Everything you need to know about beach fishing . How, why and when. Beach spinning rods and reels. Part 1 (artificial lures)
These days a lot of folks are looking at surf rods to go beach fishing. Asking me what surf rod is better than the other...And it amazes me just how easy it is to get confused by this term. Basically, any fishing rod that is (or can be) used from the beach could be described as a surf fishing rod. After all, that's what you're doing, right? Casting a line in the surf...
Then why is it so hard to choose the best and most suitable surf rod for beach fishing?
Well, to start with not all surf rods are born equal. Some are shorter or longer than the others, some are stiffer, some have a more flexible tip.
But let's back up a little bit and agree on something first. Surf is something that happens on the beach. So, we should start by looking at what we should do on the beach. What techniques should we apply. In what circumstances. And, of course, How.
So, now let’s just start by dividing the beach or surf rods into two main categories:
1. The first category would be those surf rods
that are specifically designed to be used with artificial lures and baits;
2. A second category would include those specially/purpose-built surf rods designed to perform on the beach, in the surf
– casting at long distances natural baits (worms of all sorts, pippies, squid,
prawns, fish fillets, etc. as well as live bait).
Today, we'll cover the first category, surf rods that are specially designed to be used with artificial lures and baits.
Any rod that we use in the surf, on any beach (whether low or high energy), regardless of designation (artificial lures or natural baits) would need to be at least 2.70m (9 foot) long. I see people using 2.10m or even 1.80m rods from the beach, waist deep in water with waders, neoprene or whole wetsuit on - using brute force- trying to compensate and somehow cast where the fish bite.
Sure, if it's winter, you're going for salmon, you're into surf and have a spare wetsuit but you don't want to spend money on longer spinning rods, then OK. Go for it. Same if you enjoy sitting in those frigid waters, purple lips and all and go for the same or tailor. Your small rod with a shiny silver spoon or blinker will probably do the job and land you a decent fish. But you struggled. With stoicism. And despite all of that, you didn't quite enjoy the part between fights. But we all salute you. For your conviction. And hard work.
And please don't tell me that when the summer comes you'd actually prefer to go all the way in to cast a lure.
Simply put, you cannot outmatch a fellow fisherman that has a longer rod. He will cast faster, more often than you, reach difficult spots easier and most likely he will out-fish you. I dare saying nine out of ten times.
From the boat or a tinny or dinghy, sure you have a better fighting chance. We'll talk about that in another article.
But from the beach or even rocks, I think we should settle for "longer is better".
So, how long your surf rod for beach fishing should it be?
Well, we've all agreed that 2.70m (9 foot) is the absolute minimum. Regardless if that rod is for artificial lures or for natural baits. Minimum would be 2.70m. Now it all depends on what technique you'd employ when targeting some specific species.
Spinning is probably a little bit more limiting in a certain sense. And when we talk about classic spinning, that means cast and retrieve techniques. Artificial baits. In that sense, I would think that 2.70-3.30m would be ideal to cast a lure (spoon, blinker, hard baits or soft baits of any sort), with a 3.50m a maximum.
This will help you deal with the wind and you'll be able to deploy your artificial bait at the desired distances regardless of weather. Not to mention it is a little less punishing on one's personal fishing technique.
Going longer than that it will become more taxing on your wrist, forearm and shoulders as the rods become heavier. It will be more difficult to retrieve hundreds of times as it is more complex to manoeuvre a longer rod. And it can actually backfire in a big way if you encounter some difficult conditions (gusty winds, side to side, choppy waters, seaweed and algae covering areas of interest, etc) as you will get tired faster and be less effective and efficient on the water. But manoeuvrability is key. Longer is more complex.
So, I would recommend a 2.70-3.50m rod length, all full carbon rods when beach fishing. The rod should be light, say something like 200-300g weight and capable of casting weights of anything between 5g to 100g or more, depending on what lures you are planning to use.
I always recommend carbon
(graphite) surf rods for spinning techniques.
