The easiest limit?

Bank the beating, saltwater style

The phone rang.

“Dude, what are you doing tomorrow?”

“Hey, Sammy. What’s up? I dunno, I’ve gotta…”

“Forget that. You need to come to the beach tomorrow. It’s on FIRE.”

I knew Sammy Romano, manager of Chag’s Sporting Goods, was an intense surf fisherman, so to hear him as riled up as he was piqued my interest.

“Oh yeah?” I said. “How good?”

“Cabot (Corso) and I limited out yesterday — by 8:00. It’s really dumb.”

“I think my day just opened up…”

Click. I hung up and informed my wife I’d be heading to Grand Isle at 0-dark-thirty the following morning and promised yet again to return with an ice chest full of trout.

I’d never fished for trout in the surf before, and had no idea how addictive it could be. Corso, Romano and I anchored Corso’s Skeeter at 5:45 and walked the rest of the way and were fishing by 5:55. As I was mucking around with my rods, Corso was putting his first trout on his stringer. His feet weren’t even in the water yet and he’d only made one cast. The next time I looked up he was hooked up again, this time with a 3-pounder.

Romano had told me that Cabot was the stud of Elmer’s and I was beginning to see why. He was working a MirrODine in the trough closest to he beach amid mullet and shrimp popping and jumping. As soon as I had my LiveTarget Sardine in the water, it was mauled. One trout missed it, then another, before the third got steel in its mouth. It was a veritable frenzy. Just beyond casting distance a school of jack was turning the water into a bloody froth as they ravaged a school of pogies and mullet. I was dumbfounded that action like this existed right on the beach.

If you’ve never fished on the beach when the action is hot, it’s incredible. It’s much less tame than fishing from a boat, and it’s a heckuva lot more fun, in my opinion. I see why it’s so popular on Big Lake and over into Texas; you’re in the water with the fish, on their turf, battling the waves, trying to keep a string full of fish from getting away all the while never knowing if a big trout is going to run through your legs, embedding a hook in your thigh or hand as you grab it. The experience is much more intense and rewarding than flipping them over a gunnel and onto the deck. Plus, surf fishing is worlds more accessible than boating, and if you hit it at the right times, a few trips can give you fish for the whole year. Speaking of the best times, the full moons beginning in May (sometimes April) through July are best.

I’m indebted to Romano and Corso for showing me the ropes, and especially for helping me keep my promise to bring home a box full of trout.

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