By: Joe Sheaffer
Spending time fishing along our beaches can be a pure pleasure. If I had to rank the way I like to fish, fishing along the surf would be at the top of my list. The air, the sound of the surf, my feet in the sand and the endless horizon can be very soothing. I love to walk along the beach, searching for signs or changes in the surf that may hold fish. Recently, I spent a morning at Stump Pass Park on Manasota Key. It had been closed for quite a while from the damage caused by Ian. I had no expectations; I just needed a beach fix. I had a spinning outfit along with my tackle bag. I headed towards the Pass scoping the surf for a clue or sign of fish activity. My lure of choice to start the day was a ⅜ oz. wacky jig (Pompano Jig) pink with a chartreuse stinger. I was hoping to run into a pompano, but these jigs can be productive for other species. Sandbars can be a good place to start when trying to figure out where fish might be staging. On this day I noticed that most of the sandbars were 20-30 yards from the beach, but one section squeezed to within 10 yards of the shore. I also noticed that the depth of the water seemed to be quite a bit deeper along this stretch. I figured because the bar was closer, there probably would be more current funneling through the squeezed area. It didn’t take many casts to figure out that my guess was right. I hooked up with 5 Pompano (landed 3), I caught a few large Ladyfish and a Flounder. The sweet spot was the SQUEEZE, most of the action was in this area. I think the key was the added depth of water in the funneled stretch. I fished similar areas, but they just weren’t as deep and the action was definitely not the same. If you have a chance to fish along a beach, focusing on the Sandbars can be a great place to start. They can be a big piece of the puzzle for a productive day fishing. Good luck and keep casting.