Because you have to launch the lure and retrieve hundreds of times and for the same length the rod differences (in weight) could be quite substantial. Sure, you can look and say, hey- I am OK to pay for this fiberglass rod 60-70$. I am happy with it. But a 3.00m fiberglass rod with any decent action is at least 40-50% heavier than the equivalent carbon fibre one. And in a couple of hours that can amount to many, many extra Kgs pulled from your shoulder and forearm. That leads to fatigue. And not being able to enjoy. These days- if you truly are a spinning aficionado or even specialist- it is not even worth it to consider anything lower than mix carbon with full carbon blank the option to go to. The higher the blank modulus (sometimes), the better.
You might say "Hey, you do have on your website many spinning rods that are either shorter in distance or longer...". Indeed, that is true. The spinning designation means nothing else than those rods are designed to be used with spinning reels for different "spinning" techniques. Artificial or natural baits. But shorter rods are designed to be used from the boat or in from the banks on estuaries, lakes or rivers. Perhaps some jetties too. Longer are needed from the beach. And we are covering only the later in this article.
So, now that we talked about
spinning rods designed for casting artificial lures (from the beach, in the
surf), let's see what we could pair those with.
What reels to use with surf rods (casting artificial lures) for beach fishing?
Ideally, it should be up to 4500-5000 size reel. Probably best 2000-4000 sizes. What should we then use, and how?
First of all, we need to understand that the reel selection is linked with the rod type and casting weight (matching rod). If you go for the normal spinning fishing rod with:
- 15-50g (and anywhere between those margins or thereabouts) casting weight limits, then a size 2000-2500 would be more than enough and will balance your rod nicely.
- 30-60g casting weight for your rod, again I would probably go for 2500-3000 size.
- 40-80g or 50-100g c.w.- more than 3000 size reels (3000-4000),
- more than 100g you'd need to look for 4500-5000 size.
But then your outfit becomes again really heavy and you should ask yourself what you are actually doing and what do you hope to accomplish by throwing such heavy artificial baits straight into the surf.
Casting further away? You should know that even if you hit the gym every morning it is taxing for your body to wrestle a 400-500g rod (if you go higher in casting weight capability, the blank becomes thicker- as the walls are thicker and thus heavier) with a 500-600g reel (again, the bigger the size, usually the heavier it becomes). For hours on end. Good workout perhaps. Question mark on enjoyment though...
But if you truly must cast long distances with big and shiny spoons, then fine. Go at least for the lighter rod that you can find, 3.00m or over, HM carbon and light guide-rings (SeaGuide, FUJI or Titanium SIC). Pair that with a light reel (carbon body and rotor, etc.) and try to keep it within the 400-600g altogether. Don’t forget that the weight of your hard bait/soft bait adds to the complexity of your fishing experience, is more taxing with your technique and will increase fatigue; as not only that you will hold a heavier outfit when you cast and jerk the metal but a 150g spoon retrieved in the water for 100m or more at a time for hours on end is not everyone’s cup of tea.
That being said, it can be done. We are today blessed by the availability of technologies previously used in aircraft and fast cars; these amazing materials (high and intermediate modulus carbon blanks, nano technology, Kevlar, boron, epoxy resins, etc) are now used in many rods coming from reputable manufacturers worldwide.
However, when choosing “your weapon of choice”, keep in mind that - the longer the rod and the heavier the casting weights - it would require a substantially more expensive higher modulus carbon blank (coupled with some excellent fittings and components) paired with an equally good reel to allow you to truly enjoy a spinning session in the surf.
