Shore fishing tips
There are many types of shore fishing, depending on the type of ground you are fishing. I would suggest that you get some local knowledge and try and pinpoint some marks that do not require long range beach casting to locate fish holding areas.
Marks that in the summer that hold Garfish and Mackerel can provide you some great sport without having to cast like a pro. This will allow you to grow in confidence and increase your desire to learn how to start beach casting.
What fishing gear will you need
Every day there are new products coming on the market, some claim to be the best thing since sliced bread, the ultimate product needed for beach casting. Do not allow your self to become a “tackle tart” at this stage. You need quality, affordable gear that does the job well and offers you value.
The basic list of gear that you need for beach casting is as follows:
- Rod and Reel with a quality line on it
- Either some basic bought rigs or hand ties rigs
- Fishing Bait
- Protective clothing – hats, gloves, water proofs
- Something to clean your self down with (cloth)
- Sharp Knife
and board for cutting bait
- A bucket!
Rods and Reels for Beach Casting
We are looking at value here. As you enjoy the sport more and push your sea fishing ability as well as focus on the type of fishing you like you will be able to select specialist rods targeted at different facets of the sport ie Bass rods or 15 foot heavy beaching cast rods.
A rod of 12 to 13 ft in length will be ideal, with a casting weight of around 3 – 5 oz. This should allow you to really start to learn the basics of shore fishing and be powerful enough to cope with most things, including your improved casting performance.
In my opinion I would spend a little more on your reels. The salt water environment really corrodes a fishing reel. You can spend under £20 if you want, but it really will not last more than a season if you get out there and fish regularly.
You have a choice of fixed spool reels or multiplier reels. There is an art to casting a multiplier and to get a reel that will last and is worth the upgrade you are looking at £100 plus.
A fixed spool reel makes life a lot easier to start with in your shore fishing career. You want a reel that can hold at least 200m of 15lb line for shore fishing. A good size handle is also important to crank your fish in or retrieve your tackle, keeping it high in the water to prevent it getting snagged and lost in rocks and weed, very advantageous for beach casting.
There are two drag systems (a drag breaks the spool for playing fish) front and rear. Both are good and you will develop your own preference over time. I tend to prefer rear for spinning and front for beach reels, but that is just me.
Sand and salt are your reels enemy. Rinse your reels in fresh water after use to get ride of the corrosives. Store your reels with a dessicant pouch (the little white tea bags you get when you buy elttiracl equipment) is worth wile. Rice also works!
Have a look at these options from Amazon. (To advise I do earn a small commission from all sales)
- Okuma Reel – Great Value option
- Daiwa Salt Water Reels – Good value and longer lasting in my opinion
- Rod and Reel Combo Sets
The line for your reels needs to be about 15lb for general shore fishing. If the conditions get nasty then upgrade to 20 – 25lb, but this will reduce your casting range. Monofilament is ideal to start with, but you could consider braid – its much thinner for it’s breaking strain compared to mono.
NB You will also need shock leader. This is very important, it is a length of line that should run 5 turns around your reel then is twice the length of your rod (approx). This line needs to be the weight you are using ie 3 oz times by the ten – forget the oz and you have 3 x 10 = 30lb shock leader. Always ere on the side of caution and go heavier when beach casting. A rig snapping due to the force and energy in a cast will kill some one if it hits them!
To clarify – the shock leader will be tied onto your main line (line on reel) at one end, run around the reel a number of time, through the rod eyes and tied onto your terminal tackle. Make sure the rig body line (line from weight to the top of the rig is strong enough as well. read on for more information on this.
This is the part you throw into the water, sometimes never to be seen again…
The beach casting rig is made up of a rig body – a piece of line generally with a clip to attach a weight on and a swivel to tie your shock leader too. Make sure the rig body is strong enough ie equal or greater breaking strain than your shock leader.
Terminal tackle is made up generally speaking of swivels, clips, snoods. Rather than me going on, have a look at this video. He makes my favorite rig – Pulley rig!
Apart from his wind, he shows really clearly how to make a rig and explains the rig components well. I have also learnt a trick for threading on crimps when he cuts the taper on the line. You never stop learning!
It costs a few quid to get the gear together to make rigs, so you can always buy ready made rigs in lots of different styles and hook sizes. As I say the Pulley rig is a great al-rounder, you can get great distance with it when beach casting.
This link is worth a look for some value shore fishing rigs – Great Terminal Tackle deals
Shore Fishing Bait
There are many types of fishing bait available. Fresh bait is the way forward. You want scent for those fish to follow and fresh bait is full of oils that float into the water and create a scent trail
Over here I have listed 20 sea fishing baits Have a look when you have read the rest.
Don’t be afraid to use the bait. Okay, it cost you a tenner, but get a good lump on the hook, lets build up that scent trail! Some species like sole have small mouths and therefore small bait and hooks but lets start big and get the fish smelling!
- Rag worm
- Lug Worm
- Mackerel (fish bait)
- Sand eel
- Peeler Crab
The type of bait will be different to the species and mark you fish in. Ask you tackle shop for a bit of advice. I generally start on a new beach casting mark with either rag or lug tipped (a small slice) of squid. it has worked very well for me in the past as an initial bait until I learn more about a mark.
Keep your bait fresh. cool bag or box will work wonders. Keep your bait out of the sun as this soon dries up those lovely oils and attractors we want to get in the sea. I cannot stress this enough that fresh bait is the best bait.
Another consideration and an area I am working on is ground baiting. You can get dissolve-able bags (PVA Bags) which you can fill full of bran (to carry the oils) and mashed fish, tuna, pilchard oil to really make a slick of a scent trail. I will let you know more about my trials with ground baiting while beach casting another day.
I won’t try and explain how to cast; there are some great books on the subject and tutors out there who can show you the right way of doing it. Its all about timing and balance and when it comes together it’s fantastic and your tackle will just sing as it launches into orbit. There is a link here to off ground beach casting
Read the Shore line
To be successful you again need to research your local mark. Starting off with a O/S map or chart and locate areas where the sea bed changes. The interface of mud and shale or Sand and rock will attract fish and hold them. Broken ground or reef will produce Wrasse or Pollock and that can be great sport on float gear, enhancing your ability to strike and react to the float. Have a good gander at one of my rock and beach casting marks. This map shows you so much valuable information – Invest time in research!
Weed beds, pools, hollows, channels, boulders, streams, outflows any of these will hold fish. Look for the way the tide moves around objects and consider where the fish are holding; are they holding on the pressure wave in front of the object or are they likely to hide behind the object or outcrop, these holding areas need to be targeted when you are beach casting.
You do not need to cast miles and miles. I have caught more fish on a rod out 40 yds than one powered into the distance onto some unknown ground. In fact when I am kayak fishing I often fish tight to the coast line. I have seen flatfish and Mackerel while snorkeling feeding about 3 feet out from the shoreline with anglers casting to the horizon catching nothing.
Read the beach and look for as many pointers as to what species of fish you are targeting, the food stuffs in the area and features that will hold the fish. Keep trying new ideas, conditions and tides, record it all and soon you will see a pattern of what works, when and how it works.
Shore Fishing Tips
- Tell somebody where you are going and when you should be home!
- Take a mobile just in case something goes wrong (A hook in the nose really hurts)
- Take a camera – photograph your mark to remind you of conditions
- Wear safety gear. Floatation suites save lives!
- Change your bait every 20 – 30 mins to stop it getting washed out and useless.
- Change the size of your bait if no bites.
- Print you google map to remind you where to fish!
- Have fun and tell us all how you do!
This article on reading the shore line and beach will be of interest to you!
Here is a link to our beginners sea fishing guide