“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.
Teach him to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.”
Surf fishing refers to fishing from the shoreline instead of going out into the deep sea. Saltwater anglers benefit from different fish varieties available to catch at the convenient comfort of the shores. Most beginners to surf fishing need to first practice a technique known as surfcasting, which uses baits or lures that are cast into the ocean from a distance. Speed, arm positioning, power, and optimum distancing are crucial to successfully launching the bait into the surf.
Depending on the fish species, tides, seasons, and the elements, you can use natural or artificial baits. Shrimp is often a reliable bait to catch various fishes, but other live lures also work equally well on specific fish types. Expert surf anglers take their clues from the ocean, which acts as a vast aquatic compass to the trained eye. For beginners, however, the big blue abyss may seem intimidating. Here are some essential starting points that will shape your fishing perspective to help you make the best out of each surf fishing experience.
Analyzing the Beach Topography
Reading the beach to get your clues includes analyzing the general topographic features like sand bars. A sand bar is a partially-submerged ridge of sand that helps you determine if fishes are nearby. Continuous waves and sea storms cause the sand bars to change every now and then. However, a tell-tale sign of a sand bar is the point where the incoming waves start to break. Fishes tend to feed in the surf at the outflow regions of a sand bar. This is why it is a useful strategy to cast your fishing line around an outflow.
Hollows and Dips
Shells and crustaceans are excellent landmarks for potential fish “hotspots”, as the shells often end up near deep holes where fishes may feed. Low tides create ideal navigating conditions, allowing you to find sandbanks and other promising signals.
Rock jetties are man-made rock formations that stretch into the ocean with a high chance of biting fish. The rocks that are under the water often host baitfish that become food for larger species. As the water collides with these rocky monuments, it gradually forms holes in the surface. Shellfish and other species reside in these hideaway spots, making them good hunting grounds for saltwater anglers.
Colored Patches in the Water
Schools of fishes swimming as tightly-packed clusters sometimes change the color of their occupied water. This mobile color difference floating across the water is another aspect to look out for. You can then cast your fishing lure directly towards the school of fish.
Seasoned anglers keep an eye out for saltwater weed beds too, as these tend to surf along the waters in different colors. Small fish feed on the weeds; large predator fish swim towards these smaller ones. There is a good chance of finding your target fish species near the weeds.
Always check the weather forecast before heading out to the surfs. Despite an optimistic beach reading, stay conscious about any weather changes during the rainy season. Your safety comes first, and no adventure is worth the catastrophic risk.
Choosing the right baits
Live baits are the main preferences for surf anglers. Mullets and crabs can be caught fresh and turned into live baits for your surf fishing targets. Soft baits, on the other hand, are more accessible options. These artificial, plastic alternatives deliver better results when you do some local research to get an insight into the biting trends among fishes. It is quite common to have soft baits easily surpass their live bait counterparts. Some of these soft bait types are explored below.
The lead-headed jigs are popular surf fishing lures that imitate baitfish species and crustaceans. This artificial lure has a lead head and a hook, with various streamlined features to sink into the water. The latest varieties include rubbered jigs that sink below in a hovering style to draw in other fishes.
Deep metal jigs are narrow, whereas the casting jigs are much wider. Vertical metal jigs are often used to allow a more streamlined movement across the water when you drag your fishing line. These surf fishing lures have a split-ring hook attached to them.
Poppers are soft baits that splash across the water to target fishes that swim to the surface during sunrise and sunset. The popper plugs can be dragged in a zigzag movement to lure predator fishes.
A spinnerbait is comprised of a lead head, metallic blade, and wired arm to trick the incoming fish’s senses. Soft plastic or rubber materials are used along with non-corrosive metals. You can cast out the spinnerbait and quickly drag it across the water for its intended effect.
Soft Plastic Lures
These soft plastic lures are available in several colors, fish shapes, and sizes to imitate live baits. Bright-colored baits are ideal on sunny days, whereas dark colors are better choices against overcast skies. They create versatility in your fishing maneuvers, allowing you to cast and retrieve, bounce them to the bottom, and propel them along the water to catch fishes in their wake.
Apart from choosing the right fishing bait, you need patience and persistence at the shore. When the weather is friendly, turn up during the twilight hours and make sure to cast at least one line from the moment you arrive. This turns the odds of catching a fish in your favor.
The best surf fishing lures for your virtual cart
Tailored Tackle Saltwater Surf Fishing Kit 82 Pc Tackle Box with Tackle Included | Surf Fishing Rigs & Saltwater Fishing Lures | Hooks Leaders Swivels for Salt Beach Gear Equipment
This saltwater surf fishing kit is equipped with a wide assortment of lures and fishing gear. This includes casting jigs, surfcasting poppers, grub baits, surf fishing rigs, bottom and jetty rigs, and a pompano rig for live baits. There are also different accessories to optimize your fishing experience with water bouncers, leaders, specialized hooks, swivels, and snaps. A surf fishing book is also included to teach you how to catch striped bass, shark, bluefish, and more species from the shores. The book essentially teaches you to fish and feeds you for a lifetime!
Dr.Fish Fishing Lure Assortment 5in Minnow Plugs Popper Jerkbait Mustad Hooks Saltwater Freshwater Surf Fishing Lures Striper Bass Salmon Black Silver
This surf fishing lure assortment comes with 6 fishing plugs that are streamlined with a unique holographic laser for underwater reflection. The lures have 3D eyes. There are two Mustad Treble hooks and four Saltwater Stainless Treble hooks. These baits swim in a life-like movement for several fishing contexts such as trolling and surfcasting. You can catch salmon, tuna, barracuda, bass, trout, and walleye with these hard bait varieties. Weighted rattlers are built into the design along with adjusting mechanisms that help these fishing lures sink efficiently. The durable hooks deliver long-lasting performances for your camping trips at beaches, lakes, rivers, and ponds.
XBLACK Hard Fishing Lure Set Assorted Bass Soft Fishing Lure Kit Colorful Minnow Popper Crank Rattlin VIB Jointed Fishing Lure Set Hard Crankbait Tackle Pack Saltwater Freshwater
XBLACK hard bait assortment diversifies your fishing options with 43 pieces that include poppers, minnows, and frogs. They are all designed in miscellaneous styles to suit your fishing trips. Each hard bait has 3D eyes and scales, with painted finishing for realistic effects under the water. Heavy-duty treble hooks, when moved in an “S” pattern, catch bass, salmon, trout, perch, and many more species. The fishing lures’ vivid graphics add superior functionality, making the assorted kit a family must-have during boat trips, camping excursions, and picnics at the piers!