Summarizing what we’ve said before, for artificial lures (whether hard or soft) spinning in the surf, you need to:
- Choose a rod with a length ranging between 2.70m
to 3.50m (at the most). 2.70m-3.30m ideal rod length
- The longer the rod, look for higher modulus carbon blank construct. I would go for (minimum) TC24 (24Ton carbon) for rods that are 2.70m-2.90m. TC30 (30Ton carbon) for rods 2.90m-3.20m. For longer than 3.10m-3.20m try getting TC36 (36Ton carbon or higher), with a preference for something like >TC40 (40Ton carbon- high modulus)
- Try to get your rod fitted with quality components throughout. SeaGuide, Titanium SIC (by WEBO or Kigan), Alps, PacBay or Fuji being the best rings available (there are differences here as well, for example XOG guides from SeaGuide or Torzite from Fuji- but let’s not split hairs for the time being). These components are usually suitable for use with both mono or braided lines.
- What you want is fast action, so you can reach longer distances and strike immediately to set the hook. Medium-fast works shorter lengths, but as the blank becomes thinner, longer and higher modulus (thus stiffer), the faster the action should get.
- Look for reputable manufacturers that use high quality carbon matts (Toray, Mitsubishi, Reglass, Helicore, etc) that are rolled with resins, Kevlar, boron or nano-particles for increased stability, balance, strength, rigidity, etc. Look no further than SPORTEX, DAM, BALZER, SAKURA, SUNSET or COLMIC and HERAKLES for ultra-high-quality rods.
- Use quality braided line (4x or 8x soft braided- saltwater and UV resistant). For longer distances use lower diameter braid.
- Pair the rods and reels accordingly. The reels should have high quality carbon or hybrid bodies and rotors (so they are light and torsion-free), 3-8 stainless steel ball bearings, bronze or stainless pinion gear, aluminium spool and power crank. Speed: anything above 5.1:1 will do (depending on type of lures and fishing style)
Rods with casting weights of 30-60g (or similar) can be paired with a spinning reel (front drag or rear drag) size 2500-3000
An example here of rod and reel: Rod, something like:
BALZER MK IM-8 DOUBLE STRIKE SPIN 2.70m (10-45g and 20-75g) (https://adoretackle.com/balzer-mk-im-8-double-strike-spin-2-70m-10-45g-and-20-75g-2-10kg-carbon-two-tips-spinning-rod/)
the superb SPORTEX BR3012 Black Pearl 3.00m (35-59g) (https://adoretackle.com/sportex-br3012-black-pearl-3-00m-35-59g-4-8kg-carbon-spinning-rods/)
paired with a reel like
DAM QUICK DRAGGER 530 RD (https://adoretackle.com/dam-quick-dragger-530-rd-high-quality-rear-drag-spinning-reel-size-3000/)
the excellent BALZER MK Adventure Spin 630RD (https://adoretackle.com/balzer-mk-adventure-spin-630rd-high-quality-rear-drag-spinning-reel-size-3000/)
Rods with casting weights of 40-80g (and anything in between) or 50-100g can be paired with a spinning reel (front drag or rear drag) size 3000-4000
Some examples here for rod and reel:
the exceptional SPORTEX CT2703 Carboflex
turbo 2.70m (45-76g) (https://adoretackle.com/sportex-ct2703-carboflex-turbo-2-70m-45-76g-6-10kg-carbon-spinning-rods/)
SPORTEX UL2704 Hydra Speed 2.70m 39-94g (https://adoretackle.com/sportex-ul2704-hydra-speed-2-70m-39-94g-carbon-spinning-fishing-rods/)
can be perfectly matched with the impressive
DAM QUICK 7 400FD
Rods with casting weight bigger than 100g can be paired with a spinning reel size 4500-5000
An example here for rod and reel: Select a rod like BALZER
EDITION IM-12 SPIN 105 2.85m (40-105g) (https://adoretackle.com/balzer-edition-im-12-spin-105-2-85m-40-105g-6-12kg-toray-carbon-spinning-rod/)
and pair that with a reel like DAM QUICK AMMO 450 FD (https://adoretackle.com/dam-quick-ammo-450-fd-size-5000-quality-front-drag-spinning-reels/)
Your maximum rod and reel (including line) total weight should not exceed 400-600g.
The lighter, the better.
Next article, we will cover natural baits fishing from the beach, in the surf. Types of rods, styles and how to pair those with the appropriate reel.