Fishing is an adventure as well as a mode of living for some people. Fishing offers a variety of adventurous options that you can choose from and have fun. There are different types of fishing and fishing activities that one can engage in, surf fishing being one of them.
Surf fishing is a sport where one casts from dry land, one catches fish from the shore. Surf fishing offers many advantages even though some would feel that it is quite restricting. You however have a chance to catch a variety of fish like flounder, rockfish, and mackerel without leaving the shore.
Surf fishing may be a general term that refers to all types of shore fishing. It is however different when you term it as surfcasting. Surfcasting specifically refers to the act of casting at the shoreline and is mostly done in saltwater. Some people might think that you must cast as far as possible to catch fish, this is not the case. In most cases, you only need to get your bait casts into knee-deep water.
Surf Fishing Guide for Beginners
While fishing is an exciting adventure, it can be an overwhelming experience if you are not prepared. With surf fishing, the amount of fishing area is massive, the fishing equipment is larger and some species in saltwater are large as compared to those of freshwater.
Surf fishing is easy to learn, there are basics that you need to understand to ensure that you beginning your adventure on the right track. Surfing tactics are often a subject of some factors like location, seasons, tides, weather conditions, and the type of fish you intend to capture. Discussed is an ultimate guide for every beginner from equipment set up to fishing strategy.
Surf Fishing Equipment
Since surf fishing is done in salt water, it can be quite demanding when it comes to equipment than freshwater fishing. The surf fishing rod is bigger and the reels are larger. The point is, you need something to enable you to handle much larger and stronger fish and also cast your bait further.
1.Surf fishing reel
Fishing reels do come in different shapes and sizes. The common one and easiest to use especially for beginners is the spinning reel. Reels are often manufactured in increasing size of 1000. The right spinning reel for you should be in the 6000-8000 size range. When making a selection, consider the amount of line it can hold.
2.Surf fishing rod
Compared to other fishing rods, surf fishing rod is relatively larger. The fact is that it is required to cast heavy baits. For successful surf fishing, your rod should have enough height and casting power to overcome the waves breaking near the shore. What are some of the factors to consider when choosing a surf fishing rod?
- Rod length- surf fishing rods provide a wide variety of lengths between 9-14 feet to choose from. When it comes to surf fishing the length of the rod is important. Before purchasing get to consider your fishing ability as an angler. If you are shorter, consider a rod that is relatively short at the end of the spectrum for convenience and comfort when fishing. You also need to note that the rod length affects the casting distance.
- Rod power-this can simply be defined as the rod strength or its lifting power. Consider medium-heavy rods for they are versatile and the best option for most anglers. When choosing rod power, ensure that you find a suitable line. With a heavier power rod, you need a heavier line to avoid the risk of breaking.
- Rod action- under pressure, rods do bend or taper, this is what rod action refers to. A fast-action rod bends more near the tip, perfect for most casting distance and lures. A rod with slow action, on the other hand, bends from the centre. The rod action has a significant impact on the casting distance and hook’s setting power.
- Reel seats and handles- the ideal real seats should be made from non-corrosive material.
3.Surf fishing line
The recommended line for surf fishing is the braid. You must have an adequate line to fill your reel. When spooling, ensure that you have the right amount depending on the reel capacity. Having too little or too much line comes with adverse effects.
Surf Fishing Gear
Having the right assortment is vital when it comes to fishing experiences. You should be in a position safe enough to handle all sizes of fish. You should also be able to appropriately set up your fishing gear.
Some essential tools like a knife to cut your bait, pliers to remove fishhooks, a towel to clean your equipment and help you get a good grip of your catch, bolt cutters to handle swallowed hooks among others.
It is also important that you have first aid emergency equipment.
Surf Fishing Setup and strategy
If you don’t want to struggle with managing many rods, consider surf fishing using two poles per angler. The advantage of this strategy is that you get to target many fish species without facing difficulty with using many rods. You also can easily respond when a fish bites the bait. You can also consider walking into the water to maximize your casting distance.
Find an Appropriate Fishing Spot
This is an important aspect every angler should consider. The fact is, fish do have preferred places, identifying such areas increases your chance of a good fishing experience. For a beginner, this can be a challenge. Here are some pointers:
- Sand bar- this is a significant aspect when trying to know where the fish is. It often changes with waves and passing storms, however can ideally locate them where waves begin to break. Fish often gather in the shallow trough between the shore and the sand bar.
- Outflows- these are breaks in the sand bar and fish usually come to feed in the surf. Cast your line on the outflow.
- Areas with coarse sand and shells- such areas often hold fish.
