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Surf Fishing

Updated on September 2, 2009

Surf Fishing Equipment

At one time only conventional surf rods and revolving-spool reels were used for surf-fishing. Today, however, the trend is toward spinning tackle designed especially for surf-fishing. Spinning rods are from 9 to 12 feet long. A length of 9 to 10 feet is best for fishing from jetties or inshore rocks where short casts are in order. For fishing from beaches, however, long casts are required. For this reason, a rod that is 10 to 12 feet in length is recommended, since longer rods increase casting distance.

Surf-casting reels should be large enough to hold at least 250 to 300 yards of line. Monofilament lines with a testing strength of 12 to 15 pounds are recommended for light surf rods. For heavier rods and reels, monofilament lines with a testing strength of 20 to 25 pounds are best.

Lures used for surf-fishing include metal squids, heavy spoons, plugs, jigs, eel skins, and rigged whole eels. The size and weight of the lure depend on the size of the fish being sought and the weight of the rod. Heavy lures, weighing up to 3 or 4 ounces, are used for big fish and long casts. Surf anglers also use natural baits, such as clams, or pieces of fish.

Surf Fishing Techniques

When using lures, most anglers cast out into the ocean and immediately reel in. After two or three casts in one spot, without a strike, they move along the beach for about 50 feet and try again. On rocky shores, anglers often cast toward the rocks and deep holes. Casting from jetties and breakwaters is also popular, but it is sometimes slippery and dangerous. Almost all anglers keep a lookout for sea gulls and terns, which feed on small baitfish, to guide them to where the fish are biting. Natural baits are usually cast with the aid of a 3-ounce or 4-ounce sinker, and the line is not reeled in until there is a strike or the angler decides to change or replenish his bait.

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