Florida vs Northeast Surfcasting

Maybe I am old and cranky (i don’t think this is a question, more or a rhetorical statement). Maybe I am way past my prime, too set in my ways to be able to accept different things. To some extent, there is a lot of truth to that. I do fish the way I want to fish these days. If you told me that  80 pound bass were being caught on every cast but I have to use bunker snag, I would tell you thanks, but no thanks. I rather catch 50 schoolies in noreaster than one 50 pounder on a jetty in crowded conditions. There is something about crowds that I cant stand. However there are behaved crowds like those generally in the Montauk northeast blows and then there are  crowds like ones at certain Inlet last year that to me, were behaving about a step above high school level. Some of us are better equipped to deal with this than others. Maybe its a personalty fault in my case. God knows I have many of those…

Sunday I arrived at West Palm Beach airport at 4 pm. The plan was to drive to Fort Pierce Hutchinson Island which is about an hour away, check in, unpack and get ready to fish with Patrick Sebile from Sebile lures the next day. Patrick had a different idea and I drove straight to his house, grabbed a waders out of the luggage in trunk and off to Sebastian Inlet we were to catch the outgoing current in the dark.

The Sebastian Inlet It really is a remarkable place to fish. On any single cast you might hook up with a giant snook, bull red, tarpoon, shark or Goliath grouper. Or you might hook up with first three and then last two will eat first three while you are trying to land them. There is also a coral covered bottom that eats plugs and jigs like child eats candy. Often.This is probably why people use a single hook and sinkers and live bait. It gets expensive to keep donating plugs or even bucktails to the inlet.

We fished until after midnight with another young gentleman in waders. The south side has a very narrow jetty that can get crowded fast with only few guys. Since he was throwing bucktails , Patrick and I drifted plugs on the outgoing by casting into the inlet and then letting them drift out for another 50 to 100 yards before starting the retrieve. Unfortunately although i did hook up few times the fish broke me off every single time. It was starting to get to the point in the tide where you almost expected a hit on every cast. Suddenly around 1 AM,  4 kids, probably high school age descended on the jetty, only foot from me and with 7 foot rods started to cast the opposite way, into the ocean.If i told you I could smell them you know how close they were. With a 11 food rod there was no way I could have made a cast without hooking them in the head or hooking their rods.

With amazement I watched as they fished with not as much as “sorry”. I got an impression later in the week, when I’ve seen a school of fish break and everyone jumped all over each other on the pier,  that this is accepted practice. If there is a room you might be casting a darter and a minute later (no joke) a guy with PENN International TUNA reel and 6 foot rod, with a full skate tied on to ballon might be casting next to you. Somehow they all manage to coexist but I could not. As you can see on pic bellow , the jetty is small and narrow. Hard to have guys fishing both sides when its fell than 10 feet wideSebastian-Inlet_contest_Richard-Vogel_Sebastian-Inlet-Florida-South-Je

I know well enough if this was  NY someone would have punched someone or worse , pulled a knife. I am used to getting a least a ability to cast , meaning you would never set up to fish from position that i am casting, forcing me to cast by bringing my rod in 12 o’clock position (instead of 3 o’clock) and make short casts. you might think I am winning but that is really not the point of this blog post. I packed my stuff and left. As a “guest” on the jetty I have no ability, desire or right to tell locals how I want to fish the place. Again, I am a just a guest and I am ok with the way things are done. I have no desire to argue with locals who have been fishing this way since I guess they built the place.

I am just surprised I guess how different the surf fishing etiquette is from what we do in Northeast.

Now don’t get me wrong, we have PLENTY of issues with crowds and etiquette in the northeast. The difference is very little surf fishing in our neck of the woods is done from piers. Again, I thought it was interesting how there is a different behavior and expectations in the same sport, but different locations

No more or less

6 comments on “Florida vs Northeast Surfcasting

  1. Jeff Goldstein

    I couldn’t agree with you more! We visit relatives in different parts of Florida a few times a year, and always bring our rods. It is commonplace for crowding around anyone who just saw or caught a fish. There is no etiquette in FL.

  2. daniel gardner

    Sadly Z it won,t be long before they close both sides of the inlet. FWC installed gates on the northend because “anglers” were targeting boaters who were fishing “too close” to the rocks,that belonged to the jetty jockeys.Hell on a west wind,outgoing tide you could catch sailfish & kingfish, by using that method. Get out early & late walk the beach for snook & big jacks “very close”. Good Luck Danno

  3. John Caprice

    Hey Zeno, I live in Sebastian and I rarely fish the inlet. Most mornings, I fish the beach South of the Inlet.
    I catch big Snook, small Blues, Jacks, Macks of all sizes, Tarpon in the surf, Sharks that strip off your fish and your line, even a Barracuda on occasion.
    I surf cast this beach because it has that structure that I fished from Sandy Hook to Cape Cod.
    I am alone on the beach unless I bring a friend. The only thing I miss here are the Stripers!
    Although a 30″ Striper was caught off the North Jetty a year ago. Yeah! A real Striped Bass.
    Week nights are less crazy on the Jetties, but I like the beach.

  4. Bob Richards

    As a south Fla. resident, I would agree with you that many Pier and jetty fisherman have absolutelty no manners and like John above, I just don’t fish the hotspots like Sebastian. The beaches have plenty to offer if you can get some good advice and fish during the week when most of the clowns are at work. Unfortunately, all of the landlocked anglers seem to want to fish the same spots and they are downright rude! I used to fish the public piers during the week and enjoy myself, but the closest to me, Haulover Pier, was lost to Hurricane Andrew and that was the end of my pier fishing. Now I have a 17′ Montauk and I fish the bays and the Backcountry in Flamingo, that is, when a 72 yr. old can get up the energy to put the boat in.Sorry, but you probably went to one of the popular places on the east coast and met up with a bunch of a-holes!

  5. M.K. Larkin

    Fishing a crowd is so unpleasant. Here in Maine, you do not crowd or bulldoze your way into the casting window of other fishing folks. Well documented results …mysterious “slow-leak tires…all 4 “, surf debris decorated cars and trucks…large ,heavy surf wood placed on top of vehicles roofs, vehicles tied or chained to trees, signs, and once to the axel of vehicle parked right spot. Yeah, making friends on the jetty is primary foe an enjoyable time for all.

    1. Chris Fields

      I remember when people had the balls to speak up if they disliked something. Seems cowardly to damage a vehicle..


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *