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Surfcasting Without The Surf

Updated on May 18, 2016

8/4/2015 Casting Practice!

Which do you prefer for surfcasting - Spinning Reels or Conventional Reels?

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Welcome to the "Surfcasting Without Surf" Webpage.

Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, we rarely use surfcasting gear as a drive to Padre Island and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are more than a day trip allows.

Back in the Spring of 2007, North Texas received large amounts of rainfall that filled area lakes and reservoirs. In Lake Texoma's case, water overflowed its bank and flowed over the spillway. What followed was outstanding fishing for Striped Bass at Texoma's tailrace, also locally known as Denison Dam.

To fish the tailrace, surfcasting gear was critical to success enabling long casts that could reach the fish and providing the strength needed to power in fish in a strong current.

Thinking "out of the box", we decided not to wait for another year like 2007 before using our surfcasting gear again. So, we have "dusted off" our surfcasting gear, started to fish the area lakes, and hope to provide useful information to others that are interested.

We appreciate your support and would like to welcome you to our site. For ease of reference, we have grouped the article's sections as follows:

  • Surfcasting Reels
  • Surfcasting Rods
  • Surfcasting Rigs
  • More Fishing Rigs
  • Some More Fishing Rigs
  • FYI: Tennis Ball Fishing Float
  • Surfcasting Casting Videos
  • Team Videos of Interest
  • FYI: Ghost Shrimp Pump

Good Luck and Good Fishing!

PS: May 2015 Lake Texoma goes over the spillway; the Red River is flowing well with all the water being discharged! Anticipate the Striped Bass fishing will be good much like it was in 2007!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Penn Squall 15Abu Garcia 6500 C3Penn 720 SS Spinning ReelAlvey Sidecast Reel (Australian)Newell 209MAmbassadeur 5000CDaiwa Millionaire 3RM
Penn Squall 15
Penn Squall 15
Abu Garcia 6500 C3
Abu Garcia 6500 C3
Penn 720 SS Spinning Reel
Penn 720 SS Spinning Reel
Alvey Sidecast Reel (Australian)
Alvey Sidecast Reel (Australian)
Newell 209M
Newell 209M
Ambassadeur 5000C
Ambassadeur 5000C
Daiwa Millionaire 3RM
Daiwa Millionaire 3RM

Surfcasting Reels

The majority of our Field Team prefers conventional reels for surfcasting.

There are a few who prefer spinning reels over conventional reels. And, one Field Team member prefers a sidecasting reel.

Regardless, use what works best for you. Bottomline: You need to be able to cast with it consistently.

Note: Latest addition to the reel arsenal is a Penn Squall 15 Reel. This one offers a magnetic break system that helps prevent backlashes! Even better, once dialed in, 100+ yard casts are not a problem.

Japanese Telescoping Rod
Japanese Telescoping Rod

Surfcasting outfit that uses a collapsible fishing rod bought in Japan 15 years ago and an Ambassadeur 5000 reel bought 20 years ago. When extended, rod measures 10 feet in length.

Combo worked well on a trip to the local lake. Caught 40+ White Bass working the shallows off a point. Small fish but still fun to catch!

Surfcasting Rods

Like fishing reels, the same is true for fishing rod preferences of our Field Team. Popular brands include Daiwa, Lamiglass, Bass Pro, Cabela, and Academy “Specials”.

There is one Field Team member who uses a Japanese import brought back from an overseas tour when he was in the service . It is thin and has sections that slide into one another for ease of transport.

Regardless of brand, choose a fishing rod for surfcasting based on length and fit. The Field Team uses fishing rods ranging from 10′ to 12′ and prefers a long handle section and a narrow diameter where the rod is held when retrieving. The length allows for powercasts for distance and the long/narrow handle makes for easier retrieve.

Bottomline: Select a rod that can cast a heavy weight for distance (2oz to 4oz weights) and does not tire you when casting and retrieving jigs for hours at a time.

Note: If using bait instead of lures, then choose a fishing rod that can powercast heavy weights (2oz to 4oz) for distance.

FYI: Daiwa Sealine Surf casting Rod and Penn Squall 15

Ordered a 11' Daiwa Sealine Surf Casting Rod and mounted a Penn Squall 15 Reel on it.

After a little practice casting session, fished a local pond and managed cast across the pond with ease. Even caught a Bass!

Do keep this rod in mind if looking for an economical surf rod!

Variation of the Weigthed Bobber Fishing Rig
Variation of the Weigthed Bobber Fishing Rig

Helpful Hint

When fishing tailraces, the Weighted Bobber Fishing Rig is the norm. But, when conditions call for a long cast to fish that are located mid -depth or lower in the water column, then remove the bobber and replace it with a Swivel Sinker – a sinker shaped like a torpedo with swivels attached.

Surfcasting Rigs

The team primarily uses two fishing rigs: Weighted Bobber Fishing Rigs and Bait Fishing Rigs.

