Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How to Surf Fish - A Quick Start Guide

Surf fishing is a fantastic and very rewarding pastime to be involved in. It is a year round sport that is enjoyed by millions of people from every walk of life and age group. If you are looking to get into the sport here is a brief guide on how to surf fish and the equipment you will need.
Rod and reel
If you are just starting out the best option for a rod and reel is to go for a rod and reel combo. Rod and reel combos are available from a wide range of outlets ranging from your local tackle shop to Walmart. These combos are at the economy end of the market, but will be more than adequate for the job. A rod that is between 10 and 12 feet in length is a good choice, as it will cover almost all aspects of surf fishing.
A spinning reel is also a good choice, and much easier to manage than a conventional surf fishing reel.
Basic tackle
When learning how to surf fish, the choice of surf fishing tackle can seem a little overwhelming, but you only need some basics to get started. All the tackle you need should fit into a small to medium sized tackle box. A good selection of snap swivels, sinkers and hooks should be high on your list as these items are claimed by ocean the most, swivels and beads are a close second. A decent pair of needle nosed pliers and a pocket knife are also indispensable. With these items you will be able to make up most surf fishing rigs.
Finding the fish
Before making your trip to the beach, visit a few of your local tackle shops, these places are an excellent source of information for any surf angler. Find out which beaches are fishing well and what is being caught. Your tackle shop will also be able to tell you which baits are taking the most fish, and if you don't want to collect your own live bait, sell you what you need. Artificial lures work as well as live bait for many fish, so ask which lures are working the best.
Armed with the right equipment and knowledge, learning how to surf fish is quite easy, and you will soon be catching fish.
Courtesy of 
                  A Few Surf Fishing Tips

The secret to a successful day surf fishing is what tackle to use and when to use it. Don't waste your time employing tactics that simply will not work for the conditions or the fish you are after. Here are my top surf fishing tips to improve your chances of landing a fish.
#1 Planning ahead will definitely make the day more productive. Find out from local surf fishermen and tackle shops what is being caught and what baits or lures are being taken.
#2 Don't just arrive at the beach with half a bucket of shrimp and expect to catch something. Make a point of targeting a specific fish with the best baits or lures for that particular fish.
#3 Take only what you really need for the day to enable you to be mobile if the spot you are fishing is producing no results. Trying different areas of the beach and various lengths of cast is a key element to being successful.
#4 If possible check out the beach you intend to fish at low tide and take note of key features. Sand banks, rock formations and natural hollows will be excellent places to get your bait in and around.
#5 Check the tide times for the beach you intend to fish, dawn and dusk tides are the best for surf fishing. If you intend to fish around dawn or dusk make sure you pack a torch.
#6 Pack four or five ready made rigs as a back up for the ones you intend to fish. A quick replacement for lost tackle will ensure you spend more time with bait in the water, rather than wasting valuable surf fishing time making rigs up on the beach.
Following these basic tips will greatly improve your chances of catching a fish.

Dropper Loop

Sebastian Inlet Report


It's a beautiful morning at the inlet. We have a pretty good breeze which is keeping the no see 'ums away. The wind is blowing out of the South-Southeast at 15 mph and gusting to 19. There is a moderate chop on the water with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, according to the NOAA forecast. Be sure to go prepared for rain if you head to the inlet and if you are on either jetty and it looks like lightening could appear, GET OFF! Sticking out in the middle of the water surrounded by metal railings isn't a good place to be when lightening occurs. Play it safe to fish another day.

We've have had beautiful conditions, nice breezes, schools of mullet and clean water the only thing really missing the past couple of days are big schools of table fare. We've had a small variety of species, but nothing in huge numbers. Big Jacks, a few oversized Reds and Snook, Margate, Blues, Spanish Mackerel and Black Drum have been showing up occasionally. The flats may be the place to be, we've heard that nice Speckled Trout are active and casting under mangroves for Reds and Snook could produce some catches.

