Guidelines For the Best Time to Go Surf Fishing

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Guidelines For the Best Time to Go Surf Fishing

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What is the Best Time of Year?

Since I am not considering any particular location, as a general rule of thumb I would have to say spring and fall. Now that doesn’t mean if you are fishing in the winter or summer that the surf fishing will be poor. It most likely just won’t be outstanding. That being said, it doesn’t mean the fishing will be outstanding in the spring and fall. What it does mean is that given the same set of circumstances, the fishing will probably be better in the spring and fall. Surf fishing depending on your location can be good year round. If you know what you’re doing it isn’t difficult to catch fish in the surf year round.

What is the Best Time of Day?

This question is easier to answer. In the early morning just before dawn until 9 or 10 AM and in the evening an hour or two before dusk. This follows the nocturnal feeding habits of the fish. During the summer when a lot of the beaches are occupied by sunbathers, dusk might be your best bet after they have left the beach. In some areas the rule is no fishing in swimming areas from the time lifeguards go on duty until the time they go off.

What is the Best Tide Time?

It’s no secret that the tides affect surf fishing. Moving water at the surf line is good for fishing. High tide is best because it’s easier to cast out and reach the deeper water. The window of opportunity is two hours before high tide and two hours after. Slack tide which is right between high tide and low tide is not productive for surf fishing. Low tide in most areas is usually only good for scouting the beach for ideal fishing spots.

What are the Best Moon Phases?

The moon not only plays a part in the tidal movements, it also affects the fishing. Let me explain. The moon produces the most extreme tide changes, referred to as spring tides, during the new moon and the full moon. The water moves faster during the change in tides from high to low tide and the total change in depth is the greatest.  This is the best time to fish the surf. Also, common belief is that during a full moon the fish feed most of the night.

What are the Best Weather Conditions?

Weather conditions are a little more difficult to address because of all the different kinds of weather factors. An onshore breeze if it isn’t too strong is a plus. Cold fronts are negative factors. High wind and surf is also bad. High winds make it difficult to fish and the water clarity is very poor. Low pressure is better than high pressure during a spring tide. When the weather conditions have been poor for the last 24 hours the fishing won’t improve until the fish have had a chance to acclimate. Sometimes it may take a day or two depending on how severe the weather has been.

Now after considering all the best times for surf fishing, it’s easy to understand how these situations can work together when they occur at the same time. When planning to go surf fishing try to take advantage of the time when several of these conditions overlap each other.

Seven Quick Steps to Start Surf Fishing Right Away

If you’ve never surf fished before this article is written for you. My goal is to provide you with a very simple, easy to follow method so you will catch your first fish in the surf. That’s all I want you to be able to do. Just catch a fish, any fish. I don’t care if you have never caught a fish in your life. I want you to see how exciting and easy it is to do. After that I guarantee you’ll be hooked and I will have accomplished my goal. Once you catch your first fish you’ll have the confidence I want you to get. At that point you will have the incentive to learn everything you can about this sport and enjoy many successful hours at the surf line.

Surf fishing is a neglected sport. You don’t hear much about it. The ironic thing is that it’s probably the the easiest to do and the most exciting. How strange is that?

Okay let’s get started.

Get A Surf Rod And Reel Combo

I want you to go down to Walmart or one of the big sporting good chains. You have go to one of them within range of the coastline otherwise they won’t carry any surf gear. Your budget for a surf rod and reel combo is under $69. You can probably find something for around $49. (A combo is a rod & reel combination)

Pick out any spinning surf rod and reel combo that strikes your fancy. Surf rods are heavier and longer than regular salt water rods. Get something at least 10′ but not longer than 12′ If you can find the Daiwa combo or the Shakespeare combo that’s great. Otherwise most any surf combo will do. Remember this is a beginners intro. Once you get into it you’ll probably want to get more professional gear.

Get The Minimum Required Tackle

This is going to a very short, simple list.

300 yds. of mono filament line 20 lb. Test (if your combo didn’t come spooled with line)
2 or maybe 3 Pyramid sinkers 3oz. weight
1 pkg. of 2/0 circle hooks ( Look at the ready made leaders with hooks on them so you can see how their set up)
1 pkg. of #2 snap swivels

Get Your Gear Set Up

Okay now spool the line on your reel and don’t wind it on too loosely. Wind your line on through a piece of Styrofoam or anything that will put a little drag on it as fills up your reel. We’re not going to deal with a shock leader at this stage. You probably won’t be casting that hard anyway. If you don’t know what a shock leader is don’t worry about it. You can find when you need to know or just look it up. That’s too much to get into at this stage.

