Surf Fishing: A Comprehensive Guide

People sometimes get confused about this type of fishing with pier fishing because the surf fishermen use both live bait and artificial in saltwater.

Surf fishing challenges the fishermen because of waves and undertows. They have to control the surf, tides and their fears in some cases.

The mostly known idea of surf fishing is casting bait or lure from far in the shoreline into the water to reach the target fish. This type of fishing needs a rod between 7 feet and 18 feet long, terminal tackle, bait or lure.

Surf fishermen often go fishing in the daylight, but sometimes, they utilize the nocturnal feeding habit of many species to go fishing at night. Flashlights, headlamps, gear and light sticks can support them to discover areas of fish gathering.

Now, let’s continue with where and when to go surf fishing at the following lines.

Where and when to go surf fishing?

You can go surf fishing at almost beaches with the long shoreline. Fishermen often utilize public beaches to go fishing from the shore. It’s so popular to see many people with their poles and nets going along the shoreline and working.

surf fishing

Near the shore, you can catch much inshore fish from the beach like snapper, redfish, pompano or even shark.

Many barrier islands and tidal pools provide you seclude fishing spots with spectacular views. You can even go fishing by the shoreline or even each outlying beaches by boats.

Types of surf fishing


This is a casting technique to separate the surf-caster from the ordinary shore and boat fisherman. They often use extremely long rods which are generally to lengthen the cast, lure and bait the fish from a far distance.

Besides, they also use standard two-handed casts to achieve the distance exceeding 700 feet.

Extreme Surfcasting

This is also known as the Skishing technique which includes a wetsuit, flippers, and swimming by using the surf casting pole to catch fish.

Montauk is the inventor of this technique in 1995. At that time, fishing in this way was mostly known as “skiing” through the ocean like a water-skier to catch fish.

Now, Skishers can swim even hundreds of yards from the shoreline, let the water get over their heads and keeping them afloat by the buoyancy of their wetsuits.

And now, how to choose equipment for surf fishing?Let’s discover the useful tips.

To make our surf fishing more comfortable, convenient and effective, we should carefully work out on choosing proper items or equipment.

Surf fisherman often uses full length and chest-high waders as the measure to protect them from wading out from the shore.

Waders also protect our feet and legs from sharp objects in the bottom of the ocean and biting fish as well as cold water temperatures.

Many surf fishermen like integrating booted waders into stocking-foot sets to eliminate the sand and rock movement.

This equipment is also useful to protect us from mossy and slimy rocks. The boots and attachments are also used to improve the safety of the foot.

And, what’s about other surf fishing equipment? Go on reading now

How to choose the proper surf fishing rod?

Surf rod length

Normally, surf rods are between 9 and 14 feet long. Length is an important element to choose a surf rod. This is also considered as the first and foremost factor to determine the physical ability of anglers.

For anglers who possess some physical limitations, long rods with the shorter end of the spectrum is so convenient.

Surf rod length can help narrow down the casting distance because of different goals. Thus, the larger-sized species of fish anglers are looking for, the longer the rod should be chosen for its leverage.

Surf Rod Power

The second most important factor when selecting a proper surf fishing rod is its power. Rod power is known as the strength of the rod which possesses lifting power and ranges from light to heavy.

Most anglers often use the middle of the spectrum at medium-heavy as the best and most convenient option.

When determining rod power, make sure that you are choosing the proper line. The heavier the power of the rod is, the better the function it possesses with heavier line

Surf Rod Action

Next, let’s move to consider the action of the surf rod. This is defined as the bending or tapering capacity of the rod under pressure. The rod with a fast action when bending shall be better in comparison with a slow action one.

The rod action is most suitable for discussing casting distance. Thus, a fast tip rod shall support fishermen with the most casting distance.

The rod is also the best-used factor when fishing lures in the surf. As you can see, the fast action rod shall be best for rigs to have a single hook.

surf fishing rod

Surf Rods for Live Bait

When choosing a surf rod for the intended use of live bait fishing its best to choose a surf rod with a medium-fast action and a fairly stiff tip.

These features are most desirable due to the heavy sinkers and large baits traditionally used for live bait fishing in the surf. It’s best to avoid rods with soft tips as they bend too much, reducing casting distance and hook set.

Surf Rods for Lures

You should find the effective rod with a medium-fast to fast action capacity for your intended use of casting lures. This can help you speed up in whipping smaller lures in longer distances.

How to choose Reel Seats and Handles

Reel seats and handles are the important elements when comparing rods. You’d better choose the real seat which is built with the non-corrosive material such as carbon or graphite.

