At last, pompano have finally made their presence known along the Space Coast! Among the pompano we’re also seeing black drum, whiting, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and sharks cruising the surf. Fishing near Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach saw an increasing number of black drum, pompano and whiting in December. Meanwhile Central and South Brevard County beaches including Indialantic, Melbourne Beach and Sebastian saw a larger influx of bluefish, whiting, Spanish mackerel and keeper pompano with many short pompano mixed in. All in all, the surf fishing conditions finally cooperated with the abating weather of November in the rearview mirror so there’s much to celebrate.
Consistency seemed to be increasingly difficult to come by last month, with many anglers being skunked or off the trail of the target species. Reading through all the reports on social media and talking directly with fellow anglers, it appeared to be an uneven scenario for different groups of fisherman. While some had great luck with pompano and whiting, it seemed to have left twice as many scratching their heads about the lack of success. The fish are absolutely present in the waters, and fooling them into biting may be the issue to combat. The key is to vary your rigging and setups to find what’s working. Don’t stick with your same program if you’re not having luck while others are.
Get in the habit of experimenting with the variables that play into a productive day. Consider everything from water temperature to water clarity, to barometric pressure, tidal influence, bait on offer, presentation, bait scent and more. While some find tremendous success where others struggle, it has to do with these many variables that are involved in the fishing and surf fishing realm. So try different rigs, places, tides and baits to see what works best for you and adjust accordingly as the conditions change.
While the bluefish and Spanish mackerel have kept the spin casting anglers armed with spoons plenty busy, it’s the pompano and whiting that we’ll focus on this month. One factor to note is the location of the fish, whether they be near the shore or out on the sandbar. Our fishing clients produced well recently with many fish coming right at the shore’s edge while other tides and water conditions mandated casting out to 100-120 plus yards. Observing these variations makes it all the more important to keep a constant pulse and stagger gear to achieve the best results. The Fishbites crab and clam scent in the white, chartreuse and electric chicken work best, and match these synthetic scents with live or blanched sand fleas or clams for the win.
It’s an exciting time to hit the beach for surf fishing in this ideal weather. There’s nothing like enjoying the spoils of a whole fresh baked pompano or blackened whiting tacos to share with family and friends. On the other hand, if it’s a rod you’re looking to bend, shark fishing charters continue to produce many blacktip and lemon sharks for shore-bound anglers.
The forecast looks like continuing beneficial weather patterns, so there’s plenty of opportunity on hand to hit the shore for surf fishing. So, in summary, get out there and have fun!