Merwin: Gearing Up for the Striper Surf

So I'm posting live this morning from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where my wife and I are vacationing. No, we did not hit the surf for stripers at dawn this morning. We are presently at the Cottage Street Bakery in Orleans scarfing down fresh fruit pastries and coffee. Stripers are iffy. The bakery is a sure thing.

I did do a little surfcasting yesterday afternoon, kind of a warm-up and partly to answer a reader question about gear. Someone asked what kind of surf tackle I used and how it was rigged. Okay, here goes.

The rod is one I built on an old 1265/2 All Star graphite blank (made before All Star was bought by Shakespeare/Pure Fishing). It is 2-piece, 10.5 feet, and with a 2-ounce lure is one of the sweetest casting rods I've ever used.

The reel is a 6500-series Abu baitcaster, considerably modified with power handle, bearing upgrades, and more. I'm spooled up with about 300 yards of 30-pound Berkley Big-Game Braid, fastened to a small barrel swivel with a Palomar knot. Some 40-pound fluoro comes off the other side of the swivel as a leader.

All that said, I use this conventional outfit in the surf because I enjoy casting it more than I do spinning tackle. Not because I think spinning is better or worse. If the wind were howling in my face, I might switch to spinning gear. But on a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon when I can do what I enjoy doing most, I pick up that little conventional outfit almost every time.