How to Fish From the Shore for Saltwater Fish

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Angling does not get much better than fishing from the shore for saltwater fish. You don't need a boat or a captain. The gear is easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Almost anyone can cast from the surf. You can enjoy sunrises or sunsets over the ocean at no extra charge. There are also abundant species of hard-fighting and delicious fish to catch, including flounder, sea trout, striper bass, rockfish and the ravenous bluefish. Read on to pick up tips and techniques for shore fishing in the ocean.

Items you will need

  • Medium-duty saltwater rod and reel

  • 15-to-20 lb. test line

  • Hooks

  • Terminal rigs

  • 1-to-2 oz. pyramid sinkers

  • Lures

  • Bait

  • Saltwater fishing license

Get a tide chart (available at tackle shops) and plan your surf fishing around high-and low-tide changes, when bait fish are most active. An hour before until an hour after each changing tide is a good time for surf fishing.

Tie a double-hook rig to your main line and attach 1 to 2 ozs. of sinker weight at the bottom, then bait both hooks. Squid strips and chunks of shrimp work well for flounder and sea trout. Bluefish, striper bass and smaller panfish, such as croaker and spot, will hit chunks of bloodworm or cut bait, such as mullet.

Get into a shotgun stance for casting by putting your right foot forward and pointing it toward your casting target (if you fish right-handed). Or put your left foot forward if you prefer to cast left-handed. Whichever way you fish, the foot planted forward in the sand should be on the same side of your body as the hand controlling the reel.

Plant your other foot back in the sand and turn it outward 30 to 45 degrees with your feet spread slightly more than shoulder width. Bounce on your knees a couple of times to check your balance until you have learned a comfortable stance.

Lift the surf rod above your head and behind you until the rod is parallel to the sand.

Pick your casting spot, which should be immediately behind the breaking surf where bait fish are gathering in the changing tide, to leverage the rod's power.

Swing the rod up and over your head, releasing the line when the rod tip is pointed at your casting target.

Give the rig time to sink and settle on the sandy bottom. You'll feel a slight pull when the pyramid sinker hits bottom.

Retrieve the line in a stop-and-go manner, twitching the rod tip frequently to bring the bait up off the bottom so it can settle again.


  • Don't wade so far into the surf that you are unable to control your rod and reel above the water. This not only helps preserve your gear from unnecessary exposure to saltwater, it also is a good safety practice so you don't lose your footing.