Fishing around surfers

Discussion in 'Surf, Piers, & Jetties' started by jjdbike, Sep 9, 2022.

  1. jjdbike

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    Hey folks,

    Please forgive my ignorance on this topic & remember, I'm still an out of towner, for now, but not for long.

    I assume many surfers are also fishers & vice versa. I've also had some nice convos w/ some surfers.

    On the other hand, so far in my experience, they do not recognize fisher's right to use the water in front of them. It's as if I'm trespassing on their property. They walk, swim and surf right in front of where I'm fishing. Yesterday a surfer most def saw me, was watching and looking at me. He paddled in right in front of where I had just casted. When he inevitably tangled in my line, he acted totally surprised and indignant. I wanted to say, what did you think would happen, but I but kept quiet.

    I mentioned this to a young man at the local tackle shop and he said "...stay away from them a leave them along. Some of them are crazy. He proceeded to tell me that two of them physically attacked his brother while he was surfing because they thought he cut them off.

    That being said, what is the general protocol when fishing around surfers? Are there some unwritten rules?

    I'm thinking that I need to get real comfortable w/ my local beaches where I fish so I can safely fish in the dark.

    Thanks in advance,
    JD
     
  2. Kam_Walsh98

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    I've definitely found that surfers act like they own the beach and are super disrespectful and/or oblivious unless they also fish themselves. The exact incident you described happened to me last year, when a surfer entered the water right next to me even though there was plenty of other room and then acted like I was the jerk when he got tangled in my line. There's no unwritten rules. They don't have any priority to the water over us. I'd still avoid them to skip the drama though. It's not like the fishing is going to be any good where they're coming in and out of the water.
     
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  3. Easy619

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    Unfortunately, surfers often are either completely unaware, or just don't care. The same rip areas we often like to fish are used by surfers to paddle out. This tends to spook the fish in my opinion. Some surfers fish and will be more aware, some think they own the beach and will crowd you purposely.
    All depends on the beach and the surfer. I live in OB and fish here often, it's a "locals vibe" type of beach. I've gotten into it with surfers a few times before. Ultimately, if you hook a surfer, that's going to be a problem..
    Luckily, the outside break at OB is wayyy out there so once they've paddled out they are well out of casting range. It's the guys (usually newbies) trying to surf the shore break that can take zones away from you.

    Share the water as best you can but just assume the surfers are not paying any attention to fisherman at all.
     
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  4. cort

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    Surfers are generally a-holes, and will mess with you either on purpose or just because they're too self absorbed to pay attention.

    One tip... If they ask what you're fishing for, always say sharks.
     
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  5. jjdbike

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    Thanks guys,
    sort, that's hilarious.
    Good advice here. Gonna try to learn to fish in the dark around here.
    JD
     
  6. skrilla

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    Surfers have every right to use the beach as everyone. Be mindful, it takes them less than a minute to paddle out and you're back in action. They, like us fishermen, come from all walks of life so your personal encounters may vary.

    I surf so I see it both ways. I wont fish a popular break like Tamarack when it's pumping. But if I do I'm fishing in the skinny or trough knowing surfers will be out in the line up 80 yards away. I'll also chat a bit with a fisherman and give them a heads up before running over the fish hole.
     
  7. MisterT

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    I try to avoid swimmers and surfers all together if possible. If that is not possible then I try to find an area that has fewer people as possible. I rather not hook someone.
     
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  8. Easy619

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    Another suggestion..for your "home" beach that you will fish very often; talk to the surfers, be friendly. If it's a neighborhood type spot, you might see some of the same guys and gals often. Can be effective to reduce problems. They will be more aware of you and (hopefully) more cooperative with your fishing if they know you are willing to reel up and clear a line for them to paddle out.

    Better than the staredowns and **** talking and parking lot confrontations. Although that can be fun sometimes too...lol
     
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  9. camobass

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    There are some hard core OG surfers still around that you probably don’t want to tangle with but most surfers are fare weather kooks out here. If you’re not fishing in front of the break at wind in sea and blacks, you’ll be fine
     
  10. YNW_FISHY

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    Just dont hit them with the casts thats about it, never had any issues
     
  11. Dry Fly Rie

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    I have 2 basic mindsets when it comes to surfers when I'm fishing. If I'm there already fishing and then the surfers show up and crowd me, I just keep casting (making sure to not actually hit them). But if I arrive and there's already surfers in the water that I want to fish, I work around the edges and avoid them.

    For the most part, they are out surfing deeper than I'm fishing, so the only time it's a problem is when they are paddling out or riding their last wave all the way in. Usually, if they are out deep, and I'm working the shallows so there's no overlap and no issues.

    There's also a bit of common sense involved. There's lots of available sand to fish that won't put you in a confrontation with surfers or regular swimmers. Just like I know I'm probably not going to be able to fish Del Mar at noon on a Saturday due to the crowds, I also know I'm not going to be able fish some of the prime surf spots at certain times and in certain conditions.

    I've only personally had one semi-aggressive encounter with a surfer, and it basically amounted to us yelling at each other for about 15 seconds and then we both went our separate ways. It was definitely not worth it, and I'm glad it didn't escalate more.


    I did once, however, insert myself into an argument with a surfer who was berating and threatening a younger kid (maybe 12 years old) a couple of years ago. I was just at the beach hanging out with my kids (didn't even have a pole with me). The younger fisherman was working a small hole and had caught a couple of little corbina in the 10 minutes, or so, that I watched him. He was all alone with nobody in the water for at least 100 yards on either side.

