Surf Advice for Beginner Surf Caster
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Thread: Advice for Beginner Surf Caster

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
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    4

    Default Advice for Beginner Surf Caster

    Hi there. I've been a freshwater fisherman my whole life, and I spend a lot of time around the ocean. But, for some reason, I've never taken up surf fishing. This year, I've decided to give it a go. After reading some books and articles, my plan is to use a 10' rod with a spinning reel spooled with 30-lb. braid. I'll use live bait as well as bucktail jigs trailing grubs and spoons/metals for artificial. I'm planning a week long trip with my family to Emerald Isle in early to mid August, but I also spend a lot of time in Oak Island.
    My questions are:
    • For this area and time period, what would be the best bait to use for a beginner like me?
    • What would be the best target species for a beginner like me?
    • What rigs should I use and with what type of line, hook size, etc?
    • How heavy of a sinker should I use and of what type?


    Of course, please let me know if any gear I've mentioned should be swapped with something else; I'm a total beginner to surf casting, so I am open to any and all advice from those of you more experienced than I. Thank you!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    3,335

    Default

    You maybe getting ahead of yourself with a 10' rod & 30# braid. Way to big & heavy for local surfs.
    Perfect for Hatteras big water, so hold off buying it / or keep it for when you visit the "point" the Mecca of NC surffishing.

    Local waters a 7', 7'6" to 8' with a 3000 or 4000 series reel with 10# to 15 # braid & 20# FC leader is light enough to cast all day. Start with 3/8 oz. to 1/2 oz. jig or bucktails with a 4" Gulp Shrimp.

    Or try a Carolina rig use an egg sinker start with 2 oz. short (5" or less ) 40# leader to 3.0 to 5.0 circle hook
    or Fish Finder rig with interchangeable 4 sided pyramid sinkers from 2 to 5 oz.
    Finger mullets or cut bait is good.

    The key to surffishing is learning to read the beach, Google videos.
    Time of year, tide & wind play an important part for success.
    Try fishing a mid falling tide to the high rise. Easier to find & catch with a cast net your bait on a lower tide.

    Stay mobile walk the beach, looking for points, sloughs & fish.
    Never walk out to a sandbar on a rising tide or walk thru a slough with fast currents you will be putting yourself in grave danger.
    For now stay on the beach until you gain experience, try fishing with others, extra eyes help in finding fish.

    Hope this helps .......ICM
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    My wife keeps saying I don't listen to her .... or something like that.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
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    4

    Default

    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed. I appreciate your help.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    62

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    Quote Originally Posted by ice cream man View Post
    You maybe getting ahead of yourself with a 10' rod & 30# braid. Way to big & heavy for local surfs.
    Perfect for Hatteras big water, so hold off buying it / or keep it for when you visit the "point" the Mecca of NC surffishing.
    A longer rod can be good on Bogue Banks in the summer because the prevailing S/SW wind can churn up the surf. A 9-10' steelhead rod is a good compromise, long enough to keep your line out of the waves if it gets a little rough and you're bait fishing but light enough to cast repeatedly if you want to throw a bucktail/etc.

    If it's calm, shorter rods and 1-2 oz. to hold bottom are fine. One other bait suggestion: Fishbites. I like bloodworm flavor the best, followed by sand flea.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Thanks for the tip! I'll add Fishbites to the list.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    658

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    I'd suggest two rods.

    An 8 ft rod rated for about 2-3 onces and a size 4000-5000 reel for casting small bottom rigs for stuff like sea mullet, pompano, and puppy drum. Rig it with 10lb mono. No need for braid on that rod. Use small hooks, I prefer size 2 or 1 circle hooks for this type of fishing. Sand fleas/shrimp, squid, cut bait and fish bites will all work depending on the day. Sand fleas and shrimp almost always work though.

    Other rod should be a 9-10 ft rod rated to cast 1/2-2 oz or maybe even 1/4-1-1/2 oz. A size 5000 reel with 12-15lb braid and a flourocarbon leader of 15-20lbs. This will be used for throwing metal spoons like sting silvers and last masters. Can even be used for fishing buck tails. Can catch blue fish, Spanish mackerel, puppy drum and more with this rod and lure set up. Can also be used as a second rod for bottom fishing if you want.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    18

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    Everyone told me that I didn't need a 10 foot rod even tho I live 60 miles north of Cape Hatteras, but I can tell you that Im glad I have two 10 footers with me at all times...sure I look silly with them out when the ocean is flat to 1 foot but...You never know, especially when you on vacation how big/small the surf is going to be.

    I agree with Mombo Pungo with bring two rods, but I carry 3(not necessary breaking out all 3 all the time)...I always have my 7 foot jigging rod rated 1/4-5/8 oz with 10 lbs of braid and a 3000 size reel

    than two 10 footers rated 1-5oz both with 5500 size reels...one has 30lb braid(for launching bottom rigs as far as I can launch it) and the other has 20 lb braid(where I usually put right behind the shore break or use for slinging metal) than adjust the one of the rods if the other rod is catching fish

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    658

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    I carry 3 as well. My third is a 12ft heaver casting rod for big drum. I recommended those two because he is just starting out and big drum aren't around in August in the surf anyway.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Kernersville
    Posts
    669

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    Number 1 rule when starting saltwater fishing with freshwater experience: Do not lip saltwater fish. Bluefish and Flounder, even Trout will slice you like a razor. It's really hard to remember this if you Bass fish.

    Probably Whiting and Pompano are your best Summer target choices to start with using bait. You'll like get a Black Drum or Puppy Drum as well from time to time.
    Live bait can get bit by almost anything.

    Make or buy good surf rod holders. They really make a big difference in being comfortable when fishing for a long while. Also, adjust your drag so rods don't get pulled in in case something big takes a bait.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Raleigh
    Posts
    34

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    Concerning rod holders..

    I'm sure everyone has their favorite style for one reason or another. I discovered these years ago and love them. The only draw back might be transporting them. However, if your driving on the beach or have a cart, that's not an issue.




    These are made by Sea Striker - a NC company located in Morehead City. They are awesome. You can plant them over a foot in the sand far easier than any PVC spike. You can also drive them into hard packed sand heavy with shells. Good luck trying that with PVC. There are many varieties of aluminum sand spikes. These are not too expensive and the small container is good for bait, tackle, whatever. The cutting board... not very beneficial in my opinion.

    They run about 15 to 20. Mine have held up really well. I hope I'm not breaking any rules promoting this item. I do not represent Sea Striker.
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  13. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mumbo_Pungo View Post
    big drum aren't around in August in the surf anyway.
    great point! didnt think about the Bulls not being around.

    I just personally like to have something that can hold 1-4 oz weights for when the ocean current is strong. Im actually looking into some steel head rods because of this post.

    I dont know the MHC area but if Its anything like Topsail/Wrightsville/Kure beach than the rods mention above (including ICM's recommendation) should be fine.

    If I was in your situation is to look into those sputnik weights well. they cost alot more, but will hold better than your normal pyramid sinker making you not need a rod that rated more than 2oz

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    4

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    Thank you for all the advice, everyone. I think I will stick with one lighter 9' rod (for budget reasons) so it's easier to cast and accomplishes everything you've mentioned thus far.

    Good point about the lipping. One would hope I didn't do that, but you never know when the habit will take over.
    drjon, ice cream man, and Jelliefish like this.


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