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Surf Casting Introduction (How to Surf Cast 101)


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#1 The Architect

The Architect

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Posted June 03 2011 - 04:05 PM

Introduction to
Surf Fishing
Introduction to Surf Fishing Topics


1. Types of Surf Rods/Reels
2. Bait-Fishing
3. Plugging
4. Necessary Tackle
5. Species of Game Fish Encountered
6. Opportunity Fishing & Preparedness
7. Beach Safety while Surf Fishing
8. Trouble Shooting Problems Associated with Surf Fishing
9. Common Courtesy on the Beach
10. Practical Fishing Knots for Surf Fishing


1. Types of Surf Rods & Reels
1.1. Spinning Reels
Spinning reels offer a fixed spool requiring the rotor and line roller (bail) to wind line around the
stationary spool. Spinning reels are much easier to cast due to the lack of need to control a
revolving spool. An excellent choice for both beginners and more advanced surf anglers that
desire a simple functioning reel.
1.2. Conventional Reels
Conventional reels, also known as Baitcasting reels, feature a spool that revolves as line is
gathered on or removed from the spool. Somewhat difficult to cast, as the revolving spool can
create an overspin, more commonly known as the bird’s nest. With practice, most anglers can
master the conventional reel, minimizing most occurrences of overspins. Conventional reels
typically offer greater casting distance and greater drag control than spinning reels.
1.3. Fly Rods & Reels
Fly-fishing provides anglers an opportunity to test their angling skills by means of a fly rod and
reel. While not suited for fishing the surf in all weather conditions, fly-fishing can provide
excellent action for those anglers willing to devote time to constant casting and retrieving
(stripping). Surf outfits range from 8-weight to 11-weight outfits, capable of punching line and
large flies through the ever-present wind. Due to time restraints, fly-fishing will not be gone into
further depth.
1.4. Spinning & Conventional Rods
A larger stripping guide (guide closest to reel) distinguishes spinning rods from conventional
rods. Spinning rods have a larger gathering guide due to the large diameter of the spool. Larger
gathering guides collect line and the remaining guides progressively narrow the diameter of line
travel. Conventional rods have smaller gathering guides, as the need to gather line is less crucial
since the line cast off of the spool travels in a much smaller diameter when compared to a
spinning reel. The need to taper the diameter of line travel is not necessary.
1.5. Holding A Surf Rod & Reel
Spinning Reels è Underneath rod Conventional Reel è Above rod
Rods have a “Spline” or backbone and made so that the spline is on the “Bottom” of the bend,
when the rod is loaded (bent). Holding incorrectly will cause rod to “twist”. Rods are built so
that the bend of the rod uses power generated by the spline, or backbone of the rod. Guide
placement is reversed when comparing spinning to conventional rods.
1.6. Rod Blank Composition
Graphite: Lightweight, powerful material, but susceptible to breakage w/ misuse. Graphite used
in higher performance rods, as less material is necessary to create a rod with similar “strength”
when compared to other rod blank materials.
Glass: Heavy material, with slower blank tapers (softer rod), less power compared to graphite.
Handles misuse better than other rod materials.
Composite: Varying blend of graphite and glass, offering a balanced compromise of performance
and durability. Lighter than glass, but handles misuse better than graphite. Performs (casts)
better than glass but not as well as graphite.
1.7. Basic Surf Casting Technique
Overhead/Sidearm Cast (Spinning & Conventional) is an effective cast that lobs bait into surf.
Punch/Pull Movement with hands. Punch with “top” hand and pull with “bottom” hand. More
force translates into increased distance, however “overpowering” casts without correct technique
will prove frustrating. Technique is crucial for greatly improved casting distance. BreakAwayâ
seminars will provide techniques for improving casting distance. The key to casting is proper
loading of the rod blank, enabling the rod to perform at its maximum performance level.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

2. Bait Fishing
2.1. Bait Fishing Rod & Reel Requirements
Bait Rods need to be capable of throwing three or more ounces of lead plus bait. Typical rod
lengths are between ten and twelve feet. Reels (spinning or conventional) should hold at least
200 yards of 17-pound test mono-line. Popular line weights for surf fishing are 17 and 20-pound
test.
2.2. Methods of Bait Fishing
Popular bait-fishing methods include chunking, bait strips, clam & worm, and live lining.
2.2.1. Chunking, a method of fishing that uses steaks cut from larger baitfish such as bunker,
mackerel, and herring. Will work throughout most of the year, but more effective when
larger baits are in the surf, primarily in the fall. Chunks should be cut into one-inch steaks,
or larger. The hook should be placed through the meaty back-section of the chunk. The
head should not be discarded, as heads prove to be irresistible to bass. Rigs for chunking
require a larger hook able to bite around the bait. Hook sizes can range from 7/0 to 10/0.
Hook styles can range from a Salmon (Siwash) style to a larger octopus (beak) style to a
large bait holder style hook. Chunks are often fished with a fish-finder rig, enabling bait to
be taken by a fish without feeling the weight of the sinker. Fish-Finders are a sliding pin
that attaches the sinker to the main line above the swivel.
2.2.2. Bait-strips, originate from a variety of baits such as finger mullet, mackerel, and squid.
Strips can be bottom-fished, floated, or retrieved similar to lure fishing. Strips cut from
these baits should taper to a point. Hook placement in the wider section of the strip allows
the narrow end to flutter from the hook. If fishing with whole mullet, work the wire
through the mouth and exit the wire out the anus. The mullet (double) hook should be
attached once the wire is pushed through the mullet. Rigs for strips can vary from a threeway
swivel rig, keeping the sinker stationary, or bare hook attached to a trolling sinker via a
leader and worked by casting and retrieving slowly.
2.2.3. Clam & Worms, effective baits especially in colder water temperatures, but productive
throughout the year. Clams also effective in rough surf conditions, as bass feast on broken
clams in rough surf following storms. Fresh and frozen clams require the use of bait thread
to hold the clam onto the hook due to their soft tissue. Clam & Worm rigs are a simple
bottom rig consisting of two bait-holder hooks (sometimes in tandem) and a sinker pin.
Clams should be hooked through the tongue section and using bait thread, tied directly to
the hook(s). Bloodworms should be hooked at the head and threaded onto the hook and
leader, if possible. This helps keep the bloodworm from falling off the hook. Sandworms,
however, only should be hooked through the head, as the rest of the body has the
consistency of mush and will deteriorate rapidly. Casting sandworms should be done gently
with a lob cast, as sandworms have a tendency to tear off the hook.
2.2.4. Live Lining, effective for all types of fish, but most productive for striped bass. Popular
bait choices are eels, herring, and bunker. Eels most common live bait due to durability.
Most live-lining hooks feature a small, offset hook known as an octopus (beak) hook. Rigs
are tied with short lengths of leader connected to the line with a swivel. A sinker is used
either in line or with a fish-finder to keep the eel towards the bottom. Live-lining is
facilitated by an outgoing tide, allowing the bait to be pulled away from the beach and
prevent tangling with main line, an all too common problem when fishing with eels. One
additional hint to remember when live lining; there is an incorrect way to hook a bait with
an offset hook. Hook baits so the point of the hook is facing up and out, not down and
inward. Setting the hook with an offset hook facing down and in will cause the hook to
bury into the bait, resulting in a missed hook set and lost fish.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

