Thursday, July 14, 2011

Surf Fishing 101

Surf fishing is most definitely my favorite type of fishing to do. The open ocean, crashing waves, scenery and ocean breeze make surf fishing an enjoyable outdoor activity. In addition to the great scenery, surf fishing is endless. You will probably never run out of spots to surf fish because of the hundreds of miles of beaches. I'm now going to provide some tips and techniques that I have learned over the past couple years. These recommendations will have you catching fish from the surf in no time.

Rigs - The carolina rig is the most common surf fishing rig used on the West Coast and is highly recommended. This is the carolina rig in order from top to bottom: Egg sinker, bead, swivel, around two feet of fluorocarbon line and hook. It is a simple yet effective rig that will definitely work.

Rods - For fishing the surf, I do not recommend anything under 7' because you will need a rod long enough to keep your line over the waves that will be crashing right in front of you. Many surf anglers use rods from 7' to 9'. I currently use a 7' Shimano Clarus rod that works fine, but I will eventually change that to 7'6". Use a rod that has a medium-light to medium action that will give you enough backbone to fight fish in the surf. The rod should have a fast to extra fast taper so you are able to set the hook effectively. Overall, you want a long, sensitive rod that has the ability to fight a big fish.

Reels - I recommend using a 2500 size spinning reel for surf fishing. In my opinion, the 2500 size is a nice light sized reel that won't tire out your wrist very much.

Sinkers - Depending on the surf conditions, you want to use sinker sizes from 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce. Strong currents and big waves call for heavier sized weights. I almost always use sizes such as 3/4 ounce and 1 ounce. 

Hooks - Smaller size hooks are recommended for surf fishing because some of the most common surf species have small mouths. You don't want a big hook that will have you missing bites all day. I like to use size #4 baitholder style hooks or size #2 Owner Mosquito hooks. In my opinion, these size hooks do the very well in the surf. 

Line - I almost always use 8 pound fluorocarbon line. Using light line makes fighting fish more fun and is strong enough to land them. You can use line sizes from 6 to 12 pound test in the surf. I recommend using fluorocarbon line for the leader because it is virtually invisible under water. Light line equals more fun, but you run the risk of loosing the big one. 

Bait - Ghost shrimp, sand crabs, mussel, Berkley Gulp Camo Sand Worms "CrAcK", Perch grubs in motor oil red flake (MORF) color. They WILL all work great!


Basic Tips - When your ready to cast you want to time the waves. Wait for the waves to crash then cast over them into the flat water. I like to have my rig starting in between the breaks. The waves will eventually start moving your rig towards you. Just make sure to ALWAYS keep your line tight so you can feel the bite. You can either let the current or waves take your rig or you can cast out and slooowly reel it back towards you. Sometimes you may feel like your getting bit but it can be the waves crashing down on your rig, so be sure to pay attention. The usual perch bite will feel like a shock or a really fast tapping feeling.

P.S. You'll be surprised how close the fish really are to the shore. Go get em!

Corbina caught on a sand crab


  1. Good stuff Nate. Thanks for the tips! Fish on!

  2. Thanks for all the advice! My husband loves to fish but we don't do it often. For his birthday this year I got us a charter boat who will take us out and let us fish. I really want to impress everyone, and maybe show the guys up! Thanks for the tips.

  3. can you name any best rod. which we can use for fishing purpose Fishing in Dubai

  4. Bass fishermen narrow down their options to a few favorites that consistently bag the biggest fish.

  5. Just got to experience surf fishing with ODM Surf Bags have been on the market for a couple months now.