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Reading The Beach For Spots To Fish

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.

On this particular day the tide was predicted to be over 4 feet at peak. So rather than scour that stretch of beach and study the surf it was much easier to use my GPS. I marked each of the spots with a name that included my rating on a scale of 1 to 10. For example the first spot might be named F1-7 where F1 represents the spot and I rate it 7 out of 10. The next location would be named F2 and so on.

So later when I came back to fish one of the spots and found someone else setup there, it would be easy enough to select the next best spot. And that’s happened to me before too.

One time, just as I was parking I noticed another guy walking down the beach heading in the direction where I was going to setup. Sure enough he stopped right on my spot and setup 4 rods. If I had been 10 minutes earlier I would have been there first.

Of course these spots might not be there very long. The beach contour is constantly changing. Wind, waves and weather all contribute to these changes. Especially so after a storm.

To learn to read the surf better, study your beach at low tide on a regular basis. Mark the spots and return at high tide to study the waves as they approach the beach.  Look for the waves to flatten out as they pass over the cut in the sandbar. Over time you’ll be able to spot the cuts at high tide.

16 Responses to Reading The Beach For Spots To Fish

  • Love your rating system- think I’ll use that!

  • Thanks for the video. I found it very informative. As they say, a picture is better than a thousand words.

  • Very helpful video….thanks.

  • Very informative and very useful for beginners at Surf casting. I request you to share a video next, showing the same locations at high tides. This would help a lot. Thanks very much and Best Regards,

  • good stuff Randy

  • Great stuff ! I will definitely use this information. Keep it coming. Thank you !!

  • Fantastic-picture tells a thousand words!

  • Great video but we have different terrain in central California. How do I keep bait on hook when hard casting?

  • Liked your vedio on finding best places to fish at the beach. Will try to use the techniques. Thanks

  • If anyone ever had doubts about how tho read the beach from just reading about it, this makes it CRYSTAL CLEAR!!! Thanks for the video.

  • Thanks for the great info. Although I am new at it ,I appreciate the tips, and hope they keep coming. thanks again.

  • Very informative.

  • Hi Randy,I have been living near Gulf Shores for a few months and I am really enjoying all your articles.I am use to fishing strictly freshwater but I am very interested in learning about surf fishing so any info to a beginner is very much appreciated, keep up the good work and yes please do the Facebook.

  • 23.10.15
    Hi Randy
    Impeccable light thrown on the dark. Certainly can do things without groping. Thanks a lot. Have a nice day.

  • 06.08.2016
    Hi Randy
    This Is Kumaresan Vibhakar have returned back after 7 months to India from Melbourne, Australia on 20.07.2016. I had some great time fishing the Red Snapper, King George Whiting, Treveli & Sea Salmon. Off shore fishing is too expensive over there.

    everybody was using the Braid line except me & a couple of guys. The index finger that has 4 stitches mark made me to stay with the Mono line.

    Anyways I am back to Mr. Randy’s school & I wish to continue the classes on surf fishing. I certainly wish to hear from Randy without fail. Thank you. Have a Nice Day.