Guidelines For the Best Time to Go Surf Fishing

The best time to go surf fishing has to be answered in a number of different ways. To address this topic we must consider what is meant by, “the best time”. Are we referring to the time of year, the time of day, the tidal movements, the phases of the moon or the weather situation? There’s a lot of room for interpretation. I will address them all in this article.

What is the Best Time of Year?

Since I am not considering any particular location, as a general rule of thumb I would have to say spring and fall. Now that doesn’t mean if you are fishing in the winter or summer that the surf fishing will be poor. It most likely just won’t be outstanding. That being said, it doesn’t mean the fishing will be outstanding in the spring and fall. What it does mean is that given the same set of circumstances, the fishing will probably be better in the spring and fall. Surf fishing depending on your location can be good year round. If you know what you’re doing it isn’t difficult to catch fish in the surf year round.

What is the Best Time of Day?

This question is easier to answer. In the early morning just before dawn until 9 or 10 AM and in the evening an hour or two before dusk. This follows the nocturnal feeding habits of the fish. During the summer when a lot of the beaches are occupied by sunbathers, dusk might be your best bet after they have left the beach. In some areas the rule is no fishing in swimming areas from the time lifeguards go on duty until the time they go off.

What is the Best Tide Time?

It’s no secret that the tides affect surf fishing. Moving water at the surf line is good for fishing. High tide is best because it’s easier to cast out and reach the deeper water. The window of opportunity is two hours before high tide and two hours after. Slack tide which is right between high tide and low tide is not productive for surf fishing. Low tide in most areas is usually only good for scouting the beach for ideal fishing spots.

What are the Best Moon Phases?

The moon not only plays a part in the tidal movements, it also affects the fishing. Let me explain. The moon produces the most extreme tide changes, referred to as spring tides, during the new moon and the full moon. The water moves faster during the change in tides from high to low tide and the total change in depth is the greatest.  This is the best time to fish the surf. Also, common belief is that during a full moon the fish feed most of the night.

What are the Best Weather Conditions?

Weather conditions are a little more difficult to address because of all the different kinds of weather factors. An onshore breeze if it isn’t too strong is a plus. Cold fronts are negative factors. High wind and surf is also bad. High winds make it difficult to fish and the water clarity is very poor. Low pressure is better than high pressure during a spring tide. When the weather conditions have been poor for the last 24 hours the fishing won’t improve until the fish have had a chance to acclimate. Sometimes it may take a day or two depending on how severe the weather has been.

Now after considering all the best times for surf fishing, it’s easy to understand how these situations can work together when they occur at the same time. When planning to go surf fishing try to take advantage of the time when several of these conditions overlap each other. 


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