Have you always wanted to go surf fishing but didn’t know where to start? Are you unsure of what kind of gear is necessary, or how to find the most effective techniques for catching large fish? If so, this article is perfect for you! We’ll cover the basics and answer some common questions about surf fishing. Now that we have an idea of what we’re getting into, let’s get started with our epic guide!
What is surf fishing?
Surf fishing is a form of sport fishing that can take place in areas with breaking waves. Waves break over reefs, jetties, and rocky headlands into shallow water which creates surf zones – these are perfect for catching fish from the shoreline. Surf fishermen stand on the beach or rocks (or even swim) to cast their bait into this zone where they hope it will get snagged by a hungry fish.
Why should you try this activity out?
Surf fishing is an easy way to get outside and enjoy the scenery. It’s perfect for those who want a low-cost, accessible activity that requires little physical fitness or previous experience with gear.
Here are some great benefits of surf fishing:
- Low cost – Don’t need expensive equipment or licenses since you can use what nature provides!
- Accessible – Anyone can do it no matter how old they are or their current level of physical fitness. All you need is water shoes, clothes, and if needed sunscreen (or SPF 50!)
- Relaxing – Sit back on a beach towel in the sand while catching fish from your backyard; there’s nothing better than feeling the waves gently break against the shoreline as you enjoy the ocean breeze.
- A new experience – Whether you’re fishing in saltwater or freshwater, there’s a whole lot of diversity to explore! You might never have fished before and want to try it out, or maybe you’ve been surf fishing for years and are looking for ways to improve your skills–either way we’ve got something here that will help get you on your way 😉
Tips for beginners or first-timers
- Do not use bait with an expensive hook or rod because they will get lost before you can catch a fish.
- Only go surf fishing if there is no chance of rain, waves are smaller than six feet high and the water temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Always wear shoes that can protect your toes from being cut by rocks when walking on shoreline rocks around shallow areas.
- If you have the opportunity for long periods in between waves during low tide hours then it’s an ideal time to start fishing near reefs or drop-offs within about 100 yards of shore. If other options don’t work out, try wading into waist-deep water and cast parallel with the beach line until you find the depth that catches most waves.
- Surf fishing is more than catching a fish, it’s the search for that one perfect moment of adrenaline when you’re close to shore and watching nature take its course; an experience unlike any other in this world.
- When surf fishing with bait, try using the following: mackerel (gutted), shrimp (tail off), sandworms, squid strips/ink sacs, anchovies or small pieces of fresh-cut baitfish found at tackle shops near you can work great.
How Far to Cast?
One of the most sought-after experiences in beach towns is surf fishing. The beauty lies in your ability to wade out into waist-deep water and cast parallel with the shoreline until you find just enough depth for waves to crash over them without being too rough on fish below. You can indulge this hobby by finding a spot where there are no rocks or seaweed bars while allowing your bait time around, as it will be seen more readily by nearby fish looking up from their natural habitat.
Importance of tides when surf fishing
When fishing on the ocean, it is important to consider tide height and tidal strength. When tides are running strong in a high range of motion, large weights will not hold your bait down or keep them from rolling about with the current. Tides can be very difficult for fishers up north where they typically exceed ten feet of movement within six hours too!
Even if you do everything right there’s no guarantee that you’ll catch anything at all because when the waves crash into each other this creates currents that make these waters inhospitable for any fish looking to stay alive – making every catch an adventure, as well as a success story worth telling friends back home over beers and stories about how big one was bragging rights, abound here my friend.
In the late afternoon, it’s best to fish two hours before and after high tide. The water is calm during this time as the current eases up for a while when both phases of tides are at their peak. It also provides an opportunity to catch more species since there will be less competition from other anglers due to lower visibility in shallow waters during low light conditions or higher turbidity levels associated with windier weather near dusk/dawn than midday, but if you can find any groupers lurking about then they usually do well even in rough waves!
Surf fishing gear and equipment
This is the most essential, and in some cases necessary gear for surf fishing. It includes a rod (light tackle) with a reel for surf fishing that can handle your chosen line, which should be at least 15 to 20lb test. A heavy duty bail wire snap swivel on one end of the leader will counteract abrasion against rocks or coral if you hang it over something solid while fighting a fish, so consider adding this when making your purchase as well! Line sinkers are also important; depending on what you’re after they range from #0-16ozs. Finally don’t forget an assortment of hooks; these usually come with a wide variety of sizes ranging from size 0/00 to 12/0 and beyond but typical use would be a size that ranges from #0-12.
