In the autumn, striped bass can weigh more than 30 pounds with some anglers bringing in fish upwards of 50 pounds.
Wrasse and Pollock are other species of fish that are usually present throughout the year. If you’re looking for plenty of action while surf fishing, kingfish and fluke can usually provide that for you. You’ll see mackerel most active during the day when they are feeding and whiting will come out later at night.
Rods and Reels – You’ll need to invest in some solid surf fishing rods and reels before heading to the coastline. Spinning reels are highly recommended since they are good for both beginner and expert anglers. Spinning reels eliminate the need to control the revolving spool during casting. Surf fishing rods range in size from 6 to 14 feet and the size you settle on really depends on the location you plan to surf and what type of fish you want to catch. A nine feet rod is a good size to pick if you want the most versatile rod possible. Choose graphite or graphite composite rods over fiberglass to get more bang out of your buck.
Bait Types – When you get into surf fishing, you’re likely to hear all sorts of outlandish suggestions on the best type of bait to use. For cheap and effective live bait options, squid and shrimp are solid choices. Shrimp need to be peeled first and should be placed on the hook so they curve naturally. Squid must be cleaned beforehand and cut into small rectangular or triangular strips. Fresh and frozen clams are best if you plan to fish in rough surf conditions. Since clams are soft, you’ll need bait thread to keep them on the hook. Bloodworms and sandworms can be placed by their head on the hooks, but be careful of them falling off during casting. If you’re still at a lost over what type of bait to use, ask the salesperson at your local bait shop about their recommendations.
Tackle Box Odds and Ends
A well-stocked tackle box can make all the difference when you’re fishing off the coast. A few basics include the following:
- Pliers with a side cutter
- Minimum of three floats
- Minimum of two sets of hooks
- Various weights
- 20 pounds or more of fishing line
- Sand spikes
- 5 Gallon Bucket
Tips and Warnings – There’s no point in leaving behind a dead fish in your wake because you don’t have the right gear. Like the fishermen from BlacktipH Fishing were sensitive to walking away when they got that they were in a losing battle, you must be sensitive to what kind of hook you’re throwing in the water. Circle hooks are an ideal choice because they rarely get caught in a fish’s throat. Avoid treble hooks since they are easily swallowed. Another way to be sensitive to fish is to not automatically throw them back into the water after they’re caught. Help the fish avoid sinking and dying when thrown back by moving it back and forth in calm water before releasing.
Although tide charts are helpful, make it a point to get to know your coastal fishing spot. Water moves differently dependent on the area and will not follow the exact timing of high and low tides. For instance, inlets will often experience a lag time of an hour or so. And many of these spots are where you want to toss your line in. Inlets, creeks, and channels offer readily available supplies of food for fish and can be found by using marine charts.
You may not snag a 1,000 pound shark the first time you fish off the coast, but you could still catch a big enough fish to earn you some major bragging rights.