Surf fishing! A Ton of Fun for Your Next Vacation!
Growing up in the South, I’m no stranger to the old Zebco 33 and fishing every pond I could find as a kid. Not being a salt-water dweller, the idea of fishing in the ocean to me has always been one of finding the right captain and chartering a big boat to go out in the middle of the ocean and fish for these large monster fish I had only seen on TV. Honestly speaking, it sounded down right expensive.
On a recent trip to the beach I ran across a Youtube channel of a guy who focused only on surf fishing…fishing off the beach. I had always seen guys doing this but just assumed this a futile way to spend some time. However, after watching this video from my condo living room, I decided to give it a try. So, I ventured out to a local tackle shop and purchased just enough gear to give it a go. I spent awhile talking to the store clerk at the tackle shop, making sure I got just what I needed to do the job. After spending about $40 on tackle, I was ready to hit the beach.
Let me say, I can’t begin to explain how wrong my thoughts were on beach fishing. My first time out was an absolute joy of an experience. Sad thing was, I had no idea what I was even catching, but all I know is there a lot of fish in sea! Before I knew it, I was pulling in fish left and right, sometimes even two at a time. It was the most fun I had with a rod and reel in a long time.
This is the reason I wanted to write this article. I want to share with our readers how I surf fish, and hopefully your next adventure to the beach can be as enjoyable as mine was.
First let’s examine the set up. What type of gear do you need?
To be honest, any old rod and reel will work on the beach; however, a surf rod and a decent real with about a 15-30lb test braid line is usually my go to. However, I did see my wife reel in about 15 fish one morning on my old Zebco 404, so when I say anything will work, it’s true. I just typically like to be a little more prepared in the event I do hook up with a larger species of fish. One additional thing I do want to point out here is always keep reel oil with you. I prefer Lucas Reel oil and I always keep some in my tackle box. Try very hard not to get your reel in the salt water and keep it out of the sand. No matter what you are using, those two things will be do some major damage to your gear.
This is the important part of surf fishing. Unlike fishing freshwater, beaches have a lot of current, so you want to be sure you use substantial tackle in order to insure your bait stays where you want it. I have found using a Pompano Rig to be the best way to catch fish. Basically, the Pompano Rig is a set up where you use a weight at the very bottom of the line, and above that weight are two offset lines for your hooks. See the photo for a detailed view.
I like using a 3-ounce diamond shaped weight. This weight will give you maximum sand penetration and should allow your bait to stay somewhat secured when your cast lands.
When it comes to hooks, I like using a circle hook. Ocean fish tend to swallow the bait, and most fish in the ocean have teeth. The circle hook, helps prevent this from happening.
I use a small swivel at the top of the Pompano rig and attach the other end to my braid line using a Palamore knot. If you don’t know what a Palamore knot is, it is worth your time looking that up. If you use braid line, the fisherman’s knot will not work.
This to me is the easy part. Ocean fish love 2 things…shrimp and sand fleas. My first time out I simply purchased some frozen peeled shrimp and it worked like a charm. The only problem I had with the shrimp is you lose a lot of bait.
Then I ran across a little company in Florida that makes a product called Fish Bites. It’s synthetic bait and comes in Shrimp or Sand Flea flavor. It works like a charm, and many times I can catch 2-3 fish while the bait is still on the hook. It’s a lot less mess than real live bait, and to me works just as good. I highly recommend giving it a try. You can order it online at www.fishbites.com
What Type of Fish Can You Catch
Honestly, I have caught all kinds of species of fish off the beach. Sometimes you just never know what is swimming by and decides to nibble on your bait; however, here are a few of the most common fish and some you can probably expect to catch your first time out.
First and foremost, you will catch catfish…yes catfish. These fish are saltwater cats, and taste pretty much just like freshwater cats. Many fishermen toss them back because you will catch a lot of them. Be careful of the dorsal fin barb, it is somewhat poisonous and can hurt if you get stuck by it.
This is the most sought after fish on the surf. Having to be 12” long to keep, the Pompano is one of the tastiest fish in the ocean. Fun to catch and delicious to eat…what more could you ask for?
Whiting fish are fun to catch and delicious to eat as well. When you get a school of Whiting, there isn’t anything more fun to reel in. They only have to be 10” to keep so you can catch a cooler full and the feed the family with ease!
The Pin Fish will probably be one of the first little fish to jump on your bait. Fun to catch and eager to take a bite makes the Pin Fish an assured show. The best thing about the Pin Fish is larger fish love them, so, add them to a larger hook, and go for larger fish!
Try It Out!
Next time you are visiting the beach, I would encourage you to try surf fishing. It’s an absolute ton of fun, and you can come away with some pretty good groceries!
Looking for that perfect fishing rod and reel, check out PISCIFUN for some really awesome deals on everything you need for surf fishing!