Best surf fishing rods and reels
Some rods and reels are much better suited for surf fishing than others. Short, stout, durable models with an eye on fighting power are the best choice if you’re mostly practicing this type of angling in heavy surf or rough conditions where it’s important to be able to hang onto your fish securely while fighting them. Shorter blank lengths also help when trying to cast a bait out into rougher water and will reduce the risk of line breakage due to abrasion against rocks or coral.
On the other hand, as waves subside longer rod blanks can offer more casting distance which is handy for rigs that involve larger baits such as live shrimp or squid (which need plenty of runways before they plunk.
Surf fishing rigs
There are two basic rigs that will cover the majority of surf fishing situations, and they consist of the fish finder rig or high low guts with droppers. The fish finder rig consists of three hooks: one long lead hook in front to catch deep water items such as sea bass; an intermediate-length shank hook at mid-level for more visible catches like flounders; and a short light wire weed guard behind which protects your line when you make contact with rocks while paddling out into shallow shore break areas where crabs often reside on top waiting for prey to swim past them just feet below their snouts. A traditional spreader setup has four hooks: one long lead.
Fish finder rig
A fish finder is a piece of equipment that surf fishermen use to find their prey. A slider is one of the main parts of a fishing rod. It has two purposes. Firstly it serves as a hole for your line and secondly it provides protection from tangling with other pieces of equipment while surfing or fighting these big waves! The running line passes through this opening before being attached to swivels during an attack by one of these pesky sharks or skates we’ve been seeing lately near our shores! With leaders made out some variety between 2 feet long and shorter than 8 inches depending on what’s needed but usually around 4-5 ft.
The slider sinker is a great way to fish for the larger species. The clip on it not only makes changing out your bait quick but also allows you to feel heavy or light bites without feeling any weight from the sinker itself!
High low rig
The high low rig is a simple rig that involves two hooks. One hook is used for the bottom fishing while the other one is clipped to your surf rod, ready to be deployed when you make contact with the fish!
Surf fishing sinkers
Surf fishing sinkers are mainly used when surfcasting to get your bait down to the bottom of the ocean floor. These weights can be made from different materials such as steel or lead, with some being castable while others sink straight down on a line.
Surf fishing hooks
Surf fishing hooks are made from metal and come in many shapes and sizes, with some being barbed while others not. The most common choice is the circle hook which has a wide gape for easy release of fish!
Surf fishing line
Surf fishing line is made from many materials such as braided nylon, fluorocarbon, or monofilament. These different types of lines are used depending on the type of surf fishing you will be doing and what sort of bait you’re using!
Top surf fishing species
The most common catch in surf fishing is the Pacific sand dabs, or “redfish”. Other popular fish include flounder and many types of rock cod.
Surf Fishing Tips for Striped Bass
Many people who are new to surf fishing believe that they need a big, heavy rod in order to catch bass. This is not the case; most of the time you can use any type of bait and reel with light gear as long as you present it well!
Surf Fishing Tips For Red Drum
If you’re going to be surf fishing for the red drum, a good tactic is using light gear with shrimp on it. The best time of day to go out and fish this way would be in the morning or evening since they are most active at these times.
Surf Fishing Tips For Bluefish
Bluefish is one of the most common fish to catch when surf fishing and they can be difficult because they tend to grab bait aggressively. If you’re having trouble with bluefish, try using a small hook since this will help keep them from biting too hard on it!
Best Places to do Surf Fishing
The best places to surf fish are in shallow water, with rocks and other structures nearby. The ocean is usually not the best place for a beginner because of how rough it can be on shorelines since currents shift all the time!
Keeping your rods from falling into sand or saltwater
Keeping your rods from falling into sand or saltwater is key to surf fishing. The easiest way to do this is by securing the rod with a Velcro strap that goes around the section of the beach where you’ll be standing. If there’s no place for a rod tip, then use an object such as a picnic table, lifeguard stand, large rock, and so on. One thing not to try: using rope if it isn’t specially designed for marine environments–it will begin to deteriorate in less than 24 hours due to exposure!
Common mistakes made by novice surf fishermen and how to avoid them
- Failing to find the right bait or tackle for the conditions. This is a common mistake made by novice surfers, and it can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. You’ll need different baits in different water temperatures and at different times of day; choosing the wrong one will lead to frustration when nothing bites!
- Rushing out onto the waves without understanding how to choose the right bait and tackle can lead to frustration.
- It’s important to know how surf fishing works, what types of fish are typical in that area on different days of the week depending on water temperature, and how this will affect your choice of baits for a particular place at a certain time.