Surf fishing is a type of fishing experience that many anglers love. Walking along the shoreline by foot, while searching for fish to catch is quite exciting, but you need to know a bit about the best techniques to find and catch fish if you do not want to go home empty handed. There are many saltwater species you can catch by practicing surf fishing, such as redfish, striped bass, sea trout, flounder and many others. A pro tip is to get a topical map for the area where you want to go surf fishing, so you can get acquainted with how the ocean floor looks like beyond the beach. This way, you will learn where to drop your line for maximum efficiency. Besides that, getting to know the following popular surf fishing techniques will help you become better at this type of fishing.
Adjust your rig for the type of fish you want to catch
A fish finder rig, as anglers call it, is nothing else but a leader equipped with a hook and a barrel swivel attached to the main line. Why is this technique considered a great way to find and catch fish? Basically, the rig allows you to attach large bait to it, so you can attract larger prey, as well. You will be able to drop back when the fish bites and let it ingest the bait, so you can be sure that you will catch it. From small prey to larger fish, like brown sharks, you can catch a wide variety of fish in this manner. Here is a pro tip you may want to know about: if you get a longer leader, you will have to deal with increased wind resistance, which means that you will not be able to drop the line too far from the shore.
Smaller casting ranges are not an issue, if you are only aiming for fluke, since fish like these tend to dwell close to the shoreline. However, if you are planning to catch larger prey, it is not a bad idea to go for a shorter leader. Go for leaders that are as short as 6 inches or even lower, if your cast is long, so you can keep the bait close to the weight, but without sacrificing casting distance. Wire leaders are an option to consider for bluefish and sharks.
Using two hooked baits
In case you want to increase your chances of catching the fish you want, you can try the technique with two baits hooked on the same rig. In the case of the above mentioned technique, the weight is located above the hook, while in this technique the hooks are spaced out forming a high/low rig that will practically double your odds of getting back home with something in your fish bucket. The only downside to this technique is that you cannot have a variable weight. What happens is that when you are dropping back, you will have to set the hook right away or your fish may just drop the bait if it senses the tension in the line. In case you are wondering what kind of bait works best with this type of rig, the best recommendation is to go with smaller bait, like clams and worms that are also softer and do not let the fish sense the line so easily.
As far as what kind of fish you can get with this type of rig, it is the best suggestion for early or late season scup, bluefish (the small variety), and stripers. Of course, you can get the type of hook needed for the respective species; for instance, if you plan on catching stripers, a good idea is to use an octopus style hook. As for the bait, the same clams and worms are most recommended. Scup can be more pretentious, which is why a good suggestion is a tiny Aberdeen hook that can deal with this type of panfish without much trouble.
Do not get disappointed if you notice your bait getting stolen. Afterwards, doubling the bait means doubling the risk of having it taken right from under your nose like that. Make sure that you tie the bait properly, and maintain the line tangle free. A pro tip to maintaining tangling to a minimum is to use straight shanked hooks.
Try the whole mullet rig
In case you are planning a fishing trip to southern waters, where big bluefish is the usual suspect, you may find yourself doing quite a great job, if you are opting for a whole mullet rig. This type of rig presents a great advantage: the Styrofoam float helps maintaining the bait a bit over the bottom of the seabed, which means that you do not risk having it attacked by hungry crabs. Instead, the bait will float right above the bottom of the seabed, and it will be more visible for fish, which are your main target.
Here is how you put together this type of contraption. Take the double hook out and then push the wire on the center of the place where the bait goes and out the vent. After you design you mullet rig like this, take the hook and reattach it. You will be surprised to see how easy it becomes to go after big fish like bluefish.
With these three techniques that have been tested and tried for surf fishing multiple times, you will not go wrong. Making sure that you get the right bait and that you examine the area where you want to go surf fishing prior to your trip are all important aspects. Do not forget to get there during the right time of the year for the type of fish you want to catch, and you will have no problems going back home with a bag of successful fishing stories, as well as some tasty fish for a wonderful meal to enjoy with your friends and with your family.