Surfcasting with a Ledger Rig

Surfcasting is an affordable method of fishing and with over 15,000km of coastline, New Zealand offers plenty of options. Achieving a greater distance with your cast usually means reaching the ‘fish zone’.  This is the area further out off a sand bank or gut where your targeted fish species are patrolling and looking for food.

Setting Your Rig

Longer casting is something that is achieved with experience and practice, but there are a few things you can do to help. Firstly, take a look at the rig you are tying and fishing with. It’s good to keep it simple.

You will need: 6/0 Recurve hooks, Burnsco #2 swivels, 50lb or 60lb monofilament or fluorocarbon.  Lure clips are also handy and, of course, every surfcaster takes along a few 4oz and 5oz break away sinkers.

Tie the mono or fluorocarbon to your swivel using a universal or improved clinch knot.  This piece is then tied to your break away sinker and should be approximately 40-50cm long.  A lure clip can be used here instead, to make it easier to change out your sinkers.

Next, tie another shorter 30-35cm piece of mono or fluorocarbon onto the same swivel ring for the recurve hook.  Recurve hooks are ideal for surfcasting as they set well into the fish’s mouth and give a great strike rate.  This rig is then tied by the top of the swivel to your main shock leader on the reel.

A shock leader is needed for the strong force of your cast as your mainline will only be 5-6kg mono or 30-40lb braid.  Braid is excellent for surfcasting as you can detect the subtle bites in the rough surf and, being lighter, it is good to cast with.

This is a strong, simple rig that is capable of bringing in snapper, trevally, kahawai and even big rays and sharks. 


Don’t use large pieces of bait. They should be smaller, as a whole pilchard just won’t cast well.

Cut baits into thin strips. Fresh kahawai, trevally, or mullet make great snapper baits. Wrap them well using elastic cotton to stop them from flying from the hook when cast.  Shellfish like tuatua or pipis can be found on most beaches and make good fresh baits too. They also require wrapping in elastic cotton as they are exceptionally soft.


Don't forget to take your beach spike (rod holder) for the sand and happy fishing!

For more information on how to get yourself set up with the right gear to enjoy the great fishing around New Zealand, phone us on 0800 102041, email us, or Livechat with one of our staff via the website.