Surf Casting Florida

Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.

What size weight should I use for surf fishing?

You will need different sized weights for different environmental scenarios. Strong onshore winds, big waves, strong currents and many other factors will determine what the best size of a weight you will need for surf fishing in your area.

Having the proper weight size can make the difference in getting out to where the fish are and catching fish or getting skunked. Choosing the right size of a weight can make a big difference in your surf fishing success.

I am a FISHING CHARTER CAPTAIN on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing off of the beaches, on the grass flats, around oyster bars and just about everywhere else in Florida for more than 40 years. In the article below, I will teach you what I know about using the best size of a weight for surf fishing in different scenarios.

Let’s get started.

Watch the video below to see what the right size of weight is for surf fishing.

What size weight should I use for surf fishing low tide?

Low tide surf fishing brings challenges for many surf fishermen. During the lower parts of the tide, the fish are usually farther away from the beach in deeper water. This means that you will have to be able to cast further out to catch those fish at low tide.

Often times, you can get away with a regular fishing rod and small weights, when you are fishing off of the beaches, but during low tide you will have to break out the big guns. This is when you will need your 10 to 14 foot surf rod and some heavier weights.

There is only so much distance a 7 foot rod with a 1 ounce sinker can cover. As the surf rods get longer so does the casting distance. When you add more weight to the equation, then you can really get your baits out quite a distance from the beach.

When you are buying a surf rod notice that it gives you a recommended weight that can be used right above the handle. It will say something like, medium/heavy action- 15 to 30 lb. line- 2 to 6 ounce lure weight. This tells you that you can use a sinker up to 6 ounces and it will not damage your rod.

If you throw rigs with heavier weights than 6 ounce your rod will crack or even break under the stress of a hard cast. I have personally never used a weight heavier than 3 or 4 ounces that I can remember. If you need a heavier weight than that, then fishing conditions will not be very fun anyways. There will be big waves and lots of current. On those days, it might be a better idea to surf than surf fish. Big waves make surf fishing very challenging, to say the least.

During the low tides your best bet for catching pompano will be the back side of the outer sand bar. You need to add enough lead to get you to the trough on the backside of that sand bar to have success during low tide. I like the last couple of hours of the outgoing tide and the first couple of hours of the incoming tide the best for fishing the outside sand bars.

Try to use the lightest weight that will get you out to where the fish are. If you keep coming up short, then grab a sinker one ounce bigger until you can reach the best spots during low tide.

What size weight should I use for surf fishing high tide?

High tides at the beach bring the fish in closer to the shoreline. During low tide you may have to cast with all of your might to get your baits out far enough to catch fish. During the higher parts of the tide, the fish can sometimes be caught with a simple underhanded cast. They might even be at your feet in the trough 5 feet from the beach.

High tide surf fishing is much easier than low tide surf fishing. This means that you can downsize the weights that you need to get at the fish. You will still need larger weights if you are surf fishing and there are big waves and lots of current. BUT you won’t need extra weight to get your baits out a long distance like you would during low tide.

All that I am looking for in a weight size is one that will keep my baits stationary on the bottom. I want them to stay right where they landed on the bottom. If they are moving with the current, then I know that I need to use bigger weights. That is why you should bring an assortment of weights from about 1 to 4 ounces.

What size weight should I use for surf fishing big waves?

Big waves make it extremely difficult to for surf fishing. You won’t be able to tell when you have a bite and it is hard to keep your bait in place on the bottom. Waves create a lot of problems for surf fishermen. I love to surf fish with a 1 to 2 foot swell. That size of a wave is perfect for surf fishing.

Small waves like that churn up the sand bars and uncover sand fleas and other small crabs, clams and other marine creatures that pompano, whiting, croakers, black drum, sheepshead, redfish and lots of other fish want to eat. Small waves create perfect surf fishing scenarios that can lead to the best fishing days.

On the other hand, big waves can be a nightmare. Yes, they churn up the sand and uncover food for the fish just like a small wave does but you can’t tell when you have a fish biting or a wave making your rod tip bend.

If you don’t have enough weight your rig will get washed right up on the beach. Only the most hardcore surf fishermen brave the big waves that the Atlantic Coast of Florida gets in the Fall and Winter months. because those waves make for some difficult fishing conditions.

You will definitely need to break out your heaviest weights for big surf. If you were using a 2 ounce sinker for a 1 to 2 foot wave then you might need a 5 ounce sinker for a 4 to 6 foot wave. You might even need to switch from a pyramid sinker to a sputnik sinker just to hold the bottom during rough surf conditions. They work great but they are costly. You can expect to pay at least 4 or 5 dollars for a sputnik sinker.

What size weight should I use for surf fishing strong currents?

Waves and currents go together like peanut butter and jelly but sometimes you will have a lot of current and small waves. This happens a lot when the moon is full or it is a new moon. The tidal movements can be extreme during these moon phases and the current can be stronger than expected.

This is another scenario when you might need to break out the heavier sinkers in your tackle box to have success off of the beach. Remember that you are trying to get your bait to stay in one spot on the bottom and not get dragged with the current.

I like to use the lightest weight that I can get away with so start small and work your way heavier as the current dictates.


Deciding what the best size weight to use for surf fishing is very important for fishing success off of the beach. You have to match your weight sizes to the conditions. Heavy surf, strong currents, powerful onshore winds, distant sand bars and other conditions will warrant lighter or heavier weights.

You will get very good at choosing the proper weight sizes with practice and make sure to bring an assortment of sizes and types of sinker to maximize your surf fishing success.

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