Surf Perch Fishing: A Complete Guide in 2023

Surf Perch Fishing A Complete Guide in 2023

If you are a passionate angler, surf perch fishing will be a fantastic way to experience the thrill of catching fish along sandy beaches. 

But how to fish a surfperch successfully? It can be challenging, but you can nail it with the right equipment, bait, and techniques. 

This article will share some tips and tricks for surf perch fishing. Let’s check it out and be ready to reel in these vivacious fighters!

surf fishing man

License For Surfperch Fishing

You need a fishing license to fish surfperch. The regulations differ from region to region. Hence, you have to check with your local government for the seasons, license fees, and catch limits before setting out.  

We have partnered with Take me fishing – you can follow the map to get the license here. 

When And Where To Fish Surfperch?

When And Where To Fish Surfperch

Surfperch, also known as Pacific surfperch, lives primarily in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.

These fish have a mild flavor and soft texture. 

Pacific surf perch have firm, white flesh. They are also famous for their oval or oblong-shaped bodies. You can find them in different sizes and colors, mostly small to medium-sized.  

Surf fishing is a fishing style. In this manner, anglers cast their lines from the shoreline into the surf zone, where the waves break on the shore. Interestingly, surfperch are ideal targets of this fishing method because they live near the surf zone. 

So, all the tips and tricks we share in this guide are about surf fishing for surfperch. First, you must determine the right time and location for your experience. 


You can catch surf perch all year round from shore. However, their spawn period from spring to early summer gives you the most productive fishing trip. 

During that time, you can easily see big schools of surfperch about 30 feet off the shoreline. And the best hour to go for them is before and after the peak tide, although low tides can also offer a great amount of fish. 

However, please note that ocean conditions play a vital role. Calm seas should be what you aim for; they don’t depend on the tide.  


After choosing the time, plan where to fish the surfperch. Washington, Oregon, and California are among the most sought-after destinations. 

Surfperch love sandy beaches and rocky shorelines. You can find them in the surf zone, where waves break and form turbulence. 

With that thought in mind, those three places are ideal for your trip. The Pacific Ocean off those states’ coasts also offers a diverse ecosystem that surfperch need to find food.  

Equipment For Surfperch Fishing

It’s time to pack up and head for the sea. But what to include in your bag? This section will share some tips for choosing rods, reel lines, baits, and footwear. 


You can go with light or heavy rods, but they should be long. Then, you will cast your line further and keep it above the waves. This method also helps you detect bites quickly. 

Here are some features to look for when buying the rod:

  • Length: 9 to 11 feet
  • Action: Medium-fast
  • Style: Graphite spin
  • Weight: 3/4 to 1.5 ounces 

You need a medium-fast rod as it gives you sensitivity to detect the bites and set your book. Also, you can take advantage of its flexibility to handle the wave force when fighting the fish. 

In terms of materials, graphite should be your priority. Graphite rods are lightweight and sensitive. Yet, you will also be impressed by how durable they are to withstand the rigors of surf fishing. 

Reel Line

To select the perfect reel for surf fishing, you need to consider these factors: 

  • Water conditions

Almost any reel can work in this case, but it would be best to choose corrosion-resistant materials. Then, they can accompany you for longer.

Freshwater reels rust fast when working in saltwater conditions. So if you fish with them, remember to rinse them with fresh water and dry them thoroughly when you’re done fishing. 

  • Line size

If your tackle is light, choose the light line. This combination will help you gain more control over your cast. You can perform a pound test to check it. 

The pound test refers to a monofilament fishing line’s strength or weight capacity. We measure it in pounds and use it to indicate how much weight or force the line can handle before it breaks. 

The reel that can deal with 200 yards of 12-pound test mono is ideal in this scenario. But check the diameter of the line, too. Thicker lines have a higher pound test than thinner ones of the same materials. 


You can trigger surfperch’s appetite by giving them these baits:

  • Berkley Gulp sandworms 
  • Nightcrawlers
  • Mole crabs
  • Squid chunks
  • Pile worms
  • Clam necks
  • Sand shrimp

Some anglers find live baits right on the beach when the tides are low. However, it may be illegal in some regions where the governments try to protect marine life. So check the rules before harvesting. 

The trickiest part of surfperch fishing is keeping your bait tightly on the hook. Hence, anglers often choose stiff baits, like sandworms and clam necks, to solve this problem. 

If you don’t want to violate the rule, consider synthetic bait. Berkley Gulp is a reliable brand in this industry. It offers baits in different sizes and shapes, so you can choose the ideal one for your rig. 


Getting wet is a part of surf fishing. If the temperature is mild, you can wear sandals and shorts. But hip boots will be better if the water is cooler because they can keep your legs dry. 

If it’s a rainy day, consider wearing chest waders. Remember to choose comfortable outfits, or the irritation of saltwater and tight clothes will discourage you from catching surfperch. 

Rig For Surfperch

Luckily, surfers are not picky eaters. You will catch them as long as your bait drops in the strike zone. 

However, you need a natural presentation to get more strikes. Here are some rig setups you may want to try: 

Carolina rig

The Carolina rig is a versatile rig setup. It improves the presentation of bait naturally and efficiently while offering diversity in weight and bait options. Here is how you set it up:

  • Put your weight on the main line and slide it.
  • Slide the bead onto the main line. 
  • Attach a barrel swivel to one end of the main line. 
  • Tie the leader to the other end of the barrel swivel. 
  • Tie the hook to the leader’s final end. 
  • Thread the plastic onto the hook. 

Drop shot rig

drop shot rig

A drop shot rig is just a line attached to a hook with a leader beneath. This setup produces a smooth presentation with the bait hanging off the bottom.

This setup is effective in deep and clear water conditions. Yet, it can be tricky to get a bite from wary fish. 

The instructions for setting a drop shot rig are as follows:

  • Tie the leader to the end of the braided line. 
  • Tie the hook onto the leader. 
  • Attach the weight to the end of the leader. 
  • Put the hook through the nose of your lure. 
  • Drop your line into the targeted spot. 

Fish finder rig

Fish finder rig for redfish

The fish finder rig is the best rig for surf fishing because it works well in open waters. You can simply drop the bait to the bottom and attract more surfperch. 

Besides, this rig setup allows your bait to move naturally and freely with the current. Hence, surfperch will go after and grab them without hesitation. 

If you like this rig, please take these steps:

  • Thread the main line through your sinker slide, and thread the plastic bead onto the line afterward. 
  • Use a clinch knot to attach a barrel swivel to the main line. 
  • Tie the other end of the swivel to the leader using the same knot. 
  • Tie a hook to the other end of the leader. 
  • Attach the sinker slide to the pyramid with a snap.

See also: 8 Top Rigs For Perch Fishing


Surfperch fishing is a rewarding experience. You will have chances to catch impressive fish and enjoy the beauty of the sea. Yet, you have to prepare the equipment carefully to succeed. 

Good preparation is the key. After choosing reliable assistants, feel free to cast your line, drop the bait, and get your fish.

All the tips are here. So what are you waiting for? Go grab your gear and head out to the surf for some fun!

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