The question most new fishermen have about surf fishing is what kind of reel and line to use. The main difference between the kinds of reel and line you use is fairly simple. You can use a conventional reel or a spinning reel, and you can use heavy line or light line. Life is simple, no? Let's see how you can make your decision easy.
Most fishermen prefer to have both kinds of reels and both kinds of lines, since they use them for different situations, depending on how the fish are running. But for a novice, and don't want to spend a lot on equipment in the beginning, the best thing to decide on is the type of fishing you want to do as you start out. You can always graduate to other kinds, once you fall in love with the sport, become addicted as so many do!
It depends on what you want to catch
If you are looking at small payloads (not too big), it is easier to cast with spinning reels. A spinning reel will have a faster retrieval rate, which you need if you are casting small fish, such as little bluefish. If you plan on going after something bigger, you will need a conventional reel. A lot will depend on where you are fishing, off the jetty or from the beach. A payload of more than five ounces will need a conventional reel, which can handle a heavier line and have more torque.
So that is why you also have to decide exactly WHERE you want to do your fishing before you decide on the type of reel and line. If you plan on standing on an open beach, where there is little to obstruct the fish's run, you can use a spinning reel and light line. But if you are going to fish off a jetty, or near a bridge or dock pilings (where fish like to hang out), you'll need the real power of a conventional reel and heavier line to drag the fish away from any obstructions.
One of the biggest questions most new fishermen and fisherwomen have is how to get the best advice on their fishing gear. You will probably have to find a specialty shop, since there is not a great deal of profit in this type of fishing equipment, so you will rarely find a surf fishing expert on staff to help you out if you shop at one of the big chain stores. Often, they may not even carry the right kind of gear for this sport. You can get a lot of advice by reading one of the good sports magazines such as On The Water, which can tell you not only the best equipment to get, but where the best fishing it.
You will be more likely to get both good advice and good fishing gear by shopping at small shops or even internet shops, usually owned by an avid surf fisher.
Surf fishing has all the relaxing benefits of fishing without a lot of the disadvantages such as very expensive equipment, a boat, etc. It is so easy, and so pleasant, to just unfold your beach chair, cast your line, and daydream. Until that first bite, of course!
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