Our surf fishing charters last week saw a great amount of big bull whiting, a few large pompano, bluefish and mackerel. Water clarity and conditions were inconsistent on a day-to-day basis, which made it hard to set up a pattern on the fish. Fishing around Sebastian Inlet provided catches of large pompano midway through the week that had surf fishing anglers fighting for position. There weren’t any extremely high numbers of pompano coming through, but the ones that were caught ranged from 15-18 inches and weighed over 3 lbs. This is a good sign the fish that are staged currently in Vero Beach south to Fort Pierce and Stuart are charging back for the spring run.
Indian Riverkeeper Surf Fishing Tournament
The Indian RiverKeeper surf fishing tournament that took place over the weekend near Hutchinson Island and Fort Pierce had great catches of pompano hitting the leaderboard. The winning pompano was over 5 lbs and plenty had weighed-in fish that were 2-3 lbs, but were reluctantly knocked from the placing category. Seeing these larger numbers of pompano and larger pompano south had me excited for the weeks to come. Surf fishing charters in Brevard County have recently provided mainly small undersized pompano with a few large ones to celebrate the day. Once the fish down in the southern beaches continue to push up into our waters, be ready to hit the beach, because this transition is already underway.
Pompano Surf Fishing Tips
Pompano always holds that namesake and reputation for intrigue, but if you’re missing out on the absolutely stellar whiting bite, you need to change the game plan. These bull whiting continue to average over 15 inches and 1.5 lbs, while ranging up to 18 inches were all caught this week in high numbers. Family fun trips had clients of all ages enjoying this red hot whiting bite. Pompano rigs with live sand fleas, Fish Bites and fresh dead shrimp were the key. The fresh dead shrimp out-fished live sand fleas multiple days this week so keep an assortment of bait to find success. With that being said, the big pompano were all caught on live fleas tipped with shrimp or crab Fish Bites. Be prepared to release heaps of undersized pompano in your surf fishing endeavors, and do so quickly to ensure a healthy survival rate. Pompano in the 7-9 inch range are abundant and don’t need to be measured as it wastes time and increases mortality rates. Become proficient with what a legal size fish looks like to save time.
With the reputable food fare species covered for the weekly catch, let’s discuss the reliable bluefish and Spanish mackerel that continue to persist in local waters. Oftentimes on charter, while not directly targeting these bluefish and mackerel, we have been catching them on the retrieve to the shore. These ferocious predators love movement and action to entice their bite. If specifically targeting these fish, use cut bait on a pompano rig or use the silver spoon or gotcha plug in chartreuse color. I have many clients who love eating fresh bluefish and mackerel, especially if you plan on smoking them or making jerky. It’s delicious. Target the second trough to the sandbar as the fish have pushed off the beach in most areas.
Surf Fishing Forecast
The forecast is calling for southern winds on multiple days which will decrease the water clarity. Make sure to hit the beaches after the northerly winds clean it back up for optimal success. Get out there and have fun!