There are many areas up and down both coasts of the U.S. for fishing, even beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, so do some research and get out there. Fishing can be addictive and I would rather addict my kids to the outdoors than the computer games, what about you?
The popularity of beach fishing is growing by leaps and bounds. This is the case in almost all states with access to the coast. Think about the low cost and the fact that wives and girlfriends don’t mind due to it being a trip to the beach. Finding a good beach with convenient parking can be tough in some areas, but a good map and a little research can go a long way to tons of opportunities.
All that you need is a proper rod and reel, maybe a piece of PVC pipe and a small bucket for bait. Of coarse you can spend as much as you like at Basspro or another store, but you really don’t have too. Some places you will need to find a marina for bait, but in many places bait is as easy as digging in the sand. I am talking about sand fleas of coarse. They live in the sand at the edge of the water and are easy to find. Look for the wave when it goes back out and spot the feelers coming ouit of the sand.
Now all you need is the right setup for casting a long distance and you’re set. Most beach fishermen use 8 to 12 foot rods and large spinning reels, so I recomend a two piece rod for travel ease. Line visibility is not as important due to the turbulent water, I do not recommend braided line for this type of fishing due to the unforgiving nature of it. Many is the time I have tried to cast with it and snapped the line due to a small tangle in the spool.
It’s a good idea to stop by a bait and tackle shop for the proper terminal tackle and any advice they might have about species of fish and regulations. The PVC pipe idea is also up to you, the tackle shop probably will have these, for an elevated price, with the angle cut on the nottom and rolled edges on the top. If you are a little industrious you can cut you’re own angle on the bottom and sand the top to make it smoother. The angle just helps get it in the sand and the top is so you don’t nick the line or your hands.
As a kid growing up in Florida, I loved to be able to fish when my parents took me on vacation with them. I recommend the outdoors to all families, weather it is once a year on vacation or multiple times during the summer, fishing can be a great way to get those kids off the computer, and the girls don’t mind a trip to the beach either.
Some tips for the beginner are to carry at least one glove as many saltwater fish have teeth and fins that can wound the toughest hands. Also a pair of pliers may be necessary for hook removal or cutting the line in the case you don’t want to keep the fish. You may encounter things like sharks and stingrays, don’t try to be a hero just cut the line as close to the animal as you are comfortable. The hook will simply rust away and it really doesn’t hurt the fish. If you are not keeping any fish try to revive the fish as much as possible as predators may be waiting on a tired easy to catch prey. Remember to use the right sunscreen for protection and drink plenty of water, as the sun can dehydrate you without getting sweaty. Another good idea is to check the local regulations as many areas have different specifications on the same fish.
In many areas there are fishing piers, this can be more expensive as most charge a fee and some different gear may be needed. You can visit the pier to see and for information about what to expect to catch. Some anglers are very free with advice, especially if you take the kids with you. Try not to fish too close to the pier as the current could tangle you with the fishermen on the pier or even hook you on the pilings. Proximity to the structure may provide some advantage as the pilings have barnacles and that attracts bait fish. The same can be said for jetties or inlets with rocks.
Many species of fish that are caught at the beach are excellent to eat. A stop back by the bait shop or some upfront research can give you an idea about the desired species and even cooking tips. A fish ID chart is recommended as some species are close in appearance and restrictions vary between similar species. A ruler may be needed as size limits exist for many species of fish.
The reason I recommend saltwater versus fresh is that most public freshwater fishing spots have been over fished by the local population. It is almost impossible to catch any decent fish at these freshwater locations. All it takes is one good fish for some excitement for kids to get hooked and you’re chances are greater at the beach.
Vacation or special day trips can provide a bond between you and your kids that can be greater than any other in your life, and with the benefit of keeping them off the computer and maybe even out of gangs and off drugs!!
Good luck and happy fishing!
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