How To Surf Fish: 5 Tips For Beginners

If you would like to learn how to surf fish, follow these 5 tips for beginners and begin to enjoy the fun and excitement of catching fish standing on the shoreline or wading in the surf of a pristine beach. With few exceptions, surf fishing is done in saltwater.

To surf fish, you'll need the following equipment:

  • A graphite surf rod of nine to twelve feet in length.
  • A surf fishing spinning reel loaded with 300 yards of twelve to 30 pound test monofilament line.
  • Terminal tackle which consists of  the equipment at the far end of the line, such as hooks, swivels, leaders and lead sinkers from three to six ounces.
  • Full length or chest-high waders (optional)  which provide extra distance by wading out from shore and protection for feet and legs from sharp bottoms.
  • A tackle box to hold your terminal tackle.
  • Rod holder that digs into the sand to contain your rod.
  • Bait and bucket to hold bait and any fish caught.
  1. Check with locals or bait shop for fishing information. Find out what are the best stretches of beach and what fish are running. Ask about the best bait to use.
  2. Learn to tie knots. Learn how to tie basic knots for your lines, leaders and hooks.
  3. Make several practice casts. If you're using your surf rod for the first time, practice your casts to gain distance and accuracy. Use only your sinker and don't bait the hook until you actually start fishing. It's always a good idea to bring along an experienced surf caster to give you pointers on your casting technique.
  4. Bait your hook and make your cast. Let your sinker settle on the bottom and either hand-hold your rod or place it in the rod holder. Always keep a tight line so you can feel a bite more easily. If you put your rod in the rod holder, watch the rod tip for any jerking motion which can indicate a fish on the line.
  5. Play the fish carefully. When you've hooked a fish, keep a taught line and don't allow any slack. Adjust the drag on your reel so that the fish has to work hard to pull line from the reel. Be patient and don't try to horse the fish in, otherwise you may snap your line or pull the hook from the fishes' mouth. After you've landed your first fish, you'll have learned how to surf fish and will gain more confidence with every fish you catch.
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