With the hook and sinker you can go one of two ways. Either one will get the job done at this point.

Method #1

Make a short 12″ leader for the hook and tie it on your line about 18″ from the end of your line (Remember you saw hooks with leaders at the tackle store). Tie a snap swivel on the end of your line and attach the pyramid sinker to it..

Method #2

Attach a #2 snap swivel to a pyramid sinker and slide in on your line so that it can slide freely. Attach another #2 snap swivel to the end of your line and attach a leader to it with a 2/0 hook on it.

That’s it your surf rig is ready to go.

Learn To Cast

Pick an appropriate location like a park or ball field where there won’t be any people around. You can tape off the hook for safety so you won’t have to take it off. Now I want you to practice casting until you can cast with a basic amount of control for direction and distance. This isn’t a bad idea even if you have some experience. Practice until you can cast 100′ to 200′ with a reasonable amount of predictability. If you can do better that’s great. If you try to cast much further you will need to learn and use a shock leader.

Why You Need To Know About Tides

I need to give you a quick lesson on tides and surf fishing. Find the tide tables for your location. I’ll give you three possibilities. Find them on the Internet, look for them in the local coastal newspaper or ask at the local bait and tackle shop.

Find out when you can go to the beach at low tide. Visit the beach and look for variations in the bottom. Note spots for pockets and changes in the formation of the bottom, basically where you can cast into deeper water or past a sandbar. If you can spot a rip through a sandbar so much the better. These will be your target spots to fish.

Pick The Right Time To Fish The Surf

Okay now you know where you are going to fish and the water you will be targeting. Go back to the the tide charts. Find a time when high tide occurs in the early daylight hours or around early dusk. It doesn’t matter which one you pick. You are going to fish a two hour window before and after high tide which will be four hours of fishing time. Now you know when to go fishing.

Get Some Bait

Now it’s time to start fishing. Head over to the local bait shop. Buy a dozen 3″ – 4″ shrimp. (Get a fishing license if you need one.) Head for the surf and get your gear out. Hook one of the shrimp through the tail about an inch from the end. Cast into the designated spots, get in a comfortable chair and hold on. If something doesn’t happen in 20 to 30 minutes cast into one of the other areas that you scouted at low tide.

From the information I’ve given you, at this level of skill you have the best opportunity of landing something very exciting. There’s a good chance you will use all of your bait catching fish. Any size, any kind just catch something so you can see what it’s like. Plan on releasing anything you catch for now. You can get into keeping some at another time.

It’s not foolproof but it will be highly effective. There’s a strong likely hood you will catch something your first time out. Don’t worry about the possibility that the fish aren’t out there. They are there, just take my word for it.

How The Weather And Moon Really Impact Fishing

Let’s start with the barometer. The barometer is a very effective tool for measuring the feeding behavior of fish. The barometer is an instrument used to measure ambient atmospheric pressure. Don’t worry, I’m going to simplify it for you and cut through all of the scientific jargon so we can get to what really matters, catching fish. The measure of barometric atmospheric pressure can then be used to help predict the weather and more importantly for our purposes, the feeding behavior of fish. Haven’t we all wondered why fish were so easy to catch yesterday, but today you can’t even get a bite?

You see when a low pressure front is building, I’m sure you’ve all heard this term on the weather channel, the barometer is low and dropping and a storm is either present or on its way. When the barometer is high or rising, the weather is fair and dry. If you’re watching the weather on the TV, that’s what the large capital L or H means on the weather map. The L stands for a low pressure system and the H stands for a high pressure system.

So what does this mean to me as a fisherman? Let me explain. The barometer is a very useful tool that will unlock many of the “mysteries” of fishing. You say, “Come on Trevor, is this really true?” The answer is yes, it is true. When the atmospheric pressure fluctuates, it affects the air bladders in fish. A fishes’ air bladder is what it uses to stabilize itself at different depths of water. When a fishes’ air bladder isn’t feeling right it won’t want to eat. Do you feel like eating when you have an upset stomach? Well fish don’t either.

When the barometer is low or falling, fish will spend most of their time equalizing their air bladder, and the last thing they’re thinking about is feeding. When this happens you’ll have a difficult time fooling a fish into eating. On the other hand, when the opposite is true, and the barometer is rising, your chances of catching a fish, is far greater, because they feel more like eating.

