Surf Fishing Mistakes (And How To Catch More Fish On The Beach)


Fishing from the beach is not only convenient but can often produce fish that you may not even think was possible!

But it takes a lot of time to learn how to be successful in surf fishing and making mistakes can be costly.

So in this episode, you’ll discover how to find the best spots to fish on the beach, what to avoid when choosing baits, how to know when you’re in a dead zone, and much more.

If you love surf fishing (or you’re doing it for the first time), you’ll get some great nuggets of wisdom from this episode.

You can watch the video version of this podcast below, listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify and leave us a review!

Surf Fishing Mistakes [VIDEO]

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Surf Fishing Mistakes [PODCAST]

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Here’s a timestamped table of contents from our conversation about surf fishing:

  • 2:30 –  Scouting beaches (what to look for and when to go)
  • 5:15 – Determine how far you need to cast
  • 7:49 – Finding beach structure
  • 8:59 – Fishing for the right species
  • 10:05 – The seasonality of surf fishing
  • 11:34 – Match the hatch (Using the right bait)
  • 12:45 – Why it’s important to have a variety of bait
  • 13:00 – Know Thy Target Species
  • 14:40 – Know the fishing zones
  • 15:15 – The importance of casting out at different distances
  • 16:27 – Tons of snook off the beach
  • 18:01 – Water temperatures and fish migration
  • 19:40 – Study the tides
  • 21:32 – The best time of day to fish
  • 24:05 – What exactly is a country mile?
  • 25:44 – What size hook and what size bait to use
  • 27:57 – Tie your own rigs and save money
  • 29:35 – How long should you stay in one spot
  • 33:16 – What beach cart do you really need?
  • 35:01 – Upgraded and customized beach carts are a game-changer
  • 37:26 – Are you really prepared to catch your target species?
  • 38:42 – Wyatt’s rig holder hack to keep you organized
  • 39:17 – The famous flip flop surf rig (Here’s how to tie it!)
  • 39:46 – Bring a variety of lures to the beach
  • Here are our favorites:
  • 41:03 – The magical Fishbites: the colors and scents that work
  • 43:43 – The hottest bait right now in the surf
  • 44:56 – Do you pre-trip planning with Smart Fishing Tides (free to our Insiders)
  • 46:00 – Find clean water to find certain species of fish
  • 46:12 – Winds that make a big difference in water color
  • 46:45 – The ideal wind direction to surf fish in and why
  • 48:34 – The effects of barometric pressure
  • 49:24 – Get to know Salt Strong’s new Editor-In-Chief
  • 56:25 – If you are not part of the Insider Community yet, join here. We are doing some amazing giveaways each week!
  • 58:22 – The reality of Salt Strong podcasts (live, real, and uncut)


surf fishing mistakes

Mistakes are part of life and a big part of becoming a better angler.

Seeing what works and what doesn’t work takes a ton of time.

But we are committed to helping you avoid these mistakes and catch more fish in less time!

We’re going to be covering more surf fishing topics so let us know what you’d like us to cover.

Have you made these mistakes before?

Do you have any to add to the list?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who’s just getting started surf fishing, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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Stephen Mccollough
3 months ago

What are “Crab Knuckles” Courtney mentioned.

Timothy Cox
1 year ago

Great discussion. Good reminders and reinforcement of fundamentals. New to SaltStrong. Glad Courtney’s on board. Without a boat, pier and surf have been our go to.

Judy Baker
1 year ago

Courtney and Wyatt, thank you for sharing your expertise on surf fishing. I was curious to know how much 20 lb braided line you put on your surf set up. And if you’re using 20 lb braid, how strong is your shock leader? I have a daiwa bg 5000 that I’d like to load up with 20 lb but don’t want to go too crazy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Courtney Woznek
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Baker

Hi Judy! Great question! On my end, I fill up the spool on my lighter set-up with bulk braid at the tackle shop and I don’t use shock leader on the light set-up. Here’s my light set-up: 10′ rod, penn spinfisher V, 20# braid straight to a swivel, clip on a rig (whether it be a double dropper or other), add sinker. Now, a lot is going to depend on what you’re fishing for and if you’re using a lure or live bait. Feel free to message me directly or email me with specifics:

william bennett
1 year ago

My beach cart.I’ve been pushing it for about 40 years.

