Nothing ruins surf fishing as quickly as when you catch seaweed, kelp, or June grass on your line. It dashes your hope that you caught a fish, and it tangles itself tightly around your line and the top of your rod so that half of your fishing day is spent trying to untangle the seaweed.
The frustration is real, so in this article, we’re going to talk about how you can spend more time fishing for actual fish in the surf and avoid the seaweed.
Fish During The Winter
An excellent way to avoid seaweed is to find out what times during the year seaweed is the most and least abundant.
Seaweed reproduces more often when temperatures rise over 68℉ (20℃), so, during the summer and in the early fall, you can expect to see an increase in seaweed.
You might even see so much seaweed that it washes up as a thick bed on the beach after high tide.
That would make the best time of year to surf fish whenever the seaweed is reproducing as little as possible or not at all.
It lowers your chances of having your fishing line bogged down or getting your hook snagged in the tangle of green mass.
This will make the beaches more fun to fish because fewer surfers will be around.
Choose Long, Heavy Duty Fishing Rods
It’s crucial to have the right rod while surf fishing if you want to avoid seaweed as much as possible, regardless of the season you’re fishing in.
You want your line to be as far off the sand as you can in a straight and tight line on the Surfline to avoid the churn area as much as possible.
Rods that are shorter than 12ft. In length won’t be able to get the line to lie at the right angle or stay at the right water level.
You will also need a large spinning reel between 6000-8000 (60-80) for your heavy rod because large spinning reels are ideal for inshore and offshore saltwater fishing.
These reels have a recommended mono line strength of between 12-16lbs (6-8kg) for 6000 reels and 16-20lbs (8-10kg)for 8000 reels. They also have a recommended braid strength of 12-30lbs or 20-50lbs, accordingly.
Never Fish After A Storm Or Swell
In addition to the time of year in general, you need to time your fishing trips by the forecast and tide cycles.
Storms will send seaweed into the surf for days with subsequent tide cycles, especially in areas that have reefs.
Kelp forests nearby will end up on the shore as wind and harsh currents rip them apart. If you’re learning how to read the sea for the best fishing places, that’s something to think about.
The big swells that come from heavy oncoming tides will also send masses of seaweed toward the shore, and heavy outgoing tides will drag them back out while keeping them in the surf.
Creating a deadly shifting mass of green that is impossible to escape once your line is caught in the the the.
However, if you fish during small tide cycles or low tide, the seaweed won’t move around as much, or the water weeds will be left on the shore and out of the water where your line and rig are.
Wade Into The Water To Cast Farther
The seaweed is thickest just off the shore, where the waves are churning the water the most. Seaweed follows the current anyway and will naturally end up at the shore, but the seaweed gets thrown up and tossed around when the water is rough.
To avoid this churn area, you can get a longer pole, as we talked about in the last section, or, if you don’t want to pay for new gear, you can wade into the water to more easily cast beyond this death zone – this churned-up surf – for surf anglers.
Once you’ve waded into a depth about thigh-high for you, hold your rod high, maybe resting on your thigh, to keep the line out of the surf.
You don’t want to go much deeper than where the water meets your thighs either because the waves would hit you in the face and can more easily push you over. It would be a good idea to wear waders for this so that you aren’t drowning yourself.
Keep Your Rod On The Surfline
Seaweed becomes a problem in the shore break surf when the waves turn over. When your line sinks to that turnover point, it gets caught on your fishing line.
If you don’t feel like getting into the water, keep your spike and rod close to the water without getting yourself or the rod submerged.
This means you can avoid the seaweed, or at least the bulk of the seaweed, if you keep your rod high.
Surface anglers will often use spikes and a too-small cup for any large fish that bites the line or the kelp that hangs on it.
If this doesn’t make you lose your rod entirely, it will at least lower the angle of your fishing line straight into the seaweed.
Kelp chunks can weigh up to 10lbs, so any large fish or enough water weeds can cause the cup and rod holder to buckle or collapse.
Be Prepared To Pull Seaweed Off Your Line
If you are fishing in kelpy areas, avoiding seaweed completely will be entirely impossible. Still, you don’t have to wait until your line is completely swamped in seaweed.
Instead, you can be a proactive fisherman and wade into the water every couple of minutes to pull off the smaller pieces of floating seaweed from your line.
It’s not recommended to do this during the winter season, but you will keep your line from sinking into the surf and catching more seaweed during the summer.
Move Your Rod With The Surf Line
In case you haven’t noticed in these tips, it’s incredibly important to keep the line just past the surf zone, where the water is churning the most.
If you are planning to have a full day of surf fishing, you need to periodically move your rod inward or back out according to the change in tide level.
As the tide retreats into the sea, you need to follow it so that your line isn’t caught and dragged with the kelp. It’s the same thing as the tide rises.
The closer your rod is to the surf, the more you can utilize the length of your rod to get passed it.
It’s hard to avoid seaweed entirely, nigh impossible. But that doesn’t mean seaweed and its equally annoying cousins have to ruin your surf fishing experience.
If you practice these tips, you can still look forward to spending less time cleaning off mutated salad greens from your rod and line and more time catching the actual fish you came out for.
This will be because you’ll be using the right gear and techniques to combat the water weeds if they are around.