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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after a couple weeks of forum reading, I decided to head to Sandbridge beach for my first attempt at surf fishing. Being that I'm new at this, I'll err on the side of too much information and trust the community will point out any glaring mistakes. I was looking for red fish.

* I arrived just before low tide, about 1:00. Goal here was to better understand the bottom and to fish the incoming tide.
* 2 Rods - One was a large spinning real on a surf rod, and the other was my trusty curado that I use for bass fishing. I set up the surf rod with a fish finder rig on 10# braid with a 50# mono leader, number 7 circle hook, and 8-10oz of weight. Bait was a huge fresh mullet that I cross cut into sections about an inch thick. On the curado, I alternated between a 1oz spoon and a white bucktail.

After figuring out how to cast the spinning reel with all that weight (I just about sliced my finger off a few times), I loosened the drag and put the rod in a spike. I kept thinking I had a fish with the wave action bouncing the tip around. A few times the line would actually start moving out. It was either the surf or smaller fish. Sometimes half the bait would be gone, but nothing ever took the hook. I was so intent on not missing a fish that I only made 4-5 with the curado.

So needless to say I didn't catch a fish.

There were two people within a 50 yards of me on either side, and neither of them were catching either. One was using shrimp, and I'm not sure about the other guy. Talked to a couple of people on the way out who where fishing off the pier. One caught some small black drum and one caught a small ray.

So there you have it. I left thinking I may have been better suited to at some point switched to a smaller hook and use smaller chucks of bait. Only a very big fish was going to take may offering as it was. Either that or the fish just weren't there yesterday. That and also that I need to figure out how to cast that surf rod & razor-like braid without nearly losing a digit.

Please feel free to give any feedback you think might help.
 

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Fished noon to 10pm. 2croaker, 5roundheads, 1was a 3lb slab. Lots of juvenile black drum, 6 skate. Water looking better today.
 

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I caught a 47" drum last Thursday off the beach. I used a 10/0 Owner circle hook with 4" of 100 lb mono (fish finder rig), 7/0 hook is too small. A 10/0 looks tiny when you see how big a bull reds mouth is. I was catching bluefish on a double drop two at a time. I cut one up and used a 3"-4" wide piece of the body as bait. I typically catch them on a spot, mullet or bluefish head, but I was running out of bait so I used a chunk. The key is having fresh bait. You definitely have to pay your dues and spend time fishing for them. Most of the drum I've caught were at night, but you can definitely catch them during the day. I was out there six hours before I caught him.

Be careful using braid around other surf fisherman. If you get a big run and the fish walks you down the beach, the braid will cut everyone's lines. Most surf fisherman use 20# mono, 50# mono shock leader, and 100# leader to the hook (Owner).

Good luck!
 

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Try for drum early morning, like sunrise, and at night. That's been the more productive times. Didn't see a drum since Thursday night at the refuge. spot heads.

If you're holding braid while casting, there's no way you're shock leader is long enough. Should be a couple of wraps on the spool when you're ready to cast. Casting 8oz holding 10# braid how bad it slice ya? I had 30# get me to the meat doing the same thing when all I had was the last 4' off the spool of 50# and tried to use it.
 

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Captquin, do you have any conventional reels? Way easier on the fingers to throw 8nbait and 10nbait than the spinners. Truth what Benji said, that your shock should be way longer so that your finger can lay on the mono and your weight wont snap your braid. But even with mono shock, throwing that much weight gonna kill your fingers. If you gonna do alot of surf fishing... look into conventional reels.

Benji, don't think I will getting a night pass this year. Month half way done, not worth it now. I heard the bulls are still in the bay and just now starting to move down south. Should be good this weekend.
 

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Thursday they caught several in th mid to high 40" range. Nada since. Hopefully this weekend will be good, if not I'm either going south or moving on to striper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. I got busy at work yesterday, so let me take these one at a time.

I caught a 47" drum last Thursday off the beach. I used a 10/0 Owner circle hook with 4" of 100 lb mono (fish finder rig), 7/0 hook is too small. A 10/0 looks tiny when you see how big a bull reds mouth is.
That certainly makes sense to me, and I'll do so going forward. Unfortunately for my wallet, there's a tackle shop around the corner. You don't think that's the reason I wasn't catching Sunday though, right? I figure if nothing was attempting to take the 7/0 hook, nothing would have take the 10/0 either. Am I thinking about that right?

