to catch redtail surf perch on the Oregon coast)
THIS PAGE IS AN ON-GOING PROJECT
AND UPDATED OFTEN - CHECK BACK OFTEN FOR NEW INFO
I'm no expert in surf fishing the Oregon coast.
There are many things that I still don't understand, and all of
my techniques are mostly self taught. My methods work really well
for me, so I will share those methods here in hope of helping you
catch more redtails from the surf.
Remember, when applying my surf fishing methods
and strategies, your mileage will greatly vary. There are countless
variables to catching fish, so when you use my method and you don't
catch any, there are many other variables that are out of your control
(hint: mother nature is usually uncooperative all the time). Fishing
is a process, not a destination.
Let's get on with it ..............
prefer a rod that's 9 foot or more. I've also used my 6'6"
bass rods up in Barview jetty, and I did pretty good. Before you
put down a lot of money on a surf rod, I would fish with the rods
you have first and see how you like it. Most fishing rods are capable
of catching surf perch, so just use what is most comfortable to
you. Anyhow, these are the spinning rods I use for surf fishing
the Oregon coast:
Cabela's Tourney Trail IM8
- 10 foot, heavy action - rated up to 2 oz weight. THE
best surf fishing rod that I have found, hands down. Very light,
super sensitive, and you can cast your mother-in-law a mile with
it! Rod is discontinued by Cabela's ------ big sad face! UPDATE
2/12/2018: they have a new version out! But no
10 footer? That's a head scratcher!
Celilo Salmon rod - 9 foot, MH action - it's also
rated up to 2 oz. The butt is short, which is what I prefer. The
9'6" ML action is also good, although it has a lure rating
of 1/2 oz, you can easily toss a 1 or a 1½ oz weight.
Scimitar 9 foot. This is the rod I got, and 9 foot
is a good length for making long casts while allowing you to keep
the line above the incoming waves. I use a 2 oz weight and sometimes
a 1.5 oz weight.
I'm testing out new rods all the time,
so check back later to see this list grow
The longer rods allows for farther casts
while also keeping your line (mostly) above the rolling waves as
they come onshore.
of options here. Here's a short video I did about different spinning
reels for surf fishing.
size, type, color
to 20# braid. I use braid because it's super strong, sensitive,
near-zero stretch, casts far, lacks memory, and lasts longer (I
have braid on my spool from 2 years ago that I haven't switched
out yet). My favorite fishing line color for fishing is moss green,
or just green; I also have gray on a few reels. I tend to choose
colors that will blend in with the environment so it doesn't spook
For braid fishing line, I prefer the cheap brands
from China. I've used Powerpro/Spiderwire before, and these cheap
ones are pretty much the same, but they are easier on your wallet.
I prefer the
disc sinkers 100% of the time for surf fishing. They cut through
the air pretty good during a cast, and go pretty far because
of its aerodynamic feature. They tend to roll less in the
sand because they lay flat on the bottom. I've used a pyramid
sinker before but didn't like them immediately. They roll
more because of their higher profile. Because their 3, or
4, sides, it creates that "rat-tat-tag" vibration
through your pole as they roll. This "machine gun"
type of roll/vibration resembles a perch bite, so it can be
diffucult to discern it from a fish bite.
The disc sinker doesn't have any problems
with all of that, and you will definitely know that it's a
fish bite when you get one.
I use Berkely Gulp
Sandworms 9/10 times for bait when surf fishing the Oregon
coast. From my experience, it's the best bait for catching
redtail surf perch. The camo color is all I use in 2"
The picture on the left shows some sandworms
being laid out on a paper towel to dry out. I let them dry
about 2-3 hours and put them in a small plastic jar. I don't
re-add the Gulp juice into it, but keep them dry. I find that
this way they last a LOT longer on the hook, and it lessen
down time tremendously. This way it lets me focus more on
fishing. Also, this method saves me a lot of money because
they are much more durable.
Note on drying them out. On windy days, it
will dry out a lot quicker. Be careful not to over dry them
during hot, windy days.
time to go (best tide, time of year)
fishing is good all year round on the Oregon coast.
From my years of surf fishing, I haven't found that one month is
better than the other. My 2 best months (best trips ever) was on
a Friday after Thanksgiving, and again in February. If you're fishing
for redtails in bays, then late spring to early summer is best because
they go into bays to spawn.
It's best to pick the right tide, surf condition,
and weather when going surf fishing.
The best tide for surf fishing is "usually"
an incoming high tide - about 2 hours before high slack tide to
about 2 hours after high tide. It also depends on location, sometimes
certain areas are better during a low tide. I've caught fish in
both tides high and low, so it's hard for me to say that one tide
works best. But the common belief among most surf fishers is that
high tide "usually" produce the most bites.
Another question is: sunny vs. overcast,
cloudy, rainy days. I've always prefer cloudy, rainy, or foggy days
to go surf fishing. These types of days have always produce good
bites for me. I've also had some phenomenal fishing trips when there
is an approaching weather front that brings wind and rain. The fish
seem to bite a lot more in this rare condition.
type of beach
to go surf fishing in Oregon
can go surf fishing at most beaches along the Oregon coast. I don't
think that there is one single beach that's best for surf fishing.
People give me reports from all over the coast. Redtail surf perch
are found from northern California all the way up to British Columbia.
I've found that flat beaches have a lot of redtails as they dart
in and out of the surf looking for food. I've also fished at steep
beaches and do well too. Looking for underwater beach contour is
probably more important, such as troughs and rip current that go
back out into the sea. Troughs & rip currents are where they
are usually at because many food particles are found here.
of the time, I am prretty mobile when surf fishing. I usually don't
stay in one spot for too long if there are no bites. I follow the
"5/5" rule, which is 5 "fan casts" or 5 minutes
- whichever comes first. If I don't get a bite within those 5 casts,
or 5 minutes, I move about 40 feet and do it again. And, I cast
a lot! This is why I prefer a fast gear ratio reel.
note: we all know that the tide rise and fall, therefore, beach
contours are always changing due to this phenomenon. Sometimes,
the rising tides creates a trough which can be underwater and invisible
to you. At the same time, receding tides makes trough less productive
as fish move on to deeper water. There are also cross currents that
can be hard to see due to the flat nature of most beaches in Oregon.
And there are other reasons. For all of these reasons and more,
redtails are always moving around as they strive to find food. Therefore,
it's a good idea for you to be mobile as well so you can find that
feeding school. Once I do catch one, I know that schools are nearby,
so I don't waste much time and recast out there as fast as I could
to try and pinpoint the feeding school of fish.
check the swell report first before going surf fishing, this is
extremely important!. The Oregon coast is extremely dangerous
because of the presence of sneaker waves. This is a serious issue
and you should check all weather reports before each trip. I use
for my swell report and forecasts, and of course the weather channel.
NOAA is also another website I bookmark and use daily to check
Waders are highly recommend!
Hyperthermia is no fun! I prefer the neoprene waders for better
Move around - a LOT! If one area
isn't producing, move 30-40 feet and try again. Use the "5/5"
rule, 5 casts or 5 minutes, then move!
Dry out your Gulp sandworms to
make them last longer, and thus save you money over time. They
will stay on the hook much longer, therefore it will reduce downtime
and allow you to have more time to catch redtail surf perch.
Be sure to remove any seaweed
from your bait so it remains clean and looks natural.