Surf Fishing Structure: Tips For Better Hookups

Structure holds life in the surf.

Therefore, if you’re not finding the various types of structure, you’re casting into the abyss.

How To Find Structure While Surf Fishing (Listen)

3 Basic Structures Worth Focusing On

Holes and Troughs

To find holes and troughs, look for where the waves crash last. If you’ve ever walked into the water for a swim and sank, that’s a hole or trough. Fish love these areas to move around to find food.

How to Fish a Trough

Cast at a diagonal and reel it in. You want whatever’s in the trough to hit your bait.


This is where the waves are pulling out like a river. This is the area lifeguards warn you to be careful if you’re swimming or surfing as there are a lot of currents.

The current might not be great for a swimmer, but it’s great for moving bait around for fish.

How to Fish a Rip Tide

Cast your bait into the middle and let the current it into the strike zone. Once it gets near the edge of the rip start to reel in.

Try fishing both sides of the rip.

Sand Bars

If you’re looking out and see waves rolling instead of crashing, that is likely a sandbar.

surf fishing at night

90% of Fish Are In 10% Of Water

You need to be thorough in your ability to work the various structures.

That means being mobile. If you’re not scouting out the various structures and hitting them for a time, you’re going to miss fish.

Don’t just stay in one spot and hope the fish will come to you. Unless you’re chumming, it’s best to give each spot a bit of time then move on.

Get Comfortable With Tools

Good surf fishing comes down to stacking the right tools to plan out a successful fishing outing.

Tools include:

  • Using Google Maps to find underwater structure and access points
  • Learning how to read tide charts
  • Understanding how wind affects conditions
  • Learning about fish species and what they like to eat

But the one thing that beats any tool by far…

Time on the water! Get out as often as you can. Get skunked. Take notes and get after it!

Good luck out there!

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Saltwater Fishing » Surf Fishing Structure: Tips For Better Hookups