2.3. Sinkers & Knowing Which Type to Use
2.3.1. Anchoring Type Sinkers : Following styles of sinkers designed to dig into the sand,
holding your bait in place. If these sinkers are moving due to rough surf or strong tide, then
a heavier weight is necessary.
2.3.1.1. Pyramid Sinkers : Most common sinker used in the surf, used in conjunction with
chunking rigs, clam & worm rigs, and some strip baits.
2.3.1.2. Storm Sinkers : Also known as Hatteras Sinkers, this style of sinker gives more
holding power per ounce than a pyramid sinker.
2.3.1.3. BreakAwayâ Sinkers : More intricate sinker, that has 4-arms originating from the
teardrop shaped lead. These arms are movable, and will lock in place. This style of
sinker has much greater holding power than either pyramid or storm sinkers of
comparable weights.
2.3.2. Drifting Type Sinkers : Following styles of sinkers allow bait to move such as when livelining
or working strips through the surf for fluke.
2.3.2.1. Bank Sinkers : Most commonly used bottom sinker, Bank sinkers have rounded
edges. This style of sinker can be used for fishing near rocks, or dragging rigs along
the bottom for fluke.
2.3.2.2. Drail Weights: More commonly referred to as trolling sinkers, Drail Weights are an
inline sinker that connects to leader and line by means of bead chain or swivel. These
are easiest sinkers to use when casting and retrieving strips of bait or eels.
2.3.2.3. Egg Sinkers : Shaped like an egg with a hole through the center to allow the line to
pass through so as to keep the weight in-line with leader and fishing line. Sometimes
difficult to cast with distance due to the sinker riding up the main line, these sinkers
allow bait to “roll” in the surf. More commonly used for live-lining eels, egg sinkers
may also be used to rig plastic baits via the “Carolina-Rig” method.

3. Plug Fishing (Plugging)
3.1. Plug Fishing Rod & Reel Requirements
Plugging rods are typically smaller than bait rods, with common lengths between seven and nine
feet. Plugging rods are rated for lower rated lure weights than bait rods, with most capable of
throwing at least one ounce. Depending on lures fished with, plugging rods may throw up to a
few ounces. Reels should hold at least two hundred fifty yards of 10-pound test. However, more
typical line weights are twelve and fourteen pound tests.
3.2. Artificial Lure Fishing
3.2.1. Swimming plugs typically are lipped plugs that resemble baitfish when retrieved.
Swimming plugs can have either sinking or floating designations, but even floating plugs
will reach depths of two-three feet upon retrieval. Choice of floating or sinking plugs will
depend on depth of water. Popular plug choice for the surf of Long Beach Island is floating
plugs due to the shallower water depths associated with the surf. Floating plugs are also an
excellent choice when fishing tight to rocks. “Matching the hatch,” a phrase used with
freshwater anglers holds true when selecting swimming plugs for the surf. This means
selecting a plug matching the size and coloration of predominate baitfish, however popular
choices for night fishing include the solid black or black and dark purple plugs. Darker
plugs silhouette against the lighter sky, eliciting strikes.
3.2.2. Poppers are surface lures that “pop”, hence the name, when jerked with the rod. Poppers
are very effective during certain times of the year, primarily during the mullet run in the
early fall. Rods for poppers should have a fast taper blank in order for the lure to break the
surface, popping the lure when the rod-tip is jerked. Poppers are very effective when
worked during sun-up or sundown. Popular choices are natural colors in addition to white,
and white and blue.
3.2.3. Metals cover a variety of metal lures such as diamond jigs and spoons. Effective on
most fish, retrieve can vary from a slow retrieve bouncing off the bottom to a very fast
retrieve skimming the metal across the top of the water. An excellent choice for long
distance casting due to dense mass and aerodynamic shape.
3.2.4. Bucktails are an excellent choice for targeting both bass and fluke in the surf. Bucktails
can be tipped with pork-rind, squid, or soft-plastic lure. Bucktails should be worked with a
slow bouncing (jigging) retrieve.
3.2.5. Soft Plastics are an effective lure for most game fish in the surf. These lures can be
rigged on lead-head jigs, or bare hook used in conjunction with an egg sinker (Carolina
Rig).
3.3. Variations of Retrieval: Presentation should be varied with all artificials in order to determine
the best swimming action of the lure. Experimentation is crucial to artificial lure fishing, and
persistence will pay its dues. In addition to fishing with artificial lures, teaser rigs used in
conjunction with larger artificial lures can improve catches. The teaser, usually a saltwater fly or
single-hook, unweighted bucktail, attaches to the leader via a dropper loop, which is connected
to a larger lure. Teaser rigs should be used when smaller baits dominate the surf line. While the
larger lure typically serves as a casting weight as the majority of strikes come on the smaller
teaser, double headers are possible. Teasers are effective with popping and swimming plugs, in
addition to metals. Connection of artificials to leader or main line is facilitated by the use of a
snap (not snap swivel). Snaps allow for a natural swimming motion and provide the ability to
change lures quickly.
3.3.1. Swimming Lures: Swimming plugs should have side to side motion, wobbling on the
retrieve. Often the most productive retrieve with swimming plugs is a dead slow retrieve.
Intended to look like an injured baitfish that larger game-fish find irresistible. Swimming
plugs belong in every angler’s arsenal in various sizes, colors, and swimming patterns. You
will find that certain plugs work better at certain times of day, but water clarity may also
influence the selection of swimming lures.
3.3.2. Poppers : Poppers are intended to work the surface, creating noise and turbulence that
injured baitfish tend to exhibit and create. Poppers should be worked with the rod tip to pop
using the cupped mouth of the plug. Some poppers will work best with an upward motion,
while others tend to work best with a sideways sweep. At times, fish may prefer constant
popping via a consistent retrieve and rapid retrieve, or a much slower paced retrieve,
popping and letting the lure sit. The slower method of retrieve requires the use of a floating
popper.
3.3.3. Metals: Designed to flutter and reflect light much like the side of bait, metals can be
worked at varying speeds. Varying speeds will attract different game fish to metals. Rule
of thumb, slow for bass and fast for blues.
3.3.4. Bucktails: Armed with a trailer such as a strip of squid or pork rind, bucktails slowly
jigged along the bottom produce when other lures fail to do so. Trailers add scent and
increase the size of the lure. Bucktails should be worked with the rod so that they bounce
slowly off the bottom and slowly flutter back. Rods for bucktailing should have a soft tip,
allowing a natural presentation of the lure. A rule of thumb with bucktails is that the
smallest bucktail necessary to feel bottom is often is the most productive.
3.3.5. Soft Plastics: Fished in a similar manner to bucktails when rigged on leadheads, soft
plastics can also be used with a Carolina Rig. A Carolina Rig is primarily a freshwater bass
method of fishing a soft plastic bait, but extremely effective in the surf with Fin-S fish and
other soft plastics. Tie a bare hook onto a leader, add small egg sinker with bead to main
line, and attach leader to line with swivel. The bead will protect the knot from constant
barrage by the egg sinker, preventing a damaged knot and lost fish. The Carolina rig will
allow the soft plastic to dart with sweeping movements of rod tip. The benefit from this
method comes from the number of strikes, and not necessarily, the number of hooked fish.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

4. Necessary Tackle
4.1. Sand spike(s): Prevent the reel from being placed into the sand
4.2. 5-gallon bucket: Carryall for bait, additional rigs, sinkers, in addition to doubling as a seat on
the beach.
4.3. Bait-knife : To cut bait with, and please do not use the good knife from the kitchen. Using an
inexpensive bait knife rather than one from the kitchen has prevented more than one argument.
4.4. Flashlight & Rod-Tip Lights: A must for night fishing, but avoid making shadow puppets on
the water with flashlight. Fish spook easily at night by lights shined onto water. Using rod-tip
lights can help prevent the need to shine the flashlight onto the rod tip. Lights and nighttime
fishing are not conducive to catching. Flashlights can be used to tie knots or re-bait, but shield
light by turning your back to the water. Your neighboring fishermen will appreciate it. Popular
rod-tip lights choices are BreakAwayâ Red Eyes and cyalume chemical lightsticks.
4.5. Lure bags: Lure Bags are convenient for anglers plugging the beach. Allows you to keep extra
plugs by your side if you need to change lures.
4.6. Waders: Depending on time of year, waders may be crucial to fishing the beach. Waders keep
you both warm and dry when fishing during the colder months, very important when the water
temperature drops below sixty degrees.
4.7. Pliers : A good pair of pliers facilitates removing hooks from fish. Long nosed pliers can be
convenient for deep hooked fish.
4.8. Extra rigs and sinkers : You are bound to lose a few whether from cast off or losing fish due to
broken knots or line. Not having extra rigs and sinkers can make bait fishing very difficult.
4.9. Hook sharpener: If fishing with commercially made fishing rigs, hooks are not sharp. They
may have a point, but it will have difficulty going through the tough jaw of some fish. Premium
hooks are available, but not usually incorporated into commercial rigs due to the cost.
4.10. Gloves: Whether for warmth in the early spring or during the colder months of late autumn and
winter, gloves can be crucial for fishing the beach. Good choices include high quality neoprene
gloves with liner or fleece gloves.
4.11. Nail clippers : Nail clippers are probably the easiest and most effective way to cut fishing line.
Any pair will perform the job, but the easiest to use are the larger toenail clippers with a straight
cutter.

