What is Beach Fishing?
What is it, and how is it different from any other type of fishing? Good questions and I’ll try to answer them here. Basically anywhere you can get sand between your toes, you’re at the beach. Chances are very good that the fish are there as well. The good earth is mostly covered in water, so no matter where you live, there is a beach somewhere with in your reach.
What makes a Beach?
Most of the time when someone says beach, we tend to think of a coastline and saltwater. In reality, any large body of water can have a beach. Fresh water or salt, the beach is a great place to fish. When a large body of water meets the land along with some wind or current driven wave action, sand, gravel, and or shells are often deposited forming what we commonly call a beach.
These same currents and wave actions often push small fish and bait up against the shoreline as well. These then in turn, draw larger fish making beach fishing fun, exciting and potentially bountiful.
How to fish from the Beach?
Fishing from the beach can take several forms and will vary dependent on region of the country/world, fresh or salt water, time of year and types of fish available. In the US, freshwater beaches are primarily located around large lakes and rivers. Your fishing set up can be as simple or specialized as you want, depending on what you want to catch.
In freshwater, you can cast from the bank, wade into the water and fish, fish from a boat, or even in some locations a pier. There are fish that can be caught from freshwater bodies of water all over the world. Ever since man learned that fish were good to eat, we’ve been trying to find new and better methods to catch them. From low-tech cane pole to high end bait casting rigs and everything in between.
In saltwater, the methods are just as varied and the equipment can be as well. Fishing from the beach in saltwater is often called Surf Fishing. Mainly because there is usually some wave action where the ocean meets the land and that wave action is called surf. Beach fishing in saltwater can be very productive for a variety of fish species, some of which can be very large.
This of course will depend on where in the world the beach is located. They all will produce fish. If you chose to wade fish the beach, or anywhere for that matter, please, please, please always wear a life jacket (PFD). They haven’t made a fish yet that is worth drowning over. SAFETY FIRST AND ALWAYS!!!!!
What can you catch?
You’ve spent time at a beach. You probably noticed people fishing, maybe even catching 😉 What are they trying to catch? Of course, it will depend on the location. In freshwater, it can be everything from perch, catfish, bass, trout, salmon and more. Check with the locals when planning your trip. Local blogs, online forums and message boards, even the local bait/tackle shops can be a good source of information about what fish are available and what you will need to catch them.
In the US, if you are headed to the east or gulf coast, and saltwater fishing is in store, the fish species will be different and some of the gear will be larger and sturdier in general. Some large predators sometimes come in close to the beach when the ocean currents push the bait in close. When the conditions are right everything from perch, whiting, blue fish, red drum, black drum, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and a variety of sharks can make their presence known.
Along the US west Coast, surf perch, corbina, sharks, halibut, various rock fish, and croaker are available. Just like freshwater, check out the local online forums and message boards. Call the local bait/tackle shops and even local guides. You can find good information and maybe even make a few new friends. If you need help, drop me a note. I’ll see what I can dig up for you. I’m always glad to help out a fellow fisherman.:)
What beach to try?
You think you might like to try this beach fishing thing. But where to go? My advice, get your family and friends involved in the planning. Going to the beach is something everybody can enjoy even if they don’t want to fish. You can swim, fish, surf, kayak, float, build sand castles, play Frisbee or beach volleyball or just kick back and soak up the sun.
Where ever you decide to try, do some research online, check out the local online fishing reports to get your fever up. Get everybody in your group involved in the research as well. The planning and anticipation of the trip is a part of the fun as well. Depending on your location, there could be a beach in your own back yard. That would be a good place to take some short rips as you learn the sport of beach fishing.
Don’t worry where ever you go, you’ll have a good time. You’ll learn something new, spend some quality time with friends and family and maybe even catch some fish. If so, a fish fry on the beach with freshly caught fish is as good as it gets.
There is a great introductory course on beach/surf fishing, by Randy Meyers. Randy has been fishing on the beach front for over 40 years qualifying him for the label “old salt”. His course will give you some great information on tips and tactics to start your beach fishing adventures. You can read my review of his surf fishing course here:
Start plannin’ and get to fishin’.
Get online, look at a map, log in to google earth, start narrowing down your destinations. It’s fun, and you’ll be able to get a general feel for the lay of the land before you get there. A beach vacation is always fun, and throw in some fishing too, makes it even better. I’m betting, that once you try beach fishing, you’ll be hooked for life.
You can check in here at thebeachangler.com for more articles on destinations, tips, tactics, gear and more. Remember, travel safe, enjoy the journey, good luck and good fishing and please leave the beach cleaner than you found it.