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

                                 Catch 365

"Skip some sleep"
Snook are nocturnal by nature, and as a result feed much better when the sun goes down. Give up a few hours of sleep to chase some linesiders in the dark to greatly increase your catches!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sebastian Inlet Report


This morning winds are blowing out of the South-Southeast at 6 mph and gusting to 9. There is a moderate chop on the water, but no NOAA advisories at this time (8:45 a.m.) 
We received an update from inlet regular Mike Ricciardi of Vero Beach who fished the north jetty yesterday morning. Mike reported a slow day, with a few exciting hook-ups. Tony Swiderski of Sebastian had a couple of Snook hook-ups in the early morning hours; however the fish were oversized and returned to the water. Chuck Fischer of Satellite Beach landed an oversized C/R Redfish in the early morning as well. A few big Jacks came over the rails; Mike landed one along with a mid-sized Black Margate. Only two good sized Spanish Mackerel came over the rails, unlike Sunday, when the bite was hot and the fish were big, in the 5 - 7 lb. range. Word spreads fast and many regulars were out trying to get their Mackerel, but no schools made appearances yesterday. Mike reported schools of mullet making their way in and out of the inlet, but only saw one busted up by Snook. 

Our first photo features Luke Vila of Kissimmee with a large Ladyfish he landed. Luke reported many Jacks, Blues and Ladyfish biting in the evening hours. He was using shrimp and released everything unharmed. 

Al Joslyn was fishing the beach at sunrise and hooked up with a Whiting. Unfortunately, a Shark got it before Al could reel it in. 

      Whiting Abundant Along Florida’s Coast

All along Florida’s coast reports of frequent Whiting catches have been coming in.  It is not uncommon to see reports of 12-20 Whiting catches in a single day:
“Arrived just after daylight. Found cold NW breeze, 2′ surf, light current to the south and clear water. Whiting were chewin’! Caught 17 whiting and four blues in 1.75 hours on one pole. Released three whiting and the blues.”  - FishingFool
The above report is not uncommon this time of year, and one popular place to catch whiting is from piers on the beach, here are some tips to help increase the amount of whiting caught.
  • Use a 2 hook dropper rig with 1/0 or smaller circle hooks
  • Use only the amount of weight needed to hold bottom
  • Cast down current, when casting up current the current makes it difficult to detect a bite
  • Fresh pealed shrimp are one of the best baits
Now go catch a few of those tasty fish!  Good luck and good fishing!

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

                              Catch 365

"Reel Neglect"

Saltwater is really tough on tackle; don't make it any harder on your reels than they already have it! Wash all reels with soap and water after every use; and have them professionally cleaned once or twice a year depending on use.

Sebastian Inlet Report


We have a real pretty morning at the inlet. Winds are blowing out of the Southeast at 14 mph and gusting to 17. There is a moderate chop on the water, but no NOAA advisories this morning. That could change in a nano-second, so be sure to check the forecast prior to going offshore. The NOAA forecast can be found under the first photo of the web cam page under the NOOA tab.

We had a bit of a slow weekend during the daylight hours. We had a brief Spanish Mackerel bite in the mornings and again on the late incoming tide. Some anglers fishing for Mackerel using spoons ended up with a few large Jacks. An occasional nice Pompano, Red or Snook made appearances, but overall, the weekend was on the slow side according to Tommy Turowski at the Sebastian Inlet Bait and Tackle Shop. 
Our angler of the day is David Johnson of St. Cloud who hooked up with the real nice Summer Flounder in our first photo. David landed this nice fish Saturday night. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

"HATE" Is A Harsh Word

Warm weather brings great fishing and also.........

On one trip to Blind Creek, Darin said my back looked like I was wearing a fur coat. I had put good repellant on all my exposed skin but was getting badly bitten through my clothes. Darin had no (zero, nada, zilch, none) mosquitoes on him and I was covered. He told me what to do and the next time we went, following his advice, I was bite free.

For exposed skin Deet (N. N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) has been the best defense for decades now, but it attacks plastics and can damage your glasses, some synthetic fabrics, plastic fishing lures, and inexpensive watch crystals, etc. It comes in many different strengths from a few percent to 100% Deet. No-see-ums do not like it either.

A newer chemical may be better for many of us, especially those who may have an allergy to Deet in the stronger packages. It is called Picaridin and comes in various strengths too (but I have not seen it anywhere near 100% and it works in the lighter percentages fine). The one I am using is 15% and I have and use another one that is 7%. Both work.

Picaridin will not damage plastics or other synthetic materials and does a really great job of repelling mosquitoes, chiggers, gnats, fleas, biting flies, and no-see-ums. Virtually all the companies that make Deet repellant also make and sell products with Picaridin.

