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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The 2009 surf fishing class of instruction for beginning fishermen / fisherwomen begins 10 January 2009. If you know of any folks that may be interested, please have them contact me. Course contents and schedule are as follows:

Surf Fishing Course of Instruction

Presented by Captain Jeff Rafter, Florida Surf Casters Club,
[email protected] / 386-338-5403

Who should attend?
A. Individuals who wish to begin surf fishing as an activity for the beach.
B. Recent retirees / snowbirds who wish to take up the sport as a serious activity.
C. Those with some surf fishing experience elsewhere, and who wish to gain knowledge about local fish species and fishing tactics.
D. Anyone who hopes to pick up knowledge that will increase their surf fishing success.

The course of instruction is four three-hour sessions. Each session is stand alone, so anyone can take that session which is of interest to them, or chooses to attend them all for a greater understanding of fishing the beach. Class size is limited to 15 students / session.

Topics Covered during the Four Sessions.
1. Tackle Selection – rods and reels, conventional and spinning, budget minded to custom, what may be best for an individual based on current level of experience to desired future level of proficiency.
2. Rigs, line and terminal tackle – how to select the best line for a balanced outfit, what hooks, swivels, snaps and sinkers to use for different techniques and circumstances.
3. Rig building for use along the Florida Northeast coast.
4. Casting – spinning and conventional - how to cast while standing on the beach or while wading – the mechanics and safety concerns.
5. Etiquette and the protocol of beach fishing – how to fish alongside others to ensure the best experience for all concerned including other surf fishermen, swimmers, surfers, sailboarders, personal watercraft and beach drivers (where permitted).
6. Stewardship of the beach environment -- the nature of the other creatures that share the beach and surf- Crabs, Turtles, Jellyfish, Shorebirds, Pelicans, Gulls and Dolphins.
7. Bait selection - how / where to obtain, how to put it on the hook and for what species do we target with selected bait.
8. Beach gear – what absolutely is needed for surf fishing and what else might you want.
9. Tides, water temperature, wind and weather – how does it affect the fishing.
10. How to read the water – where do you want to cast your bait.
11. What are you likely to catch – the different species; how and when to target them.
12. How to handle the fish you caught; so that you don’t get hurt, so the fish has the best chance for survival if released and so harvested fish will offer the best table fare.
13. Surf fishing beaches from the Jacksonville area through Canaveral National Seashore with emphasis on - one hour north to one hour south of Flagler Beach Pier.
14. Understanding Florida Fishing Regulations.

Cost of instruction is $35 per person per session. For students between the ages of 12 and 18 accompanied by an adult in the class, cost is $20. Profits go to Florida Surf Casters club for use in promoting our tournaments.

Session A
Covered:
•Fish species caught in the surf and times of year to catch them.
•Florida’s fishing regulations – how you interpret and abide by them.
•Surf fishing the beaches from Duval County to Brevard County. The emphasis will be from St. Augustine to New Smyrna Beach.
•Selection of tackle – spinning & conventional, rod lengths, weight, balance, guide types, reels suitable for the surf, line types and desired characteristics and costs associated with these selections. The minimum tackle needed to catch fish all the way up to the “throw yourself into it” mind set.

Session B
Covered:
•Hook, line and sinker – a discussion on the types and advantages of the most popular types of each for use in surf fishing.
•How to make your own surf fishing rigs – the double dropper, the "Earl Brinn" Pompano rig and fish finder.
•Beach fishing etiquette.
•The use of leaders and other terminal tackle between the running line and the rig.
•Bait selection -.where do you get it and how to handle it.

Session C
Covered:
•Beach gear – what you should have and what else could come in handy.
•How to read the beach in order to place your bait in fishy spots.
•Effects of moon, tide, time of day, water temperature and wind.
•Stewardship of the beach environment.
•How to handle the fish you caught for release or harvest. (Includes cleaning.)

Session D
Covered:
•Casting – Spinning and Conventional -- how to cast from the beach or while wading. Mechanics of “Off the Ground” and “Overhead Thump” style types of casts will be demonstrated. Each individual will get opportunity to refine their style. (Bring your own Rod & reel or use one of mine.)

Classes will be conducted on Saturday mornings, beginning at 0830.
Session A on 10 January – meet at entrance to Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve (Under the east end of Rt.100 bridge in Flagler Beach in Flagler County.)
Session B on 17 January – meeting location is same as session A.
Session C on 24 January - meet at Varn Park (On the beach in Flagler County approximately 2+ miles north of Flagler Pier on A1A)
Session D on 31 January– meeting location is same as session C.

Call or e-mail me of your interest in any of the sessions.

This course is not in any way sponsored by the Florida Surf Casters fishing club. I am totally responsible for course development, subject matter, opinions and presentation & instruction of material.
 

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Hello, forum fisherfolk!

I am retiring at the end of the year and will make a temporary home in Palm Coast, FL. I hope to meet some fisherfolk thataway who can teach me the finer (and rougher) points of fishing the surf. A new chapter in my life opens!!!

