Where to Cast Surf Fishing

Fishermen put their fishing rods on the beach for surf fishing.

Many surf anglers find it hard to find the best places to cast when beach fishing. Hobbyists do not care if they spend grueling hours casting the line several meters away. 

However, a long-distance cast does not guarantee success. Most fish species hide in holes, troughs, and jetties along the beach. Familiarity with the habitat and behavior of the species is vital to ensure success. 

Check out our list of places to cast when surf fishing: 

3 Major Parts of a Beach You Must Know

A typical beach has two parts: the backshore (berm) and the foreshore (beach face). Water covers the backshore during typhoons and high spring tide. The beach face has a steep slope, while the backshore is almost flat.

Beaches in various parts of the world are not the same, although they have standard components, namely: channels, troughs, and sandbars. 

Let’s take a look at the characteristics of these components.

1) Troughs

Troughs at the beach are hollows between the sandbar and the beach. Shells and fish gather under the troughs when you go surfing. The first trough occurs when the low tide drops off several feet from the coast. The depth of troughs depends on the slope of either side of the sandbar.

2) Channels

Channels are landforms that consist of a path outline of a narrow and shallow body of water. Channels serve as the main highway from the sea to the shoreline. You can find this landform in a strait, river, and river delta. The formation of a channel is due to sedimentation and water discharge.

3) Sandbars

Trough bars or sandbars are part of the beach where the water splashed from the wave turns white. The sandbar forms into a gradual slope when the water dissipates at a distance. 

When the white water nears dark water, the slope of the sandbar becomes steep. The formation of sandbars is due to the accumulation of sediment and sand that run parallel to the coastline. 

The breaking waves are responsible for forming the sandbars when they create a shoreward current alternately with a counter-current along its bottom. The outer bar is an ideal location to cast surf fishing. The sandbar is the fish pathway when traveling along the troughs.

Ways to Identify Where to Cast for Surf Fishing

Look for Sandbars

One of the signs if there are sandbars on the beach is white water during wave crashing. The white water indicates a bump below the surface of the water. It is time to identify the dark water spots. The holes and troughs lurk in the sand where the fish hides to wait for prey and protect them from intruders.  

Surf fishing is ideal on sandbars due to the presence of fish species. It pays to have enough patience to locate the sandbars. Smaller and big fish stay in the deep crevices of the beach. Prepare the fishing rod and position it to cast the line.

The build-up of sediment and offshore sand by waves leads to sandbar formation. Some sandbars are visible, and others are not due to the water covering the surface. 

The breaking waves offshore indicate the presence of sandbars. Surf anglers should learn to read the waves as preparation for their beach fishing journey.  

Look for Jetties or Fishing Channels

Casting a line in jetties is a good option when surf fishing. This spot covers a long stretch of narrow structure where the fish wait for food. Jetties come in different forms, such as stone, concrete, wood, or earth. 

You will find predators and small fishes near the jetties as they wait for food carried by the ocean waves. The fishing channels are an ideal hunting ground for prey. Fish species use the rocks to cover them. 

Predators and preys wander along the fishing channels as the waves flash some fish and crustaceans from the ocean. The structures along the coastlines are slowly washed away during currents and high tides.  

Look for Rip Currents

Rips are dangerous spots for swimmers. The holes in the beach create rip currents. Rip currents take place when there are holes in the beach. The riptide formation is possible when the seawater returns to the ocean. 

The rip currents occur when there is a presence of water ripples on the beach, creating a white sea foam that moves back out to the sea. Surf anglers are happy to find rip currents because fish feed in this habitat. 

Cast your line when you see a rip current. Move and adjust the rod to the right or left to follow the current flow. Fish swim on the side of the rip currents. Continue moving your rod to both sides to yield higher results.

Locating Favorite Spots for Fish Feeding

The secret to getting higher catch results is to find where the fish assemble on the beach. Observe their favorite spots if you are aiming for a higher catch. Following the first step ensures a higher yield. Learning where they congregate will make your beach fishing a great success.

Identify the Sand Characteristics

The sand characteristics are one of the identifying marks that fish lurk in the area. Beneath the beach surface are small fishes and crustaceans washed away to the shore from the ocean. If the sand is coarse, it indicates the presence of crustaceans as they hide in the deep hole in the area.  

Learn the Different Water Structures 

Reading the beach is vital to be able to reel your target. Another method of locating where fish feeds is to identify the water structures. 

You will learn this technique by looking them out during low tide. The water structures are visible when there is low tide, which tells that the spot was once underwater. 

During low tide, humps on the beach similar to holes and sandbars are visible. You can detect the presence of fish as they also love to frequent humps.

If you spot a brown water patch in the area is an indication of a fish congregation. This area is a good feeding ground for fish and crustaceans. Heavy surf that tears up the seabed creates the brown water. This spot invites fish to drop by to hunt for crustaceans and food sources. 

But, brown water patches do not signify fish feeding in the area. They only frequent the spot if food is abundant. Fish move out from the muddy and sandy shore. 