5. Species of Fish Encountered
5.1. Striped Bass: The Striped Bass is the prized game fish of the surf. While striped bass are caught
throughout the year on the surf, the size of the stripers varies through the seasons. Spring offers
numerous stripers, but the size of these fish caught on the surf are usually smaller. Springtime
bass are receptive to clams and worms, due to the colder water temperatures. Fall is prime bass
time in the surf, as stripers dominate the shoreline on their southward bound migration. Bigger
chunk baits are appropriate at this time of the year, as bass are chasing herring and bunker
schools as the bait migrates south as well. Thirty-pound fish are common throughout the fall,
and a few lucky anglers will best stripers approaching and exceeding fifty pounds. Both baits
and lures are very effective for striped bass.
5.2. Bluefish: Feeding frenzies are most often associated with bluefish, and can provide excellent
fishing action. Noted for decimating schools of bait and impressive dental work, wire leaders
are often a necessity for bluefish. When the birds are working the water, bluefish are likely
feeding underneath. A diamond jig or spoon cast towards the school and retrieved quickly will
often elicit a strike from bluefish. Bluefish can range in size from two-pound to fifteen plus
pounds in the surf. Larger bluefish are more prevalent throughout the fall. Chunks or bait strips
make excellent choices for bluefish, in addition to all artificials. Just remember that
monofilament will fall susceptible to the teeth of bluefish, and these teeth are the primary reason
for using wire leaders when bluefish are present.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

5.3. Fluke: Also known as summer flounder, fluke provide excellent action when fished with light
tackle. During the summer months and into fall, fluke are caught in the wash while slowly
casting and retrieving small strips of bait, bucktails, or soft plastics. In the fall, when the mullet
are running, fluke will often take plugs and poppers on the surface. Thought of as a docile fish,
fluke are actually voracious predators and often seen following plugs right into the beach.
5.4. Kingfish: While kingfish do not usually grow larger than two pounds, they can provide nonstop
action for anglers. Warmer water temperatures associated with late summer are necessary for
kingfish to be found on the beaches. Usually located near jetties in large schools, kingfish can
not resist small pieces of bloodworm, small squid, or clam strips. Small hooks are required, as a
kingfish’s mouth does not get that large. Kingfish make for excellent table fare, a fact that
offsets the lack of a fight when catching kingfish on the front beach.

6. Opportunity Fishing & Preparedness
6.1. The key to opportunity fishing is being prepared for conditions and fish encountered on the
beach. Successful surf anglers target the species of fish available, and while we would all love
to catch a fifty-pound striper, the chances are relatively minute in the hot months of July and
August. On the other hand, fluke are prevalent throughout the surf the majority of summer and
fall, and common sense warrants fishing for fluke. Often, common sense takes a back seat when
fishing and this can lead to a day of fishing rather than a day of catching. Many anglers miss an
excellent fluke fishery because they decide that they only want to target large stripers. If you
insist on trying for trophy stripers in the middle of summer, fish with a second, lighter bait rod.
The lighter rod can be used for working strips of bait such as mackerel or squid, while the
heavier bait rod is used for tossing out a chunk of bunker. Lighter bait rods will usually out-fish
a rod baited with a big chunk of bunker in the summer months.
6.2. Heeding the advice of the old Boy Scout credo “Being Prepared,” can pay dividends when surf
fishing as well. Often, the simple act of having a second rod capable of throwing plug or metal
into the middle of a bluefish blitz makes the difference between being skunked and an afternoon
of catching. Many anglers that carry a plugging rod with them up to the surf will often work
lures while fishing with bait in the water. The bait-rod may be hit more often, but having the
plugging rod handy will pay off eventually, especially when the bass and bluefish are driving
mullet literally onto the beach.

7. Beach Safety While Surf Fishing
7.1. Fishing the beach can pose many unseen or unknown hazards to surf anglers. The following
topics are some of the more common hazards associated with surf fishing. Common sense on
the beach should always be used and considered a priority, as safety can be compromised
quickly in rough surf. Of all things mentioned in this section, perhaps the most important piece
of advice is “NEVER turn your back to the ocean!” Waves could knock an angler down in the
surf line or sweep them off a jetty.
7.1.1. Walking longer jetties can often put anglers into great fishing, areas unreachable from the
shore. Slipping on a jetty or knocked from one can mean a broken wrist or ankle, or severe
lacerations from barnacles or rocks. Watch your footing when walking a jetty. Cleats make
for better traction, but are not foolproof when it comes to keeping you off your bum.
7.1.1.1. Walking Jetties: Cleats/KORKERS are metal spiked shoes that allow for a “bite” on
slippery surfaces that are encountered on most jetties. If you want to walk a jetty,
Cleats are a must, No exceptions .

7.1.1.2. Waders: Intended to keep you dry and warm, waders can become extremely
dangerous once filled with water. A wader belt, worn snuggly across the chest can
help keep water from quickly flowing into your waders if you happen to slip or a
wave happens to break over you.
7.1.1.2.1. Wading into the surf or out to a sand bar may produce more fish, but caution
must be used when entering the surf wearing a pair of waders. Once filled with
water, mobility in waders become near impossible and could lead to drowning.
When wading into the surf, take your time and use caution. Wade into the surf
slowly, a drop-off will occur at some point. This drop-off could be as close as
the shoreline, ranging in depth from a couple of feet to over-head.
7.1.1.2.2. When wading, attention should be paid to the stage of tide. The bar that you
were able to wade out to at low tide may require a long swim back to shore as
the incoming tides push water onto the beach. Troughs and sloughs waist deep
at low tide may be overhead at later stages of the tide.
7.1.1.3. Undertow: Although thought of a hazard for swimmers, anglers wading into the surf
can also be swept out to sea. If the surf looks like a river heading out to sea, you
should avoid wading into the current.
7.1.2. Fish Handling: Caution must be used when handling fish. Aside from obvious safety
problems such as teeth, fins and gill plates, dangling hooks can pose threat to unsuspecting
surf anglers. While not all species of fish possess teeth capable of damage, please use
caution until you learn which has and does not have teeth. For safety purposes, the easiest
way to handle fish in the surf is to pin the fish in the wash with your knee or free hand and
remove the hook via the pliers mentioned above.
7.1.2.1. Surprisingly, one of the biggest safety issues with handling fish does not have
anything to do with the fish other than the hook in its mouth. Removing hooks from a
fish’s mouth can be dangerous when a fish shakes its head. Hooks can imbed
themselves into any soft tissue rather easily, and are extremely difficult to remove due
to the barb.