Now for the clothes problemDeet and Picaridin both repel the biting critters when applied to our skin. Neither seem to work when applied to anything else. However, there are some chemicals that do repel biting critters all by themselves, including lemon grass oil, citronella oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, Geraniol, and a few other plant extracts, but one of the simplest ways to make your fishing or camping clothes mosquito resistant(as Darin showed me) is to use simple fabric softener on your clothes. Yes! Mosquitoes do not like fabric softener. It can be the liquid you use at the end of your wash or even the inexpensive fabric softener sheets you put in the clothes dryer with your wet clothes. I have tried different brands and they all seem to work.

NOTE: No-see-ums will land on softener sheet protected clothes (in great numbers as I found out at our first tournament), but they can not "bite" you through even the thinnest of clothing. No-see-ums do not actually "bite" or "sting" you, but put their gastric juices on your skin and digest a small area and drink that. If you feel them, it is too late as the itch does not start until after the ones that got you leave. Yeah, it hurts and itches like crazy, so protect yourself. Even the thinnest of clothing protects you from them, but not mosquitoes that can stick their nose needles through cloth.

Mosquitoes and no-see-ums, etc., will not get you if your exposed skin is covered with Deet or Picaridin and fabric softener treated clothes (including your buff or scarf) covers the rest of you. 

courtesy of  David Andrews@ Kayak Fishing Club of The Palm Beaches

From Capt. Charlie @ Fishing Center - Ft Pierce

Finally, the windy months of March and April are almost behind us and we can look forward to the great fishing weather that May has to offer us on the Treasure Coast. Other than the usual windy days, it has been a pretty mild winter and spring has arrived. Look for warmer temperatures and little less blustery days. As the water temperatures climb, the fishing will steadily improve on the river. The water is already in the mid 70’s and that means the fish will be hungry. It will provide fantastic mornings for top water and lazy afternoons to drift the flats. May is one of my favorite months on the water!
                                          photo courtesy of Hai Truong@

Redfish will be our main target throughout the month of May. The past several years have bought us schools of slot sized redfish along the Indian River. Most of the fish we have caught have been in the 18 to 30 inch range. The mangroves have produced lots of redfish action again this year. They have been sunning on the flats and May gets their blood pumping and turns on the feeding. I always have three lures ready during May…DOA shrimp, CAL jerk baits and top water lures. Gold spoons and the DOA Airhead will also be great additions to the arsenal when fishing for redfish. As the fish school up, look for them around the edges of the flats. Most of the river here on the Treasure Coast has been holding redfish and you should be able to find some on your favorite flats. I tend to enjoy the east side of the river, but we have found many on the west side as well.

Snook fishing in the early mornings will bring some rod bending action as they head up on the flats for an early morning or late evening meal. Top water lures, Baitbusters and DOA shrimp are all great lures to tempt a snook into biting. We have been broken off numerous times by big snook under the mangroves. Docks will also hold snook lurking around for an easy meal. Live shrimp is hard to beat around the docks. In the inlet areas, try around the seawalls and bridges with live bait, Terror Eyz, feather jigs or deep diving plugs. I love early morning for great snook fishing opportunities!

Trout will continue to feed on top water at first light and live shrimp on popping corks during the day. As the sun rises, they will head off the shallows to deeper water in the two to four foot range. We have had some nice gator trout of late and should see some still big trout throughout the month of May. I have had great success with CAL jerk baits and Deadly Combos this year in place of live shrimp. If you are using live baits, try big shrimp or pilchards on the flats. Both sides of the river have been productive in early mornings. Winter fishing for trout has been good this year and spring should continue to give you some great action.

Bridges will hold the usual Sheephead catch, while snapper will be moving into the river along with flounder. Jacks and ladyfish will be patrolling the areas and creating havoc all over the river. Beaches will produce whiting with still a few catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish along with the usual whiting. Tarpon will begin their trek into the river and you can start looking for them in the St Lucie River, Big and Little Mud areas and the channels of the river. May is a great month to fish the Treasure Coast….plan on a trip out on the river soon! 

