QUICK GUIDE TO SURF FISHING CASTING
Surf fishing puts you in some of the most challenging conditions of any fishing application. It will put your equipment and technique to the test and if either you or your equipment isn’t up to the task, failures will quickly be exposed.
One of the biggest misconceptions about surf fishing is that to find the biggest fish, you need to launch your lure out as far as you can get it. You always associate big fish with deep water and deep water as being further away from the beach. The end result is novice surf fishos trying to launch their lure into the horizon and casting over the predators sniffing around under their noses.
First, you want to make sure you have the right rod for surf casting. You don’t need to go crazy long. Your cast doesn’t need to have a huge amount of distance and most 8-10ft rods will give you enough distance to get the feeding species. Rather than worry too much about the length, think more about the action the rod has and its tip. It is going to need to launch some heavy lures, at the same time you want something that you can easily set the hook with.
SURF FISHING ROD ACTION
When I am fishing with live baits I use a medium heavy with a stiff tip because I am usually fishing a treble and don’t require as much setting power. When I am using lures I use a fast action rod because a single hook might need a bit more power.
Spend a little bit more on your reel if you can. I have used cheap reels and had them break away mid-cast. This messes up your cast, makes you a laughing stock with your mates and cuts short any surf fishing session. Get something of good quality with a large enough reserve of line to handle a fish speeding away at speed. I use a 300m spool myself.
FISHING OUTFIT BALANCE
When you are surf fishing, your whole session is spent casting and retrieving and walking up the beach. You will want to find ways of easing the stress on your arm. One way of doing this is by balancing the rod and reel. The perfect pair should balance perfectly flat if you hold it on your finger a few inches above the reel seat. This isn’t going to make a huge difference to each individual cast but if you are out for a long period of time it should ease the fatigue on your arm.
KISS: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
You don’t need to do anything fancy with the cast. Read the beach and find your location in front of a sandbar, or at a sandbar-rip intersection. Line your sinker up with the bottom guide, bring it back over your shoulder until the sinker reaches the sand behind you, make sure all your guides are facing the sky and your elbow is pointing out to sea, then step forward with your lead foot pointing to where you want to cast and throw your rear arm forward, releasing the line as you go. There is nothing fancy about it.
HOW FAR TO CAST
If you are starting out for the day and the only information you have to go on in terms of fish location is the read of the beach you carried out, start by testing the conditions. I fish with two rods. I put one out as far as I can and one in close. I try to fish one with live bait, using two hooks with a different bait on each hook and fish a lure with my other rod. This is the best way of finding out what is going to work best and modifying your strategy to match the conditions. I must say though, that more often than not, my shorter cast takes the most fish.
There you have it. You don’t need a long and refined cast to be a successful surf fisho. Just make sure your equipment is on point and you have a good reading of the beach and take things from there.
What do you think? Do you have any more surf casting tips? Let us know in the comments section below.