walking on a beach with a fishing pole

Essential Surf Fishing Gear and Accessories

Surf fishing is a great way to try new fishing techniques. The beach's rough waves typically drive fish away, so anglers must cast their line farther out to be successful. Still, once you get used to the technique of surf fishing, you will find it to be relaxing and rewarding.  

If you’ve never tried saltwater surf fishing before, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure your equipment and clothing can handle the ocean spray. Here’s our list of must-have surf fishing gear and accessories for success.

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Surf Rod

Standard fishing rods are 6 to 8 feet, but it can be challenging to cast far enough into the surf with rods this length. Many beaches have choppy waves over 100 yards away from the shore, and to get past these waters, you’ll need a longer rod.

Surf rods are typically between 9 and 15 feet long, but rods up to 12 feet are sufficient for beginners. These rods take a good amount of practice to use, but within your first day of fishing, you should be able to make the distance at least a few times.

Saltwater Spinning Reel

Spinning reels are the most common for surf fishing, and they can cast long distances with relative ease. Some anglers prefer baitcasting reels, but spinning reels typically handle ocean winds better. Plus, baitcasters have a bit more of a learning curve.

Fluorocarbon reel line is the best for surf fishing, but it is expensive. You can use a 20- or 25-pound-test monofilament line for great results in most conditions.

Make sure to get a reel, line and shock leader designed for saltwater use. Anything intended for only freshwater fishing is likely to perform poorly due to salt residue.

Lures and Bait

A pre-made saltwater rig with a specialized surf fishing lure is always a safe bet for beginners. Spoon lures are the most effective, but the best option can vary based on the type of fish you’re trying to catch.

The best bait depends on your region and the type of fish available, but cut mullet and squid are usually good choices. Beginners should use circle hooks for easier hook settings with cut or live bait, but more experienced anglers can try treble hooks if they plan to keep their catch rather than release. 

You will also need to attach your pyramid or egg weight to your bait to keep it at the appropriate depth. A weight of 3-4 ounces is usually sufficient, but some fish that live at lower depths may require a heavier weight.

Fishing poles and fishing at Back Bay Wildlife center

Source: Imagination by Linda / Shutterstock.com

Sand Spike

A sand spike is a tube attached to a metal spike designed to be inserted into sand. This spike comes in handy when you want to let go of your rod while waiting for a catch.

Most commercially-made rod holders use metal spikes to make them easier to stick into the sand. However, you can also make your own sand spike out of 2" diameter PVC pipe.

Sun Protection

Even on cloudy days, protect yourself with basics like a HUK broadbrim hat or visor, sunscreen and sunglasses. It is especially important to protect yourself while fishing on the ocean, where the waves will reflect sunlight into your eyes.

fishing neck gaiter helps keep saltwater off your skin and protects you from the sun's glare. 

Weather Appropriate Clothing

While it may be tempting to wear a tank top to beat the heat, tanks provide you with little sun protection. Since sunscreen eventually wears off in the salt spray, try a lightweight, long-sleeve fishing shirt to keep you protected.

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You also need to stay cool and dry in the surf. Huk swim shorts are made from quick-drying fabric that is SPF rated and feature a handy plyer pocket to keep your fishing tools easily accessible. 

Surf Cart

In addition to your usual fishing tools, you'll need a surf cart to easily transport your supplies across the sand. Surf carts are specially designed with wide wheels to prevent them from sinking into the soft sand.

Surf carts come in all shapes and sizes, and many can be used near rivers and other inland locations. They're a worthwhile investment, especially if you plan to take fish home with you, or if multiple people in your party plan on carrying their own equipment.

Man casting a fishing line into early morning surf

Source: mavo / Shutterstock.com

Creating a New Favorite Pastime

Surf fishing is a fun activity for the whole family. Once you get the right equipment and a little practice using a surf rod, you’ll be able to enjoy a new weekend adventure.

Count on Huk to provide you with high-quality surf fishing gear. We have a full range of carefully-engineered shirts, shorts, hoodies, gaiters and more to keep you comfortable in any weather. Our shirts use performance fabrics that wick away sweat and protect you from the elements, helping you stay safe and cool while you enjoy life on the beach.