Surf Fishing 101: The Ultimate Surf Fishing Beginner’s Guide
Kicking back and enjoying the enchanting summertime heat is a great activity in itself, and combined with fishing, you’re in for a memorable and exciting outdoor adventure. However, not all fishing techniques are the same, and knowing different methods to catch your first fish is essential to start building this lifelong passion.
A popular fishing technique is surf fishing, perfect for beginners looking to relax on the beach and make a big catch. Understanding surf fishing fundamentals will help guarantee that your first surf fishing journey is one to remember. To help you get started, we’ve compiled the ultimate surf fishing beginner’s guide. Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about this fun, classic technique!
What is Surf Fishing?
Before we get into the fundamentals of this technique, it’s essential to ask: what is surf fishing? Surf fishing is a fishing technique where the individual stands on the shoreline or in the surf on the beach. Surf fishing is a term used to describe variations of shoreline fishing and is commonly done on beaches.
Surf fishing is typically done in saltwater using an extended surf fishing rod. Because this method provides limited mobility for where you can cast your rod, surf fishers require knowledge of the numerous factors influencing fishing conditions. Among the primary factors to consider when surf fishing include the following:
- Wave height
- Season and weather conditions
- Water temperature
- Water clarity
Required Surf Fishing Gear
Before you embark on your fishing journey, gathering all required surf fishing gear is essential to ensure a successful experience. Before you head to the beach, go over the following list to double-check that you’re prepared to fish:
- Cast net
- Saltwater surf fishing rods and reels
- Sharp knife for cutting and filleting your catch of the day
- Sand spikes to place your rods and a rubber mallet to position the rods securely
- Plenty of bait, ideally live bait
- Air pump and bait bucket
- Umbrella and necessary gear in case of rain
- Extra spool for fishing line
- Surf fishing rigs
- Rig holder and marine hook
- First aid kit
- Tape measure
- Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses
- A saltwater fishing license, depending on your local restrictions
- Additional protective gear
- Spare hooks, lines, and leaders
How to Surf Fish: What to Remember Before You Fish
Once you’re prepared with all the gear and equipment you need for a successful fishing trip, you can dive into the step-by-step surf fishing process. Here are some surf fishing tips for beginning your adventure and improving your chances of making a successful catch.
Scout the Area
Not all spots are ideal for surf fishing, and before you head out, scout the area you plan to fish in. While you can never guarantee that your fishing trip will result in a successful catch, there are signs indicating that you’ll have a better shot in some areas over others.
When scouting the beach for the best areas to fish, look for spots with plenty of rocks and areas of hard ground. Complete your scouting when the water is at low tide to ensure you can find a suitable fishing spot. Look out for shellfish beds, as these areas will attract bigger catches from fish that prey on shellfish.
Finally, take note of potential obstacles you might encounter during your fishing trip. Anything that could deter your ability to fish, such as rough areas that require special rigging, should be noted before you head out on the big day.
Fish at the Right Time
Ideally, your fishing should occur at the start of the day or during the last hours of daylight. Tides will be higher early and late because these times provide less light. Fish typically are easier to spot during these times, as they are less vulnerable to predators and will gravitate closer toward the beach.
Know How to Read the Beach
Successful surf angling requires you to be at one with the elements. While the beach can’t talk, it can undoubtedly indicate whether your trip will likely succeed. Before you start surf fishing, look out for specific indicators that you’re in the right spot:
- Locate sand bars to boost the chance of a successful catch. You can notice sand bars by finding the spots where waves break as they come into the shore.
- Seek areas with coarse sand and shells. These spots tend to have deeper holes, resulting in more fish hiding around.
- Try to fish near outflows. Outflows, or rip currents, are spots where fish often frequent, typically to the right or left side of the outflow. Station your fishing equipment in these spots to have the best shot of making a big catch.
Rigging Your Bait
Properly rigging your bait is another critical component to successful surf fishing. Most surf anglers choose live bait to make a big catch. This bait is either caught or purchased at a bait and tackle location and is typically easier to rig–if you know what you’re doing.
When rigging your bait, rig through the bait’s top fin, nose, or another area that will not kill the creature. If you’re using dead bait, you’ll still have a chance of making a catch–however, your chance will definitely decrease. Live bait will move underwater, attracting attention from predator fish looking to catch their prey.
Read the Weather
Another significant indicator of whether your surf fishing trip will be successful is the weather. While every fisher is different and has unique weather preferences, beginners should consider going out on overcast or rainy days. While it might not sound like the perfect time to fish, overcast and rainy weather minimizes the shadows cast from your line and surf fishing rods, making your bait more appealing to fish looking for their next bite.
However, always prioritize your safety. Though overcast and rainy conditions can increase your likelihood of making a big catch, know the signs of a severe storm and have a place to seek shelter if you’re concerned about the weather becoming too much. High winds, lightning, thunder, and other indicators should act as a sign to cut your fishing trip short.
Prepare for Your Day
As you prepare to hit the beach, ensure you have what you need for a successful day. Aside from the necessary gear, pack some essentials into a cooler to prevent mishaps and issues during your trip.
Pack some snacks and plenty of water in your cooler or another food-safe container. Also, have a separate cooler for transporting fish back to your home base if you catch any big catches. Coolers are also vital for keeping your bait fresh and alive, boosting your chances of a successful catch.
The Best Surf Fishing Tips
While you might be prepared to go surf fishing, having additional surf fishing tips never hurts to boost your chances of success and fish like a pro. Here are some of the top tips and tricks to help you understand how to surf fish like you’ve been doing for years.
- Fish using two surf fishing rods at once for different-sized fish. For instance, bait one rod with cut fish geared toward bigger catches and place it in a rod holder. Use your other average-sized spinning rod to target smaller fish.
- Choose rigs that have small floats on the hooks. These are called “doodlebug” rigs and help ward off any creatures that try to get in your way, like crabs that hang out near the surf.
- Avoid over-casting.
- Choose polarized sunglasses to prevent glare from distracting you from a big catch.
- Keep your bait away from the sun and in a long-lasting, sustainable cooler.
- Consider baits like shrimp, squid, and mullet as you start out.
- Always have backup gear and equipment.
- Check your state fishing regulations before you decide to go surf fishing.
- When you notice that you’ve caught a fish, wait to reel it along with the next wave. Doing this allows you to work with the current and bring your catch to shore much more accessible.
- Consider using soft bait if you don’t have access to live bait.
- Remember that successful surf fishing takes time, effort, and dedication. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t making big catches immediately, even if you follow all of the best tips to make a catch likelier. Remain persistent, and eventually, you’ll be rewarded.
Find the Best Surf Fishing Tips From Reel Passion
Knowing how to surf fish is only the first step of your fishing journey. With Reel Passion, you can start fishing like a pro in no time through expert tips and advice on making your fishing journey matter. Whether you’re interested in shoreline fishing or a complete newcomer to fishing, we’ve got you covered.
By following our high-quality tips and tricks, you can head to the beach and embark on a successful experience you will surely enjoy. We have everything you need if you’ve been yearning to conquer the waves and become a fishing expert. Check out our content today for more exciting information about fishing.