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But sometimes the tide doesn't recede far enough to expose such structures. Then, the angler must read the water to find suitable places to cast. The most common area lies beyond the point where ocean waves begin breaking. Waves fall when the circular motion of the water within the wave reaches shallow water, which causes the wave to grow higher, until it eventually falls on itself. Obviously, the water is deeper just beyond the wave-break pointsometimes it's a substantial dropoffand gamefish will also congregate there. You'll often have to make a long cast, which requires a long rod, to reach this area. (Saltwater tackle is covered in the next chapter.)

A cut can also be recognized by certain wave patterns. Look for a break, or a relatively calm, flat area along a waveline. This indicates a deeper section in between two shallow areas. Gamefish will use the cut as a highway of sorts to access forage close to the beach.

Groins, which are typically constructed to prevent beach erosion, also draw gamefish. A lot of small marine life grows on groins, which attracts baitfish and other forage, and hence gamefish. Because tidal currents move parallel to a beach, one side of the groin is always deeper than the other. Frequently, bluefish and striped bass prey on forage on the deep side, or ambush bait at the tip of the groin as it washes past in the current curling up and around the groin. Other gamefish, such as blackfish and sea bass, stay tight to the groin, foraging for crustaceans. Don't cast too far out from a groin; you're liable to put your bait or lure too far from a fish.

Groin fishing can be difficult, and even dangerous, for the uninitiated. The rocks are typically slippery, sometimes requiring metal cleats or grips on boots or waders (always available in area tackle shops). On some groins, a high tide will leave the tip exposed while inundating the rest of it, thus leaving a fisherman stranded in the middle of a roaring, crashing surf. Never venture all the way out on a groin in bad weather, or if you're not familiar with tide heights in that area; and don't venture out on one at all if you're not wearing firm-gripping soles or cleats.

Jetty fishing (also called inlet fishing) is similar to groin fishing, and you can use the same techniques (and heed the same warnings) just described. But jetties offer the added feature of water moving in and out of the mouth. Inlets are often sites of conflicting currents, such as when a tributary is still emptying out from ebb tide as a flood tide begins. These conflicting currents are called rips, often characterized by what look like standing waves. Rips attract gamefish because a lot of forage is rendered helpless in the turbulence.

Fish Recipes

Fish Recipes

This is a great collection of delicious fish and shell fish recipes that you will love.

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