For those who live near the seashore, surf fishing is a way of life that many of us can only dream about. Whether your desire is to land a striped bass, battle a bluefish, or by chance an albacore tuna, surf fishing is always a good time to be had by anyone.
In the spring, it's usually best to hit the beach almost exclusively at first and last light, and during mid-summer, these fish are either offshore or feeding only at night in the surf. By the early part of December most all returned to the Mid-Atlantic region to feed, but good surf fishing on the East Coast is always there to be found.
If you've ever wanted to catch stripers blitzing baitfish along the beaches of New York, king mackerel or sea trout off the Outer Banks, or the snook, snapper, and even sharks off the beach in Florida, then you're about to find some of the best surf fishing in the world, and it's right here in North America.
While there are hundreds of possible locations to try, some call for more attention than others. And, if you're like any normal fisherman, you won't be all that concerned with the species, only that the line is tight and reel has a good drag.
Montauk, New York
While fishing Montauk Point can be a precarious situation due to the rocky shore, but imagine hoards of wild striped bass rounding this area in a migration that makes the yearly elk runs in Yellowstone pale in comparison. Once these fish start chasing sand eels and bunker, their tendency is to stay tight to shore where they can more easily corral baitfish against the beaches, and that's right where you are with your favorite rod-and-reel combo.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
From Cape point to Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Inlet surf fishing enthusiasts will tell you that where Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream meet you can find arguably some of the best surf fishing areas anywhere. There is such a wide variety of fish that can be caught in the surf of these waters that you may have a hard time choosing one species to target.
Seasons, weather, tide and time of day are all factors as they are anywhere we fish, but areas such as this offers not only beach fishing but piers, jetties, and bridges to try as well.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
With redfish and bluefish being the main targets in Hilton Head's surf, (with the occasional Tarpon in the right season) and sea trout, flounder, and sheepshead all found from the beach, surf anglers can explore the many different beaches that this area has to offer, and there's plenty. Destinations like Sea Pines Lagoon, Palmetto Dunes Lagoon along with Jarvis Creek State Park, Charles C. Haigh Jr. Fishing Pier, and Daufuskie Island all offer outstanding places to stand and cast or sit and wait for your offering to be taken.
Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida
When it comes to the Sunshine State, just listing one destination as the best is difficult at best, but the Sebastian Inlet offers so much in the way of great onshore fishing—including piers, jetties, and sandy beaches to reach the surf—that anglers can't go wrong. One day can see bull redfish, giant snook, tarpon on he line, while another can have snapper, jacks, sheepshead and black drum pulling your drag.
This is all without mentioning that the shark fishing (if that's your thing) is amazing. Sebastian Inlet State Park also offers plenty of parking and bait and tackle shops.
Coast of Maine
The Pine Tree State has multiple great surf fishing locations including Pemaquid Beach Park, Popham Beach State Park, and Mile Beach at Reid State Park which all offer excellent fishing opportunities. Not only that, but the fabled Acadia National Park also offers surf anglers places to cast or tie off bait on its beaches as well.
Catches of striped bass and bluefish can be commonplace, but salmon, trout, and mackerel are all caught fro Maine's shores each season. Anyone who has not tried casting into the turbid waters off Maine's coast are truly missing out on a unique fishing experience.
Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island Georgia is known both for its calmer-than-most conditions and the plethora of species that can be caught off her shores. Whether you are a novice surf angler or a seasoned pro, this area of the Peach State is very welcoming to both resident and nonresident surf fishermen alike with catches of red drum, black drum, croaker, speckled trout, flounder, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, even many species of sharks and stingrays being commonplace.
Whether you try the bridges, piers, tidal pools, or the beach you will find space to fish and beautiful waters to fish in on Tybee Island.
Please check out my book "The Hunter's Way" from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage, or on Facebook and YouTube.