Surf Fishing Setup Rods, Reels, Line, Lures and Surf Fishing Belt…
I have had many inquires about my surf set up while fishing Baja. I am in no way an expert at this so I have basically begged, borrowed or stolen ideas from the real experts I have fished with from the beach… Stephen Jansen, Wesley Brough, Jeff DeBrown and even Jeff Klassen from many years back. Everyone has their ideal set up and what fits them best. So for what it is worth here is my Surf Fishing Set Up. Let the screaming reel begin!!!
Surf Fishing Rod:
I like at minimum a 10′ rod but prefer 11-13′. Here are 3 examples of what I think are good choices:
G Loomis IMX SUR Surf rods are amazing …light and powerful with an adjustable reel seat for dialing in the position of the reel where YOU want it. Cool!!!
-Carolina Cast Pro Series Model 12′ 3-7oz weight. These rods are designed by casting pro Tommy Farmer who just recently threw a cast 826′. That is not a miss print, nearly 3 football fields!!! This guy can chunk it! see www.carolinacastpro.com for more info
-Jansen Baja Beach 360 -12′ 2-4oz weight!
These are available right in Cabo from Jansen Inshore Tackle and are a proven winner. Also available a the 7-piece model for easy traveling! Nice!!!
Surf Fishing Reel:
Get ready to drain your wallet a bit here but these reels are really worth it …reelly _lol:
Shimano Spheros 18000
For a great performing reel with still a lot of available drag pressure it is hard to beat this reel …a great price too!!! Another Great reel is the Daiwa Salitst 6000H (4500 pictured here). Not as much drag as the Stella or Dog Fight but on 1/5 the price at about $215!!!
I prefer to go with the lightest braided line I can stand regardless of the situation. Braid for several reasons:1)the small diameter allows me to get more line on some of my smaller reels, 2) it cuts the wind better than larger diameter line, 3) there is little or NO stretch which makes working a big popper or other lure easier, is more sensitive, cuts through the water better and really helps when setting the hook on boney mouthed predators!, 4) I can fight a big fish to shore quicker and not tire them to complete exhaustion resulting in more successful released fish!
I like to use mono leaders with a loop connection to most lures and live bait hooks. To the running line, the braided line, I use a loop and an Albright knot. Here is a good illustration of the Kreh Loop for the connection to the lure or hook: http://tinyurl.com/4sygtcz
If targeting toothy critters like Sierra mackerel in the winter or if they get too pesky at other times I will go with 20-30″of 60# wire leader with a swivel at the line end and a quality snap to the lure at the other.
For a whole list of great knot animations see this link below. Very easy to see and understand!
I have a few all time favorites and having been the American partner of SEBILE lures for 5 years I am bit skewed to the brand. But here are my favorites in the surf in the Baja:
SEBILE Stick Shadd 155 in almost any color …I prefer the Black Gold Shiner, Ghostescent, and American Shad. I like the sinking models because they cast a mile but the floating models allow you to let the waves move them back and forth in rocky areas … a deadly technique for Pargo! The Stick Shadd is a HUGE producer for me in Baja from Roosterfish to Pargo to Sierra to Grouper!Jansen Cabo Killer is probably the best distance lure and a close second is the Jansen Ballyhoo. Both Awesome!
Roberts Ranger Lures of different colors and sizes. Cast great and you can really get reluctant Roosterfish to blow up on them when RIPPED thru the water. This is why the Stella is so great …56″ of line retrieved with each turn of the handle!!!
SEBILE Splasher 152- The Splasher is unique among poppers as it pops AND walks if you know how to work it. Also this lure moves TONS of water …another reason to have the braided line. With mono you have SO much stretch the action of a big popper is really diminished!
Wading/ Surf Fishing belt:
Having a good quality wading/ surf fishing belt really helps to make your day on or in the water much more enjoyable. The one pictured here is made by Jansen Inshore Tackle and is really handy and very economical. Three separate zippered pouches with nice Cordura construction and available with lure tubes to keep things from becoming a mess. Having your pliers handy right off the belt is a real key especially for toothy critters like Sierra and ‘Cudas!
Retrieve and techniques:
This really varies but a great way to find fish if you don’t know where they are or are not sight fishing is to RIP ( and I mean reel as fast as you can stand and sustain) a Cabo Killer or Ranger after a swing for the fence cast. If you have everything set up right you will be casting in the 150 yard range. That is not a mis-print, 150 YARDS. With the right conditions I am convinced I have made 200+ yard casts from off elevated rocky areas with a favorable wind! This allows you to cover huge areas and vast amounts of water to find the fish then you can slow down, change lures and get bit! Don’t be surprised at what might come to the lure from the surf. I have caught Dorado (Mahi Mahi) from the surf and have had friends in Cabo that have hooked Striped Marlin from the beach which they didn’t land :(. A deadly technique that Wesley Brough taught me is using a floating SEBILE Stick Shadd in rocky areas with big waves. Cast beyond a rock and as you retrieve the lure stop it on the ocean side just as a wave is coming off the rock. Let the wave wash the lure back out to sea a bit and twitch it or swim it in the surf. This also works very well with the SEBILE Magic Swimmer as the wave causes the lure to swim in place as it washes back out. Reluctant or tentative species like Pargo really find this hard to resist and I have seen them come from 40′ deep to eat a surface lure with this technique! Good luck and please add your comments to this blog so we can all learn some new stuff!
“Aquarius this is Launch Control …you are cleared for lift off!!!”