Tag Archives: surf fishing

Tips on Learning How to Fish

Spring fishing season has arrived! If you are an inexperienced angler and would like to try fishing for the first time, follow these few tips for your preparation. Even if you are an experienced angler, these tips will refresh your memory for your fishing adventures.

Fishing License

A fishing license is one of the most important things that you will need in order to go fishing. Each state has their own rules and regulations, so it is important that you read up on them before heading out. All fishing rules and regulations will be under Fishing > Rules and Regulations in your Fishing and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® Guide. Licenses can be purchased online. Some states require you to be 18 years or older in order to obtain a fishing license.


Man fishing on a pier alone

Image: www.active.com

Choosing a place to fish can vary. Some people choose locations where they often see people fishing or local places where they may want to start. If you are a beginner and feel shy fishing in front of a heavy crowd, you may want to opt for a quiet fishing area.

You can go freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. Or you can choose saltwater fishing such as surf fishing, fishing by boat (party boat or charter boat) or bay fishing.

Time of Day During Spring Season

Two men fishing on a boat during sunset with his catch

Image: jimolive.photoshelter.com

  • Early Morning – Fish do not bite during this time because the water is cold and doesn’t heat up due to the sun being low which makes the rays bounce off the water.
  • Late Morning/Early Afternoon – Fish are biting on and off during this time because the sun’s rays start to penetrate the water. During this time, you should fish towards the downwind shoreline because the wind pushes the warmer surface water into that area.
  • Afternoon/Early Evening – There are a lot of fish eating during this time because their metabolism and digestion are high. The water is also warmer because the sun is directly above.

Fish Species

Images of different fish species

Image: pixshark.com

Focusing on fishing for a particular fish for a beginner may be too difficult, but it’s a worth a try! Here is a list of popular fish to help you choose one to catch:

  • Bass – a southeastern sport fish
  • Striped Bass – you will most likely need a boat to catch these
  • Sunfish – best catch for a beginner angler
  • Walleye and Pike – northern, cold-water lake fish
  • Catfish – vary from small to large

For a complete list of freshwater and saltwater fish, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® Fish and Wildlife Guide.


Man surf fishing pulling in his catch, clear blue water

Image: www.rancholeonero.com

Fishing in a lake from shore – Sit and wait with a bobber and bait. For this type of method, you can use inexpensive equipment.

Surf fishing from a beach – This requires heavy tackle that costs a little bit more. Catches vary day to day with this method.

Pond Fishing – Fishing at a pond can be simple, especially for beginners. It allows you to manage your skills and you may even catch a pan fish for dinner.

Boat Fishing on an Ocean – There are many boating options that are available for fishing. You can pay to go on a party boat for a half day or full day and you can use equipment and bait that is provided to you. Depending on the type of boating you choose and how big the crowd is, you can have assistance such as hooking your bait, casting and landing a fish.

Suggested Gear: 

  • Fishing Rod/Fly Rod
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Check out more fishing gear at our Pocket Ranger Gear Store.

Five Tips for Surf Fishing

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

With spring quickly approaching, it’s getting to be that time of the year when you put away most of the hunting gear and get ready to hit the water. If you’re in Florida like I am, chances are you’ll soon find yourself at the beach. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when surf fishing in the warm weather. surf fishing

1. Pick your spot

Some areas of the beach provide better fishing than others. Look at the wave action and current flow to pick out the holes between the bars. These spots of deeper water tend to hold fish and are prime spots to land pompano, redfish, and whiting. Often, the slope of the shore is a dead giveaway of these holes. Try your best to spread your rods evenly to cover as much of the hole as possible.

2. Pick the time

The best time to fish from the beach is early morning and late evening. You obviously won’t be getting the world’s greatest tan during these low-light hours, but the fishing is almost always better. Low visibility underwater means high hook-up chances and the fish are more prone to feeding during these hours. In addition, tide times/changes are important to consider. Generally speaking, an incoming tide produces better fishing than a falling tide. If you have the luxury to pick the time of the day you can fish, aim to do so during an incoming tide. High wave action and currents tend to bring baitfish closer to shore and produce a better bite out of the fish.

3. Bring a chair

Though not required to catch fish, a folding chair can be a life saver. If you’re at the beach, you want to relax. But at the same time, you want to be able to watch your rods. So being able to lean back and relax while fishing is an amazing feeling. It certainly beats sitting down in the sand with having nothing to lean on. Just be sure to position the chair so that you aren’t staring directly into the sun while watching your rods.

4. Choose your bait

There are a variety of baits that work well in the surf. But I’ve found over the years that it’s tough to beat naturally occurring bait when fishing from the beach. Sand fleas (mole crabs) and other small sand crabs tend to out perform things such as cut bait, squid, or shrimp. If you’re unable to find sand fleas, fresh shrimp will probably be your best bet. I personally like to pinch off the heads and thread the hook through the body as best as possible. If bait fishing isn’t what you want to deal with at the beach, small pompano jigs and shiny lures often work well. The only disadvantage with these is that you’ll need to continuously cast if you expect to ever catch anything. surf fishing slack

5. Watch the slack

Anyone who’s ever beach fished has had to train himself to recognize the difference between wave action that’s bending the rod and an actual strike. Keeping bait still in the water is essential in order to recognize when a fish is on. This is why so many people prefer to use pyramid weights that dig themselves into the sand. Tension on the line is what gives it away. But often times, especially with pompano, they’ll pick up the bait, and then swim toward shore. This removes all tension in the line and the rod sticks straight up in the rod holder, leaving the line slack and dragging in the water. A dead giveaway that a pompano is on the line, be sure to retrieve slack line quickly. You don’t want to lose that fish.

So as you find yourself breaking free of winter’s frigid grip and venturing to the beach for relaxation, be sure to bring a fishing rod or two with you. Given the opportunity, it’s entirely possible to relax on the beach, catch a few rays (sun rays, hopefully), and fill the cooler. Just follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a successful beach trip. Red Snapper