Surf fishing near Cocoa Beach was anything but spectacular last week. Shore-based fishing charters had much more success south beach fishing near Sebastian Inlet. The small pompano brigade was out in full force! Many days our clients were landing undersized pompano in the double digit numbers around 20-30 a day. The bigger fish just weren’t very prevalent at all, but with persistence we managed to bag a couple bigger legal-sized pompano a day. Whiting, bluefish, croakers and black drum rounded out the species list for the majority of catches per day. There’s no shortage of sharks at the moment with each of our shore-based shark fishing trips hooking up multiple sharks and landing numerous black tips per trip.
Surf fishing Brevard County proved especially trying the past week with water clarity and temps taking a dive. The “extreme” cold snap sent ocean temps plummeting below the ideal temperatures preferred for the prestigious pompano. Matching cold temps with murky water doesn’t bode well for our surf fishing trips. With that being said, the whiting, drum and blue fish kept for a steady bite in-between the elusive pompano catches. As the week wore on the water clarity improved and the weekend provided more consistent numbers.
Pompano rigs with chartreuse and bright orange floats seemed to be key. Rigged with white clam flavored Fish Bites or the chartreuse shrimp flavor, the best bites came from the sunrise or sunset bite and the first two hours of outgoing tide. These tidal swings can make all the difference in the world when out surf fishing. I constantly remind clients and fellow surf fishermen that specific tides will trigger fish which will commonly result in more fish being caught during a one to two hour span than will be produced over the course of the other hours cumulatively. Make sure to put in your efforts around the tide changes and identify which time the tide has been productive to focus your efforts and increase probabilities.
The week ahead looks encouraging for shore-based fishermen to hit the beach and find the fish. Water clarity steadily improved over the weekend and Monday and Tuesday produced better results with keeper pompano and large whiting. Warmer temperatures should raise the water temps, which could stimulate the surf fishing accordingly. The sand fleas have also been making appearances on local beaches around a low tide so be sure to bring the rake with you and keep your eyes peeled. If you are looking for one heck of a battle on spinning gear, target shark fishing from the beach for cheap thrills. Baits deployed during shore-based shark fishing trips didn’t soak 10-20 minutes before being terrorized by local sharks. Be sure to have your shore fishing shark permit and course complete, which can be done on the FWC website. Catch and release to ensure a healthy survival rate following the appropriate protocol listed in the course. Heavy action surf fishing equipment brings in the sharks quicker with a better opportunity for healthy release. Have de-hooking tools on hand to remove the circle hook and thrust these sharks back into the water quickly. Have fun out there and be safe!