This season, as shallow-water boaters flock to warmer weather in search of the perfect catch, there’s a new technique worth trying out: surf fishing!
This exciting, hands-on method lets you discover (or re-discover) some of the world’s most beautiful beaches in an all-new way—not from the perspective of a sunbather, but a true angler.
Read on as we explore this exciting method, as well as a few ways to try it out on your next coastal cruise! Take a look.
The heart of surf fishing
While surf fishing is an excellent option for anglers who don’t have a boat, it has become a beloved pastime by all—even those who are used to fishing offshore or cruising up the river. That’s because it gives anglers the chance to mix things up, and to access new environments they might not have fished before. It also provides a welcome rainy-day alternative—even if you don’t want to venture out too far because of impending weather, you can still carve out some time on the sand. And any time spent fishing is a great time, in our book.
As boaters, surf fishing is even more enjoyable because we have access to places that cars alone can’t get to. When you’re exploring offshore islands, for example, you can cruise from spot to spot and find near-pristine, empty beaches and choice fishing conditions just beyond the coast. By boating to your beach destination, you can also get a better sense of nearby sandbars and spots that might be especially productive, fish-wise. So anchor near shore and have some fun on the shallow side of things—you never quite know what you’ll find, especially if you’ve never surf fished before!
The best digs
Surf fishing is especially popular in New England, where long, rocky outcrops and crag-lined shores make for excellent spots to cast a line (as fish love to dwell around those in-water structures).
But the winter weather might drive you southward to an equally worthwhile spot—the bright, sunny shores of Florida, where shallow water hotspots, especially down around the Florida Keys, provide for excellent surf fishing. You can easily set your Robalo near the shore and hop into the shallow water, where you can cast your line while being ankle-deep in the cool, turquoise water. This kind of clear-water environment also makes it easy to spot things beneath the water—things like coral, which appear as dark clusters from above the surface, where fish are likely to be hanging out. And as far as finding a specific beach to fish from, less populated spots are typically better.
For better bait…
As far as bait goes, many surf fishers will opt for small bait, the kind you would ordinarily find by the water—think minnows, crabs, shrimp and other similarly sized critters.
What to look for
There are a few key things to look for while surf fishing. The presence of sandbars whose upper portion, or “crest,” does not actually peek out above the surface, are a good sign for anglers. The recessed space between the sandbar and shoreline are often teeming with fish, too, as are passageways or openings that cut between the sandbar and open sea. (You’ll know how to identify this last kind of spot, because you won’t see any waves breaking over it like they do over the sandbar itself.) The presence of rocks, coral and seaweed are also worth looking for—as well as, of course, any cluster of birds splashing around above a spot of water looking for a snack! Also, be sure to go at high tide, where there’s more terrain to cover.
We hope that today’s guide helps you enjoy an all-new way to fish and enjoy the water! Be sure to share your own surf fishing tips with us below.