The Weighted Bobber Fishing Rig is used when fishing with lures such as Jigs and Rattle-Traps. A weighted bobber is tied directly to the shock leader, and then another line is tied from the bobber to the lure.

  • A variation of the Weighted Bobber Fishing Rig adds a swivel weight to the bobber using split rings. The team prefers this rig when casting Crappie Jigs to schooling White Bass breaking on the water’s surface.
  • Don’t be alarmed when the bobber sinks when you stop retrieving. The bobber’s purpose is to keep the jig in the upper part of the water column and allow for a longer presentation to the schooling fish.

The Bait Fishing Rig is used, as you might guess, when fishing with bait. Although ready-made fishing rigs are available, we prefer to tie our own as snags and break offs will happen. Making our own does not hurt the pocketbook as much. For more details, watch the YouTube Video posted in the Surfcasting Casting Section below or click on the link - "Cast Over 300ft Pendulum Surf Casting Part 1".

Remember to keep experimenting when the fish become lock jawed. Also, locate structure and read the current conditions. Birds hovering above the water’s surface and frantic baitfish are a good sign. Just be prepared to cast for distance, so practice, practice, practice….

Quick Change Weighted Bobber/Sinker Fishing Rig
Quick Change Weighted Bobber/Sinker Fishing Rig

More Fishing Rigs

Here is a fishing rig that the Field Team uses when fishing Denison Dam’s Tailrace.

It comes in handy when the action shifts from the surface to the bottom and back to the surface again, allowing quick change from float to sinker and vice versa.

The fishing rig uses a large Snap Swivel. The main line and the leader are tied to the upper ring of the Snap Swivel. A float or sinker is then attached as needed. See picture.

FYI: The weighted bobber in the picture is a 1-3/8oz “Launcher” made by Flexcoat. A favorite among the Field Team.

Slide Rig (or Trolley Rig)
Slide Rig (or Trolley Rig)

Some More Fishing Rigs

Here is a fishing rig that the Field Team used when fishing on piers and other elevated locations. It is a Slide Rig, also called a Trolley Rig. It can be used with one or two rods.

With one rod a heavy weight is cast for distance. There is no other terminal tackle used. Then, the Slide Rig with an attached hook and leader, are placed on the line. Gravity then pulls the Slide Rig into the water.

With two rods, one rod is used as the Anchor Rod which is casted for distance like in the case above. A second rod is the Fishing Rod which holds the baited line. The Slide Rid with an attached Release Clip is placed on the Anchor Rod’s line. The Fishing Rod’s baited line is attached to the Release Clip, and then Gravity pulls the Slide Rig, Release Clip, and baited line into the water.

This setup comes in handy when using large or fragile baits that cannot be casted for distance. Also, the higher the elevation the easier the Slide Rig slides down the line.

FYI: Tennis Ball Fishing Float

Do try this one out; here is a HubPages article we wrote!

It’s an article that describes how to make a Tennis Ball Fishing Float. Although there are other floats that can be used to cast for distance, this one works well when fishing piers that restrict overhead casting!

The weight of the tennis ball and the ability to cast underhanded for distance makes this one standout compared to other designs! In this instance, we designed this Float after seeing fishermen working the Bonita and Mackerel schooling off of Oceanside Pier in Oceanside, California!

Works really well when casting underhanded! Checkout the article when you get a chance! Tennis Ball Fishing Float Article.

Surfcasting Casting Videos!

Recommended YouTube videos that provide useful information on casting techniques.

The first one is part one in a series of four videos. It details how to make a bait fishing rig that works well for long distance surfcasting.

Do check it out as well as part two and three. Two and three provide additional details on making the bait fishing rig as described in part one.

Part four in the series demonstrates the pendulum cast.

A pendulum cast provides a smooth swing that reduces the likelihood of a backlash when compared to other techniques that use a quick start/stop motion like the overhead cast.

Moreover, the pendulum cast can make a difference when the fish are lurking pas the breakers at times.

The last video demonstrates the use and casting of an Alvey Sidecast Reel.

A popular reel from Australia, it has been known for its ability to attain long distance casts!

Keep this one in your back pocket; it may prove useful in the future!

Team Videos of Interest!

Below are a various videos from the Field Team that may be of interest to fishermen who like surfcasting without the surf!

Back to the Coast!

Here are a few videos where we were able to surfcast with the surf!

FYI: Ghost Shrimp Pump

Several years ago we made a Ghost Shrimp Pump in preparation for a trip to the Gulf Coast.

The video below is us using the Ghost Shrimp Pump to catch bait, and then fishing and catching a fish or two!

Do check it out!


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    • hbng84 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Added a video from today's action at the local lake. Used the Penn Squall 15 reel that we picked up last year and Sabiki Flies made from a Bevita wrapper. See it in the Team's Video of Interest section - "Surfcasting without the Surf...!"

    • hbng84 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Been wanting to re-publish this one for some time. Here is an updated HubPages article... Surfcasting without the Surf!


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