Exciting opportunities await for surf fishing anglers during the month of March. Last week we saw a major uptick in keeper pompano being landed along with the bull whiting, Spanish mackerel and sharks. Traditionally the spring pompano run has coincided during these warming months and this year looks no different. Pompano fishing looks to continue its rein on the top of the target species list, but don’t overlook the diversity of other fish to target. Spanish mackerel, whiting, flounder, black drum and sharks will be on tap for our Space Coast beaches. This transitional time represents a smorgasbord of species for shore based anglers fishing the surf.
As mentioned above pompano fishing will hold steady as the fever for the spring run won’t be diminished for surf fishing anglers. Finding optimal water clarity remains the single most important factor for targeting pompano in the surf. Southeast trade winds take hold this month and can thwart any surf anglers hopes with multiple days of southeasterly blows. This week in particular has an easterly flow making the waters more difficult to fish but we’ve been having tremendous luck using heavier tackle to offset the wind, waves and current. Look for shades of blue and green water as you research the surf fishing conditions from Cocoa Beach south to Sebastian Inlet.
The cleanest water should be sought out even if it means driving and checking multiple locations. Once you find the clear blues or green shades, setup on those waters where outflows, eddies, troughs and holes are present. Pompano rigs with chartreuse, white, and orange floats will be better for the greener water, while white, pink and purple will perform better in blue water. Tip your pompano rigs with Fish Bites in white crab, pink shrimp, chartreuse clam and sandfleas flavors, in combination with live sand fleas or fresh dead shrimp. This combination will produce the best results for pompano, whiting, and black drum.
For those wanting to pursue and target species on light tackle I recommend throwing swim baits, diving plugs and spoons in the first and second trough for spanish mackerel, flounder, bluefish and snook. Depending on the food sources identified at your area beach match the hatch with similar size lures. If you’re identifying lots of ladyfish, mackerel and blues most likely they’re feeding on glass minnows and a spoon or gotcha plug works best. For flounder, snook and redfish cast swim baits or diving plugs forty-five degrees from the shoreline and retrieve steadily.
Shore based shark fishing will continue to be red hot this time of year as the waters warm. Black tip sharks will remain as the top species to target and put on quite the acrobatic display. Family fun for the entire group when shark fishing trips this time of year have a chance at multiple catches per trip. Surf fishing equipment with 80lb braided line and short cable leaders to a large 10/0 circle hooks prove the most reliable for the task. While Blacktip sharks will be the most commonly caught species on these shore based trips expect Lemon sharks, Sandbar sharks and Nurse sharks to frequent the same waters. This month looks to provide all the thrills any beach fishing angler could ask for, so get out there, have fun and catch them up!