Recommended: The best tackle for Surf Fishing for Sharks, Rays, Perch & Corbina
Surf fishing is incredibly demanding on tackle and equipment. So, we only use the most effective, efficient and durable products available. Here's what we recommend for a great day's West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) surf fishing for Leopard Sharks, Soupfin Sharks and Bat Rays - plus our recommendations for light line species such as Surf Perch, Spotfin Croaker, Yellowfin Croaker and California Corbina.
The best tackle for surf shark fishing
Targeting large Leopard Sharks, Soupfin Sharks and similar size surf predators requires a specialist approach and we use custom-made Pulley and Carolina Rigs for a majority of our sessions. This allows us to present a large bait and distance, tangle-free, with a unique twin circle-hook system that maximizes hook-ups.
We use a specially-selected grade of bait elastic to secure the fresh mackerel, bonito, perch or croaker to the rig - this serves several purposes. Chiefly, it ensures the bait stays intact on casting, the circle hooks remain in place for maximum hook-ups and it protects the bait from being eaten by the many stingrays that live in the coastal zones.
Sinker selection is also key and we use 6, 7 and 8oz sputnik-style surf sinkers to cast and hold large baits in place on the big open Pacific beaches.
We always use a 10-12' mono casting leader of 80lb depending on the target species and venue. We highly recommend you use a mono casting leader too. We get our reels spooled professionally at Charkbait in Huntington Beach and we recommend their services - it's nearly impossible to spool large spinning reels at home properly.
Rod-wise, we like 12' and 13' spinning rods rated to cast 8oz and above. This also aids in keeping the line off the surf and away from kelp in the shore break, plus it gives you a great lever to work with when you're hooked up. A 5' section of 1.5" white PVC makes a great sand spike.
Common mistakes to avoid include using offshore-style heavy duty hooks, short trout-style rods, low quality ready-made wire traces, light mono leaders, small non-wired sinkers that don't hold bottom, poor quality frozen bait and heavy mono main line that makes it hard to cast or hold bottom in the surf.
THE BEST SURF FISHING REELS FOR SHARK FISHING
We use Penn Slammer III and IV, Battle III DX and Spinfisher reel in sizes 2500 to 8500 for a majority of our surf fishing. This covers surf shark species including leopard sharks, soupfin sharks, large bat rays and any other Pacific species that lives close to shore. For light surf fishing, we use Penn Battle III DX 2500 spinning reels.
These are loaded with 40-60 pound braid for surf fishing for sharks and rays, 20 pound braid for croaker and light bait fishing or 10 pound braid for perch, corbina and light croaker fishing.
THE BEST RODS FOR SURF FISHING
For heavy surf shark fishing, we use two-piece 12’ or 13' surf spinning rods rated to cast up to 8oz and a whole mackerel. For croaker fishing with Fishbites, small squid baits and sand crabs, we use a 12' rod rated 1-4oz casting weight, and for light surf fishing for corbina, croaker and surf perch we use a 9' rod rated to cast up to 1oz with a line rating of 4-10lb.
THE BEST BAITS FOR SURF FISHING
We use Fishbites for a lot of croaker, perch and corbina fishing - they're a great easy-to-use option for any level of experience - along with sand crabs and sandworms. Check them out for sale in our online store. A majority of our lager baits - mackerel, bonito etc - are caught fresh to order from local piers or sport boats.
RECOMMENDED ORANGE COUNTY TACKLE SHOPS
We highly recommend Charkbait (16561 Bolsa Chica St #105, Huntington Beach, CA 92649) as a reliable source of quality tackle, information and spooling services.
For all our clients who book a trip with us, we provide an extensive kit list with links to buy each item so you can replicate exactly the set-ups used.