Fish and wild life know what to expect from the weather and can sense when a storm is approaching to a much greater degree than we humans can. You’ve probably noticed that when the weather is nice all of the critters outside are active and frolicking about. This means that the barometric pressure is stable or high. On the other hand when the barometric pressure is low, you won’t see nearly as many animals around and the ones you do won’t be frolicking anywhere. Even the cows in your local field will be lying down. At times like this it can get pretty quiet out on the lake or river too. The fish just aren’t active.

Understanding how fish adapt to changes in their environment allow an angler to better predict a fishes’ movement and feeding. Finding out when a fish is feeding is what we’re interested in because that’s when you have the best chance of catching said fish. You may know that almost all saltwater fishermen check the tides before they head out fishing. And it’s a great strategy because the tides impact fishing. But you do realize what causes the tides to change, don’t you? That’s right, the moon. And the gravitational pull of the moon that impacts the changing tides is also pushing against some part of the earth all the time. So the pressure is always there but since water is more easily moved than the ground, water is lifted up towards the moon causing the tides to change. How high the high tide will rise or how low the low tide may go is largely determined by the position of the moon and sun.

Knowing and understanding this information isn’t just important to the saltwater angler though. Freshwater anglers don’t deal with tides like saltwater anglers, but the phases of the moon are very important to them as well. What the angler wants to focus on are the new moon and full moon periods on the calendar. The two or three days following these two occurrences will result in more fish activity. It’s that simple.

I’ve been planning my fishing trips observing these same principles for years and it almost never fails. The moon phases are a very real factor in the feeding patterns of fish. I always have more success during the full and new moon periods, than I do at other times of the month and you can too.

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What you as an angler wants to try to do is have both of these factors come together at the same time. The perfect weather situation combined with a full or new moon. When this happens, you will have a great day fishing, I promise. And if you just pay attention you can be out there fishing when this happens.

Things to Do Before You Go Out Surf Fishing

Scout The Beach At Low Tide For Potential Hot Spots

Use a tide chart to find out when you can visit the beach at low tide. During low tide you will be able to see what the bottom is like after the high tide comes in. This will give you a better idea of the the spots that are most likely to hold fish. Once you have an idea of the bottom formations and learn learn how to read the surf your catch rate will improve significantly.

Check The Tide Charts to Find Out The Best Time To Fish

Surf fishing at high tide offers the best opportunity for catching fish. If you can fish the surf when high tide occurs at dusk or early morning you will be able to take advantage of the best time to be at the surf line to catch fish.

Check The NOAA weather Station Forecast For The Area You Are Planning To Fish

NOAA weather stations are located all over that provide coastal conditions. They provide a wealth of data useful for surf anglers. The weather plays an important part in the feeding habits of fish in the surf. Pay particular attention to what the weather has been doing over the last 24 hours. Unseasonal weather and cold fronts disrupt feeding habits and food sources. Surf fish need a little time to acclimate and return to normal feeding patterns. If the weather has not been conducive to good fishing conditions over that last 24 hours don’t expect the fishing to improve just after it changes.

Check Local Fishing Reports For The Fishing Activity In The Area

Local fishing reports can be very helpful before planning a trip to the surf line for a few hours of fishing. Fishing reports can come from lots of different sources. Depending on the source there will be several things you can learn.

Such As:

What kind of surf fish are actively biting.
What surf fish are being taken on – type of live bait,  artificial or lures used
When the fish are most active – morning, evening, etc.
What areas of the surf the fish were caught.
Surf conditions the fish were taken in – calm, light chop, tide, etc.

Decide What Tackle You Will Be Using And Make Sure You Are Set Up Properly.

After gathering all the information for a surf fishing outing. You should have an idea of the type of fish you will be targeting and the tackle you will be using. You probably have the option of using live bait, lures or artificial bait. Check your tackle box for the gear you will need. See that it is in good condition and that there is a few extra in case you loose some in the surf.

Nothing is worse than running into a good school of fish and not having what’s needed on hand to keep fishing. Proper planning before you head to the beach to enjoy this exciting sport can make all the difference in how much success and fun you have.

Surf Fishing Tips – Fish Any Beach in the World!

Surf fishing at the beach on the ocean can get real exciting. In this article I will outline surf fishing tips I have learned through the years that anyone can use. Some tips have been acquired through personal experience and from other successful surf fishing friends.

