Call me slack, but for the last decade or so I've been a bloke that'll only do sports that I find fun and can’t force myself to do any sport purely to keep fit. Unfortunately for me, my chosen fun sports can only be practiced when there's good surf.
So obviously during flat spells I don't get a lot of exercise. With a supposedly belting hot summer just around the corner, there might be a painful lack of waves and I can already feel an impressive set of love handles waiting to sprout unless I can come up with a plan.
Thruster tops up his tan while fishing
For a few years, I'd fend off the fat by going for a decent paddle on a longboard every time the waves were down. Now I even find that mental torture. I need a distraction to keep my mind off the monotony, and finally I think I've found one: Fishing from my board!
I know this isn't a new idea and it's been done by a lot of other surfers but for me this is definitely a case of the whole being more than the sum of the parts. I hate fishing, I hate paddling, but paddling with the purpose of catching fish seems interesting enough to keep me active.
A friend did this the other day and caught 5 mackerel; it really works.
In a nutshell, all you need to do is dangle a hook and a line from the back of your board, paddle around and wait for your free dinner. Obviously there are techniques that’ll give you a better chance. Knowing nothing about fishing I don’t know them, but I know some men who do.
I contacted local legend surfer and shaper Whippet from Willis Surfboards, often seen surf-fishing, and legend fisherman Joobiedoo for some tips. Here's what they told me.
During the summer, you've got a good chance of catching bass and mackerel. Bass usually come close to shore when there's a bit of swell running (which annoyingly might coincide with good surfing conditions). You want to bung either a fresh or rubber sand eel on the end of your line and paddle around just beyond where the waves are breaking.
Mackerel aren't so keen on big waves so you'll either need to paddle further out, or go out on a flatter day. For mackerel you’re better off with a line of feathers. You obviously want enough line so that while you're paddling around the bait isn't too close to you, say 15m, and you ideally want a weight on your line that is going to keep your bait at a depth of between five and ten feet. This might be a 1/2 oz weight if you're paddling slowly, slightly more if you're charging along. A good time would be when the tides 3/4 of the way in (don't ask me why!).
River and estuary mouths are good spots. Joobiedoo, who insists that to catch a fish you've got to think like a fish, reckons that if he were a plump bass he'd be hanging around river and estuary mouths, especially just after low tide, or any spot where water from different sources meet. Another prime example of this is a sewage outlet, but I can't ever imagine being that hungry!
last updated: 03/06/2009 at 10:29