Prolonging your time in the water will increase your odds of catching.
Long Island Summers can be brutal both day and night. As a surfcaster, these conditions can compromise your efforts and result in missed opportunities. Keep these five tips in mind when stepping into the summer surf for any of your target species.
1. Sun Shield
The sun’s rays can have harmful effects on you aside from it making us tired and lazy. When combatting the sun, start with your head and work your way down. A baseball cap or Boonie hat will protect your face and neck from uncomfortable sunburn. Look for a hat that is vented for additional cooling when the temperature spikes. On extreme UV days, I lean towards the Boonie for additional coverage.
The face and neck are typically some of the first areas to get hit with sunburn but this does not mean you should neglect the rest of your body. Luckily many companies produce clothing that is UV resistant. Not only will these shirts and pants protect you against sun damage and skin cancer, but they are also stylish. I’ve been sporting the HUK line and have to admit it’s extremely comfortable and does a great job protecting me on the hottest of days as well as keeping me cool by maintaining my body temperature with built-in vents.
At the very minimum, you should still carry some sort of sunblock with you if you plan on spending time fishing during daylight hours. While I’d rather wear a sun shirt, the sunscreen will protect the areas that are still exposed, (hands, legs, feet, neck).
2. Wet Wade
During the peak of the summer, I drop my waders for the wading boots, neoprene socks, and a bathing suit. Waders, even breathables, will result in overheating rather quickly during a hot and humid day or night. The water, even though it’s warmer, will cool you down with your feet in it and give you extended time casting. Simms and Korker both have an array of models that work well. My only suggestion is to purchase a pair of socks with a built-in gravel guard. Nothing is more uncomfortable in my opinion than a pebble in my boot all night. Aside from the gravel that a guard keeps out of your boot, I find that it also keeps your laces tied. I noticed without a guard the water current running across my laces will untie them after a short time in the water. This is a big inconvenience while fishing for me — especially if rocks are involved. You don’t want to lose boots on rocky terrain. That’s just asking for an injury.
I cannot stress this enough. For years I always neglected to bring a drink with me while fishing in the summer. Being that I like to do quite a bit of walking when I fish, I would get dehydrated in these conditions. Some nights I’d find myself stumbling my way back to the truck for the one water bottle and chug it within seconds. Even worse, I’d forget water in my truck and had to get to the local store for a drink with a bad case of cottonmouth the whole way. If you plan on doing any sort of fishing during the day or night time, carry water with you and at the very least in your truck. I make a point of keeping plenty of extra water in my truck aside from the bottle on me now.
This might be something only I do but once I drink a water bottle, I refill it with tap water when I get the chance and label it. Fishing on the go always leaves me with a lack of time. These bottles are used for rinsing off gear when it’s a late night or my hands and feet if I have sand on them.
4. Bag It
Some additional advice I can offer is to carry a waterproof cooler backpack with you. I used to just stuff a small water bottle into my bag until more recently I incorporated the cooler backpack into my gear for summer fishing and won’t look back. In my eyes, the cooler backpack serves several purposes. First, it will hold drinks and food for you if needed. In addition, this bag will also serve as a waterproof carrying bag for extra gear and valuables. I find carrying a wallet, keys, and a phone in my pockets while fishing, bothersome. I take these items, place them in a Ziploc bag and then store them in the cooler backpack. Technically I don’t use the bags to keep drinks cold but just to carry them. Aside from the valuables, extra tackle, leader material and lures, and artificial baits are kept secure in the bag as well.
I also did a quick test to see how buoyant my bag was — It turns out when sealed properly, this bag stays afloat with my weight on it, making for a in a pinch floatation device. No, I’m by no means suggesting using this as a sole flotation device but In the event of an emergency, know this backpack, when sealed properly stays afloat.
5. Bug Off
I’m sure if you’ve spent any time at all near the water on any Long Island beaches in the summer you have experienced the swarms of bugs that come as part of the territory. During the day you will typically experience flies or gnats which, I can deal with. It’s the after dark insects that can be unmanageable at times.
Not every beach is a mosquito haven, but some of them are insane—as soon as the sun goes down, you get eaten alive. One night, after sprinting back to the car, the swarm managed to find its way into my car! The only way to get them out was to blast the A/C with all the windows down and drive. These mosquitos drive me mad at times and can be relentless. If you have one exposed patch of skin they will find it.
To combat these pests you have three options: hose yourself down with some DEET bug spray, wear long sleeves, long pants and a bug net or only fish when it’s windy. All of these options have their downsides, DEET spray is probably not very good for you. The clothing may be too hot and perhaps ineffective, if the fabric is thin enough for these pests to bite through. Fishing on windy nights only means watching a lot of summertime TV and missing prime tides.
While the summer months aren’t always the most comfortable to fish, they can produce nicely for those willing. Prolonging your time in the water will increase your odds of catching. Staying cool and comfortable will enable you to do so.