There’s another way to identify fish feeding. The presence of seabirds and surface-breaching fish in a particular spot indicates fish abundance. Bigger fish devour smaller fish while seabirds catch fish they see in the area. Be quick to cast a line while the birds and fish are busy finding food. 

Marine birds feed by pursuit diving, surface feeding, plunge-diving, and predation. Watch your step when casting a line to avoid killing the birds. 

Conduct a Tide Survey

Surf fishing is a skill that you can learn in a step-by-step process. Do not throw your rod anywhere on the beach unless you have enough knowledge of surf fishing. 

Spend a few minutes walking during low tide to spot fish along the coastline. Walk down the shore to perform a tide survey while enjoying the scenery. 

Take a photo of the seafloor to find things that attract fish. You may bring a notebook to jot down what you discovered along the shoreline.  

Take a video of the area once you notice some things that identify fish feeding.  

Here are the things that you must record when conducting the survey. 

Presence of crustaceans: These invertebrates attract fish as their source of food. Crustaceans feed on dead creatures and food scraps at night. They hide during the day in holes, jetties, and rocks and during low tide. Among the crustaceans that you will find on the seafloor are shrimp, lobsters, crabs, and prawns.  

Hiding spots: Fish stay in different spots on the beach like holes, divots, hollows, rock formations, and ridges. 

Rough seafloor structures: Fish find recluse in rough seafloors like pebbles, rocks, and mud than staying in the smooth seabed.  

Patches of seaweeds: Seagrass and seaweeds like brown algae, green algae, and red algae are favorite hiding spots for fish. Larger fish also find solace in seaweeds. 

Presence of Sea Creatures: If you see mussels, crabs, worms, and other sea creatures on the shoreline indicates fish feeding. Cast a line with a weight on it if you are doubtful whether the seafloor is teeming with fish. You will notice the seabed structure according to the vibrations when reeling the rod.  

Learn Local Fish Species

Local fish species have different characteristics and habits. Equipping you with knowledge about the patterns of behavior of the fish species helps increase the fish catch.  

Perhaps the local fish species hide in the troughs, some in sandbars. If you are familiar with their behavior, you will know where to cast the line.

Don’t Target the Trough

Troughs are indeed spots for fish surfing, but it does not indicate fish abundance. Casting a line in troughs offers a lower catch rate. 

Medium-sized and small fish are in danger when exposed to the deep water between the sandbars. Large predators kill the small fish. Bigger fish cannot cover the small fish when they scout for food.  

It is not a good idea to focus your surf fishing in troughs unless there is a strong water current. The current brings the bait to the fishing channel, where you catch a hungry fish that clings to the hook.

When you opt to catch the line in troughs, ensure that the water current is strong. Try to focus on the seaside part of the sandbars instead of the shoreside. Fish feeding occurs at the seaside as they get attracted to the nutrients that settle on the bottom of troughs and sandbars.  

Importance of Finding the Location for Beach Fishing

Knowing where to cast a line in beach fishing is a tool that saves your time and effort. If you know where to find fish on the shore, you will have a big chance to catch plenty of big fish. 

When you go to the beach, you know where to position the rod and focus on your target. You will be able to identify if you need a long-distance cast and what type of baits you will use to perform better. 

Different varieties of fish do not share the same habitat on the beach. If you throw the bait in areas where the fish are non-existence, you will be missing your target in other locations. 

Fish transfer location when their life is in danger. Do not expect the same fish species to cling to your bait when you surf fishing the next day. Fish, like humans, have intuition. When they sense something threatening, they move out to hide.

Fish also differ in their sensitivity to smell. Some fish moves toward the smell of bait from a distance. Other fish get their food near their surroundings. Predatory fish swim to the deep ocean to find their prey and smell the bait. Deep-sea fishing traps large fish using live baits. But for surf fishing, you have to feel which fish smell the bait.

Tips on Long Distance Cast for Surf Fishing

Surf fishing is not just a hobby; it is income-generating too. Learn many things before throwing the rod. Newbies get excited to start their hobby and get tempted to surf at a long distance. 

Throwing your rod at a long-distance help access the spots where fish congregates in a large assembly. The best way to know if you need to cast long distances is to find where the fish feeds. 

As mentioned earlier, you may only launch a long-distance cast when you aim for the rip current in the channel. This method will attract fish from the ocean to get nearer to the shore where they smell the bait. 

Casting further is not ideal when you are targeting the troughs and sandbars. Your cast is inaccurate as you aim for a long distance. Surf fishing does not usually recommend using bait when fishing in channels. 

There is no guarantee that the fish holding on the first sandbar are more abundant than the other sandbars. Fish holding seems homogenous in terms of size when you cast the line more than 300 yards from the seashore.

Final Thoughts

Casting the line aimlessly or the furthest distance may lead to frustration, especially if you are new to surf fishing. Consider the factors that contribute to the success of surf fishing before you throw the rod. 

The factors include the weather conditions, water current, tide, moon phase, and fishing spot. These factors are beyond your control. You may blame yourself if you do not read the beach and miss to locate where the fish abounds.

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