Last edited 1 year ago by Courtney Woznek
Courtney Woznek
1 year ago

Hi Bill! It doesn’t look like the photo is coming through but I’d love to see your beach cart! You can send it to me directly at or post it on the Community and I’ll see it!

1 year ago

Welcome Cortney to Salt Strong. I was that guy who use to vacation in St Augustine once a year and surf fish. Over the years I learned from talking with bait shops and other fisherman. As a result I purchased a TON of the wrong equipment and gear. I only wish Salt Strong was around 15 yrs ago.
Your info was outstanding and as always I learned something new. I am retired now and will be listening/observing your pod casts!!!

Courtney Woznek
1 year ago

Thanks so much, Richard! We hear that a lot! And it means so much that we’re making a difference. I’m looking forward to connecting with you and getting more surf fishing information out there! Tight Lines!

Nikolay Marinov
1 year ago

Hi, what size Johnson spoon do you recommend for surf fishing?

Courtney Woznek
1 year ago

Hi Nikolay! Depending on several factors (like the wind direction/speed and how far out the fish are), I’d use anywhere from a 3/4 oz to a 1-1/2 oz spoon in the surf.

Joe Piojda
1 year ago

So Courtney looks dead like Brads sister. That being said, up north ain’t NC. 🤣

Courtney Woznek
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Piojda

Hi Mr. Joe! You know that’s because I AM Brad’s sister. Hope all is well in NC and you’re getting a chance to get out and do some fishing!

Joe Piojda
1 year ago

Busting your brothers balls and gotten off shore once so far and going after Mahi June 12th. Tight lines.

1 year ago

awesome discussion – welcome Courtney to the Salt Strong family !!! Real enjoyed the discussion

Courtney Woznek
1 year ago
Reply to  Pablo

Thanks for the feedback, Pablo! We’re so happy you enjoyed it!

Ed McGinley
1 year ago

Awesome podcast / zoom. Packed with great information, especially Courtney’s tips on looking for cuts and structure at low tide.

the one thing I would have liked to see is some visuals of artificial baits used. I’m one of the many who get to the beach once a year on vacation if I’m lucky. I’m probably going to be fishing spoons in the surf ( for lady fish) but also plan on fishing the east pass jetty in Destin next week. Live bait will be hard to keep fresh, so I’m hoping to use some artificials. Any suggestions?

thanks for this. I’ve recently discovered your videos and can’t get enough.

Courtney Woznek
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed McGinley

Thanks for listening in, Ed! We can definitely do a video on artificial baits to use in the surf. I’d definitely say to bring a couple of different sized spoons, a gotcha plug, a bucktail, and some slam shadys!

Scott Davis
1 year ago

Hi Joe,

Courtney and Wyatt were great. I grew up surf fishing on the Carolina coast although we lived 250 miles inland. Many weekends were spent traveling to the coast to surf fish by Jeep or flight. My stepfather was a pilot and would fly to the coast and land the plane on the beach from time to time so we could fish. He knew that coastline like the back of his hand, so that even when he gave up his pilot’s license, he knew how to spot the best fishing areas from the beach because of his years of coast line study. 

I now live in Ormond-By-The-Sea and am surf fishing 7 miles north of Daytona Beach as time permits. I look forward to more surf fishing information from Courtney and Wyatt at “Salt Strong.”  

Good job!!

Scott Davis  

Courtney Woznek
1 year ago
Reply to  Scott Davis

Thanks, Scott, and WOW! What an amazing story! I too grew up on the Carolina coast but I can only imagine what it’s like seeing the shoreline from the air.

Ormond by the Sea is a great surf fishing area! And we’re excited to keep the conversation going about surf fishing!


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