Last fall I was surfcasting for stripers late in the afternoon at Long Island’s Robert Moses Parking Field 2. It was typical November day – crisp and a bit windy. The bite was really good most of the afternoon and I was throwing a 2-ounce diamond jig with a green tube and a teaser. The bass were hitting the teaser that day and most hookups were coming right in the wash.
As it started to get dark, I decided to end the day with a great memory of what the fall run should be like. As I walked back along the beach near the shoreline, I got the surprise of my life. With my next step, I found myself up to the top of my thighs stuck in the sand. Fear came over me as I came to the realization that I could not move. I tried to stay still so that I wouldn’t sink any deeper into the sand. I took a deep breath and thought about what to do next. Fortunately, I realized that I was not sinking any deeper. I had a two-piece rod, so I broke it down into two sections and used the butt end to stick in the sand for leverage. I struggled for 15 minutes and eventually freed myself.
Exhausted, I walked toward the dunes, sat down and gathered my thoughts. It was a helpless feeling and there was no one around to help me. I thought about how lucky I was to free myself and realized had I sunk any deeper I probably would not have been able to free myself. What had been a perfect afternoon of catching stripers in the surf could have had a very different ending.
I have walked these sand beaches thousands of times in my 75 years as a beach goer and more often as a surf fisherman, but never have I heard of this happening to anyone. Since relating my story to others, I know now that other surfcasters have encountered these pockets of soft sand, although it is far from being a common occurrence.
So be careful out there on the beach. Learn about the potentially dangerous locations where sand is constantly being built up and eroded. Do not walk through pools at low tide near the water line. Do your best to fish with another person if possible. If you are driving on the beach don’t drive close to the water’s edge. A good rule to follow is never drive below the high water mark. Surfcasting is truly a wonderful sport however it does have its hidden dangers, so always be mindful and don’t take chances.