Tropical storm Elsa didn’t put too much of a damper on the surf fishing conditions during the prior week, besides a couple of days that were too stormy to fish. Clients who had the opportunity to get out and enjoy surf fishing charters when weather permitted were rewarded with diverse catches of whiting, pompano, snook, sharks and croakers. While the croaker bit continues its red hot action we enjoy repurposing some of these catches for live bait rigs enticing the bigger snook patrolling the first trough. As these live bait rods soak our shark rigs have continued their dominance with Blacktip sharks galore and a smattering of other sharks alike.
With that being said it’s been extremely difficult to find any consistency on a day-to-day basis. Each particular day has held completely random conditions and species catches. About the only element that’s held stability is the croaker bite. Knowing you’re going to have your fair share of croakers be prepared for shorter soak times between catching and checking baits. For these reasons, we make it a point to diversify the options for fish and shark and use a multitude of setups to do so.
These alternatives to the traditional pompano rig with sandfleas and Fishbites can provide the thrills needed to keep things exciting. When deploying live bait rigs with croakers or mullet one can expect to land trophy snook, tarpon, and sharks. Fresh chunked bait can also be used to achieve the same goals.
If one’s targeting the snook and tarpon I recommend using a fish finder rig with 40-80lb fluorocarbon leader 1-3ft in length and a one to two once sinker, as many of these fish aren’t extremely leader shy this time of year. If they’re feeding this will give you enough backbone to be prepared for a fish of a lifetime. These same rigs can also be used without any weight-free lined letting the bait move unrestricted out past the first trough.
Noting the inconsistency that’s played a part make sure to try different area beaches on opposing tides as well. Recently our surf fishing trips have been using this method to follow the fish and make it a point to not stick with a location that’s not producing. When doing so we continue to find large residential pompano, whiting, croakers, snook and sharks. Be flexible, be persistent and good things will come. Get out there, have fun and find some fish!