8. Trouble Shooting Problems Associated with Surf Fishing
8.1. Line-Twist/Wind Knots
8.1.1. Line-twists and wind knots (the effect of line-twists) are a predominant problem with
spinning reels. Cause of these headaches is due to the nature of the spinning reels and that
the spool is stationary while line is encircled onto spool by the bail. Some practices
accentuate the problem of line-twists and the accompanying wind knot.
8.1.1.1. Reeling against the drag: As a fish is taking drag, line is coming off the spool as it
would during a cast. Turning the handle as line is stripped from the reel causes the
bail to revolve. Since line is not being gathered onto the spool, the revolution of the
bail transfers the revolving motion to the line. Results are line-twist and wind knot
one or two casts later. Reeling against the drag can also prematurely burn drag
washers, making the drag feel sticky.
8.1.1.2. Retrieving Line with Little or No Tension: Lack of tension on the line as it is
gathered onto the reel results in a loose pack of line on the spool. This loose pack
allows the revolving bail to transfer twist to the line.
8.1.1.3. The use of a ball-bearing swivel when plugging serves to prevent line twist and help
remedy line twist by allowing the twist to spin out.

8.2. Broken Rods due to High-Sticking
8.2.1. High-Sticking occurs when a force (tight fishing line) acts at an angle less than 90° to the
perpendicular of the rod tip. Such forces occur primarily in two instances when fishing;
lifting fish with the rod, or using the rod, rather than reel, to free from a snag. Either
practice will result in a horseshoe bend in the rod blank, and take the rod beyond its
intended design load. Rod blanks were not designed for this type of dynamic force and will
reach failure at some point. When they reach failure, rods snap, typically between the
second and third guide.
8.3. Reel Dropping into Sand/Saltwater
8.3.1. Saltwater and sand tend to destroy fishing tackle, especially fishing reels. Once dropped
into the sand or surf, fishing reels have an uncanny knack for seizing. Perhaps not
immediately, but if left unattended reels will seize and fail to perform. Once dropped into
the water or sand, fishing reels need to be completely stripped down, cleaned, re-greased,
and put back together (properly). Fisherman's Headquarters, an authorized PENN warranty
center, has a reel service department that is more than capable of cleaning dropped fishing
reels.

9. Common Courtesy on the Beach
9.1.1. Surf fishing, while relaxing, can provide excitement and sense of accomplishment like no
other sport is capable. Extending common courtesy on the beach allows for good fishing
and good times for everyone. Some practices to avoid on the beach include shining lights
and headlights on the water at night, setting up camp next to someone while the remaining
beach is wide open, and if someone happens to cut your line or cross your line, there is no
need to read them the riot act. Perhaps a friendly word or piece of advice could educate the
offender and prevent the problem from occurring, again.

10. Practical Fishing Knots for Surf Fishing
10.1. The following knot descriptions were copied from the ANDE â Monofilament Book of Knots.
The knots provided are a basic compilation of fishing knots that every angler should have in
his/her repertoire. Other knots will work, but the following knots have been proven with time.
Remember that knots should be lubricated before pulling tight. Saliva is the easiest lubricant.
10.1.1. TRILENE â Knot: The Trilene Knot is a strong reliable connection that resists slippage
and premature failures.
The Trilene Knot is an all-purpose connection to be used in joining monofilament to
swivels, snaps, hooks, and artificial lures. The knot’s unique design and ease of tying yield
consistently strong, dependable connections while retaining 85-90% of the original line
strength. The double wrap of mono through the eyelet provides a protective cushion for
added safety.

1. Run end of line through the eye of hook or lure and double back through the eye a
second time.
2. Loop around standing part of line 5 or 6 times.
3. Thread tag end back between the eye and the coils as shown (Line is run between the
double loop formed in step one and the eye of hook or lure)
4. Pull tight and trim tag end.

10.1.2. ALBRIGHT Knot: The Albright knot is most commonly used for joining monofilament
lines of unequal diameters, for creating shock leaders and when a Bimini Twist is tied in the
end of a lighter casting line. It is also used for connecting monofilament to wire.

1. Bend a loop in the tag end of the heavier monofilament and hold between thumb and
forefinger of the left hand. Insert the tag end of the lighter monofilament though the
loop from the top.
2. Slip the tag end of lighter monofilament under your thumb and pinch it tightly against
the heavier strands of the loop. Wrap the first turn of the lighter monofilament over
itself and continue wrapping toward the round end of the loop. Take at least 12 turns
with the lighter monofilament around all three strands.
3. Insert tag end of the lighter monofilament through end of the loop from the bottom. It
must enter and leave the loop from the same side.
4. With the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, slide the coils of the lighter
monofilament toward the end of the loop, stop 1/8” from end of loop. Using pliers.
Pull the tag end of the lighter mono tight to keep the coils from slipping off the loop.
5. With your left hand still holding the heavier mono, pull on the standing part of the
lighter mono. Pull the tag end of the lighter mono and the standing part a second time.
Pull the standing part of the heavy mono and the standing part of the light mono.
6. Trim both tag ends.

10.1.3. Dropper Loop Knot:
1. To form loop which stands out from the line above sinker or other terminal rig. First,
form a loop in the line.
2. Pull one side of the loop down and begin taking turns with it around the standing line.
Keep point where turns are made open so turns gather equally on each side.
3. After eight to ten turns, reach through the center opening and pull remaining loop
through. Keep finger in the loop so it will not spring back.
4. Hold loop with teeth and pull both ends of line, making turns gather on either side of
loop.
5. Set knot by pulling lines as tightly as possible. Tightening coils will make loop stand
out perpendicular to line. Not a strong knot but serviceable for pan fish and small saltwater
species where such rigs are used.
10.1.4. Perfection Loop: A perfection loop is used at the ends of the leader belly and the tippet
(This knot is also useful for attaching plugs to leader with loop so that swimming actions
are more lifelike)
1. Double the end of the leader belly forming a loop about 6 inches long. Form a
smaller loop about 2-inches from the end of the leader belly so that the smaller loop
is behind the double line.
2. With the larger loop, make a wrap around the smaller loop and pass the end of the
larger loop through the smaller one.
3. Wet the knot area and firmly pull the larger loop. Be sure the wraps tighten evenly.
Trim excess.
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#2 The Architect

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Posted June 03 2011 - 04:05 PM

Introduction to
Surf Fishing
Introduction to Surf Fishing Topics


1. Types of Surf Rods/Reels
2. Bait-Fishing
3. Plugging
4. Necessary Tackle
5. Species of Game Fish Encountered
6. Opportunity Fishing & Preparedness
7. Beach Safety while Surf Fishing
8. Trouble Shooting Problems Associated with Surf Fishing
9. Common Courtesy on the Beach
10. Practical Fishing Knots for Surf Fishing


