Pete's Surfcasting hints and tips

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Pete Lamb

If you are interested in going fishing again, even from the shore, here's a few of my top tips for getting your surf cast game on. I'm also selling a few of my GPS and spot marks if you want to take up the offer.

The following info is free, but if you want to buy some surf casting spots or maps, I’ve got a special deal on at the moment of twenty spots for $50.00

Pete's Surfcasting Hints and Tips

Let's start with the fundamental gear:


A long rod (14 to15ft) will enable you to keep the line over the waves or weed but are harder to put in maximum pressure when on a big fish. A shorter rod will enable to apply more pressure on a big fish (10 to 12ft).

A 13 to 14ft rod offers maximum cast as long as they are high content carbon fibres (graphite) but the 12ft is still a very popular rod for a mixture of rock and surfcasting.

Two or three piece are preferred for easy transportation, and modern rods barely compromise your cast or rod action compared to a one piece.

High content carbon-fibre (graphite) are the best for casting and applying pressure on the fish.

Fibreglass or e-glass rods are more robust but don’t cast as quite as far.


Be careful when transporting your rods that they don’t get knocked or damaged. This will weaken the blank and they may break at some stage when you least expect it.

A 'pvc' plumbing down pipe is good transportation tube and a material or canvas cover will protect your rods in transit too.


Ceramic guides need to be checked for chips and breakage. A chip in the ceramic will cut through you line when casting or striking fish. In this case, cut the binding on the guide and take it off. You can still fish without a guide but it will need to be replaced asap. Quality hard chrome guides are good for rock fishing and generally tougher.

Check them for grooves (especially if you are using braid) as this will also fray or cut the line.

For a free spool rod the guides are on the opposite side of the rod compared to a fixed spool rod (eggbeater style). You need more guides on a freespool (overhead) rod so the line never touches the blank (otherwise the line will fray when under pressure of a big fish)

Reel seat – wash this after every day's fishing so it doesn’t get jammed up with sand and grime, or collect salt and corrode.


If you are rock fishing you may like to wrap duct tape (or similar) around the base of the rod to protect the blank.

NZ made rods such as the Kilwell Powerplay series, are well known NZ made products and offer a wide range and good quality. Price range from $250 - $800.


The distance casting record in NZ is around 220 metres set using a Kilwell 222.

For the rest of us normal fishos', casting 150-mtrs nowadays is pretty standard, which is amazing considering 100-mtrs used to be a good cast a decade or two ago.

A good rod will make all the difference. Imported rods can be purchased cheaply, but will vary in quality and value. Trusted brand rods are generally a better option.

Prices can start at $45 and after that the sky’s the limit. If you spend $150 to $300 you can get a high content graphite rod which has the capability to cast over 150-mtrs.

We do sell a lot of 12 to 13 foot fibreglass rods for $50 - $85 which are good to get you started without breaking the bank.

Most brands have good carbon fibre rods and now we are seeing nano-technology available for around $150 - $300.

Many anglers buy Kilwell blanks and make their own rod, which can be a really rewarding task.

Making your own rod

For the investment of a blank and some guides you can make up a rod and save $100 - $200 from buying made up ones. You can make the rod precisely to your own specifications, single or multi piece, your choice of action, guides, and grips.

With a bit of help from Mr Google and YouTube, you can find all sorts of good advice and processes for constructing the rod just how you want it.

There's always something rewarding about creating your own masterpiece.


There are two main kinds of reel used by NZ surfcasters.

'Eggbeater' or fixed spools as they are called, are generally best because they are simpler to use and work well for distance casting. They can suffer a little from line twist but are very good reels, preferred by the majority of the NZ surfcasting fraternity.

Free-spool, or overhead reels are preferred by some for their line capacity gears and drag systems being more capable for larger fish (kingfish, rays and sharks) and also because the line does not twist like when using the eggbeater reels. They also have a louder clicker when a fish takes off and you are not watching the rod.

These setups are often favoured when casting distance is not paramount, such as fishing live baits, or if you are using another means such as drones or kites, to deliver a bait out over the breakers.

Getting good casting distance with an overhead is possible, but takes a lot of skill and practice.

Many fixed spool reels have a XOS long-cast spool option, which can produce about 10 – 15% bigger casts.

Prices start at about $100 for XOS long-cast reels. For a standard eggbeater reel prices start at about $45.

I recommend spending at least $150 plus on a reel to get reasonable quality which will last a long time with standard maintenance.

General maintenance

After a day’s fishing wipe off the salt and sand with a damp cloth. You might need to get an old toothbrush into the hard to reach places to remove sand.

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