“There is no way these things will work.”
That was my first thought when I saw the Sole Spikes blurb in This Is Fly. Cutsey little screws might work on ankle deep limestone streams for guys flicking a 4wt around for brookies, but surfcasting, true surfcasting, is notoriously tough on equipment. 4/0 hooks bend, waders tear, rods snap, reel gears strip and the ocean always threatens to wash you into the ripping current. That same ripping current hopefully holds a 30 lb striped bass that wants to eat your 3 oz bucktail. Inferior equipment just doesn’t cut it. Striped Bass love rocks because of the current breaks and ambush points they provide. Because of that, so do surfcasters. The problem is, most rocks are slicker than snot covered axle grease. To cope, most surfcasters who fish rocky areas use strap on sandals with carbide spikes. While these work well, they’re heavy and the spikes bend over, come loose, fall out and rust without constant care. [quote style="boxed" float="left"]After a while, I kind of forgot about them while hopping from rock to rock as the tide dropped. Never once did I slip.[/quote]Instead of forking over $$ for replacement spikes for my sandals, I forked over considerably less $$ for some Sole Spikes figuring even if they sucked, I was only out the cost of a decent plug (lure). After spending all of 5 minutes (max) to install them, I headed out to my local jetty. After the first tentative steps I was amazed to find that the Sole Spikes gripped just as well as my carbide sandals. After a while, I kind of forgot about them while hopping from rock to rock as the tide dropped. Never once did I slip. I assumed that they would be ground down to little nubs by the time I was done, but to my shock, they hardly showed any wear at all. I was pleasantly surprised by my experience so far, but the true test was Montauk Point, NY , the “Surf Casting Capital of the World”. I headed out to fish the night tide and once again, I was incredibly impressed by how well the Sole Spikes dealt with the “Northside”, which consists of mostly gravel and babyhead rocks. I tackled the “Southside” for the flooding tide at dawn, which is a much more challenging environment. Much of the southside is a boulder field with bubbleweed and kelp covered rocks that will quickly expose the limits of inadequate equipment. Stepping on these rocks without studs is like stepping on snot covered bowling balls while wearing dress shoes. Add some rough surf and the place can be treacherous. To fish here, you wade out to your chosen rock through algae and seaweed covered babyheads while keeping one eye on the waves. Once you get to your rock you either have to step up onto it or drag yourself onto it and hope that it is flat enough to comfortably cast from. Once again, the Sole Spikes performed tremendously. In fact, because I knew they’re not going to shift or squirm or come loose, I was even more confident using them than my carbide sandals. I ended up getting another set and adding some studs to the arch area and some more under the ball of my foot to aid in stepping up onto the rocks and staying in place while up there (very few rocks are flat). Even with two packs, the cost is way less than a pair of sandals and I have found that the Sole Spikes wear much less, especially if rotated to keep "fresher" spikes in high wear areas. Overall, I think I might have tossed 4 of them after 2 solid months of fishing (3-4 trips a week). With the sandals, I could easily go through 4 studs in one outing. I have used the Sole Spikes all fall and after dozens of local trips and a handful of trips out to Montauk, I have gladly given up my carbide sandals in favor of Sole Spikes. Kudos to coming up with a tremendous product at a great price.[gallery link="file" columns="4"] Thanks Brendan! If you haven't tried Sole Spikes yet, what stopping you? Get your set today!