On this page you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know about surf fishing and get tips on how to do it like a professional. We don’t just share tips, we educate you on the entire process and give you an idea of preferred techniques. You’ll start off by learning exactly what surf fishing is along with some of the best surf fishing tips gathered from across the internet and even from fishermen just like yourself. You’ll also be provided with a list of recommended fishing tackle and additional sources of information. We hope the information provided in this article helps you become a better surf fisherman.
- Surf Fishing Basics
- Surf Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics
- Surf Fishing Tackle and Equipment
- Surf Fishing Additional Resources
Surf Fishing Basics
Surf fishing is a method of catching fish by wading in the surf or standing on the shoreline. This method of fishing can be confused with pier fishing however they are considered to be two different methods. Both live bait and artificial lures are used by surf fishermen and the majority of surf fishing is done in saltwater. Surf fishermen need to be very careful of waves and undertows: these can be extremely dangerous, causing injury and even death. If you’re going to be using waders then make sure to always wear a wader belt to prevent water from filling up your waders in case you slip into the water.
Surfcasting is the technique that proves to be the difference between surf fishing and simply just pier or shore fishing. The fishing rods used in surf fishing are extremely long, reaching between 12′ to 16′. When casting, the fishermen will use both hands and for farther distant casting they use their entire bodies. This is required because a great distant needs to be covered to reach inshore fish that are feeding. The current world record for the longest surfcasting is held by Danny Moeskops who casted an astonishing 313 yards. Surf fishermen must be careful when casting, with razor sharp hooks and the powerful casting required, they need to make sure that there is no one around them when casting.
Surf Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics
- The Best Surf Fishing Rig – When it comes to the holy grail of surf fishing rigs the most effective setup is the fish finder rig, followed by the drop rig. If you’re new to the sport then the fish finder rig is the best one to start out with. You can experiment with other options later.
- Recon the Fish Area – Proper reconnaissance is a great way to improve your success. Use low tide to check out your fishing area for dips, hollows, sandbanks, structures etc. to get an idea where fish might be feeding or hiding when the tide comes back in. Don’t forget to ask the locals and your friendly bait/tackle shop employee on some of the best places to fish.
- Best Surfing Fishing Live Bait – There are several good live bait options for surf angling and the most successful ones will depend on what you’re trying to catch. Some of the most successful live baits are mole crabs, squid, sandworms, ragworms, bloodworms, shrimp, mullet and hard/soft shell crab. Ask your local bait/tackle shop employee on some of the best live baits to use in the area you plan on fishing in. They will be happy to share their secrets.
- Ride the High Tide – The best time to surf fish is during high tide. This is when all the fish come in to feed, especially if high tide happens at dawn or dusk. However you should be careful when surf fishing during dawn and dusk. It’s harder to see people swimming and/or objects on the beach.
- Don’t Use Makeshift Rod Holders – You should purchase a real fishing rod holder. It’s best to avoid using buckets and coolers, they can easily get pulled out by a large fish and the last thing you want to see is your fishing pole being dragged into the surf.
- Safety First, Success Second – Surf fishing can be a dangerous sport due to the strong waves and under tows. Never go fishing without letting someone know where you’ll be fishing and when you’ll return. Make sure to watch out for swimmers around the areas you’re surfcasting in. Also be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
Surf Fishing Tackle and Equipment
The right kind of fishing tackle can make or break your surf fishing experience. Below is just some basic recommended equipment to use. This is not a complete list and standard fishing tackle is left out to keep your eye on the important surf related gear.
Note: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase, then I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
» Fishing rod between 7′ and 18′ (with extended butt section, length of the rod depends on distance of casting required)
» Saltwater spinning reel (make sure it’s saltwater rated to prevent corrosion issues)
» 20 to 25 lbs of fishing line
» Pyramid weights and spider weights
» Bait; live or artificial depending on the area you’re fishing in
» Fishing cart with front wheels
Surf Fishing Additional Resources
- Surf Fishing- The Quick Start Guide – This is a detailed book that will provide value for both beginners and intermediates.
- Surf Fishing on About.com – A nice little resource to get some additional information.