is coming up in the next issue


More news…

You know what a man-crush is? Sure you do, you just pretend you have no clue. Man crush is that thing that you do when you go to Crazy Alberto’s seminar and you get all puppy eyed when Al shakes your hand and pats you on a head…lol…nothing to be embarrassed, we’ve all been there. It’s nothing more that saying “I got a lot of respect for that dude”. I felt like that about late Al Bentsen. Never quite got comfortable fishing next to him. Yeah, we stood a rod length apart and chatted a little bit but I always felt intimidated so I kept my mouth shut most of the time. There were others over the years, Fred Schwab is the one that comes to mind. Manny Moreno is another, Joe Bragan, Pat Abate and there are many others. All guys I am honored to know and call friends.

But of all current surfcasters, many of whom  posses sick surfcasting skills, there is one who, to me always stood head and shoulder above the rest. Not because he catches a fifty on every cast, not because he writes like a mad scientist, not because he is one of the most respected surfcasters of this generation. Actually, that is it. Respect. I’ve met self promoters, I’ve meet some plain mean guys who hate themselves by noon and the rest of the world in the afternoon. I’ve met some wannabe’s, have-been’s and couldhavebeen’s but not one of the current generation is as universally liked and respected as John Skinner.

You can go to Jersey or Connecticut, Massachusetts or New York and you will find out that the respect for the man is universally shared. He not only does he have a brilliant analytical mind but he has the fishing skills to go with it. His YouTube videos get more hits than anyone’s else. His seminars are packed and his advice is in high demand. Yet he fishes alone just about all the time. He never struck me as one that cared if anyone saw the fish he caught. He fishes for himself , for his own pleasure and for his own sanity.

And it is my pleasure and honor to introduce Mr. John Skinner as one more voice that will be joining Surfcaster’s Journal family with his own column starting in March issue. Man crush or not, I am one happy and proud blogger…and if you never seen this video, you owe yourself to watch it.



Ok. …back to work on the videos for the new issue

Using waves or white water to your advantage

As many of you know , I am a big proponent of fishing  the “white water”. Unfortunately too many have taken my preaching as a gospel and not as an application that should be used when conditions are right. Let’s be honest, if you fish Long Island Sound, Connecticut or you are a back bay dude, you will never see the white water the likes of which you will encounter on ocean facing beaches.

And in the fall, when prevailing winds are from the north which tend to flatten out the surf, should you just stay home because there is no white water present? Of course not, the migration is in a full swing, fish will feed white water of not. So the importance of fishing white water lays not in its availability at all times but instead of you recognizing when present and using it to your advantage.

Here are few things off the top of my head which might help you utilize this highly productive technique.

  • Best wave conditions are usually wind driven and not swell driven by hurricanes of offshore storms
  • Best winds are usually diagonal instead of straight in-your-face or cross (side) winds. This does not mean that waves will come at you diagonaly although they might. Usualy they will come at your straight even on a hard diagonal wind
  • Best wave period is when they are fairly tight, less than 10 seconds between waves
  • Best applied when cresting wave is reachable with a medium cast (because metal lips swimmers are deadly under these conditions and they cast like wet rage)
  • Always, always cast to have your plug land in the white water behind the wave when using this technique
  • Great for finicky fish in Montauk white bait blitzes
  • Best plugs, poppers, metal lip swimmer and bucktails
  • Works great on the sandbars on the west side of any inlet year round and not just in the fall because of ever-present white water.

But what do I know, you are better off listening to experts who combined know enough to fill an Encyclopedia of surf fishing.

And here they are


Win a great set of lures from Guides Secret Lures

I understand that my English can be a mid hard to decipher but sometimes I feel like I have to write on a kindergarten level. Even after editing my poor attempt at humor the other day and explain the changes at SJ I still got emails saying “sorry to see you go”. I am not going anywhere! So let’s try this again but this time read it sloooooowly

It is my pleasure to tell you that our Plugoholics Anonymous columnist Mr. Dave Anderson will be a managing editor of the Surfcaster’s Journal Magazine in 2013. You have a story to pitch? Email him at

What does this mean? Only that I am relinquishing some reasonability’s to those who are hopefully better qualified than I (I know, not a high bar there..ha-ha). Dave will be lining up content, editing and working with writers in general. He will also be doing something else but more on that when we are ready. Like I told you, there will be expansion in more ways than one.

Mr. Roger Martin, our editor emeritus will try his hand in writing a column from Old Fart perspective. Hell, I think we should call it Old Man Farts column. Just don’t tell him he is not “cool”. He does not like that.

Tommy is still Art Director and I am still here. Same chair, same keyboard, writing this blog and helping Dave with magazine. I see myself drifting more and more towards the visual end of things, video and photos so I will hopefully have more time to devote to that from now on.

There are few more (possible) major announcements to come but none of those are finalized and I hate to have to take stuff back after I open my big fat mouth

Over the years I have met surfcasters who can’t wait for a first warm day in March to wet their line. I’ve meet guys who have an insane collections of tiny lures which the rotate in their bags in the early spring, looking to match the hatch. Then they are those who prefer to use only large lures and they usually start their spring hunt much later. I always gravitated to the later group although  I been on both sides depending on weather and things going on in my life. I went through the period where I would wait for big skinny bluefish to show up in May before I ever make a first cast. That used to be an automatic thing although in recent years it has not lived up to its billing.

Last few years I been spending more and more time, usually with Silver Fox in the back bays in May. Traffic is light that time of the year and by the time we get there after dark its usually deserted. But we found a consistent bite, depending on tide and weather of course. And they are usually all bass. Bombers, Yo-Zuri MagDarters, small Redfins, Redgil teasers, they all catch fish. But my best lure in the spring of 2012 was a new lure in my bag, Guides Secrets Mucho Minnow. I am sure this was to a large extent a result of me casting it more than any other. In fact, I am sure it was. The thing is, I don’t care if you will admit or not, for whatever reason, one lure seems to be “hot” every season. And then everyone and their mother buys one, and then they all toss it, they all catch fish and suddenly the lure goes from “nice plug” to “omg you MUST have this”. Which is funny because I always thought that lure makers give us the tools but unless you are skilled tradesman, you final result will not be what you expected, regardless if you have a hot lure or not. I don’t ad many lures to my bag each season although I go through dozens of them when I try to get a sense if it’s worth testing and writing about. Even some lures that we write about can’t fit in my bag, there is only so much room in there and Super Strike takes about 75% of the space. It would be hard to fish without them. But some trickle in , especially in the spring bag. Admission to the fall bag is a tougher nut to crack.

I added magdarters, redgils,gotstrypers over the years and now it looks like Macho Minnow will get a spot too. Not sure if it’s the size or profile but the bass seem to love them when conditions are right. Last fall I been using their Big Poppa Pencil poppers in addition to Guppy’s pencil poppers because the not-so-bright people at Yo-Zuri discontinued our beloved surface cruisers. Funny part was, I don’t feel I gave up anything by using these lures, in some ways I like them in some situations more.

I found a stash of Guides Secret lures in my man cave yesterday so I will give one of our blog readers a chance to win them and have some fun tossing them to stripers this spring.

It includes

  • Mucho Minnow swimmer
  • skinny Minny swimmer
  • Baby BottlePop popper
  • Needle Stick

Good luck to all and say hi this weekend at the mall when I am trying to elbow my way to cash register. Oh, the procrastination disease is not an easy thing to deal with.