Surf fishing anglers scattered across Space Coast beaches celebrated many catches during the month of March. Pompano fishing near Melbourne Beach and Cocoa Beach hit spurts of schooling fish with excellent catches followed up by a whiting bite that created nonstop action. Everything from bluefish to Jack crevalle, croakers and bonnethead sharks made it a scenario where one could only guess what was on the line. Rounding off this diversified fish species list were the blacktip sharks that continue their presence off local beaches.
For the most part, the surf fishing conditions were optimal many days in the previous weeks with ideal water clarity and correlated temperatures to match. This in turn fired up the pompano to charge back north from south Florida beaches. The largest of pompano ranged from 16” up to 19” and were the majority of catches for multiple weeks on end. Fresh peeled shrimp or sand fleas were the baits of choice, rigged with Fishbites in the crab or clam flavor on a standard pompano rig. While many of the fish roamed the outside sandbars, there was a decent percentage that came from the first and second trough.
Family fishing charters couldn’t get enough of the action with the whiting infiltration that ensued with kids reeling in doubled-up whiting cast after cast. This kind of whiting bite always brings joy when it heightens anglers activity level scurrying from rod to rod. Certain days brought as much whiting as one could handle while selectively keeping the largest for a fine meal. First and second trough casts pulled them in by the twos with Fishbites alone being all one needed to catch.
With all the pompano, whiting and bluefish catches to keep one running, the trophy catches in the mix are worth a mention. Giant jack crevalle and sharks were by far the largest species caught in weeks prior. Jack crevalle exceeding 40 pounds have been blitzing up and down the coast from Sebastian Inlet to Port Canaveral. While many of the fish tend to be out of range of surf fishermen they occasionally skim in range of shore-casting anglers. This has resulted in some giants being landed on light tackle and a feat to be recognized.
Shark fishing charters paved the way for big time catches of blacktip sharks using fresh chunked bait. Often seen jumping and crashing through the surf this time of year, they are extremely prevalent currently. You might lose a few of your fish catches to them as inundated as the Space Coast waters are with sharks at the moment. Regardless, when targeting sharks they make for one heck of a fight and a memory for all. Heavy tackle with a quick battle to the shores and an expeditious release ensures we’ll maintain this fishery for generations to come. Take advantage of the good weather windows and hit the shores for beach fishing fun.