Problem – When you go surf fishing you have lots of tackle to carry. Not just me but everybody. I have two rods. These are 10-12′ rods with fairly heavy reels loaded with 250 yds of line. Nobody uses just one and most have 3. The common technique is to use a different type of bait on each rod to accommodate the wide variety of fish in the surf. And of course you need a sand spike for each rod. These aren’t heavy but awkward to carry. A tackle box. Most people bring a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket to carry bait and eventually to carry fish. I use a cooler with ice. Then a chair of some sort; most use a standard folding beach chair. A fish cleaning board rounds out my booty but most folks have a sand flea basket to catch bait. I have a couple extra things like a sand flea pouch, hand cloth, and maybe something to read.
If you get to the beach early, not too big a problem because you can set up right at the stairs or ramp and make a couple of easy trips to the truck. But if it’s crowded you have to set up further away which means carrying all this thru soft sand. By the time you get all your gear set up, you’re worn to a frazzle if you’ve had to walk a few hundred feet.
I’ve seen two solutions. A few guys bring their wives to carry stuff. They just sit on the beach after the trek and read. That works – ask Nancy. Others have invested in a special surf fishing cart which is a wagon with large, pneumatic tires and multiple rod holders to place the rods vertically. These work too but are fairly heavy and difficult to get in and out of the truck. They work well in hard sand but not quite as well in really mushy, coquina sand; Also they are easy to maneuver on a ramp but not nearly as easy on stairs. Plus they cost about $160 for the smallest versions. The money doesn’t bother me but it seems they solve one problem but create several new ones.
My solution – the Surf fishing poncho.
Visualize a poncho with a set of pouches especially configured for surf gear. It has the same pouch set front and back. There’s a large rectangular, 16 x 24â€ pouch for carrying the tackle boxes. I use the clear plastic flat type. I actually use two – one for lures and one for bait rigs, weights etc. Hence the front and back pouches to balance the weight. These pouches are centered and ride in front of your chest and across your back. On both sides of the center pouch is a 2â€ x 24â€ vertical pouch for carrying the rods. You can insert the rods either in the front or back pouches depending on how you want to balance the weight. I happen to sometimes carry a spare, shorter rod for casting smaller lures so with 4 rod pouches, (two front, two back), I’m covered. Across the bottom is a 2â€ wide pouch that runs horizontally. The sand spikes slide into this patch, one enters from the left; one from the right. To top it off there are rings to hang stuff at the top of the shoulders and the center of the neck. There are no sleeves so you can load up one side and rotate it on your body and load the other side. A tie strap at the waist lets you pull it all together for walking. So in my case I load up everything and have my hands free to carry the cooler and a chair. I’m thinking that I can load up and easily walk a few hundred yards down the beach, even in the softest sand, with no trouble at all. I’m also thinking I will be a style setter on the beach and will have crowds following me asking where they can get such a fine outfit.
My new problem – getting Nancy to make it!