Surf Casting Florida
Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.
How long should a surf rod be?
A surf rod should be long enough to cast your baits out to where your target species of fish are.
A 7 to 10 foot surf rod is great for fishing within 50 yards from the beach and an 11 to 15 foot rod is great for fishing from 50 to 100 yards from the beach.
The best surf rod size for most scenarios will be 10 or 11 feet long because that size enables you to cast to the fish near the beach and to cast at those fish farther out by the sandbar during the lower parts of the tide.
The best surf rod length also depends upon whether you are fishing with baits or lures. If you are fishing with lures, then you will want a rod that is smaller and lighter so that you can cast if many dozens of times. If it is too heavy you will be too tired to cast anymore after 30 or 40 casts.
When you fish with baits you might only make a dozen casts all day long so the length and weight of the rod doesn’t matter as much as it relates to the amount of effort necessary to cast it.
Let’s start with some of the most obvious questions about the best surf rod size for YOU.
How far out do you need to cast your bait? If you live in a place where the first sand bars are very far away then you will need a longer rod to get your bait out to where the fish are.
How deep is the water where you are fishing off of the beach? If you are in a deep water scenario, then you will need more weights and a bigger, stronger surf rod to get those weights out far enough. You can read the side of the surf rods to see the recommended amount of casting weight that they can handle.
What kind of fish are you going to be targeting? If you are going after big sharks and tarpon with lures, then you will need a different rod than if you are fishing for pompano and whiting.
I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the beaches, mangroves, oyster bars…… all over Florida for more than 40 years. In the article below, I will tell you what I know about getting the right surf rod for your needs.
Watch the video below to learn about how long your surf rod should be.
You will need a surf rod somewhere between 10 and 12 feet for 90% of the surf fishing that you might want to do. On that surf rod you will need a reel that ranges from a size 4000 up to maybe 6500 series. This all depends upon what you are fishing for and how much line you will need to be able to hold on the reel.
You might be going after fish that tend to take a lot of line once they are hooked. Some of those species would be sharks, tarpon, permit, king mackerel……. If you are going after species like that then you will need enough line to not only cast to where they are but also enough to not get spooled once they start pulling drag.
If you are going after fish that do not pull much drag, then you just need enough line to get your bait out to the right distance off of the beach. Pompano, whiting, croakers, bluefish, Spanish mackerel will not spool you unless they are gigantic and your drag is too loose.
I like to catch tarpon and sharks off of the beach with top water lures and large 8 inch paddle tail lures. I need a 40 or 50 pound braided line and a full reel to not get spooled every time. I use a Penn Spinfisher V 5500 series reel and a Diawa BG 6000 series reel for those scenarios.
Those reels are both coupled with 7 to 8 foot medium/heavy fast action rods. You need a lot of backbone in your rod to catch a 100 pound tarpon or shark in the surf. Those rod and reel combos are meant for specifically targeting huge fish within 50 yards of shore.
If that type of fishing is not something that you do, then you won’t need those surf rod and reel combinations.
You might be able to get away with a 20 pound braid or mono filament line for 90% of the surf fishing that you plan on doing. This is true for small to medium sized fish from 1 pound croakers up to 20 pound jacks and snook.
You will need a big strong rod if you are planning casting heavy weights in the 5 ounce plus range. You will need a rod that is rated for heavy weights like that. Where I am at you never really need anything bigger than 3 ounces or so. BUT it might be different where you are.
Make sure that you get the right strength rod for your individual preferences.
The bottom line is that you want to think about a few different things before you spend your hard earned money on surf fishing rods reels and line because it can get expensive.
Finding the proper surf rod for your own personal surf fishing requirements can be daunting if you are not sure what you are doing. I hope that this article helps you make the right decision based on your own personal needs.
If you live in a place where you have to cast to the outer sand bars then you will want a long rod up to 15 feet in length. If you are lucky enough to have sand bars within 50 yards of the beach then you can get away with a 10 foot surf rod.
If you only fish the trough near the beach during the higher parts of the tide them you can use a 7 foot medium/heavy action rod.
You might be able to get away with a regular sized fishing rod or even a bass rod if you only plan to fish around high tide. If you are doing anything else, then you will probably have to invest in a surf rod.
Sorry, but those are the facts. Just don’t spend all of your money buying the top of the line surf fishing gear until you know that you are going to like surf fishing for a certain size of fish.
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