Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

If you’ve ever tried to surf fish, you know that it can be a very intense and fast-paced sport. It is not for the uninitiated or those with weak knees.

What is surf fishing, you ask? Well, it is just what it sounds like: fishing from the beach with your surf-rod. Yes, they do exist, and yes, you can fish off the beach if you don’t mind getting wet.

Surf fishing is a popular sport in many parts of the world. Still, it remains one of the most underrated sports in the U.S. There are many reasons for this, but it is certainly not because surfing is any less exhilarating than other sports.

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Surf fishing is an outdoor activity that demands skill, coordination, and stamina to land that trophy catch. You can’t just show up at the beach with your rod and reel, cast your line out into the waves, and expect to catch something. You need to understand what you are doing before you can start catching fish.

If you’re interested in surf fishing, here are some surf fishing tips for beginners that should help get you started!

Where to Surf Fish?

The first tip every beginner must know about surf fishing is where to fish. Since you can’t cast out very far in the water, you should be looking for a beach that has relatively shallow and clear waters. It also helps if there are deep-water reefs or rocks nearby because most of the big fish will hang around.

An excellent place to start is the New Jersey Shore and the East Coast in general because they have a lot of spots that meet these requirements.

If you’re feeling adventurous, we recommend that you try your luck at surfing fishing in Australia, where there are many islands and coves with shallow waters and deep-water reefs. You can surf fish on most beaches in Australia, but some of the best places include Bondi Beach and Maroubra Beach in Sydney, the Gold Coast, and Royal National Park.

Choosing a Surf-Rod & Reel

Surf fishing rods and reels vary significantly in price and quality. If you want to save money, we recommend that you buy a cheap surf-rod and reel combo. You can find them online or at your local fishing shop for as little as $50.

However, if you have some spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, we recommend that you invest in a quality surf-rod and reel. A good one will cost about $150 to $300, but it is well worth the investment because you will be using it for years to come. Of course, if your budget is tight, there are still cheaper options available that should do the trick. Just make sure that it has a good drag system so you can land the big ones!

Surf reels usually have a powerful drag system that can handle monster fish. The heavier the fish, the more powerful the reel’s drag must be to land it. Bigger reels also allow you to catch bigger fish, so if you plan on landing big ones every time out, you should buy a good surf reel.

List of Baits to Use

  • Live Squid
  • Live Shrimp
  • Sand Fleas/Mole Crabs
  • Nightcrawlers or small fish pieces. They work great as cut bait.
  • Cut squid
  • Sardines, Herring, or any other small silvery fish for bait.

Choosing the Equipment You Need to Carry

Now that you’ve figured out where to surf fish and what equipment to buy, the next big question is: where do you put all this stuff? Well, the answer to that question depends on how much stuff you have. If you have a lot of equipment and it is heavy, then we recommend that you take a large backpack with you when you go surfing fishing.

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You can buy a backpack from your local sporting goods store or online for about $20-$25. Make sure to get a backpack between 50-75 liters in size because it will hold all of your surf fishing equipment. If you only have a rod and reel, you should get one of those small backpacks specially designed to hold fishing rods (about $12).

Additional Guidelines

  • Be sure your equipment is up-to-date and in good working order before attempting any fishing at all. This includes rods, reels, lines, and lures as well as other accessories like waders or wet suits;
  • Watch out for waves—the ocean has a mind of its own and will knock you down if you don’t pay attention! Surf fishing requires plenty of patience;
  • Always wear sunscreen—fishing is excellent, but it’s no fun if you get burned to a crisp;
  • Use polarized sunglasses while fishing. They will block the light and glare and redirect it so you can see your target better. If you don’t have polarizing glasses, you can also use standard glasses or squint!
  • Use fishing vests or waders to keep your valuable equipment within easy reach;
  • Wear boots for grip and protection;
  • Make sure you know any relevant surf fishing regulations before heading out on the water, so you don’t get into trouble!
  • Make sure you are with someone else who knows what they are doing when fishing in high surf, as the risks are significantly higher;
  • If you are fishing alone, consider bringing a cell phone in case of emergency;
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch anything the first time. Surf fishing is complex, and many people find it frustrating! You will need to be patient and learn from your mistakes before you get the hang of things.
  • Always be careful of your surroundings—there are others on the water beside you, including swimmers and surfers! And always be aware of the ebb and flow of the tide;
  • Only go fishing in an area where you have permission to be. In other words, don’t trespass! Surf fishing can damage the environment, especially when done improperly.
  • Leave the environment as you found it—pick up trash and any equipment that was left behind by others.

Conclusion

Surf fishing is an excellent way to spend a relaxing day at the beach. But as with any activity, you need to be appropriately equipped and prepared for all eventualities to make sure that your time on the waves is as safe as possible. We hope this article has given you some valuable insight into how best to pack up and prepare for surf fishing adventures.

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