Surf Fishing – The Basics

Summer is here and what better way to start a vacation than by learning to surf fish on the Outer Banks. We have talked about this topic many times and since the weather is beautiful and the fish are biting, what better way to start a new activity.

Surf Fishing

Fishing on the surf is the easiest to learn and enjoyable for the entire family. And now that you are here, why not give it a try. And it can be fun for the entire family. 

All you need is a simple saltwater rod, reel, fishing license and fresh bait.

The first thing you want to do is research the regulations. Make sure you know the limits of any species you catch. Also, you may need a license to fish on our beaches. Licenses and rules can be obtained at any local tackle shop. Tackle shops are the newest (and experienced) angler’s best friend.

Next is selecting the spot on the beach. I always check with other local anglers or tackle shops for this information. They can usually point you in the right direction. It’s important to learn to also read the beach. It takes a little time, but we’ll worth the effort. But basically, most spots on our beach will hold fish.

Like any sport, you will need specific gear. These items will include a good medium seven foot rod and reel set up, a bottom rig, package of hooks, several different size sinkers and bait. If you don’t have your own rod and reel set up, a complete package can be purchased any tackle supply shop.

If you purchase a rod and reel from a tackle shop it will already be rigged with a line. Once ready to fish, you will attach the bottom rig to the line. You can either tie the rig directly to the line or use a snap swivel to the line first and then hook the rig to this connector. A snap swivel allows for a quick change over if you need to replace the bottom rig.

Next you want to install the hooks. Number four or number six size “circle” hooks should work fine. I slide the loop end of the hook line over the bottom rig loop and slip the hook through the bottom rig loop. This creates a strong connection. A sinker is attached to the bottom of the rig. I carry different size sinkers and attach the lightest one that will allow me to hold the bottom.

Bait is the most important component. I use fresh shrimp or fish bites. Do not peel the shrimp; just place a small piece on each hook. Sometimes, I insert a small quarter inch piece of a fish bite or fish gum over the hook after the shrimp. This keeps the shrimp on the hook and prevents smaller fish from stealing the bait before a larger fish eats it. Remember – the fresher the bait – the better the chance for success.

Most bottom fish can be found within fifteen feet of our shore line. So cast just over the waves. Let the bait sit on the bottom and wait for the bite. The bite feels like a tap tap tap. When you feel the bite, just raise your rod tip and reel in. If your line moves on the bottom, change to the next size up sinker.

It’s that simple. 

So the next time you have a little free time and want to learn a new hobby – take up fishing on our beach. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and our beautiful beaches.

One final tip – release all fish carefully that you are not going to keep the fish so it can be caught again

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony