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4th Quarter 2023 California Surf Fishing (CSF) Updates

Welcome back to the quarterly wave of California Surf Fishing (CSF) group updates! The 4th quarter of 2023 went out with a Kraken-sized splash in California! Waves taller than a double-decker bus met with a king tide, turning beaches into washing machines and campgrounds into impromptu oceanfront resorts. Naturally, this left some members asking, “When are the waves too big to fish?” fear not, fishy friends, because "Safety in the Surf" is our theme for the year, and we're diving headfirst into tips to keep you from becoming fish food. But for now, let's show off some member highlights from the last quarter.

Safety In The Surf This year we will be focusing on safety. This will include topics such as understanding wave energy, various types of structure, how to navigate them, and other tips for staying safe on the sand or the rocks. Let's pop this topic off with a preview of some important information. Understanding Wave Types and Wave Energy

Before every surf fishing trip, check the surf forecast on Pay close attention to three key elements:

  • Wave Height: The vertical height of the wave. Taller waves carry more energy.

  • Wave Timing: The time between each wave's arrival. More space/time between waves indicates higher energy.

  • Wave Energy: A mathematical product of Wave Height x Wave Timing, measured in kJ. Higher wave height and longer periods result in greater energy.

Rules for Safe Wave Size

Personal limitations vary, so consider your own when judging safety. As a general guide, here are recommended wave energies for different beach types:

  • Sandy West-Facing Beaches (Perch, Striped Bass): No greater than 500kJ. Long-period waves are more dangerous, while short-period waves are slightly safer. Fish may still bite in higher energies, but the risk might not be worth it.

  • Protected Rocky/Reefy Beaches (Halibut, White Sea Bass, Rock Fish): No greater than 200kJ, preferably lower. Smaller waves are ideal. These beaches tend to be more fishable and productive in calm conditions.

Safety on the Structure

Understanding and navigating different beach structures is crucial for safety.

Sandy Beaches:

  • Large sandbars with deep cuts are common. Observe the sandbar shape as you wade and fish, and keep track of your entry point. Use a landmark to identify the shallowest exit route back to shore. Avoid crossing troughs, where rip currents form. Remember your outward route when the tide rises and visibility drops.

Rocky/Reefy Beaches:

  • Unpredictable bottom contours pose the main risk. If you can't see the bottom, use a wading staff or fishing pole to probe for safe stepping areas. Beware of slippery moss, kelp, and eel grass. Consider stocking foot waders with laced boots and studded soles for better grip.

Additional Tips:

  • Fish with a buddy for better judgment and emergency support.

  • Consider wearing a life jacket over your gear, especially if fishing alone.

  • Always prioritize your safety and don't exceed your comfort zone.

I hope this info helps you stay safe when fishing! In any event, when you’re out there wading around on the sand or on rocks, use your best judgment and do not exceed your comfort zone. A bit of healthy anxiety will help keep you safe in the surf.



Get 1 free Battlestar 5” Mini Split Ring Pliers with any purchase $35+ at

Battlestar 5" Mini Split Ring Pliers

You never know when the fish of a lifetime is going to bite. It could be your very next cast. And you only get one shot at that hook set! This is why we encourage you to always fish with brand-new razor-sharp hooks! And this is why we have decided to run this special at the beginning of 2024. So our members will have everything they need to be ready when that bite happens this year! Be sure to stock up on Battlestar Replacement Treble Hooks, and score a free set of mini split ring pliers!

Here’s how it works

Visit and add $35+ to your cart (any products) Then click “View Cart”

Then click “Add a note” and type “FREE PLIERS”

Then check out as usual.

We will see your note and confirm that your subtotal is over $35, and then we will include your free pliers with the shipment. 

*this offer ends 1/14/23 at midnight

*limit 1 per customer

*while supplies last (limit 200)


Well folks, we certainly had an awesome 2023. Many incredible catches were made in the CA Surf. Now, here is looking to an even better 2024. Get out there and make it happen! Be sure to post your questions and fishing reports in our Facebook group California Surf Fishing (CSF). See you there!

California Surf Fishing (CSF) Blue Stickers


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