Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts. Today we are going to step off the sand for a minute and check out my 10 best surf fishing accessories to hit the beach with this year. Why? Well, as someone who has been fishing in the surf for a long time there has been so many instances when I have neglected to bring one or more of the below items with me and my trip has just been that little bit harder because of it.
I have taken less and been ok and at times taken more (chairs, carts, eskies etc.) and needed those items too but at the end of the day, my 10 surf fishing equipment options below are now my staples in my ‘go pack’ when that last minute call comes in to go for a fish. So for those of you who are just starting out, or have experienced the same mishaps I have, let’s see if we can avoid some of these problems and get you set up properly from the beginning.
I mentioned above having a surf fishing ‘go bag’. This is because that due to the daily commitments of my fishing mates and myself, we often find ourselves jumping in the car for a fish at short notice. So rather than having to pull everything together, I can just thrown my rod into the back of the truck with the backpack and I am good to go.
If you have a little more time to prepare, then a surf fishing backpack is still a must have due to the fact that when fishing on the beach, you often have to walk a little way from the car, across the dunes and down to the water’s edge. If you have ever tried to juggle everything (as taking two trips is never an option) then you know that a good backpack just makes life so much easier.
Personally I just use an old school bag of my son’s but you can buy proper fishing specific backpacks that contain all the pockets and slots needed for your fishing gear as well as such inclusions as tackle boxes, ‘cold’ sections and even chairs.
2. Tackle Box
Now, if you only take my advice on one item here today, then please make it this one. One of the biggest mistakes I used to make was to not taking a tackle box with me. The reason – “there are no snags there so I won’t lose my gear”. Famous last words. There are so many reasons that you may need to change your tackle when fishing in the surf including:
- Strong currents/tides
- Different fish species evident than expected
- Getting snapped off by a fish
- Tangles/birds nests whilst casting
- Unexpected snags such as branches, weed or rocks
- Changing to lures if the fish are not taking bait
I personally keep a large tackle box in my garage and use a smaller box that fits in my backpack for on the beach. In this I keep:
This way I can fit my tackle box into my backpack as well as not exposing all of it to the elements every time I go to the beach – sand and salt water/air are not good for fishing tackle.
3. Rod Holder
This next one is definitely a requirement I learned the hard way. Even the lightest rod and reel combos can get heavy after a while – especially if you are there for any length of time. A surf fishing rod holder is an implement that digs into the sand and ‘holds’ your rod for you whilst the tackle and bait are in the water.
Like anything, these can be purchased as a basic option (usually a metal pole that digs into the sand) or more advanced models with bags, chairs and so on attached. What do we use? We take some plumbing pipe (conduit), cut the bottom at an angle and there you go – it of course helps that we know a plumber!!
This is probably another obvious inclusion that we could add to the rod and reel category as mentioned above. But there is nothing worse than running out of bait when the fish are on. So what I mean by this is ensuring that you have enough and some variation.
I am a big advocate of using fresh bait preferably of the type that is available locally – i.e. use worms when there are worms on the beach naturally, yabbies where there are yabbies, fish fillets where those fish are found in that environment and so on. However, do not cut your trip short if you cannot get local bait or not enough to keep you going.
A quick stop at the bait shop for some frozen bait (our go to is squid) solves all of these problems.
I remember the day well, a nice big fish pulled from a nice big gutter on a freshly caught pippi – I mean it was dinner for two with this big stonker. I landed it and took it up the beach and put it on top of my fishing bag. As I turned around to re-bait my hook – BOOM – a Sea Eagle swooped down and stole the loot! If only I had a bucket to put the fish in…
That aside – a bucket is a must on my surf fishing list obviously to put fish in, but also as a bin. Fishing on a beach can be a messy business at the best of times – you have old fishing line, bait off cuts, bait packaging, beer bottle tops and so on and so on. A bucket simply means you don’t have to put all this stuff in your nice clean backpack!
When it comes to working with fishing line, tackle and even fish, there is not substitute for a good set of pliers and a knife. If you are working with large chunks of bait then a cutting board is also a must…
This is why you need some good surf fishing tools on the beach:
- Knife: Used to cut braid, line, bait or even fish.
- Pliers: Pliers can be used to grab the mouth of the fish if you catch a particular spiky or toothy species. More commonly they are used to remove hooks from fish, cut hooks and sinkers if need be (most have a wire cutter type blade on them) or even repair equipment. It is also helpful if they have scissors attached to them as well as they make rigging tackle easier. If not, add scissors to this list too.
- Cutting board: A cutting board is a godsend if you are trying to cut up bait or fillet fish – a pastime that is not as easy if you are doing it on the sand.
- Ruler: The surf can often throw up a number of different species types with different legal limits – fines for undersized fish can be steep so add a ruler to your tool list as well.
7. Sun protection
This should go without saying but 1000s of sunburnt beach fishermen have proven me wrong. The trick here is to make yourself a ‘sun kit’ that is stored permanently in your beach fishing backpack. This should include:
- Neck gaiter (sun proof neck scarf)
- Lip sun stick (zinc or balm)
I personally wear a proper fishing shirt (they are long sleeved and generally sun proof rated) and a wide brimmed hat. Apart from the pain and obvious long term effects, getting burnt whilst on the beach is just plain uncomfortable and will really ruin your day.
Ok, this one is probably not as critical as the ones I have listed above but will certainly either make things a little easier for you whilst out there. I mean the need for this is simple – when you are standing in the shore break fishing, you will invariably get wet. It’s just the way it is. Trust me – take a towel.
And if you are someone who fishes from the beach without getting your feet wet, then use it to clean your hands after handling bait, or to dry them before rummaging through your back pack.
Hint: Do not use one of your wife’s fancy new towels – no good can come of that – trust me!!
Again, you are standing on the beach, usually in the sun, surrounded by sea air. Take a bottle of water with you – even if just to wash your hands before using above mentioned towel. And no, beer does not count – by all means take it – but take water too (just don’t leave the bottle behind).
10. Fishing license
This last one may or may not be relevant to you dependent upon where you live. Where we fish however we need a recreational fishing license before we can throw a line into the water. So if you live in an area where a license is needed, you will generally need to ensure it is on you at all times.
Of course, if you have taken my advice above and got yourself a backpack, then just throw it in there!
And there it is – my best surf fishing accessories hit the beach with this year. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences or any other tips you may have.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time