1. Types of Surf Rods & Reels
1.1. Spinning Reels
Spinning reels offer a fixed spool requiring the rotor and line roller (bail) to wind line around the
stationary spool. Spinning reels are much easier to cast due to the lack of need to control a
revolving spool. An excellent choice for both beginners and more advanced surf anglers that
desire a simple functioning reel.
1.2. Conventional Reels
Conventional reels, also known as Baitcasting reels, feature a spool that revolves as line is
gathered on or removed from the spool. Somewhat difficult to cast, as the revolving spool can
create an overspin, more commonly known as the bird’s nest. With practice, most anglers can
master the conventional reel, minimizing most occurrences of overspins. Conventional reels
typically offer greater casting distance and greater drag control than spinning reels.
1.3. Fly Rods & Reels
Fly-fishing provides anglers an opportunity to test their angling skills by means of a fly rod and
reel. While not suited for fishing the surf in all weather conditions, fly-fishing can provide
excellent action for those anglers willing to devote time to constant casting and retrieving
(stripping). Surf outfits range from 8-weight to 11-weight outfits, capable of punching line and
large flies through the ever-present wind. Due to time restraints, fly-fishing will not be gone into
further depth.
1.4. Spinning & Conventional Rods
A larger stripping guide (guide closest to reel) distinguishes spinning rods from conventional
rods. Spinning rods have a larger gathering guide due to the large diameter of the spool. Larger
gathering guides collect line and the remaining guides progressively narrow the diameter of line
travel. Conventional rods have smaller gathering guides, as the need to gather line is less crucial
since the line cast off of the spool travels in a much smaller diameter when compared to a
spinning reel. The need to taper the diameter of line travel is not necessary.
1.5. Holding A Surf Rod & Reel
Spinning Reels è Underneath rod Conventional Reel è Above rod
Rods have a “Spline” or backbone and made so that the spline is on the “Bottom” of the bend,
when the rod is loaded (bent). Holding incorrectly will cause rod to “twist”. Rods are built so
that the bend of the rod uses power generated by the spline, or backbone of the rod. Guide
placement is reversed when comparing spinning to conventional rods.
1.6. Rod Blank Composition
Graphite: Lightweight, powerful material, but susceptible to breakage w/ misuse. Graphite used
in higher performance rods, as less material is necessary to create a rod with similar “strength”
when compared to other rod blank materials.
Glass: Heavy material, with slower blank tapers (softer rod), less power compared to graphite.
Handles misuse better than other rod materials.
Composite: Varying blend of graphite and glass, offering a balanced compromise of performance
and durability. Lighter than glass, but handles misuse better than graphite. Performs (casts)
better than glass but not as well as graphite.
1.7. Basic Surf Casting Technique
Overhead/Sidearm Cast (Spinning & Conventional) is an effective cast that lobs bait into surf.
Punch/Pull Movement with hands. Punch with “top” hand and pull with “bottom” hand. More
force translates into increased distance, however “overpowering” casts without correct technique
will prove frustrating. Technique is crucial for greatly improved casting distance. BreakAwayâ
seminars will provide techniques for improving casting distance. The key to casting is proper
loading of the rod blank, enabling the rod to perform at its maximum performance level.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

2. Bait Fishing
2.1. Bait Fishing Rod & Reel Requirements
Bait Rods need to be capable of throwing three or more ounces of lead plus bait. Typical rod
lengths are between ten and twelve feet. Reels (spinning or conventional) should hold at least
200 yards of 17-pound test mono-line. Popular line weights for surf fishing are 17 and 20-pound
test.
2.2. Methods of Bait Fishing
Popular bait-fishing methods include chunking, bait strips, clam & worm, and live lining.
2.2.1. Chunking, a method of fishing that uses steaks cut from larger baitfish such as bunker,
mackerel, and herring. Will work throughout most of the year, but more effective when
larger baits are in the surf, primarily in the fall. Chunks should be cut into one-inch steaks,
or larger. The hook should be placed through the meaty back-section of the chunk. The
head should not be discarded, as heads prove to be irresistible to bass. Rigs for chunking
require a larger hook able to bite around the bait. Hook sizes can range from 7/0 to 10/0.
Hook styles can range from a Salmon (Siwash) style to a larger octopus (beak) style to a
large bait holder style hook. Chunks are often fished with a fish-finder rig, enabling bait to
be taken by a fish without feeling the weight of the sinker. Fish-Finders are a sliding pin
that attaches the sinker to the main line above the swivel.
2.2.2. Bait-strips, originate from a variety of baits such as finger mullet, mackerel, and squid.
Strips can be bottom-fished, floated, or retrieved similar to lure fishing. Strips cut from
these baits should taper to a point. Hook placement in the wider section of the strip allows
the narrow end to flutter from the hook. If fishing with whole mullet, work the wire
through the mouth and exit the wire out the anus. The mullet (double) hook should be
attached once the wire is pushed through the mullet. Rigs for strips can vary from a threeway
swivel rig, keeping the sinker stationary, or bare hook attached to a trolling sinker via a
leader and worked by casting and retrieving slowly.
2.2.3. Clam & Worms, effective baits especially in colder water temperatures, but productive
throughout the year. Clams also effective in rough surf conditions, as bass feast on broken
clams in rough surf following storms. Fresh and frozen clams require the use of bait thread
to hold the clam onto the hook due to their soft tissue. Clam & Worm rigs are a simple
bottom rig consisting of two bait-holder hooks (sometimes in tandem) and a sinker pin.
Clams should be hooked through the tongue section and using bait thread, tied directly to
the hook(s). Bloodworms should be hooked at the head and threaded onto the hook and
leader, if possible. This helps keep the bloodworm from falling off the hook. Sandworms,
however, only should be hooked through the head, as the rest of the body has the
consistency of mush and will deteriorate rapidly. Casting sandworms should be done gently
with a lob cast, as sandworms have a tendency to tear off the hook.
2.2.4. Live Lining, effective for all types of fish, but most productive for striped bass. Popular
bait choices are eels, herring, and bunker. Eels most common live bait due to durability.
Most live-lining hooks feature a small, offset hook known as an octopus (beak) hook. Rigs
are tied with short lengths of leader connected to the line with a swivel. A sinker is used
either in line or with a fish-finder to keep the eel towards the bottom. Live-lining is
facilitated by an outgoing tide, allowing the bait to be pulled away from the beach and
prevent tangling with main line, an all too common problem when fishing with eels. One
additional hint to remember when live lining; there is an incorrect way to hook a bait with
an offset hook. Hook baits so the point of the hook is facing up and out, not down and
inward. Setting the hook with an offset hook facing down and in will cause the hook to
bury into the bait, resulting in a missed hook set and lost fish.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

2.3. Sinkers & Knowing Which Type to Use
2.3.1. Anchoring Type Sinkers : Following styles of sinkers designed to dig into the sand,
holding your bait in place. If these sinkers are moving due to rough surf or strong tide, then
a heavier weight is necessary.
2.3.1.1. Pyramid Sinkers : Most common sinker used in the surf, used in conjunction with
chunking rigs, clam & worm rigs, and some strip baits.
2.3.1.2. Storm Sinkers : Also known as Hatteras Sinkers, this style of sinker gives more
holding power per ounce than a pyramid sinker.
2.3.1.3. BreakAwayâ Sinkers : More intricate sinker, that has 4-arms originating from the
teardrop shaped lead. These arms are movable, and will lock in place. This style of
sinker has much greater holding power than either pyramid or storm sinkers of
comparable weights.
2.3.2. Drifting Type Sinkers : Following styles of sinkers allow bait to move such as when livelining
or working strips through the surf for fluke.
2.3.2.1. Bank Sinkers : Most commonly used bottom sinker, Bank sinkers have rounded
edges. This style of sinker can be used for fishing near rocks, or dragging rigs along
the bottom for fluke.
2.3.2.2. Drail Weights: More commonly referred to as trolling sinkers, Drail Weights are an
inline sinker that connects to leader and line by means of bead chain or swivel. These
are easiest sinkers to use when casting and retrieving strips of bait or eels.
2.3.2.3. Egg Sinkers : Shaped like an egg with a hole through the center to allow the line to
pass through so as to keep the weight in-line with leader and fishing line. Sometimes
difficult to cast with distance due to the sinker riding up the main line, these sinkers
allow bait to “roll” in the surf. More commonly used for live-lining eels, egg sinkers
may also be used to rig plastic baits via the “Carolina-Rig” method.

