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Every Brunswick County angler should own a copy of the new book “The Southern Surfcaster” by S. Cameron Wright, which was published this year by The History Press. Wright’s book is a strategic and well-thought out categorization of every tip and resources surfcasters need to catch fish from our beaches. It is well written and strongly organized so newcomers to surf casting and veteran old salts will both pick up a tactic, or 10.
Wright is a native of Charlotte and, as many of us did, he began his fishing experience on excursions with his dad down to the coast. It is the same path a host of aspiring anglers followed, an introduction to the treasure trove of sea, sand and ocean’s bounty followed by a lifetime trying to figure out its secrets.
Although Wright emphasizes the romanticism of our sport, he has written his book as a thoroughly engaging field guide.
Those who come to the beach seeking the methods and means for catching red drum, bluefish, flounder, sea trout, and (of course) our beloved spot will find them here. Saltwater fishing has gone from a pastime with a devoted following to big business today, and books such as “The Southern Surfcaster” go a long way toward helping those of us who can’t keep up with every changing fad.
As someone who knows the difficulty of distilling this information in a helpful manner, I can certainly appreciate what Wright has done, and his book gets an A-plus in serving as a fishing guide for those who need help getting under way while at the same time giving vets specific expert advice. This is a book you can take to the tackle shop with you and save money, as Wright nails down exactly what you need (and don’t) for your surf fishing excursion based on the fish you can expect to encounter.
The essence of surf fishing is gear: roughly half the battle is fought before you ever cast. Expert surf anglers know that the successful surf fisherman is the one who shows up prepared. In that aspect, “The Southern Surfcaster” is one of the most valuable books I have come across at evaluating the way an angler should prepare himself for the elemental task of fishing from the beach.
Of course, as the best fishing books do, Wright examines specific fish and the tactics needed to catch them. The best anglers target specie, but also aren’t reluctant to change tactics or targets if necessary, and Wright obviously knows this as he spends much time covering the conditions and indicators so crucial to surf fishing success.
Wright also takes some time to talk about eating your catch and conservation concerns, two issues dear to my heart. The chapters devoted to the specifics of casting, hooking and retrieving fish are the best in the book as he is obviously an expert at his craft.
As for the local Brunswick County fishing report this week, we are moving into fall and things will pick up rapidly. Big red drum continue to be caught at the jetties, and redfish of all sizes are on the move inshore. Flounder and speckled trout action is coming alive.
Spanish and king mackerel are active chasing bait schools off the beach. Anglers are waiting for the spot runs on the piers, picking off the occasional pompano, sea mullet and snapper bluefish for now. Serious fall fishing is just around the corner.
Jeffrey Weeks, author of “Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas,” is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow updated fishing reports at www.saltyweeks.com.