Recommended Tackle for West Coast Surf Fishing: Surf Sharks, Surf Perch etc
Surf fishing on the West Coast - California, Oregon and Washington - 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 surf fishing for Leopard Sharks, Soupfin Sharks and Bat Rays - plus our recommendations for light line species such as Surf Perch, Croaker and Corbina.
TACKLE FOR BIG LEOPARD SHARKS
Targeting large Leopard Sharks requires a specialist approach and we use custom-made Pulley 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 maximises 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 use Daiwa BG8000 spinning reels and Penn Spinfishers for a majority of our surf fishing for larger species. These are loaded with 40lb braid for the flat sandy beaches with no nearby reef system - or 60lb for fishing beaches with reefs. This is so we can put extra pressure on the fish to ensure it doesn't reach the reef.
We always use a 10-12' mono casting leader of 60-80lb 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 you do too - 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.
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.
We are also proud to partner with Landers Fishing for key items of equipment - rust-proof aluminium pliers, for example. These are vital in helping us return fish safely and quickly,
We don't fish without them and, if you're targeting big surf species, we highly recommend you have a pair too. Your hands and fingers will thank you at the end of the day.
We use the the 7.5" pliers for leopard sharks and larger species.
All Landers fishing equipment comes with a lifetime corrosion warranty and they're an independent American-owned company who make great products for surf and inshore anglers.
SURF FISHING REELS
These are loaded with 40-60lb braid for surf fishing for sharks and rays, 20lb braid for croaker and light bait fishing or 10lb braid for perch, corbina and light croaker 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 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.
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) and Fisherman’s Hardware in Huntington Beach (16942 Gothard St. Ste B, Huntington Beach, CA 92647) as a reliable sources 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.