3. Plug Fishing (Plugging)
3.1. Plug Fishing Rod & Reel Requirements
Plugging rods are typically smaller than bait rods, with common lengths between seven and nine
feet. Plugging rods are rated for lower rated lure weights than bait rods, with most capable of
throwing at least one ounce. Depending on lures fished with, plugging rods may throw up to a
few ounces. Reels should hold at least two hundred fifty yards of 10-pound test. However, more
typical line weights are twelve and fourteen pound tests.
3.2. Artificial Lure Fishing
3.2.1. Swimming plugs typically are lipped plugs that resemble baitfish when retrieved.
Swimming plugs can have either sinking or floating designations, but even floating plugs
will reach depths of two-three feet upon retrieval. Choice of floating or sinking plugs will
depend on depth of water. Popular plug choice for the surf of Long Beach Island is floating
plugs due to the shallower water depths associated with the surf. Floating plugs are also an
excellent choice when fishing tight to rocks. “Matching the hatch,” a phrase used with
freshwater anglers holds true when selecting swimming plugs for the surf. This means
selecting a plug matching the size and coloration of predominate baitfish, however popular
choices for night fishing include the solid black or black and dark purple plugs. Darker
plugs silhouette against the lighter sky, eliciting strikes.
3.2.2. Poppers are surface lures that “pop”, hence the name, when jerked with the rod. Poppers
are very effective during certain times of the year, primarily during the mullet run in the
early fall. Rods for poppers should have a fast taper blank in order for the lure to break the
surface, popping the lure when the rod-tip is jerked. Poppers are very effective when
worked during sun-up or sundown. Popular choices are natural colors in addition to white,
and white and blue.
3.2.3. Metals cover a variety of metal lures such as diamond jigs and spoons. Effective on
most fish, retrieve can vary from a slow retrieve bouncing off the bottom to a very fast
retrieve skimming the metal across the top of the water. An excellent choice for long
distance casting due to dense mass and aerodynamic shape.
3.2.4. Bucktails are an excellent choice for targeting both bass and fluke in the surf. Bucktails
can be tipped with pork-rind, squid, or soft-plastic lure. Bucktails should be worked with a
slow bouncing (jigging) retrieve.
3.2.5. Soft Plastics are an effective lure for most game fish in the surf. These lures can be
rigged on lead-head jigs, or bare hook used in conjunction with an egg sinker (Carolina
Rig).
3.3. Variations of Retrieval: Presentation should be varied with all artificials in order to determine
the best swimming action of the lure. Experimentation is crucial to artificial lure fishing, and
persistence will pay its dues. In addition to fishing with artificial lures, teaser rigs used in
conjunction with larger artificial lures can improve catches. The teaser, usually a saltwater fly or
single-hook, unweighted bucktail, attaches to the leader via a dropper loop, which is connected
to a larger lure. Teaser rigs should be used when smaller baits dominate the surf line. While the
larger lure typically serves as a casting weight as the majority of strikes come on the smaller
teaser, double headers are possible. Teasers are effective with popping and swimming plugs, in
addition to metals. Connection of artificials to leader or main line is facilitated by the use of a
snap (not snap swivel). Snaps allow for a natural swimming motion and provide the ability to
change lures quickly.
3.3.1. Swimming Lures: Swimming plugs should have side to side motion, wobbling on the
retrieve. Often the most productive retrieve with swimming plugs is a dead slow retrieve.
Intended to look like an injured baitfish that larger game-fish find irresistible. Swimming
plugs belong in every angler’s arsenal in various sizes, colors, and swimming patterns. You
will find that certain plugs work better at certain times of day, but water clarity may also
influence the selection of swimming lures.
3.3.2. Poppers : Poppers are intended to work the surface, creating noise and turbulence that
injured baitfish tend to exhibit and create. Poppers should be worked with the rod tip to pop
using the cupped mouth of the plug. Some poppers will work best with an upward motion,
while others tend to work best with a sideways sweep. At times, fish may prefer constant
popping via a consistent retrieve and rapid retrieve, or a much slower paced retrieve,
popping and letting the lure sit. The slower method of retrieve requires the use of a floating
popper.
3.3.3. Metals: Designed to flutter and reflect light much like the side of bait, metals can be
worked at varying speeds. Varying speeds will attract different game fish to metals. Rule
of thumb, slow for bass and fast for blues.
3.3.4. Bucktails: Armed with a trailer such as a strip of squid or pork rind, bucktails slowly
jigged along the bottom produce when other lures fail to do so. Trailers add scent and
increase the size of the lure. Bucktails should be worked with the rod so that they bounce
slowly off the bottom and slowly flutter back. Rods for bucktailing should have a soft tip,
allowing a natural presentation of the lure. A rule of thumb with bucktails is that the
smallest bucktail necessary to feel bottom is often is the most productive.
3.3.5. Soft Plastics: Fished in a similar manner to bucktails when rigged on leadheads, soft
plastics can also be used with a Carolina Rig. A Carolina Rig is primarily a freshwater bass
method of fishing a soft plastic bait, but extremely effective in the surf with Fin-S fish and
other soft plastics. Tie a bare hook onto a leader, add small egg sinker with bead to main
line, and attach leader to line with swivel. The bead will protect the knot from constant
barrage by the egg sinker, preventing a damaged knot and lost fish. The Carolina rig will
allow the soft plastic to dart with sweeping movements of rod tip. The benefit from this
method comes from the number of strikes, and not necessarily, the number of hooked fish.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

4. Necessary Tackle
4.1. Sand spike(s): Prevent the reel from being placed into the sand
4.2. 5-gallon bucket: Carryall for bait, additional rigs, sinkers, in addition to doubling as a seat on
the beach.
4.3. Bait-knife : To cut bait with, and please do not use the good knife from the kitchen. Using an
inexpensive bait knife rather than one from the kitchen has prevented more than one argument.
4.4. Flashlight & Rod-Tip Lights: A must for night fishing, but avoid making shadow puppets on
the water with flashlight. Fish spook easily at night by lights shined onto water. Using rod-tip
lights can help prevent the need to shine the flashlight onto the rod tip. Lights and nighttime
fishing are not conducive to catching. Flashlights can be used to tie knots or re-bait, but shield
light by turning your back to the water. Your neighboring fishermen will appreciate it. Popular
rod-tip lights choices are BreakAwayâ Red Eyes and cyalume chemical lightsticks.
4.5. Lure bags: Lure Bags are convenient for anglers plugging the beach. Allows you to keep extra
plugs by your side if you need to change lures.
4.6. Waders: Depending on time of year, waders may be crucial to fishing the beach. Waders keep
you both warm and dry when fishing during the colder months, very important when the water
temperature drops below sixty degrees.
4.7. Pliers : A good pair of pliers facilitates removing hooks from fish. Long nosed pliers can be
convenient for deep hooked fish.
4.8. Extra rigs and sinkers : You are bound to lose a few whether from cast off or losing fish due to
broken knots or line. Not having extra rigs and sinkers can make bait fishing very difficult.
4.9. Hook sharpener: If fishing with commercially made fishing rigs, hooks are not sharp. They
may have a point, but it will have difficulty going through the tough jaw of some fish. Premium
hooks are available, but not usually incorporated into commercial rigs due to the cost.
4.10. Gloves: Whether for warmth in the early spring or during the colder months of late autumn and
winter, gloves can be crucial for fishing the beach. Good choices include high quality neoprene
gloves with liner or fleece gloves.
4.11. Nail clippers : Nail clippers are probably the easiest and most effective way to cut fishing line.
Any pair will perform the job, but the easiest to use are the larger toenail clippers with a straight
cutter.

