The soft sand compresses beneath your feet. Seagulls squawk overhead. And there it is, the elusive Corbina slides up into just inches of water to feed on a bed of sand crabs. For many, this is how an ideal summer in Southern California should be spent. From Halibut to Corbina to Perch to Croaker, the Southern California coast offers a variety of fun, challenging, and accessible fishing opportunities.
However, when approaching surf fishing for the first time, it can often be confusing and intimidating. What type of bait should I use? What is the proper rigging? And how do I locate fish in what seems to be an endless stretch of breaking waves?
Whether you were asking these questions when you first began surf fishing, or you are asking them right now, we are here to help. From the basics of what rod and reel to use, to the complexities of moon phases, rip currents, and weather systems, we will cover it all. Over the next year, we will release a weekly installment that will bring you a surf fishing article that will be relevant to the season we are in at the time. These articles will come from seasoned locals, full-time professionals and our own knowledgeable staff.
A significant contributor that is responsible for many of these articles is Bill Varney, “fourth generation Californian [who] has spent the last forty years perfecting the best surf fishing techniques known to man” (Surf Fishing: The Light-Line Revolution). Tides, currents, wind, seasonal patterns, temperature fluctuations, and moon phases are just a few of the influences on fishing that Bill has studied. The result of this is an absolute wealth of knowledge that ranges from Northern California all the way to Cabo. If it swims in the surf, chances are Bill has both caught it and written extensively on it.
An additional contributor whom we are lucky to have is Nick Heid (socially known as @sd_surfslayer). Nick is a surf fishing aficionado who guides surf fishing adventures from the Mexico border all the way to San Clemente. His accolades in the surf or quickly compiling, of which one is a potential world record yellowtail from the beach.
Nick Heid with his first 30″+ Halibut from the surf
If you are looking to catch your first fish in the surf or are a seasoned professional, these articles will provide you with insights that are bound to improve your days on the water. Perfecting your gear, reading the beach, and bait presentation are just a sliver into what you can expect from this weekly feature. In the following weeks, readers will see articles covering halibut in the surf, how to prepare for surf fishing, and Bill Varney’s top five bait recommendations.