From Henry & Fred @ Snook-Nook - Jensen Beach

                 photo Courtesy of Jayson Armon@ That's R-Man Land Based Fishing Services

The nice thing about the river, you can always hide from the wind.  The East side of the river has been the place, whether it be the Indian or St. Lucie river.  The Middle Cove area has produced an excellent redfish bite as well as trout in the 6lb. range.  Live shrimp under a popping cork, live pinfish, and gold spoons have gotten the bites.  Jigging the Sailfish flats on the incoming tide has produced a mixed bag over the past week.  Jacks, Ladyfish, Pompano, Drum, Sheepshead, Triple Tail and Bonefish have been on the list. A few bonefish to 17 inches!  1/4oz yellow jigs tipped with shrimp got them all.   The Snook fishing in the St. Lucie river has been very good on live baits and bomber plugs.  Fish the deep water docks and bridges.
    Just as the pompano started making an appearance, the wind turned up.  However, the Whiting and Croaker have been there to make up for it.  Clams, shrimp, and fish bites have been the choice for bait.  Look for big jacks moving up and down the beach following the baitfish.  Spoons, topwaters, and live baits with get you an hour battle with a 25lb fish.  Few Tarpon showing up around the boils at the power plant.    

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

                                Catch 365

"Put the vibe out..."

When fishing a dirty/murky water situations a lure that puts out a lot of vibration is an excellent choice. When visibility is limited most fish rely on their lateral line to help find the next meal; and the main purpose of the lateral line is to pick up vibrations.

Lures (like the Gambler Lures Burner worm pictured) with large paddle tails, boot tails, and rattles put out lots of vibrations; making them easy targets in low visibility conditions.

From Whites Tackle - Ft Pierce / Stuart

Inshore the trout fishing has been good around bear point to the power lines with live bait was the bait of choice. The inlet has has some nice snook and a few tarpon around on the out going tide. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Jungle Fishing RAW GoPro Clip

Great Event !!!

 If you have a Kayak or thinking about getting one 

Tomorrow & Sunday

Kayak Fishing with the Pro's 

Schedule for Kayak Fishing With the Pro's 2014
Both Days- Boy Scout Venture troop 2888 will be selling baked goods,
burgers, hot dogs, coffee & soda.
USCG Aux 59 will be onsite with paddlesport safety info
Giveaways all day long on both days, no purchase needed
Sat. 26
10:00-10:45 Mark Naumovitz--Team Hobie,Marx SportingGoods
11:00-11:45 Christina Weber--Team Hobie
12:00-12:45 USCG/ FWC safety in paddlesports/fishing
1:00-1:45 Daryl Boyd- Kayak Bass
2:00-2:45 Greg Timmer--Team Hobie, Yak-Attack, RAM
3:00-4:00 Mark Nichols-- DOA Lures
Sun 27
11:00-11:45 Greg Timmer--Team Hobie, Yak-Attack, RAM
12:00-12:45 Mike Hamilton--Team Ocean Kayak
1:00-1:45 Bill Sikora--Team Wilderness Systems, Kayak Bass
2:00-2:45 Christina Weber-- Team Hobie
3:00-3:45 Mark Naumovitz--Team Hobie,MarxSportingGoods
Jeff Weakley--Florida Sportsman Magazine Editor
Author Sportsmans Best--Kayak Fishing
Staff from: Hobie Cat, Ocean Kayak, KC kayak, & Old Town will also be attending the event

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

Catch 365

When fishing dark tannic stained water few colors perform as well as Mirrolure's 808 (Black Back/Orange Side and belly). Available in similar patterns from other lure companies, "808" 

is deadly on snook and tarpon in tannic water situations

Big Bait, Big Fish" judging by the picture that may not always be exactly the case. BUT, most of the time a bigger bait is going to get the interest of the bigger fish around. It takes more patience to fish a bigger bait of lure, but very often the results are well worth it!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fishing Report For Jensen Beach Florida

From Todd / Eric @ Juno Bait -Juno Beach

Catch 365

"Start high, Finish low"
A good pattern when throwing the jig for suspended snook is a high to low search pattern. Buzz the jig near the surface to excite active snook to start. If that doesn't work try a mid water retrieve to get suspended fish fired up. Lastly, bounce the jig along the bottom for snook looking for crabs and sandperch in the sand.
If those three retrieves don't work try these two things:
1. Change the jig color.
2. Move on to the next spot in search of more actively feeding fish.

