If you are looking to catch a rock cod, ling cod, kelp bass, greenling, striped bass, surf perch, halibut, crab, or other type of rock or surf fish, a great place to do that would be from the beach along the coast near you. You will want to check the fishing regulations from your local fish and game to find out if there are any types of limitations on what species and what sizes you can catch at the spot your are going to fish. You will need to find a good fishing spot on the beach or along the rocks on the shoreline. You can catch fish from the shallow "good for swimming" beaches, but this is not where I like to go. There are too many people at those spots, and it's hard to fish with too many people to look out for. I like to look for a good small beach, that has a lot of rock and kelp to be able to cast into or near in order to find the fish. For your bait you will want to use salted squid or salted brined baitfish, or sand crabs. Shrimp works pretty good too, but it is a little expensive, and it is hard to keep it on your hook. Slice the squid into thin strips, length wise. You do this so that you can string it up the hook, kind of like you would a rubber worm for largemouth bass. Now for the fun part, the gear that you will need. You will need a nice long medium heavy to heavy action rod, with a reel that will hold a lot of 20 pound test line. You will need a spool of 20 pound test line that once you spool your reel full of line you can use the remaining line to create leader line as needed to tie and re-tie your rig as you break off while fishing. For the rig you will need to cut off an 18 inch leader and a 32 inch leader. Then Tie a 1/0 barrel swivel to the end of your line. Tie both leaders to the other end of the barrel swivel. On the shorter leader you will tie on a 1/0 hook. On the other leader you will tie on your tobacco sack filled with sand or a 4 ounce weight. Cut off the excess line at all of your tie knots. Now you are ready to bait up and throw out. When you are all baited up you should look for a good place to cast your bait. Even though it is rougher and tougher to fish in the big seaweed beds that are out there, that is where the fish are. When you get tired of the break offs and snags that you may feel tempted to cast into open waters and just leave your line there. It's hard to catch fish that way. You need to cast into the seaweed, or next to and around large rocks. This is where the fish are located, and as long as you stick to that, you should do well and bring in a lot of fish.
Surf Fishing Rod
For your fishing rod it will all depend on your preference. The longer the rod the farther it will cast. I prefer a stronger rod, that will last me a long time of fishing the tough rocks and the few falls that you will take while trying to find the best spot to cast from on the beach. I prefer the Ugly Stik rods by Shakespeare, because they have good action, and they are extremely tough and durable. My favorite rod has lasted me fifteen years so far. Take a look at the best spinning rods for surf fishing.
Surf Fishing Reel
For your reel there are two types. If you can master the open faced baitcasting reels, they tend to cast farther, and are a much better reel. With a lot of practice, and a lot of patience these reels are second to none. For the rest of us, a regular spinning reel will do the job perfectly.
Baitcasting Surf Fishing Reel
For the open faced baitcasting reels I prefer the Penn High Performance reels. They hold about 420 to 600 yards of 20 pound test line depending on the model. It's a great reel, from a proven name in baitcasting reels.
Surf Fishing Spinning Reel
I prefer to use a spinning reel on my surf rod. The main things to look for is that it can hold a lot of line, and that it is a good quality real from a well known and dependable manufacturer like Penn. I prefer the Penn Spinfisher series. These reels can hold 250 yards of 20 or 25 pound test line, depending on the model.
Surf Fishing Rod and Reel Combo
To get the perfectly matched rod and reel set, a saltwater surf fishing saltwater rod and reel combowould be the best bet. They will be matched both for looks, and for functionality, to be exactly the right size to be the perfect setup.
Surf Fishing Line
There are many different types of fishing line out there on the market. Never skimp out on the price of a good line. Cheap line can mean the difference between landing and not landing the big fish of your dreams. It is definitely worth the extra money to ensure that you can actually reel in the fish that may bite your line. I prefer Berkley Trilene Big Game fishing line. It's got the strength and durability to do the job, and it is priced right as well. I would go with 20 pound test line. Anything bigger than that, and it is too hard to break your line. The smaller the pound test, the farther that you can cast. I usually use 20 pound test and that really casts good and can be broken if you need to, with a little effort.
Beach Fishing Hooks
For your fishing hook I would go with a good brand name like Mustad. I would go with a 1/0, or 2/0 hook for the typical sized fish.
Surf Fishing Swivels
I always use size 1/0 or 2/0 barrel swivels to tie up my ocean rig. As for any type of fishing, good quality strong hardware is a must!
Surf Fishing Weights
Lastly for weights you should use a tobacco sack filled with sand, or a three or four ounce lead weight.
Surf Fishing Lures
If you like fishing with lures, there are saltwater lures, hard bait lures, or stickbaits, and soft bait lures that will do the trick. For surf fishing with hard bait lures, I recommend the Yozuri hydro minnow LC, as they are heavy and cast far to get you to where the fish are. For soft bait lures, I like the white zoom super fluke. Setting it up on a hi low rig, and reeling it in through the surf. You can also use the berkley sandworms, which is a top favorite for perch fishing in the surf.
Surf Fishing Beach Chair
Don’t forget a nice fishing beach chair to make it a relaxing day at the beach, as well as a fishing day!
Surf Fishing the Right Tide
When fishing from the beach, the tide could make all the difference between fishing, and catching. A high tide has bigger waves, while a low tide has smaller waves. A high tide could make some areas unfishable, and a low tide may open up new fishing opportunities uncovering areas to fish that were completely unfishable during high tide. I don’t let tides control when I fish, I fish all tides, but I do catch more fish at the incoming tide. The key is the fishing of the incoming tide just after low tide is reached, and the waves begin to get larger, bringing more water back up onto the beach, bringing the fish in closer to the shore as they scavange and eat the new food sources that just became available. A rising tide brings fish in closer to shore, and a low tide pushes fish out into deeper waters.About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Surf Fishing At The Beach Experience Awaits!