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The Ultimate Surf Casters Guide

Who hasn’t gone out surf fishing and been totally skunked. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. As you develop your fishing skills it will become easier to avoid the inevitable most of the time.

There’s a lot a variables to consider that affect whether or not you’ll catch fish on any given outing. The best surf anglers will tell you they catch most of their fish before they even hit the beach. That’s because they plan each trip to put the most advantageous conditions in their favor.

If you’ve read my other articles you know that I recommend scouting the beach at low tide for the best spots to fish. I also realize that it’s not always possible to do. Sometimes you just want to hit the beach and start fishing.

Things To Try If You’re Not Catching Anything

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A spinning reel equipped with a baitfeeder feature (AKA a baitrunner) has two drag systems. There’s a primary drag on the end of the spool and a secondary drag built into the back of the reel body. The secondary drag is activated by a lever which changes the drag to a very light setting almost free spooling but as soon as you begin to crank, it immediately switches to the primary drag.

So Why Would Anyone Want A Spinning Reel With With Two Drag Systems?

The secondary drag system is great for free lining bait out through with a rip current or just carried out with the undertow. The baitfeeder drag allows the bait to flow out through the rip where predator fish are staged up waiting to feed.

When a fish picks it up the primary drag takes over as soon as you start to turn the crank. This is a very effective way to fish. See the diagram below.
Freelining Bait

Even if your not free lining bait, let’s just say you have your surf rod sitting in the sand spike waiting for a strike.

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It’s no secret that you can improve your catch rate by knowing the best times to fish. So what is the best time to fish? Actually a better questions is “What’s the best time & place to fish”? The short answer is it depends. So let me get into it.

First and foremost you need to understand tide cycles. Before I knew anything about tides, I thought they were the same and changed at the same time everywhere. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Learning to read the beach is one of the essential skills every surf angler needs to master. I took these shots on a trip to the beach close to low tide. If you look close in the video you’ll still see water flowing back out through the cuts in the sandbar.

Each of the examples were within a mile long strip of the beach. I used my Garmin hand held GPS to mark the locations so if I decided to come back and fish them during high tide I would be able to locate the spots much easier. They would be much more difficult to spot once the sandbars were submerged.

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Learn surf fishing with me. Here in Florida you can surf fish practically on any beach. Although some beaches do have restrictions where there are a lot of swimmers. For the most part if there aren’t any life guards then you can probably fish there without a problem.

In this video I’m fishing with artificial bait. I caught a lot of fish that day too. Usually on this beach I fish around the high tide because it’s very shallow at low tide.

When I arrived at 7 AM the tide was coming in and reached high tide about 9:30. I caught at least a dozen fish before the tide peaked. Most of them were Spots and Croakers with a few Whiting mixed in. All in all I had a blast. They kept me pretty busy as you’ll see in the video

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