How to Find a Good Spot (Reading the Surf)
"Most people go the beach, find a good spot to camp and go fishing. I go to the beach, find a good spot fish and go camping."
When you hit the beach and set up camp, you are committed to that spot. So, you either need to pick to the right spot from the start or learn how to make the spot you chose produce fish. The better thing to do is to find the right spot first. You may have heard the term "Reading the Surf" before and maybe you've tried it before and failed. Well, I have a fool proof way to teach you how to read the beach. Do not trip yourself up thinking you’re not doing right and don't listen to fishermen that make this sound like only the best of the best fishermen can do this. Reading the beach and finding a good spot to fish is simple. Do you want to know how to do it? Are you ready for the secret? Well.........here it is:
LOOK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT
That's it! You have the secret now and you are ten steps ahead of everyone else. You now have enough knowledge to graduate from "someone that goes fishing" to a fisherman. The Texas coastline has a standard of three sandbars that run horizontally to the beach. The sandbars are generally numbered and termed "1st bar" (Closest to the sand), "2nd bar" (the one after the first bar) and "3rd bar" (the furthest and last). The water before and after the bars also have been termed. The water before the 1st bar is called "The Wade Gut". The water after the 1st bar is called "The 1st gut". The water after the 2nd bar is called "The 2nd gut". The water after the 3rd bar is called "The Ocean". Some people call it "The 3rd gut" most people just say "Past the 3rd bar"
The spots marked "Here" with the blue lines are the best spots to catch fish
The three sand bars are fairly consistent but every now and then there is a break, a non-conforming section (SOMETHING DIFFERENT). These are the sections you want to find. They can be spotted pretty easily by looking at the waves. Watch the waves and see if you can find an area where the waves are breaking differently. They are breaking in the same spot all along the coast. The waves are at every sandbar. If you find a section of water where the waves are breaking closer than normal, further than normal or no waves at all, you've found a good spot! That means you found a section of beach that is not like the rest. Set up your camp in this location and fish on the left, right and center of the spot you found.
What do you do if the waves are non-existent or really choppy? This trips up even some of the good fishermen. In Texas, wind, current and general beach conditions vary from hour-to-hour. Sometimes you can't tell where the sandbars are because the water is flat or because the ocean is angry. So, how can you find a good spot? Look at the water line on the beach. Go stand with your toes in the water and look up and down the shore line. Chances are you will find sections of beach that have little peninsulas and coves. Those sections are there for a reason. Something out in the surf is making that happen. Try finding one that seems interesting to you and fish it. Remember, you can always get up and move if it’s not producing fish.
I love Google Earth. Unfortunately, the images are not current
Safety First!! - If you are able to find these spots, you need to understand that these locations are very likely formed due to a rip tide. Please be careful and watch your children. Every year people die in the Texas surf from drowning. Most of the time it is due to rip tides. Please do your own research and learn about rip tides and what to do if you are swept out.