Six Tips to Saltwater Surf Fishing Success

Are you thinking of going on a fishing trip to the shore? Shore fishing is very different to fishing from a boat. Here are six tips to help you succeed when you surf or shore fish.

Take a look at the water at low tide

You should first walk along the beach during low tide, or at least in spring. You should pay attention to these things:

  • Are there banks, hollows, gullies or rocky areas?
  • Is there any change in the seabed’s nature?
  • Is the seabed sand, mud, or shingle?
  • Are you able to see the shellfish beds?
  • Is there a patch of weed and rough ground?
  • Do you know of any obstacles that could hinder your fishing or rob you of your catch?

You can continue exploring and cast a lead that is bare, without hooks. Slowly pull the lead in, and you will feel the seabed’s changes and conditions.

This information is very valuable and will make a big difference in whether you catch fish. You’ll be able to look at this data during your fishing trip by making some notes and sketches.

One thing you can count on about the ocean is its constant change. The ocean’s tides and currents can shift the goalies, sandbanks and shellfish beds. Storms can also destroy them and cause new features to the seabed. It can be difficult to see your notes when it is high water. Each surf patch may look different and the evidence is all over the place.

One surf patch may look very similar to all others when you first see it. You want to be sure that you are paying attention.

The surface of the water will change how it looks. Short, breaking seas will betray shallow sandybanks. Flatter, smoother seas signify that the water is deeper — a gully where fish might lurk.

With the information you gathered from your survey at low tide, and the evidence provided by the surf changes you will have a good idea of where to place your bait.

Keep an eye on the weather

Many people enjoy fishing from the surf, and prefer offshore winds because they can make longer casts. Offshore winds can calm the water and produce clear water.

These conditions are ideal for fish to hang out in deeper water at night, so they can be closer to the shore.

Surf fishing in the morning will yield better results if you have low conditions and stronger winds.

Select the Perfect Time

You want to be there when you fish from the surf. The best time to fish from the surf is two hours before and two hours after high tide. This is especially true when it’s spring tide. It’s also not a good idea fishing at high tide.

Here’s an example. High tide is at 10 AM. Fishing between 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM is not a good idea. However, if you fish between 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM, you have a better chance of catching a catch. You can try again at 10:45 AM to 12:45 PM when the tide is receding.

Low light conditions are the best for fish, so dusk and dawn are the best times to go fishing. It is a good idea to plan your fishing trip for the time that high tide occurs at dawn or dusk. You’re likely to bring home a large haul.

Learn how to tie the best rigs for shore fishing

Three requirements are required for surf fishing rigs:

  • Place bait on the seabed to make it look natural
  • Fly aerodynamically to achieve long casts.
  • Mount your bait securely and let the hooks remain unobtrusive to ensure that they are able to hold the fish’s mouth shut.

This aerodynamic requirement means that the basic shore rig should have at least one hook attached to shortsnoods and one of your lead weights. These should not be lower than your weight. These rigs come in the following types:

  • Clipped rigs
  • Flapper rigs
  • Pulley rigs
  • Wishbone rigs

How do you tie the rigs together? Cheating is the easiest way to do it. They can be bought professionally and copied shamelessly.

If you are replicating purchased shore rings, do not use nylon monofilament to tie your own. Instead, you should use fluorocarbon lines. It is invisible underwater and more visible than other types of lines. Although it is not cheap, you won’t need much. You might also find yourself catching amazing fish.

Be sure you’re not over-cauting

Surfcasters use this technique to appear macho. While everyone wants to cast cool castings, it’s often not necessary. Three things are necessary if you want to make really long castings.

  • High quality surfcasting gear
  • High-tech surfcasting technique
  • A great body

Good surf anglers know that casting hundreds of feet out is not going to guarantee good results. You can cast consistently and accurately to where the fish are if you do.

These will ensure you have the best possible chance of success and less frustration on your fishing trip.

The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Knots Fishing Charters is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!” Click here to learn more!