Tips For Choosing Surf Fishing Tackle

Many avid surf fishermen prefer fishing rods between 7 to 11 feet long, longer rod will cast at longer distance and shorter length rod will provide greater rod control. The action of the rod which determines the power of the rod is rated as fast, medium and heavy action. I recommend beginners to use a 9 feet rod with medium action rating. This rod will have enough backbone and sensitive enough to let you catch a wide range of saltwater fish.

Your surf fishing tackle should include the saltwater reels. It is a good idea to invest in a decent quality reel, using a cheap reel with improper seal and non coated gear will not last long in the harsh surf conditions. It is a good idea to visit the fishing shop and test out a few different types of reels and rods together. Ensure that the rod and reel combo feels comfortable because you will be holding and casting it all day. Fishermen prefer using spinning and conventional reels for surfcasting, there are advantages and disadvantages to both type of reels. I prefer to use the spinning reel because I find it easier to cast heavy lures long distances.

You can use braided and monofilament line for fishing the surf. Braided line does not stretch as much as mono but has higher tension strength and costs a bit more. Braided has a course exterior and can be abrasive, therefore make sure that your reel and fishing rod guides are designed to handle braided line. I like to use monofilament line with my surf fishing rods because I can cast heavy sinkers and lures further. I recommend using a 8-10 lb test line with your medium action rod, this should be light enough to catch small perch and strong enough to land stripers.

Surf conditions can change at any moment and the types of bait to use will also be dictated by it. Live baits such as mullet, sand crabs, shrimp and squid are very effective for surf fish. Some bait will work better on certain day or season. A safe bet is to visit the local bait shop and buy what is available. Artificial baits such as jigs, spoons, crankbaits and plastic grubs and worms can also great results. You should try different tactics and lures to find the one that works best.

Why Buying a Good Fishing Rod is Important

We have all heard the stories of the man or woman who caught a whopper using just basic tackle either on a boat or off a dock or even surf fishing. The stories are all out there and they ranges from the barely believable to the absolutely absurd. But is there any credence to the fact that good high quality fishing tackle is important to catch those bigger fish? Let’s look at the facts:

Firstly, what is it that we are trying to do? Well, for starters, we are trying to “trick” a fish into biting our bait whether it be a live bait, chum or a artificial lure. This is the most difficult part, mainly making the fish believe that what you are presenting is in actuality, something that they want to eat.

Secondly, once you have caught the fish, landing it is a tricky maneuver. You have to make sure that you don’t rip off the fishes mouth and also get the fish into the boat or into your custody without losing it. Read: the one that got away!

Let’s look at an example of a typical manipulation.

1. The bait is placed on the hook or the lure is prepared.
2. It is cast into the water and either left hanging or jerked around
3. Once the bait has been noticed by a fish, they have to decide to either eat it or pass it up.
4. Once the bait has been eaten, the person fishing must be able to “feel” the strike and know when to “set the hook”
5. Once hooked, the fish must be brought safely to the person fishing to be kept for food or released.

The area I am going to focus on in this article is # 4 and 5. This is the critical area in fishing. Some rods give you the ability to “feel” that first strike very clearly and distinctly while others are very weak in transferring the movement up the line onto the rod and through the persons hands. A poor rod will have a “muddy” feel to it like a kind of mush, while a very good rod will trans fer the slightest movement at the lure to the hands of the one fishing.

There are many kinds and styles of fishing rods on the market nowadays and many cheaper rods made over seas are just not very good. They lack the quality needed to accomplish that all critical strike signal that alerts the person fishing to “set the hook”. Conversely, the higher end rods that may cost well over a hundred dollars have the design to be sensitive enough to end a clear signal to the fisher.

Rules to obey when buying a rod:

1. Always buy a rod from a reputable dealer
2. Never let a salesman talk you into a rod just because they say it’s the best of the best.
3. Always ask other anglers what they like to use and why. Get lots of opinions for the type of fishing you are going to do.
4. Don’t buy cheap equipment. Always buy the best you can afford without endangering your finances. This hobby can get expensive so don’t spend the mortgage money on fishing gear.
5. Always read fishing magazines and look for reviews that cover the rod you are interested in
6. Never buy used gear without knowing what you are buying. The person is selling it for a reason, find out that reason. It may be a design flaw in the product.
7. If you are buying a custom rod, have it made by a reputable rod builder, one who has a reputation of excellence and knows about the type of fish you will be fishing for. Make sure they use quality parts and assemblies. I.e: anyone can make a cheap rod nowadays.
8. Have fun. Don’t let this get so serious that you forget to have fun, this is an enjoyable hobby and brings pleasure to millions all over the world.