5. Species of Fish Encountered
5.1. Striped Bass: The Striped Bass is the prized game fish of the surf. While striped bass are caught
throughout the year on the surf, the size of the stripers varies through the seasons. Spring offers
numerous stripers, but the size of these fish caught on the surf are usually smaller. Springtime
bass are receptive to clams and worms, due to the colder water temperatures. Fall is prime bass
time in the surf, as stripers dominate the shoreline on their southward bound migration. Bigger
chunk baits are appropriate at this time of the year, as bass are chasing herring and bunker
schools as the bait migrates south as well. Thirty-pound fish are common throughout the fall,
and a few lucky anglers will best stripers approaching and exceeding fifty pounds. Both baits
and lures are very effective for striped bass.
5.2. Bluefish: Feeding frenzies are most often associated with bluefish, and can provide excellent
fishing action. Noted for decimating schools of bait and impressive dental work, wire leaders
are often a necessity for bluefish. When the birds are working the water, bluefish are likely
feeding underneath. A diamond jig or spoon cast towards the school and retrieved quickly will
often elicit a strike from bluefish. Bluefish can range in size from two-pound to fifteen plus
pounds in the surf. Larger bluefish are more prevalent throughout the fall. Chunks or bait strips
make excellent choices for bluefish, in addition to all artificials. Just remember that
monofilament will fall susceptible to the teeth of bluefish, and these teeth are the primary reason
for using wire leaders when bluefish are present.
Document: Introduction to Surf Fishing

5.3. Fluke: Also known as summer flounder, fluke provide excellent action when fished with light
tackle. During the summer months and into fall, fluke are caught in the wash while slowly
casting and retrieving small strips of bait, bucktails, or soft plastics. In the fall, when the mullet
are running, fluke will often take plugs and poppers on the surface. Thought of as a docile fish,
fluke are actually voracious predators and often seen following plugs right into the beach.
5.4. Kingfish: While kingfish do not usually grow larger than two pounds, they can provide nonstop
action for anglers. Warmer water temperatures associated with late summer are necessary for
kingfish to be found on the beaches. Usually located near jetties in large schools, kingfish can
not resist small pieces of bloodworm, small squid, or clam strips. Small hooks are required, as a
kingfish’s mouth does not get that large. Kingfish make for excellent table fare, a fact that
offsets the lack of a fight when catching kingfish on the front beach.

6. Opportunity Fishing & Preparedness
6.1. The key to opportunity fishing is being prepared for conditions and fish encountered on the
beach. Successful surf anglers target the species of fish available, and while we would all love
to catch a fifty-pound striper, the chances are relatively minute in the hot months of July and
August. On the other hand, fluke are prevalent throughout the surf the majority of summer and
fall, and common sense warrants fishing for fluke. Often, common sense takes a back seat when
fishing and this can lead to a day of fishing rather than a day of catching. Many anglers miss an
excellent fluke fishery because they decide that they only want to target large stripers. If you
insist on trying for trophy stripers in the middle of summer, fish with a second, lighter bait rod.
The lighter rod can be used for working strips of bait such as mackerel or squid, while the
heavier bait rod is used for tossing out a chunk of bunker. Lighter bait rods will usually out-fish
a rod baited with a big chunk of bunker in the summer months.
6.2. Heeding the advice of the old Boy Scout credo “Being Prepared,” can pay dividends when surf
fishing as well. Often, the simple act of having a second rod capable of throwing plug or metal
into the middle of a bluefish blitz makes the difference between being skunked and an afternoon
of catching. Many anglers that carry a plugging rod with them up to the surf will often work
lures while fishing with bait in the water. The bait-rod may be hit more often, but having the
plugging rod handy will pay off eventually, especially when the bass and bluefish are driving
mullet literally onto the beach.

7. Beach Safety While Surf Fishing
7.1. Fishing the beach can pose many unseen or unknown hazards to surf anglers. The following
topics are some of the more common hazards associated with surf fishing. Common sense on
the beach should always be used and considered a priority, as safety can be compromised
quickly in rough surf. Of all things mentioned in this section, perhaps the most important piece
of advice is “NEVER turn your back to the ocean!” Waves could knock an angler down in the
surf line or sweep them off a jetty.
7.1.1. Walking longer jetties can often put anglers into great fishing, areas unreachable from the
shore. Slipping on a jetty or knocked from one can mean a broken wrist or ankle, or severe
lacerations from barnacles or rocks. Watch your footing when walking a jetty. Cleats make
for better traction, but are not foolproof when it comes to keeping you off your bum.
7.1.1.1. Walking Jetties: Cleats/KORKERS are metal spiked shoes that allow for a “bite” on
slippery surfaces that are encountered on most jetties. If you want to walk a jetty,
Cleats are a must, No exceptions .

7.1.1.2. Waders: Intended to keep you dry and warm, waders can become extremely
dangerous once filled with water. A wader belt, worn snuggly across the chest can
help keep water from quickly flowing into your waders if you happen to slip or a
wave happens to break over you.
7.1.1.2.1. Wading into the surf or out to a sand bar may produce more fish, but caution
must be used when entering the surf wearing a pair of waders. Once filled with
water, mobility in waders become near impossible and could lead to drowning.
When wading into the surf, take your time and use caution. Wade into the surf
slowly, a drop-off will occur at some point. This drop-off could be as close as
the shoreline, ranging in depth from a couple of feet to over-head.
7.1.1.2.2. When wading, attention should be paid to the stage of tide. The bar that you
were able to wade out to at low tide may require a long swim back to shore as
the incoming tides push water onto the beach. Troughs and sloughs waist deep
at low tide may be overhead at later stages of the tide.
7.1.1.3. Undertow: Although thought of a hazard for swimmers, anglers wading into the surf
can also be swept out to sea. If the surf looks like a river heading out to sea, you
should avoid wading into the current.
7.1.2. Fish Handling: Caution must be used when handling fish. Aside from obvious safety
problems such as teeth, fins and gill plates, dangling hooks can pose threat to unsuspecting
surf anglers. While not all species of fish possess teeth capable of damage, please use
caution until you learn which has and does not have teeth. For safety purposes, the easiest
way to handle fish in the surf is to pin the fish in the wash with your knee or free hand and
remove the hook via the pliers mentioned above.
7.1.2.1. Surprisingly, one of the biggest safety issues with handling fish does not have
anything to do with the fish other than the hook in its mouth. Removing hooks from a
fish’s mouth can be dangerous when a fish shakes its head. Hooks can imbed
themselves into any soft tissue rather easily, and are extremely difficult to remove due
to the barb.

8. Trouble Shooting Problems Associated with Surf Fishing
8.1. Line-Twist/Wind Knots
8.1.1. Line-twists and wind knots (the effect of line-twists) are a predominant problem with
spinning reels. Cause of these headaches is due to the nature of the spinning reels and that
the spool is stationary while line is encircled onto spool by the bail. Some practices
accentuate the problem of line-twists and the accompanying wind knot.
8.1.1.1. Reeling against the drag: As a fish is taking drag, line is coming off the spool as it
would during a cast. Turning the handle as line is stripped from the reel causes the
bail to revolve. Since line is not being gathered onto the spool, the revolution of the
bail transfers the revolving motion to the line. Results are line-twist and wind knot
one or two casts later. Reeling against the drag can also prematurely burn drag
washers, making the drag feel sticky.
8.1.1.2. Retrieving Line with Little or No Tension: Lack of tension on the line as it is
gathered onto the reel results in a loose pack of line on the spool. This loose pack
allows the revolving bail to transfer twist to the line.
8.1.1.3. The use of a ball-bearing swivel when plugging serves to prevent line twist and help
remedy line twist by allowing the twist to spin out.

8.2. Broken Rods due to High-Sticking
8.2.1. High-Sticking occurs when a force (tight fishing line) acts at an angle less than 90° to the
perpendicular of the rod tip. Such forces occur primarily in two instances when fishing;
lifting fish with the rod, or using the rod, rather than reel, to free from a snag. Either
practice will result in a horseshoe bend in the rod blank, and take the rod beyond its
intended design load. Rod blanks were not designed for this type of dynamic force and will
reach failure at some point. When they reach failure, rods snap, typically between the
second and third guide.
8.3. Reel Dropping into Sand/Saltwater
8.3.1. Saltwater and sand tend to destroy fishing tackle, especially fishing reels. Once dropped
into the sand or surf, fishing reels have an uncanny knack for seizing. Perhaps not
immediately, but if left unattended reels will seize and fail to perform. Once dropped into
the water or sand, fishing reels need to be completely stripped down, cleaned, re-greased,
and put back together (properly). Fisherman's Headquarters, an authorized PENN warranty
center, has a reel service department that is more than capable of cleaning dropped fishing
reels.

