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Sea Fishing Essentials Guide

Looking to start Sea Fishing? Here’s our essentials guide to get you started!

Sea fishing methods differ all around the UK coastline, our guide will help you through the basics highlighting the main items that you will need to get started as a Beach Angler fishing from the British coastal waters.

Rod Rest


A rod rest is used when bait fishing and you’re ledgering, usually with a Breakaway type lead or a plain lead. The two main types of beach rest are in the form of a tripod or a sand spike with the latter being the cheaper and lighter but, in my opinion, a lot less versatile.

My preferred rod rest is undoubtably the Tripod, three solid legs with enough room for fishing two rods, the butt rests also make this the ideal choice when fishing from a promenade or pier. A variety of attachments can be added to make the basic tripod into a complete system, holding your bait and rigs making your fishing more efficient and hopefully, putting more fish in the bag.

Sand spikes generally hold one rod, are unusable on promenades or piers and fall over when used in shingle, or at least this is my experience of them. In sand they provide a great lightweight and low-cost option when fishing with just one beach caster.

Reel Options

Rods & Reels

You’re going to need a rod, for shore fishing there are generally two types of rod, they are either rung for Fixed Spool or Multiplier reels. The Fixed Spool rod and reel outfit is very popular with beginner’s and in recent years, has also appealed to the seasoned match angler with the introduction of the longer continental style rod and large taped spools of the modern fixed spool reel and even braided mainline. It is now possible to get very close to the distances achieved by the angler who has dedicated years of practice mastering the pendulum cast usually with a multiplier reel.

If you decide to start with a multiplier setup, a good quality reel with magnetic brakes is essential. This will help you control your casting and reduces the possibility of a bird’s nest, this is the last thing you need on the beach on a cold winter’s night!

Line & Leaders

This can vary hugely on the area you’re fishing but generally speaking, sea fishing line from 12lb to 20lb will be suitable for most situations you will encounter around our coastlines. Colour comes down to personal preference though a bright colour can be easier to see when fishing at night, this can be useful if you’re fishing busy marks as to avoid the risks of tangling with the other anglers you’re sharing the beach with.

A shock leader is in today’s world, an essential piece of kit that will greatly reduce crack offs and provides a safer environment for others around you. Again, the choices are down to two main types of leader, standard shock leader of a suitable breaking strain or the tapered leader which is generally sold on spools containing 5 leaders per spool.

These are usually around 13-15m in length each and range in size, try to get them to start at around the same breaking strain as your mainline going to a suitable breaking strain for the weight you’re casting.

Daiwa Tapered Leaders

The tapered leader has become popular with the continental style rod due to the smaller knot size created due to matching the breaking strain of the mainline and the thin end of the tapered leader, this makes passing the knot through the small tip eye of a continental rod smoother.

Rigs & Tackle

Once you have your rod rest, rod, reel filled with line and a shock leader, you’re almost ready to hit the beach and start fishing. On the end of your shock leader you can tie a straight lead clip, this will let you attach your rig that you can either tie yourself or purchase pre-tied rigs which are ready to clip on, add a weight and you’re set to start fishing.

There are a huge number of rig patterns out there for you to try at a range of difficulties in tying. The simple running rig is effective and has accounted for many personal best catches, there are plenty more rigs that you can add to your armoury and a few personal favourites are the 2-hook loop rig, pulley pennel rig for the Codling and a 2 or 3 hook flapper for when the Whiting are showing.



Finally, the last component needed to complete your setup. This attaches to the bottom of the rig that you previously tied or purchased via a lead clip, other methods are available to you such as Imps but maybe we will cover these in a more in-depth rig guide at some time. Weights come in two main formats, those designed to hold bottom with wire protruding or a plain lead which can come in various shapes and sizes.

An exception to the rule is the recently rereleased by Tronix, bait capsule. This can be used to stuff your larger baits in and upon hitting the water, the force pushes the bait out of the capsule, this is especially effective when fished with a loop so that the ejected bait fishes below the lead.

Hopefully this has helped you get started and given a small insight in to what is required for a basic beach fishing setup, one last thing that every angler should take, is either a set of forceps and/or a disgorger. I personally recommend the Gemini type disgorger and once mastered, it provides safe and fast unhooking of most species.


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