How to Surfcast (Like a Pro)

Successful surf fishing (also known as beach fishing) starts with learning how to surfcast. On some days the fish may only be feeding 20 or 30 yards out from the beach so casting out a great distance isn’t necessary, but there are going to be times when longer surfcasting is required.  

Slo-mo surfcasting at the Jersey Shore (in the offseason)

How to Surfcast with a spinning reel

  1. Face the direction you want to cast.  Stand with your feet about shoulder length apart and your left foot a step in front.
  2. Pinch the line against the rod (about 2-3” from the reel) using the very tip of your right index finger. Keep the line pinched as you wrap your hand around the rod. Your bait or lure should hang about a foot from the tip of the rod.
  1. Open the bail with your left hand, then wrap your left hand around the end of the rod.
  2. Double-check your line.  Make sure the bail is open and the line is not tangled anywhere.
  3. Bring the rod over the right shoulder until it is approximately in a horizontal position.  Your right hand should be next to your right ear.
  4. Let it fly!  Start slowly then quickly snap the rod forward over your shoulder, aiming at your target.  Release the line from your index finger when the rod passes your shoulder.
  • If you’re a lefty,  just reverse the sides.
  • If you’re wondering how to surf cast with a baitcasting reel, the steps are similar. Instead of pinching the line with your finger, press and hold the button on the reel. Let go as you’re bringing the rod forward. 

Tips for Better Casting

  • Practice! Learning how to surfcast takes practice – especially figuring out exactly when to release the line. If you don’t want to waste time when you get to the beach, practice in an open field near your house.
  • As a general rule, the angler should use 10lb of line breaking strain per 1oz of weight used. So, if you are using a 5oz weight you will need a shock leader of 50lb breaking strain to avoid a crack off.
  • The shock leader should be long enough so that there are around four turns of leader on the reel during casting.
  • The best knot to use to tie the leader to the main line is the double blood knot as this is the smallest knot that can be tied and will run through the rings easily.
Check out our Beginner's Guide to Surf Fishing

The record for longest cast

In case you were wondering, the record for world’s longest cast is 915 feet. That’s more than three footballs fields! Danny Moeskops set the record in 2002 using a Century TT-R rod with about five ounces of weight.

Here’s video of the world record cast:

The Best Rods for Distance Casting

Congratulations, you now know how to surfcast! Next, make sure you have the right rod to maximize your casting distance. There are two main factors I look for when choosing a rod for long distance casting: length and action. We’ll also talk about the reel, which has an impact on casting.


As a general rule, the longer the rod, the further it should be able to cast as the leverage increases as the rod length does, although people’s ability and technique will also play a part in what length of rod to go for. I normally use a ten foot rod, which is long enough for longer casts, but short to easily control. Don’t go overboard on length and end up with a rod you can’t handle.


Action refers to how the rod bends. Although rods come with various actions, surf casting rods generally only have two actions, either a fast action or slow action.

A fast action rod is specifically designed for power casting so you can get the greatest distance achievable. Fast action rods bend toward the end of the rod, which creates a whipping motion during the cast.  That enables you to achieve greater casting distances with this style of rod. Fast action rods are generally longer in length than rods with slow action. Fast action rods are suited for heavier rigs.


Make sure that your reel is filled to the maximum with line, which should be between 2mm and 3mm from the lip of the spool. If the spool is filled with too much line it will come off the reel in large coils during the cast, causing a tangle. If the spool is underfilled, friction will be caused by the line catching the spool lip during the cast which in turn will decrease distance.

Lastly, if you’re trying to maximize your distance, check out our list of the best rods for long distance surf casting.

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