First you need to make sure you have the adequate equipment. A fishing rod that is between 10 feet and 15 feet long is the ideal length in order to achieve good casting distance and leverage. The fishing reel can be a spinning reel size 6000 up to an 8000 size with a good drag system and good line capacity for heavier line such as 17 to 25 pound test. One thing to remember about fishing in the ocean, you never know what you will catch, so you need to be prepared with the proper heavy equipment to handle a 30 pound sting ray or a large blue fish that have giant teeth, not to mention the occasional shark. Sometimes you will catch small fish like whiting or lady fish that are too small for a heavy rod, but being prepared for the big one is really what you want.

Choosing where to fish is another choice to be made. If you are at a home or condo on the ocean front you would most likely fish right out front. Then look for activity on top of the water, like birds diving into the water feeding on bait fish. Where there are small fish there are big fish not too far away. Fish close to them if you can, otherwise get out your polarized sunglasses and look for bait fish near where you are standing. If you don’t see any, just cast out to where the waves break and let your bait float in the sandy trenches the waves create. That is where fish will look for food.

Always look at the tide chart for your area and pick your fishing times around high tides. The best time is usually 2 hours before and one to two hours after high tide. Surf fishing at these times can usually yield the most activity. Also try early morning and early evening which is normally a good fishing time. Coupled with high tide, this time frame can be very exciting and productive.

Other fishing gear you need will be a 5 gallon bucket to carry your bait, drinking water, towel, knife, cutting board for cutting up clams etc and rod stand. Plus you may want another carry all for everything mentioned after you put some fish in the bucket for cleaning later. You should also consider using a steel leader and a good hook rig such as a pompano rig or a strong steel hook attached to the steel leader. For sinkers you can use the pyramid style or the sputnik style. I use the sputnik style because it sticks in the sand and allows the bait to float in the water. The weight of the sinker or weight depends on how rough the surf is. The pyramid style can tend to roll with the surf and back to shore again.

Surf fishing tips like these can help you get started fishing the surf. Always check out the local bait shops to buy bait and ask what’s been biting lately, then gear up accordingly.

Tides – Influence on Fish Feeding

The feeding cycle of some fish is directly influenced by tidal movements. In most parts of the world fish that cling to coastal areas feed mainly on the flood tide when smaller organisms are washed in with warmer water in winter and with colder water in summer. There are times when fish feed on the tail end of the ebb tide and the start of the flood tide. This would account for the variation in a fish species’ diet from one area to another at different times. What may seem indicative of a certain species’ feeding habits in one location, may not be the same at another location just a short distance away.

When smaller organisms and small fish are washed in with a rising tide, bigger fish will follow and feed on them, leaving again when the food source runs out. Dusk and dawn are another of the variables. Large numbers of marine organisms, which the surface fish feed on, move up from the depths at night when the surface water cools. They migrate back to the depths as the sun rises, away from the warmer upper layers and the sun’s rays.

Locality also dictates behaviour, not all places in the world have two tides, such as New Guinea. There are places that have one tide higher than the other and other places with mixed tides, sometimes several a day. With the moon exactly over the equator, these places have two tides of equal height and as the angle of the moon to the equator increases, the second tide disappears.

The feeding behaviour and habits of fish which depend on tides vary as much as the tides vary. There is some thought that the variations of the tidal flow confuse the fish. This is not so, if the food rides in with the tide, so will the fish. Uncertain tides may not fool the fish, but they certainly fool the angler. A truly tidal feeding species will feed at irregular intervals, due to the variance of tides and indeed, many fish can go for long periods of time without feeding at all.

An estuary with a rising tide is good news for fish, with organisms washing in from outside the estuary. So just after high tide, many fish move in from the ocean and from the upstream areas to feed in the estuaries on all the fresh organisms.

Currents within the ocean are just as important, especially the vertical and inclined currents which firstly carry cooler water up from the depths to the surface and divert warmer water to the cooler levels and secondly, they bring vast numbers of organisms to the continental shelf where fish can feed on them.

Surface currents are affected by wind and surges, whereas vertical currents react to temperature and salinity. Fish use these vertical currents as birds do the wind currents, rising and navigating to different depths during their migrations. Without these currents which carry plankton and other organisms, fish may not be so abundant around our coastal areas.

The importance of the upwelling currents bringing cooler water to the top and moving warmer water away also negates the need for temperature sensitive fish to remain within their temperature tolerance by following the water away from the coast and away from their natural feeding grounds.

We guarantee much better fishing results. Check out this new revolutionary invention and get ahead of your fishing friends. Buy the Award Winning ‘Esca Lures’ online at

Source by Escalure Fishing Tackle

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