I will try to make it to the training seminar. I just will have to rearrange my schedule (what!!! retired people have schedules????).:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I hope you can make it -- you are the target market. The course will definitely save you money by keeping you from making throw away purchases. It will also greatly flatten the learning curve for fishing the surf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I live in Vero Beach.Do you have any classes closer or know of someone who does?
Currently, I only conduct the classes here in Flagler Beach. I have had students drive over from Tampa and up from Boca Raton; both stayed overnight here in Palm Coast on Friday night. I also have condensed the entire course for those wishing instruction but not attending classes for 4 straight Saturdays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The first session for class 2010-1 had thirteen students; there is room for more.

Saturday, Jan. 23rd, (session B) we will discuss and demonstrate all things about bait, including salting of baits (clam & shrimp) gathering sand fleas, keeping them alive for longer periods or brining your excess fleas for a day when you can't catch them live, the proper way to prepare crab baits, the preparation of cut baits and the use of fish bites. We will also learn how to build several different surf fishing rigs and we will throw in some examples of do's and don'ts relating to surf fishing etiquette.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The title of this thread is in error - don't get the idea this is strictly for beginners. The curriculum actually goes well beyond beginners. The last session went into masters Level information. I went through the selection of bait for the surf, how to obtain, handle, prepare, hook, present (Sand Fleas - fresh and brined, Clam - fresh and salted, Shrimp - fresh and salted, Squid - fresh and frozen, Finger Mullet - fresh and frozen, and assorted cut baits. I also went over the differences in all hook, line, sinkers and leaders used in the surf.

After I finished I turned over the class to a fishing Buddy of mine (Paul Anderson AKA FishinMortician) to discuss rig building. I dare say he is the most innovative builder of rigs for use in beach fishing as there is in the state of Florida. For two hours he mesmerized the class.

Paul may be available to help with the casting classes too. Three years ago this coming March we were fishing together when he said "I guess I'm going to have to learn how to throw one of these things" -- referring to my 13' conventional rod with a 525 mag on it. I was casting further than his big ole telephone pole shaped spinning rods and he was envious. "I said back why not right now, the fishing is slow." Reluctantly he agreed after being assured that a birdsnest does not ruin a reel, it can be cut out and respooled. Fortunately I had one 13 footer with an English adjustable type coaster reel seat. We had to slide that seat forward several inches as Fish Mort is a big man. After some basic instruction on grip, arm extension and the other basics of the ground cast, Paul made a half dozen tentative casts without blowing up the reel. (He looked like a natural.) He was hooked on conventionals and got himself his own 525 and borrowed that rod while he searched around for one of his own. A year and a few months later, after countless hours of self-study and practice, he headed up to Shallotte, NC where they were having a sanctioned casting tournament. Using a new to him customized Abu and an AFAW Big Beach rod built by our local AFAW importer and rod builder (Steve Austin), Paul competed in the 150 gram event. In his first competition he threw over 700 feet -- bested only by Tommy Farmer and I think one other tournament regular.

There are two sessions left during this Winter class; 30 Jan session C and session D on 6 Feb. There is room for additional students. Call me if interested.

The next class will be In the July / August 2010 time frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Changes to Surf Fishing class

The last session for Surf Fishing Class 2010-1 has two changes from what was advertised. The venue has been changed from the Betty Steflick Preserve in Flagler Beach to the Flagler County park which is next to and south of Marineland. We will conduct the casting instruction on the beach just off the boardwalk.

The second change is the session will be conducted over two days - this coming Friday and Saturday to ensure everyone will get a sufficient amount of personal instruction. The sessions start at 0830 and end whenever folks have had enough.

Students on Friday include:Bud L. / Dennis J. / Greg G. / James T. & Arnie F. Students on Saturday include: Mike H. / Bill B. / Ryan D. / John C. / Rey R. & Bill B.

Any students who were not in class for session C but intended to come to session D - casting, please call me with your intent to attend and on which day, and to ensure you have the directions. If anyone else is interested call me and maybe we can work you in as well. (386) 338-5403.

Bring your own rods & reels for instruction and practice. You may also try one of mine -- I'll have 11' Star Stellarlites in both spinning and conventional builds, a 10'6" Hatteras Jacks conventional, a 11' 6" Purglas 350-2 equipped with Fuji low riders and a Breakaway canon (for spinners with braid only), a Torqued Fishing "Team Alabama" 13' three-piece "dual rung" (spinner with braid or conventional), Ian Golds 12' light match rod with adjustable reel seat for conventional and an AFAW 13' Surf with low riders for conventional or braid-filled spinner. For reels I'll have Shimano & Daiwa spinners with braid and mono and conventionals will include Penn 525 mags, Abu 6500 mag, magged Shimano 400s, magged Avet sx and magged Penn 140L "Squidder'.

A couple of these rods are available for purchase. I'll also have two Bill Hopfer custom sand spikes available for purchase. Last session four of the six I had were sold, so speak up quick for one of these durable beauties. If the demand is there, I can get more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Casting Class 6 February

Due to a larger number of casting students than I like to work with at one time, I have secured the assistance of another good caster -- Steve Austin. Steve also is the USA importer and custom builder of AFAW rods. He'll have some of the 11' "Estuaries' with him, plus he'll be delivering a custom built AFAW 13' "Surf" to one of last Summer's students.

After casting class I'm sure he would be willing to let you test out an AFAW!
 
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