The Club's Philosophy
The Modern Surf Angler:
The Traditional Surfcasters have, at the core of their philosophy:
Learning to fish effectively with artificial lures.
A commitment to lifelong learning.
Avoid social networking in favor of more traditional surf fishing interactions.
Learning and practicing the “unwritten” rules of post WWII surf anglers who developed the modern sport. These include how to share information, mentoring, and maintaining a low profile rather than self-promotion.
Respect for marine resources and a commitment not to abuse them.
Catch and Release:
Although today, many anglers practice catch and release, many others kill as many fish as they legally can. Several of the members of this club have been surf fishing since the 1950s and have suffered through several time periods when one species or another was in very short supply. We also remember the depressed stocks of striped bass in the 1980s, the lack of large blues in the 1950s and early 1960s, the total absence of weakfish through the 1950s, 1960s, and into the early 1970s, as well as their rapid decline in the 1990s.
In all cases, it was over-harvesting that caused those precipitous declines. Scientists tell us that both recreational and commercial fishermen have repeatedly practiced over-harvesting. Therefore, recreational anglers should never take a posture that’s “holier than thou” when it comes to conservation. It may be convenient to blame commercial fishermen for declining stocks of fish, but recreational anglers have an equal responsibility to conserve. Furthermore, when it comes to striped bass, the data shows clearly that recreational anglers harvest many more stripers than commercial interests. We believe it is the responsibility of every citizen to conserve and protect our precious marine resources.
Members of The Traditional Surfcasters release almost all fish caught. In most years all fish are released and in several years one or two fish were kept only because they died and could not be released. The Traditional Surfcasters also make a point to learn proper catch and release techniques and use tackle that minimizes stress on the fish.
The Learning Curve:
Although we live in a world of instant gratification, the members of The Traditional Surfcasters savor a learning curve that’s gradually sloped and is more interesting every day. Our members have adopted a sport that they intend to pursue for a lifetime. Nothing compares to the joy of learning, applying knowledge, becoming more skillful with each fishing trip, and developing a strong confidence that you, as an angler, can adapt to circumstances and catch fish most of the time.
It is the love of learning and the respect for the sport of surf fishing that has motivated this club to develop a mentor program. New entrants into the club may elect to be mentored by one of the more experienced and accomplished members of the club. Consult the section on mentoring for more details on this club program.
The Traditional Surfcasters do not use the Internet as a means of individual promotion or the exercising of our egos. Therefore, we do not post reports or pictures. Instead, we attempt to apply our energy to our own learning curves, and have found this approach has resulted in more fishing fun and greater success.
Respect for the Sport:
The members of our club readily acknowledge that the sport of surf fishing is bigger and more important than our club or our individual accomplishments. We also recognize the contributions of those who established the post World War II sport as well as those who have and continue to fight for access and the freedom to fish.
We are only the temporary custodians of the sport and each club is a microcosm of a greater whole that honors our predecessors and attempts to instruct those who are new to surf fishing about the history, traditions, philosophy, and standards of the sport.
Respect for the Fish and the Habitats:
The members of our club practice catch and release, but that is only a part of the respect we try to demonstrate for the fish we pursue. We believe in only using our hands (no gaffs) to secure fish before unhooking and releasing fish in a “dignified manner” that causes the least trauma to the fish. We never kick or step on fish, not only in respect for the animals, but also because they may be damaged in ways that are not obvious.
Without healthy habitats there can be no fish. Thus, members of this club are careful not to damage the habitats in any way. Therefore, we never throw garbage into the water or on the beach. Often we take line, hooks, containers, bags, etc. with us when we leave. Members never drive in or too near to the dunes with 4x4 vehicles, we fix gasoline and or oil leaks as soon as they are discovered because they are toxic to many forms of marine life, and, whether by foot or vehicle, we also attempt to tread as lightly as possible.
Practicing What We Preach:
Some of our members have been or are members of important conservation organizations such as C.C.A., S.O.S., L.I.B.B.A., The New York Sportfishing Federation, New York State Parks Fishing Advisory Board, The Regional Planning Association’s project to restore the Nissequogue River Watershed, the N.Y.S. Marine Resources Advisory Council, the establishment of the 1@32 Pledge organization, as well as other prominent projects and organizations.
We understand that our club is different from most others in some ways. This statement should not be construed as demeaning other surf fishing clubs, because we recognize that many surf anglers and the organizations they belong to have worked hard to promote sound ecology and respect for our fisheries and their habitats. Rather, we have made this philosophy the core of our club and it takes precedent over many other goals and activities of the club. We also understand that this philosophy is often viewed as vigorous by some anglers who contemplate applying to our club for membership. It is a reality that has kept us quite small and caused the club founders to set a maximum size of twenty-five members. We do not wish to become so big that some members never get to know others in the club. In addition, a small club size discourages the rise of cliques and disagreements that have historically fractured other clubs.
Please consult other links on the website, including Our History and The Mentoring Program, for more information about our club.