Don’t forget to fish at the beach

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During the summer months, two things can be expected. It gets hot. People go to the beach. It is what summer is about.

While several hundred million billion (maybe I am exaggerating the numbers slightly, but only slightly) descend upon the sandy shores of the Carolinas, there is something else going on besides suntans, sunburns, sandy feet and afternoon thunderstorms.

The fish bite.

Just like mosquitoes in an uncut yard surrounded by stagnant standing water, the fish are on the hunt. And that is truly one of the great things about summer.

Used to, when my oldest was younger and his cousins were too, we would take a trip out to one of the coastal piers for an overnighter. Usually we would try to find a weekend in which there was a full or new moon to coincide with the trip as well.

Shrimp, artificial bloodworms that resembled Big Red chewing gum with cheese paper stuck in it, and sand fleas were the bait on most occasions. We would use a double-drop rig, some with beads, some with skirts, some just plain ole monofilament line with shrimp on the top hook and bloodworm on the bottom, or vice versa, all in the name of trying to find out what was biting what.

It was strange that it worked that way. We would laugh when the shrimp would only get eaten when on the top rig, or the bloodworm would only be taken if there was a piece of shrimp on the bottom hook. But for whatever reason, we would catch spot, croaker, pinfish, small sharks, sea robin and sometimes blues or reds.

And that is why this time of year is so special for coastal fishing.

Just glancing at several recent reports, I see that citation trout are being pulled in. Big bull reds can be caught on oyster beds and off the surf at night. Blues attack anything shiny. Flounder have found an appetite for mud minnows. Kings and Spanish are wandering just close enough to be lipped at the end of piers. And of course, the usual pinfish and other bottom fish such as black sea bass will attempt to steal anything that dabbles from a hook just inches from the floor of the salty waters.

Yes, a Reader’s Digest version of a coastal fishing report might read as this:

If there are pylons, piers, bridges or bouys, fish with shrimp, minnows, sand fleas, small crabs or anything artificial that is shiny, noisy, and will show movement to catch anything that has scales or doesn’t have scales.

In the surf, cast to the breaks, past the breaks, in front of the breaks, or through the breaks. Make sure the hook is sharp and don’t yank when setting the hook, they will hook themselves. They, of course is anything with scales or without scales.

If you go out on a boat go inshore, nearshore or offshore. There will be inshore fish, nearshore fish, and offshore fish in the calm, tidal, or rough waters. Be sure to use artificial baits unless you have live bait, as both work equally well.

Yes, the fish are hungry and plenty. And this time of year is great to be at the beach.