Gear Solution: The Mobile Surfcaster - The Fisherman

Gear Solution: The Mobile Surfcaster

There is no denying that some of the best surf and shore hotspots are off the beaten path, either with no 4×4 access or a long hike from the nearest parking lot. And when making those extended jaunts to prime fishing areas, being limited to what you can tote may very likely leave you short when it comes to having the one plug or lure the fish want that day or night.

For surfcasters who travel to such legendary shores as Cuttyhunk or Block Island, hike deep into Montauk’s boulder studded south side, or traverse the banks of the Cape Cod Canal by bicycle, there is no such thing as packing light, especially when your fishing sessions overlap daylight and nighttime fishing.Any serious striperman will want to pack a selection of lures to cover any situation they might encounter.

There is nothing worse for an angler than knowing the lure the fish want that day is back at home hanging on the basement or garage wall while other better prepared casters cash in on the action; leaving a few extras in the buggy doesn’t make much sense when hoofing it up to Sandy Hook or Barnegat’s South Jetty where vehicles are not allowed.

A serious surf fisherman’s arsenal will likely contain a selection of plugs that would include a few big fish plugs like the large Yo-Zuri Mag Darter or Super Strike Zig Zag Darter, bottle plugs like the Gibbs Casting Swimmer or metal lip swimmers like the Danny Plug, as well as a couple of minnow-type swimmers like the SP Minnow, Sebile Magic Swimmer or Yo-Zuri’s Mag Minnow. And how do you head out to any striper water after dark without packing a selection of needlefish plugs?

If you are going to be hitting dawn or dusk tides, some topwater plugs are a must. A couple of poppers like the Tsunami Talkin’ Popper, Super Strike Little Neck or Yo-Zuri Bull Popper. A pencil popper or two and a walk the dog style topwater are must haves. Factor in a couple of different sizes and colors, and there is no way you can be prepared to cover all the bases with a basic plug or surf bag and we haven’t even touched on toting along a selection of metals, bucktails and soft plastics, all of which should include a couple of sizes, and colors in the case of bucktails and soft plastics.

You should also tote along some miscellaneous but no less important items like a spare spool, extra replacement hooks, a spare neck light, a supply of pre-tied leaders, and some drinking water. You’ll also want pack a foul weather top rather than wear it during a lengthy hike, especially during the warmer months from June through September.

Bait fishermen often find themselves in a similar predicament. Most will carry two rod and reel outfits, a couple of sand spikes, plenty of extra terminal gear which can be quickly depleted if you get into a bunch of bluefish, and an assortment of sinkers to meet ever-changing surf and current conditions. Extra items like a cutting board, knife and pliers, rags and some type of folding seat to help pass the time between bites should all be part of the bait fisherman’s arsenal. And don’t forget the bait. During the warm weather months, you will want to keep baits like fresh bunker or mackerel in a soft pack cooler with ice packs. A day or night’s supply of bait could easily entail lugging upwards of five to as much as 10 pounds of bunker for two anglers.

Some casters have found the solution to lugging their tackle and gear in backpacks. Unfortunately, most of the backpacks on the market cannot stand up to the rigors of the surf environment. Salt, sun, sand and spray make short work of most, and zippers rarely last a season. The good news is that Plano addressed these weak links with their trouble-free, weather resistant Z-Series Tackle Backpack, designed specifically with the angler in mind. It features specially designed, zipper-free tackle storage that will handle all the gear you need for a successful trek to those fishing areas that others can’t, or aren’t willing to access. A backpack is also ideal for casters who want to fish on the move and keep their hands free so they can cover more ground – fishing as they go.

The Plano Z-Series Tackle Backpack is constructed of high-performance Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) waterproof fabric, and utilizes easy opening HDPE buckles and reliable Velcro to secure flaps, pockets and mesh slip pockets. A roomy main compartment is accessed through the bag’s top, and provides capacity for up to four included 3700-size StowAway tackle boxes. A speedy cinch-cord provides initial closure, while a large flap secured by buckles and Velcro tightly covers the opening to prevent moisture intrusion.

It features an additional lower flap that opens to access a tool holder and drop-down, see-through, wrap-style pocket that’s perfect for housing keys, smartphones or other angling essentials. Three additional large pockets are found on the bag’s exterior – one on each side, and a third beneath the front flap – featuring buckle and Velcro closures. These pockets provide secure storage for reels, line spools, sunglasses or other items.

The Z-Series Tackle Backpack is extremely comfortable even when loaded with all of your gear thanks to fully adjustable shoulder straps and the padded lumbar support. For those willing to go out of their way for better fishing, or those seeking to escape from the crowds, this latest piece of gear from Plano may be just the answer you’re looking for. You can learn more about it at