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To Catch Fish In The Surf, You Need To Start With The Right Equipment!

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Equipment Selection

One of the great things about surf fishing is that the equipment needed is minimal. All you need is a rod and reel and some very basic tackle. You don't need a boat or an arsenal of lures and other tackle. Now once you become hooked you can start fishing lures in the surf, but the vast majority of surf fishermen use the basics.

People typically use surf rods from 8 to 15 feet. Typically, the longer the rod, the farther you can cast. For the beginner, a 10 foot rod is standard. The rod should be balanced and of sufficient weight to handle the amount of weight needed to hold bottom. This can vary widely based on surf conditions. A typical rod should be able to handle about 4 ounces.

There will always be a friendly disagreement between different surf fishermen about the type of reel that is best, conventional vs spinning. People who fish conventional reels will tell you they can cast farther and have better control than with a spinning reel. Spinning reels are generally easier to use. For beginners, they are MUCH easier to use. The reel should be of sufficient size to have several hundred yards of line. This allows you to cast out and when you hook the big one, it allows you plenty of line to fight it!

Most beach tackle shops or large retailers sell pre-matched surf combos. For the beginner, this is the way to go.

The test of the line will vary depending on how you are fishing. Twenty lb test is a good place to start. It is heavy enough to handle pretty much anything you will encounter and small enough to work with. You should not go much heavier unless you are tackling some heavy duty fish. If you are going to cast lures, you may want to go smaller (14 - 16 lb.)

Under most circumstances, all you need to rig your line is a single hook off of a 3 way swivel with the sinker coming off the bottom of the swivel. Other types of rigs like fishfinder and top-and-bottom rigs are popular. Local tackle shops will most likely have pre-made rigs for sale and for most people, this is the easiest way to go. Many fishermen will flatten the barb on their hooks. This makes it much easier to remove the hooks especially if you are releasing the fish.

It is becoming more common to use circle hooks when fishing with live or cut bait. Circle hooks are designed a little differently than traditional J hooks. The point of the hook is turned in. This reduces the possibility of gut hooking the fish since it allows the hook to slide out of the belly if the bait is swallowed. The design of the hook causes it to get caught in the corner of the mouth on the way out. Many people complain of a lower rate of hookups with circle hooks, but in many cases studies have proven the difference to be minimal. Their use however definitely reduces gut hooking. The main thing to remember when using circle hooks is that they are designed to allow the fish to hook themselves. Let the fish take the bait rather you setting the hook. You will know when the fish is hooked!

Typically either pyramid sinkers or specialty surf sinkers are used beacuse they hold bottom the best.

Every surf fisherman should also carry a sharp knife. This can be used to cut bait or fishing line if needed.

A good pair of needle nosed pliers is also handy. This can help you remove hooks when needed.

Dehooker tools have also become popular. They help to remove hooks with minimal effort and less stress to the fish. This is especially important if releasing the fish.

A good multi tool is a vital piece of equipment. Several companies make models specifically for fisherman that have specialty tools that can come in handy when you are fishing.

If fishing in low light situations, a flashlight is important. Headlamps or small LED lights that can clip on a hat are popular.

Finally, all surf fishermen should use sand spikes. These are PVC tupes with points cut on one end. They stick in the sand and allow you to stand up your rod. Sand and reels do not mix. Rods should never be put directly on the sand. Very quickly, the sand can ruin a reel. Always use a sand spike.

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