    Then a 30ish year old surfer walked up, made a big show of stretching and zipping up his wetsuit. He watched the fisherman make a couple casts, and then proceeded to walk right in front of the kid on his way out into the water. That was bad enough, but then he paused about waist deep (right where the kid was fishing) and just stood there and looked back at the kid. The kid reeled up his line and moved a couple of steps to the north and started to cast. The surfer moved North with him and shook his head at the kid and motioned for him to "beat it". The kid (to his credit) just made his cast (albeit pretty far to the right of the surfer). This made the surfer mad, so he charged in from the water pretty aggressively and started talking and gesturing at the kid from about 10 feet away.

    I didn't see an adult with the kid fishing, so I walked over and interrupted the surfer and just asked the young fisherman if he was okay. When the surfer tried to tell us that fishing wasn't allowed on this beach, I politely explained to him the meaning of the different colored flags and pointed out that the kid was in fact fishing in the area designated for fishing and beach games. The surfer gave me some more attitude, but lost his toughness when he wasn't yelling at a pre-teen. He eventually just turned and paddled out to the waves (which were maybe 1-2 feet with terrible form).

    I told the kid to keep slaying 'em and went back to playing with my kids. I didn't see him catch anything else for the next 15 minutes before he ended up leaving and heading off the beach. I didn't see the surfer come in, so I either was distracted and missed his exit, or the current took him away from us.
     
  12. carpkiller

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    Yes, and hell no.

    It's a seasonal thing.

    Right now, it's hot...and every kook who thinks he's a surfer is heading to the beach, eager to shred some waves and start fights with other surfers, fishermen, seagulls, and pelicans. I've had guys deliberately walk 20 feet in front of me to stand on my line and rinse off their board...before they even got into the water.

    It's funny how when the weather is cooler, there's seldom an issue with surfers. The guys and girls who surf year-round don't take the time for the chickensh it nonsense. Even when they enter the water right next to me, they walk out, drop the board in, flop on it and paddle straight out without touching my line.

    One time I was wading waist deep, fishing the short jetty in OB...pretty strong surge, so I was working hard. Surfpunk wannabee was too cool for a leash, fell off...and as his board went by me I moved out of the way and he started yelling at me to grab it before it hit the rocks. I guess I was supposed to drop my rod in the water to keep his board from getting dinged up. He finally gets closer, all the time ranting at me for being an *******. And yeah....it was during the summertime....

    It's unfair to generalize about surfers being a-holes. Some a-holes surf...and you're more likely to encounter them in the summertime.
     
  13. cort

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    That's fair, there's usually dozens of people out surfing at any decent beach in a summertime evening, but it seems like there's a better than fair shot that you're going to end up dealing with one or more that are inconsiderate on that same evening. The rest are totally fine, doing their own thing.
     
  14. skrilla

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    Well, that's OB for ya. Don't forget the dogs, their oblivious owners, needles, boardwalk/pier characters, and the worst of em all... seaweed! Doesn't stop me from fishing there sometimes it's worth it, sometimes. :emoji_grin:
     
  15. jjdbike

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    Thanks everyone,
    I appreciate the input. I understand that like fishers, surfers come in many varieties & that some do both fish & surf.
    I just wondered if there was some type of mutual understanding, e.g. we'll stop casting if you come in close on a wave, we'll allow you to get out to the break, you enter the away form us and give us 10 or 20 yard on each side of us if possible.. Perhaps that unrealistic, but it sure would be nice.
    I like the idea of getting to know regulars, since we'll be spending time on the same beaches. I also know I'll need to get to know where the surfers will be thick and when. Finally, like Iv've said before, I want to get comfortable enough on a few local beaches to be able to fish in the dark safely and efficiently.
    Best regards.
    JD
     
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  16. camobass

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    Most all beaches have surfers. I rarely venture further north than Torrey pines. And if I do, it a far road trip. Torrey isn’t a great surf spot so they are few and far between. I wouldn’t really worry about it. Or stress in advance. Just fish. Use common sense. Find the balance. Winter time thins out the herds. All the fare weather surfers hibernate which is hilarious because the best surf is in the winter time.

    Just go fish, you’ll start to see the patterns and spots that work best for you.
     
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  17. camobass

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    You could also go old school, get a big long board, paddle out and fish off it. Then you really don’t have to worry about the surfers lol. There used to be an awesome board fishing tournament at wind n sea. Those were the days
     
  18. William Ritchie

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    Jack and Wally off the cove . There is still annual events in their name to this day . When I was 10 years old these guys were my idols . Peace be to their ashes . Add / edit . Guess I should clarify for those who may have interest , Jack Prodanovich , Wally Potts , original bottom scratchers . If you dive maybe you have been to Tombstones a few hundred yards off Boomer beach . They are at rest , as are many , with markers in that area . WR
    BottomScratchersPaddleboards.jpg
     
    #18 William Ritchie, Sep 10, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2022
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  19. camobass

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    Oh sweet, I used to fish it back in the early 2000’s. One guy would always dominate l with a custom made board. He’d come in with yellow forks sticking out of the crate. I remember the only rule was what ever you were fishing off of had to be able to be paddled into and ride a wave.
     
  20. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach ..RIP my friends
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    I have far fewer problems with surfers than off leash dogs the spots I fish. with all that, they can still be a pain. Usually I just try to fish the side of the reef where they will lose skin or teeth when they wipe out, might have a problem or two, but mostly the great mistress informs them of the error of ways, and I don't have to say a damn thing
     
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