A well-fitting surf fishing belt is an essential piece of equipment for the wading fisherman. Cinched tightly around the waist, the belt slows down water incursion in the event of an accidental submersion, buying precious seconds for an angler to get to shore.
Always resourceful, surf fishermen have elevated the wading belt from simple safety equipment to an invaluable storage device. Surf fishing belts can be used to carry essential equipment, keeping all your gear within arm’s reach. As New Jersey surfcaster Steve George said, “In a way, a high quality surf belt plays a key part in a successful and safe outing while surfcasting.”
We asked a number of dedicated surf guys how they set up their belts, and then used their answers to make a surf belt template that anglers can build upon or refine for their particular waters.
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Surf Fishing Belt Essentials
» “I use a D-ring to connect lanyards from both my pliers and scale.” – Brandon Sausele, New York
» “A D-ring clip lets me clip my bag to my belt when I’m walking or swimming and keeps it from knocking around.” – Steve Gallant, Massachusetts
» “I have a diving D-ring weight keeper with a carabiner. This is a ‘just-in-case’ accessory for when (or if) I need to add something like a water bottle to my belt when I am chunking or fly fishing and not carrying a plug bag.” – Toby Lapinski, Connecticut
Pilers and Plier Holster
A durable, lightweight pair of corrosion-resistant pliers with quality grips are a must-have on your surf fishing belt. If your choice pliers don’t come with a sheath, there are plenty of universal plier holsters out there that should hold them without a problem.
» “I have a blunt-tip dive knife with one serrated edge in a click-in holster. I carry this in case I need to cut old line that might get wrapped around me when swimming or as protection in case there are any aggressive sharks bumping around.” – Brandon Sausele, New York
A lightweight water bottle with a tether cap can be easily attached and removed from a carabiner, saving valuable space on your belt and keeping you hydrated during long outings in the surf.
» “In the back of my belt, I have a YETI Sidekick gear case where I store anything that can’t get wet: phone, retractable tape measure, an extra light, and a dry rag. The pouch is one of the most essential items on my belt since I can swim and get completely soaked without fear of ruining aforementioned items while still keeping them handy.” – Anthony Pizzella, Maine
» “I have a Gear-Up eel pouch on the back of the belt along my lower back, though it usually has soft plastics in it nowadays.” – Steve Gallant, Massachusetts
» “I have a two-tube bag for plugs, soft plastics, leader, jigs, etc.” – Anthony Pizzella, Maine
» “I have a three-tube plug bag secured through the belt loops. A lot of guys keep the plug bag on an over-the-shoulder strap, but for my purposes, especially when swimming, I need it to be secure on my belt in the same spot, not bouncing around. In my plug bag, I carry everything needed for the night: plugs, a leader wallet with extra leaders, soft plastics, bucktails, and a water bottle on the side. If I’m fishing a hard blow, I’ll take the plug bag off and swap it with a smaller bucktail pouch.” – Brandon Sausele, New York