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An Introduction and how to guide for Beach Fishing

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Beach fishing is the pinnacle of relaxation. This can be viewed from the sound of waves rolling across the surf, the glistening orange haze of the distant sunset and the gentle, southerly breeze across your back.

There are a vast amount of species to target from the seashore. This allows there to be something of interest for every angling enthusiast.

Species range from tiny, bright coloured baitfish up to colossal deep water predators. This means there is a large variety of equipment, lures, rods and reels needed to ensure maximum success while targeting your species of choice.

Equipment (Essential and Non-essential)

There is a wide range of available equipment within the market. We will cover the essential equipment requirements and the non-essential equipment for increased comfort on the beach.

The essential equipment needed to target the majority of species from the shore are:

  • Shore fishing rod and reel combination

  • Lures or bait such as - ragworm, squid and mackerel

  • Fishing line - a great example is the mega 8 line by Kastking

  • Weights

  • Rigs (this will be expanded on later)

  • Waterproof clothing (such as the Daiwa set)

Non-essential comfort equipment

  • Windbreakers

  • Polarised lenses (for reducing blinding glare)

  • Pliers (removing hooks from fish more efficiently)

  • Landing net

Setting up bait


Ragworms are giant, thick worms that live within the beach. They are an excellent bait for the majority of fish. They have two pinchers which must be avoided at all times when preparing them for bait. If bitten, you will experience striking pain in the contacted area.

Feed your hook through the worms head until halfway down the body. Pierce the body and leave the hook protruding from the side of the worm.

A top tip is to dip the worm into the saltwater before casting from the beach. The reason for doing so is that ragworms can come off the hook with little movement. The salt water will increase the chances of the worm staying on the hook.


Mackerel are small, fast, predatory fish. They can be entertaining to catch on a small rod such as the Johncoo 1.5 or 1.6m. Mackerel are oily fish that do not keep well, so bring an ice cooler to store them when using them as bait.

Mackerel is one of the most versatile baits to use when fishing. It can be presented in many ways. The most effective way to present mackerel is by taking small strips 3-6cm or 9-12cm for larger species. Push the hook through the flesh and have it protruding from the skin of the mackerel.

If you choose to freeze mackerel for future use, cover it in salt to stop it from deteriorating before placing it in the freezer.

Beach features

To increase the chances of catching fish species, you must analyse the terrain you are fishing.

Deep channels can be found cut out within the sea bed. Food gathers within these channels attracting large amounts of marine life. Being able to cast into these will dramatically increase your chances of catching larger specimen fish.

Tides (the rise and fall of sea levels) will impact the amount of fish that can be caught. Therefore, it is good to experiment at different times to see if high tide or low tide is more effective for your location.

Natural reefs can attract large shoals of fish; this will increase catch rates phenomenally. Anything which offers differentiation within the sea will be a source of interest to fish.

Undersea features will make the tide move in various ways. This will result in the sea bed being churned. The benefit of this is that it will attract multiple species of fish.

Finding the correct underwater feature could prove vital for catching certain species such as conger eel. This is as they hide within piers and large rocks, not in open waters.

Overall, beach features are a massive part of beach fishing, analysing terrain, tides, and small underwater features will have an extraordinary impact on your fishing trip.


Rigs are attached to the line and cast into the sea. Rigs are made up of various items such as one or more lines, hooks, sinkers, bobbers, swivels, lures, beads, and other fishing tackle joined together using multiple knots.

There are two main types of beach fishing rigs, flapper rigs and clipped down rigs -

Flapper rigs are ideal for use for catching multiple types of fish when no particular species is specifically targeted. This rig is best used when fishing an area that is snag-free.

Flapper rigs can be used for smaller fish such as whiting and coalfish and larger fish species such as cod. This means this rig is suitable for general fishing.

Clipped down rigs are used for the furthest casting distance possible over clean and snag-free marks, making it perfect for sandy beaches where long distances need to be reached to target specific species.

To make it as light and streamlined as possible, this rig uses only one hook and clips the bait down behind an impact shield. A bonus is the impact shield protects that bait. Therefore, it will be in better condition when it settles on the seabed. Powerful pendulum casting styles work best for this rig.


Reels are devices mounted to the side of the fishing rod. Reels are handy for casting and retrieving lines. Beach fishing reels differ from other styles of fishing.

Reels can be used for increasing or decreasing drag. The drag is a pair of friction plates inside of fishing reels.

When the fish pulls on the line hard enough, the friction is overcome, and the reel rotates backwards, letting the line out, preventing the line from breaking off.

A great example of an all-around perfect beach fishing reel is the Kastking Sharky III or the Daiwa Exceler.


Rods come in various shapes and sizes. Some are shorter or longer than others; some are stiffer, some have a more flexible tip. It depends on the angler’s preference on which they choose.

Two highly recommended rods are the carbon fibre max power rod and the Obei Hurricane ultralight rod, a fast action carbon lure rod.

Finishing Notes

Overall, there are abundant variations of beach fishing rigs, baits and equipment. Beach fishing experiences can be tailored specifically to the individual angler’s needs.

This customization allows beach fishing to be diverse amongst any type of fisherman.

by. Daniel ONeill

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