Is Surf Fishing Expensive?


When we think about fishing, we normally think of three different categories (even though there are more). First, we think about freshwater fishing, which is for our typical fish like trout, bass, catfish, and others. The second type of fishing is fly fishing, which is still normal freshwater fishing, but more for rivers and streams, and still chasing fish like bass, trout, and salmon. The third type of fishing is saltwater fishing, which includes deep sea, and surf fishing. While it normally costs around the same for freshwater, and fly fishing, we wondered about the price difference between freshwater and saltwater, so we decided to put this article out to help you if you are thinking about making the transition, or just getting started.

Is surf fishing expensive? Surf fishing does cost more money than your typical freshwater fishing gear setup, so you should expect to pay around $200 to $300 more for your gear and bait setup then you would for freshwater. This is because saltwater affects your gear differently than freshwater does, and you are going to catch bigger fish in most cases. While you probably could use your own freshwater gear to try and surf fish, it is highly recommended that you get specific gear that is used for ocean fishing, or you could ruin your other gear very quickly.

Why Is There A Price Difference?

There are a couple of reasons why you are going to pay more for saltwater gear than you are freshwater. The first is that saltwater is very corrosive, so any gear you buy will need to be able to withstand rusting and getting corroded from the salt. If you were to bring your freshwater gear out to the sand and salt, your gear would quickly rust and it would be almost impossible to use. The second is that you are going to be buying a heavier weight line, and bigger bait or lures. This is because the fish that are in the ocean is usually several pounds bigger than anything you would pull out of a normal lake or river. Adding the size and weight to your line and gear is just going to add money, plain and simple. The bigger you go, the more you pay is almost always the case when you are buying fishing gear.

What Type Of Gear Is Needed?

You will first need a rod and reel that can withstand the saltwater and sand, and this setup can set you back the most amount of money, so you might try renting gear at your local beach before you buy it. The second is going to be the fishing line and bait, and you will go from a normal 6 to 10-pound test line to a 30 or 60-pound line for the surf. Keep in mind that there will be waves and currents going in and out that would snap a typical trout or bass line, so it needs to be heavy. You will also need a bait bucket, and heavyweights to keep your bait on the bottom. Remember that salt water makes everything more buoyant, so it will take more weight to keep on the bottom. The last piece you will need is a pair of boots or waders to keep you somewhat dry. Even though you think you might be out in the sun, the water is still cold, and you can get hypothermia by standing in the water all day. Even in places with warm water, you will need to protect your feet and legs.

What Types Of Bait Should You Use?

You can buy bait from the local shop at your beach, or you can go to a local tackle shop for saltwater baits. If you have questions, they are always there to help, so let them know you are getting into surf fishing, and they can help you pick the bait that is right for you. You are also able to use lures and plastic baits just like you would for freshwater, but they are much bigger. You can also buy special weights at the bait or tackle store. Typical nightcrawlers and powerbait are not going to work for saltwater fishing, sorry.

Is Surf Fishing Dangerous?

One thing to keep in mind is that you are not fishing from the shore at a normal lake with small waves. You are fishing the ocean which has undertoes, currents and much larger waves that can cause you to fall backward or lose your footing. If you are wearing waders, and a wave hits you, it can fill up your waders with waters causing you to sink to the bottom and not be able to get back up. There is also a chance that you could step on a shell or urchin and get injured or lose your gear. No matter what, if you are going underwater, and you are disoriented, drop your gear and head to safety. A $200 dollar rod is not worth your life. While surf fishing can be dangerous, if you pay attention to the waves and the currents, you should be just fine.

Does Your Cast Have To Change?

You can use your normal cast for freshwater and surf fishing, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. You have to make sure that you are trying to cast past the swells that are coming in, as that is where the fish will normally be. Fish do not normally like to hang out in the shallows getting pulled back and forth by the current. The second thing is that in order to get your line that far, you have to use a lot more weight, so fishing overhead might be too much work, and you may have to switch to a side cast for distance. The more you cast, the more your muscles will build up to throwing more weight and it will go further.

Is It The Same As Fishing Off A Pier?

Fishing off a pier is a completely different style of fishing compared to surf fishing even though they are both ocean fishing. When you fish off a pier you are already past the break line, so water will be much calmer, and you will not have to use the same amount of weight as you would surf fishing. Surf fishing, you are standing in the water and trying to cast out past the break line, so it is going to be more strenuous on you causing you to get tired faster.

Do You Need A Special License?

In order to fish in the ocean, whether it be a pier or surf, you will have to get a saltwater fishing license. You might even have to get a specific tag for a fish you want to catch, so please check your local fish and game for what the proper license is for your area. If you take your normal fishing license to the pier or surf and get caught, you will most likely end up paying a hefty fine. There are options in some states where you can get a 1-day fishing pass if you are wanting to try it out.

Can I Fish With Other People Around?

You can fish with other people around, but it is best to stay away from people as much as possible because you are throwing larger hooks and much heavier weight. If you accidentally hook someone, they will need to get it removed by a doctor. The same thing applies to someone getting hit in the head with ounces of lead weight. It is best if you are new to go to a place that has few or no people to practice your casting before you go anywhere that is populated.

Is It Even Worth The Money?

Freshwater and Saltwater fishing is similar but much different in tactics. I think everyone should try surf and pier fishing at least once to see if you like it because you can catch much larger fish. If you are looking to go fishing where you can throw your line out in the water and just wait for a bite, surf fishing is probably not for you, but is honestly is a personal preference.

Final Thoughts

Surf fishing is extremely fun, and you can catch some monster fish, but it is not for everyone. While it is more expensive, you really only need one or two rig setup to be okay. The main thing you should focus on is staying safe when you are out at the beach and watch for rogue waves and currents that could cause you to lose your footing. We think that everyone should try it at least once, so go out and rent some gear for the day, and see if you like it.

Terry Minton

I am the owner of Fast Cast Rods. I live in the mountains of Northern California where I love to be outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and hiking with my wife and three awesome kids.

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