Sebastian Inlet Report


We have a stunning morning at the inlet. The wind is barely blowing out of the Southwest and an occasional gust will come through. You know what that means, no wind = no see 'ums, take insect repellent if you head to the inlet this morning. The wind is supposed to pick up this afternoon, which should help keep those pesky critters away.

We received an update from inlet regular Mike Ricciardi of Vero Beach. Mike reported it was a beautiful, but somewhat slow yesterday morning from 7:00 - noon. Tony Swiderski of Sebastian landed a nice 15" Pompano in the early morning hours using live shrimp. "Big Dave" Hartwell landed quite a few Lookdowns using very light tackle and small white jigs. Dave has a great technique worked out for catching these tasty fish. 8 - 10 Blues in the 2 - 3 lb. range were landed, Mike got two. Small Spanish Mackerel were being caught on live sardines under bobbers with 2 - 3' of wire leader. Two Black Drum came over the rails; both were 21' and caught on live shrimp. 
Photos one is of Dave Hartwell with some of the good sized Lookdowns he landed yesterday. 

Photo two is of Wayne Jordan of Barringham, NH with a 21" Black Drum.

Best New Fish Filleting Trick

Former Professional Walleye Trail angler Larry Snow, was to talking about cleaning walleyes. Snow told us that he’s cleaned thousands and thousands over the years. I told him that I’d cleaned a few myself—told him I could fillet a fish perfectly in about 25 seconds. “I can do one in 18,” he said.
Part of Snow’s secret (he uses a regular Rapala fillet knife) is something I’d never seen before. Most of us remove the fillet, then flip it skin-side-down and ribs up to remove the rib bones. Snow keeps the skin side up, placing the heel of his hand on the middle of the rib cage, pressing down slightly. This makes the leading edge (the top edge) of the rib cage stick out. As he slides the knife under the fillet, it naturally catches the edge of the rib cage, and the knife slides perfectly over the cage to remove it. It’s almost mistake proof—a perfectly clean rib removal every time.

The STRONGEST & SMALLEST braid to leader knot ever created

Snook on a " Sand Perch "

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Sebastian Inlet Report

We have a beautiful morning at the inlet, except the no see 'ums that are attacking in the parking lot. Once you are out on the jetties, the breeze helps keep them at bay. This morning winds are blowing out of the Northwest at 8 mph and gusting to 14, there is a light chop on the water. 

We have a couple of updates for you today. Mike Ricciardi of Vero Beach fished the north jetty yesterday morning and reported a slow (although better) bite. Three Black Drum came over the rails, some small Spanish Mackerel were being landed on greenies (threadfin herring) and gotcha lures. A lot of Blues were in the inlet, one Lookdown came over the rails and Mike landed one Whiting. A boat was anchored near the north jetty and had good luck with Snook using croakers. It doesn't sound like much, but it sure was an improvement over the past few days! 

We received a nice update from John Maldonado who fished the north jetty Saturday night with his Uncle David Rosario and their friend Benjie. The men were using mojarra and the Snook were slaying them! As soon as they threw the mojarra in the water, the Snook hit and they ran out of bait quickly. John is featured in our first photo today with a 15 lb. C/R Snook he landed right at sunset. 

Catch 365

"Check, Re-Tie, Repeat"

A good habit to get in when throwing the jig for snook (and other large gamefish like redfish and tarpon) is checking the leader very often; not just after catching a fish.  Dragging the jig through rocky bottom and around bridge pilings can chafe a leader very quickly.  And, it doesn't take much wear on a leader to lose a fish.  Start with a long leader, check it often, re-tie when you see frays and chafing, and keep your odds up!  In most jig situations the odds are in the fish's favor, don't give them anymore of an advantage than they already have!

