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Surf Fishing

Surf Fishing from the Beach and Shore


There are quite a number of fishermen and women who either by choice or by circumstance do not fish from a boat. Let's deal with surf fishing and all that goes with this unique form of angling.

Getting To the Fish

Surf fishing anglers come in all varieties, but can be just as fanatical as any other anglers. What some of them lack in he way of a boat they more than make up for in their beach vehicle. Some of these 4WD vehicles are as well equipped as any offshore cruiser when it comes to tackle and fishing equipment. Experienced surf anglers cruise the beach (where allowed, of course) looking for that edie or runoff, looking for birds working a school of baitfish. They will follow a moving school of bait fish for miles waiting for a school of blues, reds or trout to begin feeding through them.

Rods and Reels

Because surf fishing is a very specialized type of fishing it requires some very specialized tackle. Surf rods from 10 to 12 feet long, capable of slinging 6 ounces of lead weight plus a bait up to 100 yards beyond the breaking surf are seen up and down the beach. Heavy duty spinning reels are the usual reel found on these rods. Surf anglers argue regularly as to whether the length of the rod, or the design of the reel, or the size of the rod guides plays the biggest part in achieving long casts.

Weights and Sinkers

The weights used when bottom fishing in the surf vary little, and are usually a multi-ounce pyramid sinker clipped on a drop rig with the bait and leader further up the line. The pyramid sinker shape helps it dig into the bottom and hold the line tight. Other designs are arguably as good, but the pyramid has been the standard sinker for years.

Baits and Lures

Baits can range from live bait fish of the variety currently running in and beyond the surf, to blood worms, to cut bait, to sand fleas, those relatives of the crab that live in the surf wash just under the surface of the sand. Striper anglers opt for live eels. Artificials work well in schooling fish, once they are feeding. The size of the bait is dependent on the size of the schooling fish, and in general would be some thing that can match the baitfish. Spoons, topwaters, and huge plugs work well. Artificial eels in the surf can be deadly on stipers at certain times.

Where Can I Fish?

Surf fishing is possible on any almost any coast worldwide. You may not be fishing from a sandy beach, rather rough ragged rocks, but the baitfish still follow the contour of the shore and the feeding fish will be right in around and under them. Shorelines may vary, but tactics will be the same.

Bottom Line

If you don't have a boat, and you want to be exposed to the possibility of some really large fish, try surf fishing. Start up costs are relatively cheap, and fresh fish on the table are hard to beat!

Are you a surf fisherman? Got a story or question? Tell me about your experiences and ideas for others articles by sending me an Email.

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