Surf Casting Florida

Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.

What test fishing line should I use for surf fishing?

The right test fishing line for surf fishing is a very important consideration for serious surf fishermen. The correct pound test can make or break your fishing day. If you don’t have strong enough line, then you might lose the fish of a lifetime. If you have fishing line that is too strong, then you can’t cast it out very far. You need to figure out the perfect combination of strength and casting distance for optimal surf fishing performance.

I am a FISHING CHARTER CAPTAIN on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the beaches, mangroves, grass flats and just about everywhere else in Florida for more than 40 years. In the article below, I will teach you how to choose the perfect test fishing line for surf fishing.

Let’s get started.

Watch the video below to learn how to find fish when you are surf fishing.

What test fishing line should you use for surf fishing during low tide?

When you need to cast out to the outer sand bars is when you will need the perfect combination of strength and casting distance from your fishing line. If you are fishing for smaller fish like pompano, whiting, croakers……. you can get away with a 15 pound test fishing line that is mono filament.

Mono filament fishing line is much thicker than the equivalent test of braided fishing line. It has advantages because it will stretch where braided line will not. This stretch can eliminate the need for a shock leader if you are not casting heavy weights. I am in the process of buying another reel for surf fishing.

The reel that I have chosen is a 5500 series Penn Spinfisher LC. The LC stands for long casting. The only difference between this reel and a normal 5500 series is the taller spool. The taller spool allows you to put more line on the reel and it will cast more efficiently. This will give you better distance than a normal sized spool.

This reel will be used almost exclusively for catching pompano and whiting on the outer sand bars during low tide. I will fill the spool with 15 lb. mono filament line without a shock leader. The bright orange and yellow mono filament lines are my choice for this scenario because I want to be able to see where my line in the water. As I get older that is becoming harder and harder so the brightly colored lines help out a lot.

A 5500 series long cast reel will hold about 200 yards of 15 lb. mono filament line. That is plenty of fishing line for the beaches that I will be fishing. If you need more line you could switch out the mono filament line to a braided line and get twice as much line on a 5500 series long cast reel. It depends upon your specific fishing needs.

What test fishing line should I use for surf fishing high tide?

Fishing during the higher parts of the tide is much easier than fishing the lower parts of the tide. It requires less casting skill, smaller rods and less fishing line to get at the fish. The fish might be just 5 or 6 feet from shore. You may have to cast out 30 or 40 yards but the chances of having to cast as far as you can are slim.

During the higher parts of the tide I like to target larger fish near the shore like tarpon and black tip sharks with lures. I have a 5500 series reel that is set up specifically to go after big fish. It is full of 80 pound test braided fishing line targeting this type of fish when I am surf fishing. They will run off 100 yards of fishing line on their first few attempts to get off of the line.

In this scenario, you don’t need a lot of line because you have to cast out so far. You need a bunch of fishing line because the larger fish will take a lot of line once they figure out that they are hooked.

If you are fishing for pompano and whiting or any smaller species of fish, then you can get away with a smaller reel like a 3500 series reel and 15 lb. test mono filament line. If you like braided fishing line better, then you can fill your reel with 15 to 20 lb. test fishing line. You will need a reel with much less line holding capacity when you are fishing the higher parts of the tide.

Watch the video below to see black tip shark fishing off of the beach.

As of July 1, 2019 you cannot use natural baits to catch sharks off of the beach. The Florida Wildlife Commission considers that chumming and they don’t want anyone chumming on public beaches. They are concerned that this will attract sharks and swimmers will get bitten. You can use lures but you cannot bring the sharks onto the beach anymore.

You have to release them in the water as quickly as possible. You also need a special shark fishing permit to target sharks in Florida. It is free but you have to take a class to learn all of the new rules before they will give you one. There are other new rules that I am forgetting so look them up before you go surf fishing for sharks.


Choosing the proper test fishing line for surf fishing depends upon how far out the fish are and how big the fish that you are targeting are. I prefer to use lighter lines so that I can enjoy fighting the fish that I catch surf fishing. Lighter test mono filament lines will definitely cast farther than heavy ones. This goes for braided lines too. The lighter the test of your fishing line, the farther you can cast out into the surf.

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