9. Common Courtesy on the Beach
9.1.1. Surf fishing, while relaxing, can provide excitement and sense of accomplishment like no
other sport is capable. Extending common courtesy on the beach allows for good fishing
and good times for everyone. Some practices to avoid on the beach include shining lights
and headlights on the water at night, setting up camp next to someone while the remaining
beach is wide open, and if someone happens to cut your line or cross your line, there is no
need to read them the riot act. Perhaps a friendly word or piece of advice could educate the
offender and prevent the problem from occurring, again.

10. Practical Fishing Knots for Surf Fishing
10.1. The following knot descriptions were copied from the ANDE â Monofilament Book of Knots.
The knots provided are a basic compilation of fishing knots that every angler should have in
his/her repertoire. Other knots will work, but the following knots have been proven with time.
Remember that knots should be lubricated before pulling tight. Saliva is the easiest lubricant.
10.1.1. TRILENE â Knot: The Trilene Knot is a strong reliable connection that resists slippage
and premature failures.
The Trilene Knot is an all-purpose connection to be used in joining monofilament to
swivels, snaps, hooks, and artificial lures. The knot’s unique design and ease of tying yield
consistently strong, dependable connections while retaining 85-90% of the original line
strength. The double wrap of mono through the eyelet provides a protective cushion for
added safety.

1. Run end of line through the eye of hook or lure and double back through the eye a
second time.
2. Loop around standing part of line 5 or 6 times.
3. Thread tag end back between the eye and the coils as shown (Line is run between the
double loop formed in step one and the eye of hook or lure)
4. Pull tight and trim tag end.

10.1.2. ALBRIGHT Knot: The Albright knot is most commonly used for joining monofilament
lines of unequal diameters, for creating shock leaders and when a Bimini Twist is tied in the
end of a lighter casting line. It is also used for connecting monofilament to wire.

1. Bend a loop in the tag end of the heavier monofilament and hold between thumb and
forefinger of the left hand. Insert the tag end of the lighter monofilament though the
loop from the top.
2. Slip the tag end of lighter monofilament under your thumb and pinch it tightly against
the heavier strands of the loop. Wrap the first turn of the lighter monofilament over
itself and continue wrapping toward the round end of the loop. Take at least 12 turns
with the lighter monofilament around all three strands.
3. Insert tag end of the lighter monofilament through end of the loop from the bottom. It
must enter and leave the loop from the same side.
4. With the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, slide the coils of the lighter
monofilament toward the end of the loop, stop 1/8” from end of loop. Using pliers.
Pull the tag end of the lighter mono tight to keep the coils from slipping off the loop.
5. With your left hand still holding the heavier mono, pull on the standing part of the
lighter mono. Pull the tag end of the lighter mono and the standing part a second time.
Pull the standing part of the heavy mono and the standing part of the light mono.
6. Trim both tag ends.

10.1.3. Dropper Loop Knot:
1. To form loop which stands out from the line above sinker or other terminal rig. First,
form a loop in the line.
2. Pull one side of the loop down and begin taking turns with it around the standing line.
Keep point where turns are made open so turns gather equally on each side.
3. After eight to ten turns, reach through the center opening and pull remaining loop
through. Keep finger in the loop so it will not spring back.
4. Hold loop with teeth and pull both ends of line, making turns gather on either side of
loop.
5. Set knot by pulling lines as tightly as possible. Tightening coils will make loop stand
out perpendicular to line. Not a strong knot but serviceable for pan fish and small saltwater
species where such rigs are used.
10.1.4. Perfection Loop: A perfection loop is used at the ends of the leader belly and the tippet
(This knot is also useful for attaching plugs to leader with loop so that swimming actions
are more lifelike)
1. Double the end of the leader belly forming a loop about 6 inches long. Form a
smaller loop about 2-inches from the end of the leader belly so that the smaller loop
is behind the double line.
2. With the larger loop, make a wrap around the smaller loop and pass the end of the
larger loop through the smaller one.
3. Wet the knot area and firmly pull the larger loop. Be sure the wraps tighten evenly.
Trim excess.
  • trapshooterbob likes this

#3 J22LR1der

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Posted April 22 2013 - 01:59 PM

Thank you for the Wealth of Information. :)

#4 Joe Shmoe

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Posted April 22 2013 - 02:06 PM

I really need someone to meet up with and try this stuff. I have the beach access permit and a rod to satisfy the requirements, but I have no idea on how to get any damn fish!!!
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#5 J22LR1der

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Posted April 22 2013 - 02:22 PM

I'm a 1st timer as well, I've been doing some research on what kinda Poll to get and what kind of Bait and weights to use.

I don't believe fishing is all luck as some might say, but if you know what you are fishing for use correct bait and weights to hold bait where you need it and to should be more successful than someone just winging it. Good luck, hoping to meet up and learn from some more experienced members myself.
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#6 CommackBoy

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Posted April 22 2013 - 02:40 PM

Really good info!

#7 Scrappy.NY

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Posted April 22 2013 - 02:44 PM

Good info. It will take me a while to go through the entire thing.
This will come in handy because last year someone gave me a surf caster and I am looking forward to trying it this summer.

#8 J22LR1der

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Posted April 22 2013 - 03:02 PM

Any Rod Sugestions for a Beginner?

Newb Q:
is calling a Rod a Pole like calling a Magazine a Clip?

#9 pequa1

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Posted April 22 2013 - 03:19 PM

One of the hardest things this year regarding surfcasting may simply be finding a place to fish on parts of the south shore. My town beach remains closed, Breezy Point/ Fort Tilden may not reopen, and I do not believe cars are yet allowed to drive to Robert Moses State Park. 4x4s may also be prohibited from some damaged beaches this year or part of the year as well.

#10 PandM

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Posted April 22 2013 - 04:00 PM

One of the hardest things this year regarding surfcasting may simply be finding a place to fish on parts of the south shore. My town beach remains closed, Breezy Point/ Fort Tilden may not reopen, and I do not believe cars are yet allowed to drive to Robert Moses State Park. 4x4s may also be prohibited from some damaged beaches this year or part of the year as well.

For Fort Tilden info and fishing permit info call 718 338 3799.

#11 CVAC085

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Posted April 22 2013 - 04:24 PM

Took me a bit to read BUT great information for me being a first timer this year hoping to get out and surf cast and get on the beach. Thanks for all of this! I'll be coming back to it time to time to keep reading and make sure I'm prepared.

#12 tonythelip

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Posted April 22 2013 - 04:55 PM

I was a master caster before I was a master fisher man

Edited by PaPaBear, April 23 2013 - 07:53 AM.
inproper wording "young kids read this"


#13 golfmech

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Posted April 22 2013 - 05:09 PM

awesome thank you

#14 Captain Will

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Posted July 20 2014 - 11:26 AM

^^ Cool, but of the men I know who live men's lifestyles, none of them sit around and read magazines. I am down to reading one magazine (Cutting Tool Engineering) only because it's my "pooper mag".

#15 BoneCollector89

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Posted March 15 2016 - 01:11 PM

This is a FANTASTIC guide for beginner. Just one question, in terms of hooks, if I am going to strip bait with say a 4oz pramid sinker, what type of hook is normally best? I am getting my first 4x4 offroad permit this year and plan on fishing from shore.

#16 PaperPunch

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Posted February 06 2017 - 02:56 PM

Wow, great posting. Gonna have to bookmark and come back later. Thanks.




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