Surfcasting 101 – You Have To Start Somewhere
Starting any new activity, especially one that requires a lot of gear and patience, can be hard, and surfcasting is no exception. Even though its objective, to catch a fish from the shore, may seem simple, the way in which one goes about this can quickly become complicated.
There are a seemingly limitless number of factors that affect how a surfcaster goes about catching fish from shore. These include time of year, geographic location, desired species, available bait, weather patterns, tide patterns, moon phase, planet configuration, recent seismic activity, etc. The more you learn about surfcasting, the more it seems as if the tiniest change in the air will affect the fishing, which can leave any angler feeling frustrated.
If the unpredictability of surf fishing isn’t intimidating enough, consider the challenge of choosing the proper tackle. I have spent hours walking catatonically through the aisles of tackle shops, staring at the countless choices of lures and rods, sweating as I weighed my options as though they were my last. I always managed to make it out alive, even if I was a bit lighter in my wallet.
Just because surfcasting success seems conditional and the available gear seems expensive and infinite, this doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from the excitement and satisfaction it offers. As a new inductee to this fantastic sport, I am very familiar with the intimidation that accompanies it. In the beginning, I always felt out of place on the rocks or on the beach, constantly wondering if my setup was substantial enough, if my lure was the right choice, if my waders made me look fat… Wherever I went, I felt as though I didn’t belong. It wasn’t until I was out with a friend who has been fishing with his father on Martha’s Vineyard for his entire life that my perspective changed.
Many companies offer reliable setups at entry-level prices. A 9-foot rod with a 5000- or 6000-size reel is a standard beach and jetty combination. It should have the backbone to launch a 2- or 3-ounce lure into the surf, but not be overkill for smaller bluefish and schoolie stripers. If you’re taller or more comfortable with a longer rod, step up to a 10-footer to increase your casting power.
Your first setup should be versatile, and able to…