When exposing to the salt water, they may experience the corrosion condition over time. Good material can help you overcome this.

Next, it’s the length of rod handles; the two-hand casting is often used to catapult a bait in a long distance to reach over the breaking waves.

Because real seats can help to subject to corrosion, you’d better choose the surf rod with high-quality graphite reel seat. A surf rod with proper length and material can help overcome all challenges in oceans. Do you agree?


While choosing a surf casting reel, there is one factor to consider that is the structure of the reel. Besides, you should also consider the manufacturing materials of the reel because high-quality reel can stabilize you casting effectiveness.

Today, aluminum or graphite is used as a material of a fishing reel. Aluminum is sturdy whereas graphite is so light. You can prevent wrist fatigue by selecting a lighter reel.​

However, tough reels are quite helpful for dealing with various circumstances. In addition to affordability, you can choose a reel by referring to your personal preference.​

Ball Bearings

The fine reel activity and drag system depend entirely on the number of ball bearings. If a reel contains lots of steel bearings, it can provide you a smooth reel activity.

Ball bearing decides the reel activity and capacity of the drag system. If the reel contains lots of bearings, your reel activity shall be smoother.

A reel with lots of ball bearings can cost you much. Thus, you should consider this option so carefully and make your decision based on your needs.

A reel with brass-made internals bearing can withstand even the challenging conditions such as saltwater conditions than any other materials.​

The number of the ball bearing is the key factor in reducing the friction between moving parts. This element also helps the handle spin easily and gently turn. The suitable number of ball bearings is between one and twelve.


The size of the fish you aims to catch shall decide your option of a hook. The fishing hook can catch fish from 1 pound to 32 pounds. There are three basic types of hooks which are fly-cast, bait-cast, and spin-cast.

Small fishes need the small hook; large fishes need the large hook. The determining the hook types shall be based on different types of fish as well as fishing methods.


The line now comes in many different sizes and weight based on strength. The strength of the fishing line is measured in pounds (lbs). A test shall be put on the fishing line as a test before it breaks. The strength can be from 8 to 12 pounds or 15 to 40 pounds.

Besides, you also need to determine your target species. If your target species are big ones, you shall have to use high strength lines with more weight than usual.

What are the surf fishing species aimed?

The beaches in our continent can be divided into various sections based on the “topography” of each area. Thus, there are many kinds of saltwater fish for us to experience surf fishing after choosing proper equipment. Let’s see what they are now.

Whiting is one of the most common fish by surf fishing along the Space Coast. It is often caught in most of the year. It is great for eating, and the catch is not banned.

Pompano can be caught nearshore by the sand beaches because they search for their favorite food which is sand fleas. Their maximum size is about 8 lbs, and it’s very well-tasted with medium size and length.

Atlantic croaker is usually caught on the bottom of the sea like shrimp, clams. Their average size is lower than a pound with a maximum of about 3-4 pounds weight. They are good food and are not banned from catching.

Atlantic croaker

Margate has the average size of about a pond, and they can grow up to ten pounds. They are good for eating and are not banned for fishing.

Above is some of our suggestion on surf fish that fishermen often catch. By the way, you can make your collection of surf fish more colorful by other species, can’t you?

Guess that you are enhancing your fishing favorite after following us till now, let’s check some more concerns before realizing your fishing.

What are not to do when doing surf-fishing?

Choose the bad weather day

Bad weather events such as storms, floods, and hurricane should be carefully checked before going out to the sea. Some cloudy and windy days are in the same case. These conditions are very dangerous for you to control yourself when surfing or fishing poles, casts and other equipment.

Choose a spot at random

It’s so essential for you to choose the popular and public spot for you to go surf fishing. Do not choose the rare spot for your activity.

Besides, you should now that fish aren’t evenly distributed throughout the sea. Thus you should locate the most-crowded spots and go there for fishing,

Cast off the rocks

You all know that rocks can be dangerous for us to overcome. They are even a potential danger for any fishermen. Casting off the rocks can be difficult. Your feet can be knocked out because the water can rise expectedly. It’s better for you to cast in the right direction of the waves.

The bottom line

Fishing is interesting, but it’s not the “good fruit” for those who are not impatient, hot-tempered and not well-prepared. Surf fishing is the same. It is not merely the using of throwing the line and wait; it’s the “art,” do you agree?

To “catch” this hobby, the fishermen need passion, invest money, take advantage of time, enjoy new challenges and equip necessary information; then they can maintain their passion for a long time.

Hope that tips on equipment, location and some advice in the article can help your surf fishing more interesting, enjoy yourself!

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