There are many factors to take into consideration when shopping for a new fishing rod. These factors will determine which length is best suited for the experience you are looking for. Most fishing rods will range from 6- to 15-feet. The recommended length for anglers is between 9 to 12 feet. This length allows you to fish a fair distance into the surf.
Many anglers want to know: Can you surf fish with a 7-foot rod?
Yes, you can. A large number of fish are in the troughs located only a few feet from the beach. So, you need to ask yourself what kind of fish you’re targeting and if they can be found in these troughs. If you’re standing in the surf instead of on the beach, of course, you can cast farther. A 7-foot rod is also suitable for beginner anglers to hone in on their skills.
If you’re still unsure if a 7-foot rod is a right fit for you, here is some more information to help you make your decision:
Why is a 7-foot rod good for beginner anglers?
A 7-foot rod provides a good casting distance while allowing you to perfect your surfcasting accuracy. If you start with a longer rod when you are a beginner, you could find yourself not catching as many fish because you fail to cast your line properly—even though you are casting further into the ocean.
To perfect your surfcasting accuracy, it is as simple as practice makes perfect. A shorter cast means that you have to cast more often at a closer distance. Surfcasting is tricky because the schools of fish are in the troughs. These troughs are behind and in front of where you see the wave breaking. When casting farther, the troughs are less clear to the untrained eye. A shorter cast will train your eye when you’re just starting out.
With that in mind, there is no real point casting out as far as you can. Again, the farthest you can cast might not be where the trough is.
Surfcasting farther does not mean more fish.
Since a 7-foot rod is shorter, it is also lighter and has less bend. The medium-heavy rod is a good choice for shorter rods between 7 and 9 feet. This lighter rod means that you have better control of it while standing in the surf.
Since most surf fishing is done right before or after high tide, this extra control and lighter weight will help prevent your feet from being pulled out from underneath you.
Shorter length rods often have less bend than their longer counterparts. As a beginner, this will prove advantageous in fighting fish. With a shorter rod, you’ll also be catching smaller fish, which will also be easier to fight and reel out of the water.
What fish can you surf fish with a 7-foot rod?
Surf fishing is not just fishing while standing in the surf. It also includes fishing from the beach, from rocks, and from jetties.
From the beach
A 7-foot rod is good for casting at closer fish from the beach. A lot of fish can be found in the troughs just a few feet from the beach. This is especially true if you are surf fishing at high tide since fish will be closer to the shore.
Of course, big fish will be farther out. You will be able to surf cast for small to medium fish, rays, and sharks with a 7-foot rod.
So, if you’re thinking of getting a 7-foot rod, you will need to think of which species you are targeting. You will be able to catch striped bass, bluefish, spotted, seatrout, flounder, pompano and surf perch, amongst others. Smaller and medium-sized fish will also travel in schools. This means there will be more fish in one place for you to catch.
However, that isn’t to say that you won’t get any bigger fish. While most of the fish near the shoreline are small and easy to catch, remember that bigger fish also know this. Some bigger fish flock to the shoreline in the hopes of an easy meal.
Having a rod with less bend will also come in handy in this kind of situation as well, though be careful about being taken by surprise and dragged under.
Standing in the surf
You may have a short rod, but you can still cast a little further into the ocean by surfcasting while standing in the surf instead of on the beach. The distance you cover from the shoreline to where you stand extends your cast about the same distance.
Surfcasting further does not mean more fish, but it also does not necessarily mean you will catch bigger fish. You will still find small- to medium-sized fish further out. They will just be of different species.
With a 7-foot rod, you will still be able to catch snook, tailor, and herring. These fish are generally larger than the ones right at the shoreline, but they will also travel in schools.
By wading out slightly into the water, you may be able to catch striped bass and redfish as well. These fish are usually caught with 10-13 feet rods from the shore. Much like with any fish, there’s no guarantee you’ll catch them: you’ll just have better chances if you can cast your line further in. But you don’t always need a longer rod for this. 7 feet is plenty.
How to maximize surf fishing with a 7-foot rod?
Research the location
Before you make your way out to the beach at any time of day, you’ll want to look up when low and high tides are.
Since you’ll be casting at a shorter distance, knowing where the troughs are in advance is a huge advantage. You’ll be able to recognize these troughs as the sand will be deeper. Alternatively, the troughs might still have some water in them.
Mark them on a map or remember them for when you come back later at high tide, or an hour or two before and after high tide. This research will help you avoid casting blindly into the ocean.
Many anglers are convinced that they need a longer rod to cast out as far as possible. It is easy to understand their reasoning: a farther cast gets you closer to bigger fish, which can be more satisfying to catch.
But it’s not necessary; you can catch plenty of smaller fish with a 7-foot rod—whether from the beach or in the surf. Using a 7-foot rod is not as limiting as people think it is.
Just because you’re not a beginner doesn’t mean you can’t get good use out of a 7-foot rod. You may notice that some anglers will have more than one rod cast at different distances. Doing so allows them (and you!) to maximize the amount of fish they do catch.