Surf Fishing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Beach Fishing Gear

Have you ever thought how hard it is for aquaphobes to watch people swimming and splashing water everywhere without being able to enjoy this kind of luxury? Not fair, huh?

GOOD NEWS for all aquaphobes out there. You no longer have to watch from the side benches. Surf fishing is here to save your day. Now, you may ask: “ What on earth is surf fishing?”. Let me handle this part.

What Is Surf Fishing

It is the traditional saltwater fishing, but you’ll do it along the shoreline. What stands out in this fishing technique is that you don’t need a boat. All you need is a good surf rod that can cast over long distances as if you were on a ship in the middle of the sea. 

Where to Go Surf Fishing

You can go surf fishing wherever you want. The most famous places for surf fishing are in the USA, like North Carolina and Texas. But, to have a good trip, you need to pay close attention to details. 

For instance, you have to find a suitable spot to settle in with your rod. If you find a deep hole, make sure to set up next to it. Deep holes are the places where fish tend to hide from their catcher, thinking that fishers can’t see them. But, little do these fishes know, anglers look for these deep holes.
Also, you have to look for the points where the waves break. That is where the sandbars are formed, and it would make an excellent fishing spot.

When to Go Surf Fishing

Choosing the right fishing time slot isn’t an easy job. Professional surf fishers prefer to go fishing two hours after high or low tide. Most probably, that is the best time to go, but it’s not a 100% possibility.

High and low tides usually occur at dusk or dawn. So let’s say that a tide happened at 6 am, then you should go fishing at 6, 7 or 8 am. These would be the perfect time slots for surf fishing because most of the fish would be driven closer to the shoreline.

Now you know when and where to go fishing, you just need to know what to take on that breathtaking trip.

Basic Needs:

1. Issue Your Fishing License

You can’t drive a car without a driver’s license. It goes the same way for fishing. You can’t go fishing without your fishing license. It allows you to get into fishing spots that only fishers are allowed to enter. You won’t need it on most days; however, you have to be prepared for any consequences.

2. Buy a First Aid Kit

As a beginner, your motto should be “STAY SAFE.” You don’t know what might happen. The immensity of the beach can get quite overwhelming. Also, the fishing gear is usually sharp, and since you are a beginner, you can get cut while setting up your equipment. It wouldn’t hurt to be prepared.

3. Dress Up

You don’t need unique clothes for this sport. Get in some comfy shorts and a t-shirt, and you are good to go. What matters more than clothes is your skin’s protection. You need to have sunscreen on at all times.

Also, some fishers recommend buying a pair of polarized sunglasses to give you the advantage of seeing fish swimming into the waves. 

But how can you catch that fish?

4. Choose the Lure

Choosing your bait depends mainly on the target fish. Are you looking for a redfish? A small shark? Maybe a saltwater trout?

In surf fishing, fishers go for natural bait like squid and shrimp because it looks attractive. To protect your bait’s freshness and tastiness, keep the lure stored in a cooler or a bucket away from direct sunlight. 

Other fishers tend to go for artificial baits, which are divided into many types. 

Selecting the bait is a critical step in this procedure, as it contributes to the fishing quality. The chosen lure has to match the power, action, and length of the surf rod.

If you have a lightweight bait, then you should buy a long extra-fast surf rod, but if the bait is heavy then, you should go for a slow-action heavy powered rod.

5. Adjust Your Fish Finder Rig

The Hook

Picking out a hook can be another dilemma for most fishers. You need to choose the hook’s size based on the bait’s weight. And you select your bait’s weight based on your prey’s mass. It’s an endless loop that must be put in a definite pattern.

The Leader

A leader is a line that connects the fish to your hook. It steals the fish’s attention, so make sure to get a high-quality leader.

The Sinker

A sinker comes in many shapes and sizes, but the most commonly used in beach fishing is the pyramid-shaped sinker. It is used to settle down in the sand under the water allowing the bait to flow like a lunch meal to all nearby fish. 

You choose your sinker depending on the weather conditions. If the wind is strong and the sinker can’t hold still under the water, it would make it difficult for you to catch any fish. The stronger the wind, the heavier the sinker should be. 

6. Pick a Surf Rod

It’s fishing time, and you need to choose a rod that offers you comfort and control. 

You might ask yourself: “I’m just a beginner. I’m not sure that I’ll like fishing. So, why waste my money?”

Honestly speaking, you are 100% right. That’s why we are going to state the basics of having a good surf rod but still stick to a low budget.

The Rod’s Length

Surf rods range from 9 to 14 feet long, which changes according to the size of the fish, and the height of the fisher. If you are short, choose a rod with a length that allows you to make accurate casts. If you are tall and strong, then go for a 14-feet long rod, no one can stop you. 

Long rods are usually between 11 to 14 feet long. They are perfect for casting over long distances. However, these casts aren’t accurate. You may hook a large fish but lose it because, as a beginner, you can’t fight a big fish with a long rod.

Short rods are light and give you more leverage on big fish and also allow you to make accurate casts. Although these casts aren’t very long, they are good enough to catch a fish.

The Rod’s Power

It refers to the stiffness of a rod and its ability to bend. It has a wide range that starts by ultralight powered rods and ends by heavy powered rods. If you are going for a small fish like a panfish, then a light powered rod would suit you well. But if you are seeking a large fish like a medium-sized shark, then a heavy-powered rod should be on the top of your list. 

People tend to go between the two extremes. They choose a medium-heavy powered rod that can mostly catch all fish species. 

The Rod’s Action

It’s how much it takes a rod to return to its normal position. A fast-action rod bends at its tips only. A medium-action rod bends at its middle part, and a slow action rod bends throughout its whole length. The action of a rod will help you in managing your casting distance. 

Fast-action rods are known for their sensitivity and strength; therefore, they allow for more accurate casting as it transmits all the power in the rod to the fishing line, which helps the hook to grab on tight to the big fish.

However, a slow-action rod won’t develop the same level of accuracy provided by fast-action rods. It may give you the ability to make longer casts, but not sharp ones.

Surf Rods to Keep In Mind

1. Lamiglas Super Surf

We can call this rod “The rod of the year.” Although it’s a bit pricey, that didn’t stop fishers from getting it out of stock. It costs about 400$. For many beginners, it wouldn’t be their go-to rod. 

It’s a fast-action rod that gives you the excitement of having a good fish fight and the privilege of winning that fight.

2. Okuma Solaris

The name sounds like a Harry Potter spell, which makes it quite attractive to many fishers. Not all fishermen are willing to pay a fortune for just a rod. That’s when Okuma Solaris steps in. It lies in a price range between 85$ and 120$, which changes according to the desired rod length. 

A lot of fishers and buyers recommended this rod because of its durability, quality, and castability.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have known everything that you need to know about surf fishing. It’s time to get up and go for this worthwhile experience. What could stop you from going on a trip that will shower you with fun, food, and satisfaction?

Let me answer this for you: “NOTHING.”