One advantage of surf fishing in the ocean is that it does not involve much expense, yet can still offer a variety of potential species depending on your geography. Surf fishing is also an excellent starting point for beginners. From the shoreline of the Atlantic, a person in the northeast can catch gamefish such as Rockfish (Atlantic Striped Bass), bluefish or Mackerel. On the Gulf Coast, typical shoreline catches include Redfish, Bluefish, Sailfin Catfish, Pompano and even Spanish Mackerel on occasion. 

Saltwater Surf Fishing Gear and Bait

A rod for surf fishing is usually between 12 and 15-feet long with large line guides. For good results, the rod needs a large saltwater spinning reel with a 20 to 25-pound test line. Reliable baits for surf fishing are mullet, squid and shrimp. Shrimp act as great bait, but they need to be secured on the hook well because fish can easily steal them otherwise. Mullet or squid will last longer as bait, although they attract fewer species of fish than does shrimp.

Surf Fishing in the Atlantic Ocean

There are many destinations where people can surf fish. In each location, the weather, the season, the tides and the breed of fish available all vary. Such variables must be considered when selecting the bait and the fishing rod. If surf fishing is done on Florida’s east coast, for instance, the water is quite shallow, so the person who is surf fishing must walk into the water several feet with a 12 to a 15-foot fishing rod. On the rod, there should be a large saltwater spinning reel with a 20 to 25-pound test. Casting requires more accuracy and distance than what is usually done. An overhand cast works well. With the rod in hand, one lifts the arm into a 90-degree angle. Then the pole is flicked quickly as the arm straightens to launch the bait into the sea. Catches include Flounder, Mullet and Herring. 

Surf Fishing on the Gulf Coast 

A rod that is 12 feet is sufficient to cast with on the Gulf Coast because the water near the shore is not as shallow as on the East Coast. Also, because the water is warmer, other species of fish can be caught, such as Whiting, Redfish, Blues and Flounder. Depending upon the desired catch, bait for these fish can be squid, fresh (never frozen) or live shrimp, cut or whole bait. On the Gulf, soft plastic bait can also be used with success.