Surf Casting Basics: Tips and Techniques For Beginners

By Alycia Downs

Aug 08, 2019

Surf casting basics for beginners who are ready to hit the suds. Surf casting techniques and tips for distance and accuracy.

Surf fishing is a time-honored method of fishing that’s been enjoyed by landlubbers for decades. While gear and tackle have seen significant advancements since the days of the cane pole, much of the technique and strategy remain the same. This post will cover surf casting basics for beginners who are ready to hit the suds.

First, let’s make sure you’re properly geared up before we dive into surf casting techniques. You’ll need a 10 to 12-foot surf casting rod with a medium-fast action, designed to throw heavy plugs and jigs long distances. It’s outfitted with a high-capacity reel with a smooth drag and 40-pound braided line or 20-pound monofilament, of course, laddered with a substantial monofilament or fluorocarbon line.

Surf Casting Basics

Surf casting is similar to your standard casting style, but with an emphasis on distance. Some anglers wade into the water to reduce their casting distance, but this isn’t completely necessary when it comes to surf casting techniques. The goal is to land your bait in, or past, the surf where the waves break.

The best method to achieve distance is a general overhead cast. Open your bail and place your finger on the line against the rod. Hold the rod in both hands, with your dominant hand supporting most weight and your secondary hand for support. Bend your arms to bring the rod tip slightly over your shoulder and behind you. Flick the pole forward quickly, releasing your finger off the line and launching the bait or jig forward.

Throw a few test casts to evaluate your distance. Adjust the speed and power of your cast to increase or decrease distance as needed. Your bait or tackle will add weight to the end of your line, assisting in achieving far distances. Let the rod and reel do the work. If you have a quality setup designed specifically for surf fishing, the casting will come easier.

Landing your bait in the surf where the fish await requires an accurate cast. This generally develops with time and experience. Keep your eyes on the spot where you want your bait to land and launch your cast.

For more surf casting tips, check out this complete guide to surf fishing basics that includes tackle and where to find fish. Happy casting!

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.