Captquin, do you have any conventional reels? Way easier on the fingers to throw 8nbait and 10nbait than the spinners. Truth what Benji said, that your shock should be way longer so that your finger can lay on the mono and your weight wont snap your braid. But even with mono shock, throwing that much weight gonna kill your fingers. If you gonna do alot of surf fishing... look into conventional reels.
Oddly this is my first spinning reel other than an ultralight I used for sac-au-lait (crappie) fishing back home. My bass reels, like my curado, are all bait casters. I'd much rather use a conventional reel! I didn't realize there were conventional reels appropriate for surf fishing until I started reading this forum. I have an old Ambassador 5500c that I may convert.

Try for drum early morning, like sunrise, and at night. That's been the more productive times. Didn't see a drum since Thursday night at the refuge. spot heads.

If you're holding braid while casting, there's no way you're shock leader is long enough. Should be a couple of wraps on the spool when you're ready to cast. Casting 8oz holding 10# braid how bad it slice ya? I had 30# get me to the meat doing the same thing when all I had was the last 4' off the spool of 50# and tried to use it. Thursday they caught several in the mid to high 40" range. Nada since. Hopefully this weekend will be good, if not I'm either going south or moving on to striper.
Good info sir. As for the "shock leader," is this something other than the mono leader that goes from the swivel to the hook?? My setup was sliding sinker on braid tied direct to swivel with 2' of 50# mono from swivel to hook. Are you saying there should be a couple wraps of mono that goes between the main line and the swivel?

For the record, my finger looks like it got a paper cut from a piece of cardboard.

Lastly, I have to say that I'm a little surprised how hard catching drum here is. It seems like people here are chasing them all over the place. I'm from Louisiana and they seem to be much more plentiful. Maybe the difference is size. Most of the redfish there are what's called puppy drum here. There are certainly bulls in the 40-50" range, but I don't remember hearing about them schooling and running like they seem to here. Most of the time you'd go fish for reds and specks and catch both of varying sizes. While I'd LOVE to catch a big bull red, right now I'd like to catch some reds of any size!
 

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I would suggest 15 to 20 lb test for your running line for big red drum. Most people I know use 17 lb test. I would not like to tangle with a 40 lb drum with 10 lb test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys. I appreciate all the help. I'm going to try and find some puppies, specks, and strippers around here one evening during the week. Maybe Poquoson, Yorktown, etc.
 

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BBNWR Saturday 10/17.....bluefish everywhere, on everything. Also saw larger fish cutting up the fatback...thinking Alberts. Couldn't get em on the Krockidile spoon,which has always been my personal Albert metal since the '60s....course, with big fatback and peanut fatback, why should they chase metal?
Beautiful day,
Don't remember the rangers 's name, but he said no drum caught at BBNWR since Wednesday night two weeks ago...
Reports like that are making me think about starting my winter catfishing on the Chowan and the Chickahominy SOON!

BA
 

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Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. I got busy at work yesterday, so let me take these one at a time.



That certainly makes sense to me, and I'll do so going forward. Unfortunately for my wallet, there's a tackle shop around the corner. You don't think that's the reason I wasn't catching Sunday though, right? I figure if nothing was attempting to take the 7/0 hook, nothing would have take the 10/0 either. Am I thinking about that right?



Oddly this is my first spinning reel other than an ultralight I used for sac-au-lait (crappie) fishing back home. My bass reels, like my curado, are all bait casters. I'd much rather use a conventional reel! I didn't realize there were conventional reels appropriate for surf fishing until I started reading this forum. I have an old Ambassador 5500c that I may convert.



Good info sir. As for the "shock leader," is this something other than the mono leader that goes from the swivel to the hook?? My setup was sliding sinker on braid tied direct to swivel with 2' of 50# mono from swivel to hook. Are you saying there should be a couple wraps of mono that goes between the main line and the swivel?

For the record, my finger looks like it got a paper cut from a piece of cardboard.

Lastly, I have to say that I'm a little surprised how hard catching drum here is. It seems like people here are chasing them all over the place. I'm from Louisiana and they seem to be much more plentiful. Maybe the difference is size. Most of the redfish there are what's called puppy drum here. There are certainly bulls in the 40-50" range, but I don't remember hearing about them schooling and running like they seem to here. Most of the time you'd go fish for reds and specks and catch both of varying sizes. While I'd LOVE to catch a big bull red, right now I'd like to catch some reds of any size!

A shock leader is a heavy piece of mono that attaches your main line to your rig, it is there to absorb the force of the weights when casting and will definitely protect your finger. It should be long enough to be wrapped around the spool a half dozen times while you cast, for my 12 foot rod I would use about 20 feet of 40-50lb mono, connected to the braid with an FG knot, make sure you use a good, sleek knot because it has to pass through the guides when you cast. Here is a video for the FG knot, it looks difficult but after a few tries it is really easy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oohOoOOmbNk
 
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