As more people experience the desire to get off their screens, recreate outdoors and vacation locally, there is a renewed interest in heading west to the beauty of our Washington beaches. With over 50 miles of coastline, Grays Harbor County offers plenty of beach access with countless opportunities to rewild the weekend. Breathe in the fresh saltwater air, relax to the sound of the waves, observe the sunset from across the horizon and try something new like surf fishing.
Casting a line from the surf is incredibly enjoyable. There are some considerations for gear and tactics that are unique for the conditions, however, anyone can experience reeling in a surf perch with some patience and a general understanding of how to be successful.
Roosevelt Beach offers public access and you can drive your vehicle right out into the sand for an enjoyable day with family and friends. This is a quieter beach with towering cliffs lined with evergreen trees, a beautiful backdrop for a day of connecting with nature. Before heading out with your surf rod and fishing tackle, a fishing license is needed that can be purchased for the day. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is a great place to start to purchase a fishing license online as well as access updated regulations, instructional videos and resources of where to go fishing.
Another great resource for beginners or experienced anglers is TAKEMEFISHING.org where you can buy a license, get information on where to fish and access resources for Saltwater Fishing. Once you’re out on the beach, you will find that the locals are very friendly and can be a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. Here are a few hot tips to consider before heading out on your first surf fishing adventure. One of the best online resources for gear and a step-by-step approach is through Tailored Tackle who has created Surf Fishing for Beginners: Ultimate Guide on How to Surf Fish.
Waders will be needed to get about knee-deep in the water. Make sure to plan ahead by checking the tide charts as you will want to be casting when the tide is coming in, start two hours before high tide, which brings the fish in closer to the beach.
The equipment used is larger than freshwater gear. You need to cast beyond the wave break so a 10-foot surf rod is recommended to cast 2- to 3-ounce pyramid sinkers. Select a spinning reel that can hold 500 yards of 25-pound braided line. Fresh bait is ideal and you can either use squid, shrimp or the neck of a razor clam. If you don’t have live or frozen bait, try two-inch plastic sandworms by Berkley Gulp on a 4- or 6-size bait hook.
Our Washington beaches offer an abundance of seasonal fishing and clamming. Harvesting our own food directly from the ocean is an incredibly rewarding experience. If you’re not successful on the first try, head over to the Green Lantern Pub near Copalis Beach for a local brew on tap and some award-winning clam chowder. Kids are welcome and you’re sure to meet some locals who might offer some advice on your next opportunity to cast a line.