Factors that Affect Casting Distance
Surfcasting is quite similar to regular casting but focuses more on distance and how accurate you can land your bait in the surf. To handle surfcasting well, learn the ideal speed and power you require to perfect your distance and accuracy at once. How far to cast when surf fishing is subject to various factors.
1. Rod action
This is a relevant factor when it comes to casting distance. This defines how and where the rod blank flexes with pressure. The rod’s action impacts how it is cast, the sensitivity of the tip, and the rate of transferring the hook set to the bait.
A lighter, slower action casts lighter baits, heavier, faster action on the other hand casts heavier baits. The point is if a rod has a heavy power and action, it’s not likely to bend much so is the load.
Consider a rod with moderate action and medium power if you want to maximize your cast, it will cast a heavy bait and load more.
2. Rod length
The length of the rod has a significant impact on the casting distance. A longer rod means that you will cast longer. When making a choice, however, choose one according to your needs. You want a rod length that is convenient and comfortable.
3. Line size
A heavier, thicker line is not your best shot to maximizing your cast as compared to a thinner, lighter line. If the line is lighter, the weight of the lure and the force of recoil on the rod can easily pull the line.
The line size is however subject to the rod power. With a heavier rod, you want to have a comparable line to avoid the risk of breaking the fish off often.
4. Line material
The thickness, coating, and material of the line impact the casting distance. A heavier braid throws further than a lighter one. This will look like contradicting the line size rule but the material matters. With a smaller diameter and a material that will less drag, the lure can easily and effortlessly pull the line off the reel.
5. Lure weight
The lure weight adds the casting distance. This implies that the heavier the weight, the more the casting distance.
6 Lure shape or size
Aside from the weight, consider the profile of the lure. A lure for example with blades, a skirt, and a flapping trailer provides a shorter cast. The blades tend to spin in the wind, the skirt catches air and behaves like a kite.
When it comes to casting, the wind can either be your best friend or enemy depending on its direction and strength. If you are in the right direction, the wind can help you sail the bait further. Quite the contrary to going against it. The wind can cause more drag, slow your casting speed and even catch the bait.
How Far Do You Need to Cast?
Casting is important but how significant is it to catching big fish? Is it necessary to cast far to catch fish? It is a common notion people hold that you have to cast deeper to catch big fish. Since surf fishing is done on the shore, with that notion, you need to cast far.
The fact is, the big catch is not always in the deep water. Do not blame your inability to catch big fish or enough to the casting distance. The presence of smaller fish on the shore, also means big fish are present for they feed on them.
When surfcasting, consider making both far and close casts. Cast as far as you need to reach to areas with fish.
The Maximum Distance You Can Cast
Many walk into surf fishing without understanding some important aspects like casting distance. How far should you cast a surf rod? How deeper should you go when surf fishing? Does the surfing distance matter?
The optimal casting range is between 50-70 yards depending on your skills as an angler and other factors affecting casting distance.
Techniques to Increase Casting Distance
1. Choose the right rod
Find a rod that suits your fishing needs. Consider factors such as rod power and power as discussed earlier in this article. The rod material also impacts its price and casting performance. Graphite material is often recommended for it is lighter, is non-corrosive, and offers better sensitivity.
2. Find the right reel
To achieve a long-distance cast, you’ll need spinning or bait-casting equipment. When choosing a bait-cast reel, consider one with a large line capacity, one without a level of wind to increase the line resistance during casting.
3. Choose a reputable brand line
The market today offers many options in terms of brands, you should however be careful not to purchase substandard lines. Purchase premium lines even though they tend to be expensive, they are stronger even with a smaller diameter.
Consider a braided line ranging from 20-40 pounds when you aiming for extreme distance but fishing in water with clear bottom.
4. Consider using a shock leader
This is a heavier line of significant length tied to the end of the mainline to offer additional abrasion resistance property. It also offers support to the line to withstand resistance encountered during casting.
The weight of the shock leader you will use depends on the weight of your cast. With every ounce of weight, you cast you need 10 pounds of shock leader. In simple terms, if you are casting 2 ounces, you need 20 pounds, shock leader.
5. The cast
You should begin slowly, your elbow leading. Your arms should move together with your weight and body rotation. Moving your arm faster than the body could make you lose power. Also if your arm moves in front of your body, your rod tip will prematurely lower and unload.
Your body weight needs to be on the ball and toes of your front foot which should be straight.
6. Hook setting
For a longer casting distance, you need a longer and more powerful hook set. You must find the rod balance in your arm to avoid fatigue. The rod butt for instance should be under your left armpit.
Surf fishing, just like any other fishing method needs you to understand the techniques and practice more. A long-distance cast doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice. Cast your bait to a distance that is favourable to your conditions and those of the water.