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Sold my boat, will be a while before I get a new one so trying to get the hang of surf fishing. I threw a 3 oz bank sinker today to make a few casts to see where I was at....top throw was at 200 ft or slightly longer with 20 lb top shot, 50 lb braid mainline,and 9 ft tidewater surf rod. Reel Was an old school spinning reel that belonged to my dad that we actually found after he passed away 20 years ago. All casts had surprised me distance wise since it was my first ground cast but all fell way right of my target. I guess accuracy isn't as important as distance when slinging a bait that far off in the surf but is throwing to the side normal for a beginner? Also is 200 ft okay for beginners? I see a lot of the top casters using old squidders or other conventional reels but I'd rather sacrifice distance if it means more time fishing and less time undoing birds nests.


Last question is bait....I know blue crab is always a winner. Everything swimming in the surf seems to love cracked crab and when prepared they won't sling off the hook but what are some other really hardy bait? I know shrimp is common and affordable but seems like it would sling off the hook too easily.


Thanks for all the input you guys can provide
 

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Distance is subjective. Sometimes you're fishing the gut 30 ft from shore. As to bait, fresh market shrimp is semi durable. Frozen is trash IMO. THE most durable bait are fish strips. You can sling them as hard as you want and they wont budge, In fact, most times you'll have to cut them off your hook when your done. Everything seems ti like them as well.
 

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Sold my boat, will be a while before I get a new one so trying to get the hang of surf fishing. I threw a 3 oz bank sinker today to make a few casts to see where I was at....top throw was at 200 ft or slightly longer with 20 lb top shot, 50 lb braid mainline,and 9 ft tidewater surf rod. Reel Was an old school spinning reel that belonged to my dad that we actually found after he passed away 20 years ago. All casts had surprised me distance wise since it was my first ground cast but all fell way right of my target. I guess accuracy isn't as important as distance when slinging a bait that far off in the surf but is throwing to the side normal for a beginner? Also is 200 ft okay for beginners? I see a lot of the top casters using old squidders or other conventional reels but I'd rather sacrifice distance if it means more time fishing and less time undoing birds nests.


Last question is bait....I know blue crab is always a winner. Everything swimming in the surf seems to love cracked crab and when prepared they won't sling off the hook but what are some other really hardy bait? I know shrimp is common and affordable but seems like it would sling off the hook too easily.


Thanks for all the input you guys can provide
Bait depend on what you are targeting. Pomp and whiting, shrimp or shrimp flavored fishbites. Pomps also love sandfleas.
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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Fishbites if you don't have fresh shrimp or sand fleas. I haven't had good luck with the blood worm, but all the others work great. If you want something bigger catch something small with the Fishbites an use fish strip or filet the bait fish out a bit and throw him out live on an 7/0 circle hook.
 

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If you are really getting 200ft from your casts, then you are doing great for a 9' rod and old spinning reel from shore. Distance casting is a large mix of technique, gear, and elements! I cast 95% conventional gear. There is nothing in this water that you cannot reel in that can't be handled by 17-20lb mono, patience, and the correct equipment. I like what another commenter said about distance being subjective, they are correct, however if you can consistently cast past the gut between the first and second bar and over the back of the second bar, you might be catching nearly every cast; additionally this depends on target species.
As for bulky baits like crab when casting, I use an old New England trick of securing bait with dental floss or when fishing with oysters or clams, a sheer pantyhose making a bait pod and securing with small elastic bands.
 
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