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Fishing in surf - tips and techniques

Ocean Surf fishing can be a rewarding and fun style of fishing. It is also a very cheap way to fish.
No need for expensive boating equipment. All thats required is a good surf rod, a proper suitable reel and the right lines.

Here comes a little "how to surf fishing" guide.
For a starter you need to get the right equipment.

Lets start with the surf casting rod. There are plenty of rods to choose from.
A 4 meter long graphite-composite rod should fit most needs.
A choice needs to be made depending if one favors a spin or an overhead rod.
Most fisherman seem to go for spin rods.
They have larger first, second and third guides and fewer guides overall.

Okuma has a good range of some nice qualtiy rods, for example the

Depending on the rod choice, a matching reel needs to be selected.

Most popular surf fishing reels are large spinning reels with long cast spools, which will match a good spinning rod.
Some money should be invested to buy a good quality reel with long cast alloy spools and
three or more stainless steel ball bearings. Otherwise the achievable casting distance might be to low.
Also low cost reels will have a much shorter life span.

Very popular with experienced surfcasters are the Alvey side cast reels, such as the Alvey Casting Reel (700c5)
They are extremely durable and reliable. They feature direct one-to-one retrieves.

Overhead reels and rods are much more vulnerable to damage from sand and salt.
They will cast nicely but would only suit very experienced surf fishers.

You could go for a real professional high quality reel, such as the Saltiga Surf Spinning Reel.
Or perhaps choose a cheaper alternative to start with, such as the Daiwa Regal Spinning Reel.

Saltiga Surf Spinning Reel Daiwa Regal Spinning Reel Okuma Epixor Alvey Casting Reel

Once you picked a good surf fishing rod and reel you'll just need to find a matching line.
The lighter the line the longer they will allow you to cast.
But if the terrain is rough with rocks and heavy surf you might need to get a thicker line.
A 6 - 8 kg line should work fine for clean sandy beaches.
Even though most surfcasters go for nylon, I would recommend to give superbraid a try.
It will handle much lighter and allow longer casts. It has a very fine diameter, low stretch and
super strength.

Depending of what fish you are going to target you will need to choose the right hook size.
Anything between 1/0 and 7/0 could be suitable.
I prefer circle hooks, because fish will hook themselfes and the hook sets nicely in their mouth.
This avoids gut hooking and you will be able to release fish safely.

Another essential tool is bait elastic. If using soft baits such as mussels or frozen fish pieces they
need to be tied to the hook, otherwise they will most likely fall off during the cast.

Another helpful trick is to use shock leaders. They are tied to the mainline and should be long enough to
wind onto the spool. They will prevent break offs during the cast.

Rigs for surfcasting can be bought pre-tied. But the cheaper alternative would be to tie a few dropper rigs ore running rigs
before setting out on a trip.
I normally use a dropper rig with a torpedo sinker. I rough sea and surf breakout sinkers should be used.
They have metal times that will dig into the sea floor and prevent the bait from being carried away.

Most successful surf fisherman will use freshly caught bait. Frozen baits can be used as well.
Even soft baits such as peeler crab and sand worms will give good results.
But the bait presentation is very important. Also the smell of fresh bait is important.
You cant cover a huge area when casting into the surf. So you need to make sure that the fish will find your bait.

If you managed to hook a fish, always keep pressure on the line.
Kill your catch immediately if you want to keep it and ice it down.
Otherwise take care when handling the fish and release it smoothly.
Remember it is a living creature and deserves to be treated with respect.

Good spots for surfcasting are generally around river mouths.
Read the beach and try to locate holes where fish can feed. These are normally indicated by
smooth patches of water. Channels and drop-offs around sandbanks are also spots to look out for.

Check fishingreminder for best times to go fishing. Try to fish at major or minor times or at the turn of the tides.

Read more about surf casting - the more you know, the better you'll get


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