Sea Fishing Tackle – Hook Sizes Explained

Hooks are hooks in most anglers’ minds. They figure they either need a big one or a small one, depending on the fish they are pursuing. Lots of anglers go through life completely missing the importance of using not only the right size sea hook, but probably most importantly the right type of sea hook.

It’s not just pure fishing luck that makes the difference in all sea anglers catching more than you. Most of the time it’s the hook choice you make on the day. A thick forged hook is not the right choice for small fish, fish with small mouths or soft lipped fish. A thin Aberdeen wire hook that can penetrate quickly in the inside of the mouth would be a better choice however you would also need a hook that holds its strength and shape.

Hook size is probably the first thing a sea angler should think of when buying hooks. Most are smart enough to know which hook is the right size for the fish they are after but it takes experience. Sizes from most manufacturers range from the very smallest freshwater trout hook at a number 32, to the very largest game fish hook at 19/0.

The size breakdown from smallest to largest looks like this: 32, 30, 28, 26, 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 11, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 5/0, 6/0, 7/0, 8/0, 9/0, 10/0, 11/0, 12/0, 13/0, 14/0, 15/0, 16/0, 17/0, 18/0, and 19/0.

In sea fishing in the UK, average range is from a Size 1 to a Size 10/0 been a boat hook. For example Mackerel fishing, you should be using a size 1/0 hook, for Pollack from the shore you could use a size 3/0 or 4/0 and also you can use this size for most bottom fishing needs. Flatfish you are better off using a size 1 or 1/0 due to their small mouths. Remember all of these hooks come in a short, regular, or long shank version. The shank of the hook is the part between the eye of the hook and the bend. For example long shanks are very well suited for Sandeel baits, Lug or Rag threaded up the shank for a more natural presentation.

Fish hooks also come in several types. Knowing a few of the more popular ones and their uses can help you be successful:

O’SHAUGHNESSY This hook is named for the specific design of the hook. It’s a standard hook, forged with a very strong bend. This hook is relatively thick, very strong, and not likely to bend out of shape. Generally designed for saltwater, it is good for general bottom fishing use. Sizes range from #3 to as large as 19/0.

ABERDEEN They are generally made from shaped wire. Unlike the O’Shaughnessy, it can and does bend. It can be bent back into shape several times before it becomes too weak. However, once a fish is hook and the barb has completely penetrated, this hook holds very well. These hooks are modified with bends in their shanks for use in jig molds.

CIRCLE Perhaps the best innovation in hooks to come along, circle hooks promote healthy catch and release. The design of the hook itself, when used properly, prevents fish from being hooked in the gut. Many sea anglers have a problem using these hooks because they require no hook set. If you do try to set the hook, it will generally come out of the mouth of the fish. These hooks are designed to move to the corner of the fish’s mouth and set themselves as the fish swims away from you. Anglers feel a bite and simply begin reeling, slowly at first, then faster as the hook gets set.

icon LIVE BAIT These hooks generally have a shorter shank than other hooks. Whether that is to allow the live bait to swim more freely or to be less apparent to the fish is debatable. My vote is to allow the bait to swim more freely. These hooks come in regular and circle designs. Regular live bait hooks will be swallowed and result in gut hooks most of the time. Circle live bait hooks provide a greater chance for a good release.

BAITHOLDER Baitholder Hooks – These are very widely used by sea anglers. These are good hooks for worm bait they have a ringed eye and have 2 slices or barbs in the shank to assist with holding the bait up the shank of the hook.

KAHLE The curve on these hooks makes them ideal for live bait. Made from the same wire as the Aberdeen hooks, they will bend if hung on the bottom of some structure. However, once a fish is hooked, the design of the hook prevents it from being straightened. Hook Choice!

First, use common sense. As simple as that may sound, I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen people make some really bad hook choices. Match the hook size with the fish! Second, use some trial and error and learn from your mistakes. No one became a good fisherman overnight. All of us had to learn either from someone else or by trial and error. Thirdly, get a good brand of hook, such as Sakuma or Mustad. Try to avoid cheap hooks for the reason that they are just not up for the job, you don’t want to let that fish of a life time get away because of a crap hook bend out on you! If you are going to spend any money on Terminal tackle you hooks should be the number one first choice.

My personal favourites are Sakuma Singers and Mustad Worm hooks for flatfish and Mustad Aberdeen and Ultra Point Bass Hooks for Bottom Fishing for Huss off the rocks where a stronger hook is needed but a larger gape for bigger baits is required.

Finally, to all of you who are new to fishing, try taking these examples and build your learning experiences upon them. Trial and error are often the best teachers in any skill.

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