Thursday, February 25, 2016

Surf Fishing 101

Welcome to Surf Fishing for Beginners!

My main goal here at will always be to help people get started fishing in the surf. It can be intimidating for beginners so I try to write simple and easy to follow how to guides that will help you catch fish during your next trip to the beach. These links will get you where you need to be , but be advised they are hosted on my other website : , where I originally started writing and compiling info for beginners...

The Basics : 

Surf Fishing Basics , Part 1 : a good primer , and a great place to start

Surf Fishing Basics , Part 2 : Tackle : a look into basic terminal tackle , a shopping guide , most of which is available in our store...

Surf Fishing Basics , Part 3 : Advanced Rigs for Bigger Fish : once you're ready for bigger fish!

Choosing a Surf Rod a short guide to help you decide which rod will work best for the type of fishing you plan to do.

Braving the Elements you'll probably get rained on if you spend any amount of time surf fishing.

8 Things I Wouldn't Go Fishing Without a few things you'll need at the beach.

Making Your Own Rigs one of my most popular articles here on the blog , this is a must read for anyone wanting to surf fish.

5 Fishing Knots I Use Often saltwater anglers have to use a few different knots most freshwater fishermen aren't familiar with because of the heavier lines.

" Cut Bait " Explained the best bait to use in the surf.

Reading the Beach  how to find the fish.

Deciding When to Go Fishing best times to be at the beach.

Driving on The Beach a must read for anyone wanting to drive out onto the sand.

The Fish :

Bottom Fishing - The Usual Suspects some of the most common catches here on the East Coast.of the US

The Bluefish one of my favorite fish to catch , and a species that can be found all over the world!

The Red Drum , Part One a hard fighting game fish.

The Red Drum , Part Two how to rig for Reds.

 This is a repost of an earlier article that I feel deserves it's own page. This rig is the most basic piece of gear you will use when surf or pier fishing. You can tie this rig on to any seven foot medium heavy action bass rod and get started catching fish from a pier today! Just be sure to use line that is heavy enough to handle casting a 2-3 ounce sinker. Enjoy!

 Click through for instructions on tying the #1 rig used in the surf!! 


Making Your Own Rigs

I've put off writing this article for quite a while because I'm a horrible photographer. I've decided to do it today because bottom fishing rigs are one of the most effective surf fishing rigs and every surf fisherman will use them at some point. Monofilament is hard to take pictures of so the rig shown here is tied with 60 lb. line. I normally use 30-40 lb. test for these rigs and have never had any problems.

To start you'll need a 5' piece of mono , a pyramid sinker and a swivel.

The main part of this rig is the Dropper Loop knot. I've never been satisfied with the way online sources show how to tie it , so I'll go through the way I tie it. Begin by making a loop and wrapping the line around itself.

Continue wrapping the left hand side around the loop for a total of 3-4 wraps , more for lighter lines. Pull the line up to make a smaller loop and then make 3-4 more wraps to the left of the smaller loop. It should look like this when you are finished :

Next pull the main loop up through the smaller loop like this :

I normally use my teeth to hold the loop while I pull the knot tight , but you can have someone help you or put the loop over something. You'll want to pull the loop out as far as you want it , before pulling it tight. I like mine to be around three inches. It should look like this when you're done :

You can tie two or even three of these on your rig. Personally I use three. When tying the second and third loops , you can adjust their position by pulling on the left hand side of the loop to move them closer to the first knot and then resizing your loop by pulling on the free end on the left side. Once you have your loops finished , you can tie a swivel to one end and a pyramid sinker to the other. Alternatively , you can put a snap swivel at the bottom so you can change the sinker if you need to.

Now you'll need to add hooks. I use 1/0 stainless O'shaugnessy hooks for most species. I also use fluorescent plastic beads. First pinch the Dropper Loop between your fingers and thread it through the bead and then the eye of the hook.

This is also known as a "Handshake Loop"...

Now pull the hook back through the loop.

After you pull it tight you should have something that looks like this :

I like the fluorescent orange beads for a lot of species because they closely resemble the color of sand flea eggs. They seem to attract more strikes than other colors , but you can also experiment. Dark red would be good as would blue , purple and chartreuse. After you have hooks on all of your loops , you should have a bottom fishing rig that looks something like this :

This rig easily produces over half of the fish I catch. You can use the basic principles shown above to tie several other rigs  , like the Straw Rigs used for Spanish Mackerel and Sabiki Rigs used for catching bait. You can also use Surgeon's Loops to tie this rig , but the Dropper Loop makes a better rig in my opinion.

Most importantly , Tight Lines , and have fun!!!!

For more information on what can be caught on this rig and the type of bait to use read the following three articles :

The Norfolk Spot

Bottom Fishing

Cut Bait


  1. Hello Josh,
    This is such a very nice and effective post. The post is very different and unique because of attaching previews post. I didn't see it before.

    1. Hey William,

      Thanks so much for the kind words! I've still been working on this one, I'll try to update it soon!

      Tight lines and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Just got to experience surf fishing in the OBX of NC for the first time.. I want to say Thanks for the site , it made a first time experience great. Glad I was lucky enough to find the site. Hooked for life.

    1. Hey!!!! My old stomping grounds! So very glad you enjoyed it , as most of what you read here is pure OBX and VA fishing :-) you're very welcome, and I'm so happy it helped

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  4. I want to say Thanks for the site , it made a first time experience great. Sherrill

  5. Really great information for us. Thanks for your valuable post.


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