For a while, I got heavily into surf fishing for striped bass. It’s what I lived, thought about, and did every moment I could during the season. I’ve pushed myself to a point where I was mentally exhausted and my body hurt from targeting this single species. To this day, I still go through these streaks of limited sleep and pushing myself. However, instead of focusing on just stripers, I’ve incorporated other species into my fishing schedule and never looked back upon the decision.
The first thing I want to get clear is that I absolutely have not stopped surfcasting for striped bass. I actually did quite a bit of striper fishing from the shore during the 2021 season but with a healthy mix of other types of fishing involved too. I was able to manage this with careful planning around certain tides that I liked.
I’ve met a lot of surfcasters through the years and one thing I always noticed is how many of them tell me they only target stripers and once they’re gone, they hang up the gear for the season until the next one comes along. I can’t knock a caster for doing this, but I wondered why they haven’t tried targeting anything else? I always felt like some of the individuals who just target stripers look at a bycatch such as a weakfish or fluke while casting for bass as this unimaginable feat. In reality, it’s common knowledge that you can go out specifically to target these individual species.
If I’m being completely honest with everyone, I’ve been a much happier angler diversifying my target species and the different methods I try to catch them. Of course, I get joked with by some of my angling friends claiming I’ve become a boat fisherman recently, which has some truth to it and I’m happy to say that there’s nothing wrong with that. The reality is I still do both during the year, maintaining a good mix with some added kayak fishing.
A perfect example that I’ve told readers about before is shore-bound togging for me. Some years ago, I made the decision to mainly target tog from the shore for an entire month after the season opened in October. I was always intrigued by the stories of hard-fighting blackfish from my angling friends. This would be a learning experience for me since it was a new type of fishing for a new species. After a couple of weeks of doing this, I was addicted to say the least. I totally forgot about striper fishing for that period of time and all I could think about was togging from the surf—something I would have never known about if it didn’t break away from surfcasting for stripers. Due to this newfound type of fishing, it’s incorporated into my schedule every year and helps me break up what I target. The other ideal thing about this fishery is that I do it by day only while my surfcasting for stripers is done at night most of the time so these trips don’t conflict. Even though tog are a great table fare, I’ve also come to the point of targeting these fish just for the fight and end up letting most of them go.
I can’t tell you what your new favorite kind of fishing will be but I can encourage you to try something different. Whether it be boat fishing for weakfish, kayaking for fluke or shore fishing for tog, you’re not going to figure it out unless you go out and try it. This doesn’t mean to write off stripers because I certainly didn’t. Try designating some time to something else. You could very well find new joys in a different aspect of fishing.