Bountiful catches and beautiful beach days continue to comprise the winter surf fishing season for 2024. There have been detrimental weather windows here and there, but overall at least we’re not scraping ice from our windshields, right?
The pompano fishing in Brevard County is absolutely going off and should continue into March. While there’s definitely different pockets of life based on conditions, it continues to be a stellar season for surf fishing pompano. Last month, the days of clean water held fish in multiple areas from Cocoa Beach south to Sebastian Inlet. Fishing multiple runouts, rip currents and troughs held the keys to success. The top baits for catching pompano were live sand fleas, fresh shrimp and Fishbites in an assortment of colors and flavors. Look for this trend to continue into February as long as the water temperatures don’t get into the low 60’s.
Start your engines if you’re looking for that trophy catch of the enormous black drum that comb local beaches. Winter surf fishing for giant black drum means you could hook into anywhere from a 40-70 lb. black drum. Hence be prepared for the tackle to combat these “big uglies.” Large schools of black drum will be working their way up and down the beaches feeding on crustaceans. Use a beefed up pompano rig, jig or fish finder rig and place them in front of the schools approaching. Long casts are often needed, so be sure to have plenty of line capacity on your surf fishing reels when targeting the large ones. Not to mention, once you hook into a big drum the drag is going to go screaming! You’ll want anywhere from 20-50 lb. main line for your best opportunity to land one.
One of the main species that’s been active in the surf are large bull whiting. The big whiting didn’t make much of an impact in the surf fishing last year, so the initial signs are extremely encouraging. Large whiting used to be a staple in the Space Coast fishery that even the most novice surf fishing anglers could rely on. Known for their flaky white meat and naturally curious behavior, it was typically assumed you could head home with a bucket full of whiting for dinner. In contrast to the headliner pompano fishing that’s been taking place, I’m personally encouraged on the whiting front as well.
Shark fishing remains active along Brevard County beaches. Blacktip, sandbar and bonnethead sharks are the main species we’re catching in the surf. Fresh cut bait continues to deliver best results cast into the second trough. Be prepared to quickly release sharks in the manner performed in the mandatory shark fishing Florida course online.
Have fun and enjoy the great surf fishing on tap!
Capt. Lukas Brickweg
Cocoa Beach Surf Fishing Charters