View Full Version : surfcasting newbie

09-15-2006, 07:28 AM
Hi all,
I'm a recent transplant, from Minnesota to Cali. My father-in-law is coming to visit us-- we are in Sebastopol, about twenty minutes from Bodega Bay. Despite growing up in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," I am not very accomplished as a fisherman. My father-in-law, however, is -- both in fresh water, as well as salt (he winters in Ft. Myers). He expressed an interest in trying our luck from shore, and I have been searching for information. I'm looking for something relatively close (say, from Pt. Reyes to the Russian River). I need everything-- rods, tackle, etc. Can you recommend a spot for us to try? (He's 83. In great shape, but serious rock climbing is out of the question).


09-15-2006, 11:11 AM
Your list of tackle should include

6 ounce torpedo weights (outdoor pro shop Rohnert Park)
30lb surf leaders (wal mart)
Hooks I forget the size but pretty big (wal mart )
Elastic thread in the sewing section (wal mart)
Box of Sea Wave squid it is a good idea to thaw the squid and split in up two 1 box is normally too much. (From Safeway)
A long surf pole 9 to 13 feet (wal mart or Sportmart)

There are several good places to fish; however getting a man over 80 back safely would not be advisable in my opinion. *I would drive 20 minutes north from the Russian River to Tiber Cove and fish there. *take the route to Jenner from Seabastopol. *I would suggest Fort Ross but I get major snags there and have only fished there several times. *Timber Cove will cost you 6 bucks per person, and although the staff there could really use some customer service lessons the fishing should be decent in that area. *You will not be able to walk north of the cove because of the cliff but I believe you can walk a short distance south. * Be prepared to lose gear that is part of the experience. *When you want to reel in pull up hard and reel fast to get your line as far away from the rocks as possible. *If you get snagged donít try to muscle the 30lb line with the reel, bring a glove and wrap the line around your hand and walk away until the line snaps. *Breaking 30lb line with a mediocre reel can damage the reel. *I like to use just one hook instead of two on the leader this lessens the chances of getting snagged.

For the bait place the hook in your dominate hand and the squid in you other hand. *Puncture the squid in the middle of the top (cone shape) half, pull the hook out the other side. *Do this two more times moving down towards the tentacles. *You will be sewing the line through the squid. *When you get to where the cone shape joins near the eye puncture the hook through the bottom of the body above the eye (with the hook point pointed down) and in the center of the head where the beak is. *I try to avoid rupturing the ink sac but that is probably just preference. *Then cut the cone in half and discard the pointy top side. *Wrap with the thread and you should be good to go. *If itís a slow day because chumming is legal for rock fish (I think you should check) you can take the top half and cut it to bits and it toss in. *

09-15-2006, 11:21 AM
Great advice for rockies. When Jan/Feb gets here the red tail perch are in the surf...look for areas of the surf where the water is calm...(indicating a little more depth)

I use 1/2-1 oz. sinkers and a couple 4-6 bait hooks or rootbeer colored rubber baits...I've used tubes, jigs and just about anything that wiggles.

If you can get your line out a ways you will see some respectable fish...although I've caught 2-3 pounders right in the breaking surf on the retrieve.

Good luck..... ;)

09-15-2006, 11:37 AM
Also if you get hung up sometimes it is a good idea to leave it there for a while. I can't tell you how many gophers I've caught that will get hooked and b-line for the rocks. Let them much a hook for a while and try to work it before breaking it 5% of the time you might be able to haul out a fish.

09-15-2006, 12:00 PM
Alot of the snags are hangups with the kelp as it drifts back and forth with the surge. Quite often you can wait until the kelp "releases" your setup. Just wait a few minutes, don't pull it hard or you're liable to set the hook into a kelp stem and then it's finished. After a while you can get your whole setup back or perhaps it was a rockfish who grabbed your bait and then headed back into the deep. Either way, patience is the key to wait out the snag and bring your setup back home. Good luck.

09-16-2006, 08:19 AM
Thank you all for the excellent and detailed advice! *I will give it a try, and let you know how it goes (should be in about two weeks).


09-16-2006, 10:04 AM

My wife and I just moved from MN to Cali as well--small world!


09-30-2006, 09:04 AM
I wrote about two weeks ago-- a newly transplanted Minnesotan, seeking advice for a first-time try at catching something from shore. *My father-in-law and I headed up the coast (from Bodega Bay) yesterday, after following (more or less) the detailed instructions I received.

I missed the turnoff to Timber Cove-- it's in the middle of a trailer park. *We went on a ways and stopped at Fisk Mill Cove, but we decided getting down there (and back up) was too difficult for 83 year old legs. *We back tracked to Stump Beach, and tried there for a couple hours. *We succeeded in hauling up several pounds of kelp, but no bites.

We then drove back to Timber Cove, and found the road. *After paying $6 per person, we drove down to the tiny beach (scary steep!) and baited our hooks with squid. *I found a rock that was perfect for casting from, and began trying to hit the deeper water. *My father-in-law worked his way out on the rocks as well! *After an hour, I figured we'd be fishless for the day, but hey-- it was absolutely beautiful, and we had a lot of fun.

Then he landed a nice rockfish!

I realize that one fish ain't all that exciting for you experienced anglers, but it was absolutely amazing for us. *And it tasted great!

Thanks again for all the pointers-- I'm sure we'd never have gotten a fish without them. *And now that I know what it's like, I can't wait to get out there and try again!


09-30-2006, 10:43 AM

If you head out again try using tobacco pouchs filled with sand for your weights.
If they snag on a rock they will tear apart and you will still have your hooks when you reel in.
You can buy them at most tackle shops.


10-02-2006, 09:24 AM
Regarding those surf leaders and snelled hooks that are available at most stores. I usually trash those and tie my own. I'm tired of losing big fish to those cheaply tied hooks and leaders. I mainly use a 4'-0" leader with 2 dropper loops tied in. Attach 1/0 to #2 size hooks directly to the dropper loops. This setup minimizes the snags caused by the drifting of the snelled hooks and doesn't seem to make any difference to the fish. Also be sure to check your leaders and line perodically for nicked/worn areas. The sharp rocks, sharp teeth and general abuse is hard on your leaders and line. Good Luck.

10-02-2006, 11:05 AM
Regarding line sizes: I usually run 30 lb (mono) on the reel, 20 lb leaders and 12-15 lb snelled hook leaders, or tie the hook directly to the loop. I usually run a smaller snap-swivel on the bottom for the 2-6 oz weight. That way, the weight can break freely from the leader, incase it gets snagged. My mono-line brand preferance is Strem-Saltwater, Hi Impact.