Make the most of summertime action in the surf with proper gear and attire suited to the conditions.
Summertime, and the surf fishing is easy. Well, certainly not easy but much different than during the spring and fall runs. Although striped bass go into virtual stealth mode during the summer doldrums, there are enough less-celebrated species—bluefish, fluke, Spanish mackerel, some big rays, an occasional weakfish and even some late summer false albacore—to keep most dedicated surf anglers interested and active. Most importantly, Mother Nature keeps her dark-side in check for the most part so whatever fishing is performed usually is done under comfortable conditions.
The pleasant summer weather does come with some negative side-effects: high heat and sometimes oppressive humidity. Wearing clothing to protect you from the weather while keeping you cool and comfortable is essential to hitting the sand so you can fish longer and more effectively. Often a simple t-shirt, shorts or cut-off jeans and bare feet fit the bill. Some anglers prefer more protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, opting to wear lightweight shorts and long-sleeve shirts with built-in sunscreen properties woven right into the fabric. A lightweight, breathable, and packable slicker that can be carried in a bucket is nice to have in reserve whenever a marine forecast calls for the possibility of a shower or a cool onshore breeze.
Perhaps the greatest pleasure of fishing summer daytime shorelines is that you do not have to wear waders. And if you do summer night fishing wearing waders, be smart; purchase lightweight and breathable waders that are comfortable. They are worth the comfort they provide for whatever extra money they cost.
It is imperative to wear something on your head to protect it from extreme sunlight; the threat of sun stroke and severe sun burn should not be taken lightly. That something can be a cap or specialty hat that shades the top of your head, possibly your ears, and even the front of your face. Very-wide-brimmed hats and even sheer fabric head and neck shields with built-in UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) properties deliver maximum protection from the sun. To further safeguard your head, be sure to wear a quality pair of sunglasses to shield your precious eyes from glare and dangerous ultraviolet rays. All of the clothing and protective gear mentioned so far is lightweight and physically manageable.
If you have an extensive rod and reel collection like I do, then you have combos that fit any situation, and at any stage of the fishing season. I have an assortment of ultralight rods and reels teamed together for the summertime species. Doing so puts less wear-and-tear on my body, especially when using them under bright sunlight and high humidity. In addition, it is more fun to fight the smaller fish commonly found during the summer doldrums on such lightweight gear.
Summertime and fishing buckets go perfect together. Since my needs are minimal and I love to travel light, I stock my 5-gallon pail with just the bare necessities. My essentials include a watch, cell phone, a compact digital camera, a minimum of extra rigs, sinkers, and lures, water bottle, sunscreen lotion, and some bug spray. Two light combos plus two sand spikes (which tethered together with a nylon cord can be worn around my neck to not burden my body with having to actually hand-carry them) complete the summertime lite picture.
Summertime lite fishing is that groovy time to finesse the sand. You can fish with your bare feet in the water, your equipment and clothing needs are minimal, the variety of summer species in residence may not be spectacular but numerous, and the weather is normally stellar. Just fishing under those conditions is a delight; catching something is just a bonus!