Summer surf fishing is in full swing on the beaches of the Space Coast. Warmer waters have led to a full blown changing of the guards on local area beaches with catches of pompano, bluefish and mackerel retreating to collet water temperatures to the north. While residential pompano will still be cruising the shorelines, it’s time to accept the fact that you’ll rarely reach a daily limit on this species. The pompano that are around are larger sized and will inhale the surf fishing rigs tipped with Fishbites and sandfleas, but understand you’re going to have to weed through heaps of croakers, catfish and whiting.
The last few weeks of July brought in dirtier water, and has continued to persist, keeping blue waters just out of surf casting reach. With that being said, at various Space Coast beaches there are relentless onslaughts of croakers, catfish and whiting. Croakers would be the species to single out in terms of soaking time on each pompano rig. As soon as it hits the water, no quicker will you have a double croaker bite leaving little time for other species to discover the baits. If that isn’t enough, keep in mind multiple rigs will be lost to sharks attacking your squirming catch in the trough and beyond. Needless to say, it’s been a battle to attain a consistent dinner-satisfying catch with the current state of affairs.
When the standard methods aren’t providing the thrills one may be in pursuit of, its time to switch gears. That’s exactly what our guided shark fishing charters did this week, tapping into a healthy amount of sharks in the surf. Blacktip sharks, sandbar sharks and nurse sharks were had by thrilled clients with rod bending, drag screaming action. Nothing quite like hooking into a spiraling blacktip with each acrobatic contortion peeling drag like music to the ears. Clients celebrated each catch as a trophy in the experience that encompasses shark fishing from shore.
In my opinion, the recommend gear for the current climate of surf fishing should take on two different approaches. First, use the dead stick method. I suggest setting up a multitude of surf fishing equipment. Vary the setup between standard pompano rigs with the above mentioned baits, while using heavier setups for live baits or chunked baits for shark, tarpon and snook. Second, skip the setup and cast swim baits, diving plugs and jigs to work the shorelines for snook, tarpon and the occasional flounder. One method keeps you mobile with the advantage of covering ground and skipping the heavy hauling of a total gear setup. The other encourages a prolonged time period on the beach fishing to acquire the variety of specimens that each rig has the potential to attain. Either way it’s a welcomed time to get out early or late and get a line wet.
Have fun and get em on!