Pro Tip- When you see ANY marks on flurocarbon leader it is time to re-tie!  Not only is the strength compromised; when fluro becomes nicked or frayed in anyway it loses all of its invisibility properties.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

To Catch Flounder Is To Know Them

Flounder fishing can be like shopping at the mall, you can find success in many places, but you need to know where to look first. You need to know something about what your looking for.
Targeting these fish takes patience and a little scouting.
Its all about structure.... bends, breaks, holes, and dips, drop offs in the rocks, creek & inlet mouths, grass edges sand bars,troughs, pillars, pilings, docks and jetties. Structure that will funnel the tides current and cause eddies.
Flounder are ideal ambush predators using their flat profile and camouflage sitting in these eddies waiting to strike.
Slack out going and the first of incoming tides seems to be the best times to fish for flounder. The current is moving just strong enough to move bait.
Flounder can be caught year round but the BEST Bite is when the water starts cooling off around Oct./Nov. It is said thats when they want to FATTEN UP for their migration to deeper water to spawn. Most fish will be caught in water less than 5 feet
Facing into the curent flounder will eat almost anything they can fit into their mouths. A flounders strike will never take the rod out of your hand. Its is subtle, and sometimes just feels like some extra preasure like maybe your sinker is hung up. The trick is not to set the hook right away. When you feel that preasure the flounder usually has the bait in its mouth, holding it in it’s sharp teeth. It may swim 10 feet away to it’s safety zone before swallowing. If you set up when you first feel the fish you’ll get back half your bait. 
Anglers use a variety of drifting rigs and rod reel combos depending on water conditions. Here are a few I have used

1. Egg sinker about 1-3oz ( NOT TOO HEAVY, you want the sinker and bait    to move around alittle with the current) between two swivels, then about -- "5-8 inch" leader-- ( remember you want your bait ON THE BOTTOM ). You then want to put a wide gap hook on. Mud Minnows are the best but are hard to come by. Small Finger Mullet,and croakers are more common baits used.

2.  A soft plastic on a jig head, tied to about 1-1/2 foot of leader. I like the DOA or Gulp Grub Tails and Shrimp with a 1/8-1/2 jig head. The trick is to let the jig bounce the bottom while reeling in SLOWLY. Every once and a while raise your rod tip and let the jig go back to the bottom. COVER AS MUCH GROUND AS YOU CAN ------SLOWLY

3.My FAVORITE is using live shrimp on a Troll Rite Hook-UP jigs. I like using the lighter jig heads, the heavier ones tend to have a bigger hook which makes a big hole in the shrimps head and it jumps off.I'll fish this the same way I do a soft plastic

 For the rod reel combo I mostly use a bait casting type set up. A 7-1/2 to 8ft med-heavy rod with a sensitive tip, 30-5l0b. Brightly colored braid (my eyes are not what they use to be)...... I also will use a spinning combo, but I can let line out easier, rising and droping my bait with my free hand
    when I feel a bite with the bait casting outfit.  
Since covering lots of water is the key to catching lots of flounder I us live shrimp or artificial lures most of the time. I’ll try different types of artificial baits tring to find something NEW. There has been many times when I use my swimming pool as a test tank to see how things move and work in water.
One other thing I feel that is important to have is some sort of landing net with a long or extendable handle. Flounder have a way of getting off right  when you start day dreaming on how your going to cook it.
    FLOUNDER FISHING IS SLOW, TEDIOUS FISHING. You almost have to fish every little spot there is. Fishing is all about PATIENCE and real Flounder Fishermen are just that. If you take your time, do alittle scouting, and present your bait naturally , you can bring home a limit in a short time.....

Kayak Fishing with the Pro's April 26 & 27

Schedule for Kayak Fishing With the Pro's 2014
Both Days- Boy Scout Venture troop 2888 will be selling baked goods,
burgers, hot dogs, coffee & soda.
USCG Aux 59 will be onsite with paddlesport safety info
Giveaways all day long on both days, no purchase needed
Sat. 26
10:00-10:45 Mark Naumovitz--Team Hobie,Marx SportingGoods
11:00-11:45 Christina Weber--Team Hobie
12:00-12:45 USCG/ FWC safety in paddlesports/fishing
1:00-1:45 Daryl Boyd- Kayak Bass
2:00-2:45 Greg Timmer--Team Hobie, Yak-Attack, RAM
3:00-4:00 Mark Nichols-- DOA Lures
Sun 27
11:00-11:45 Greg Timmer--Team Hobie, Yak-Attack, RAM
12:00-12:45 Mike Hamilton--Team Ocean Kayak
1:00-1:45 Bill Sikora--Team Wilderness Systems, Kayak Bass
2:00-2:45 Christina Weber-- Team Hobie
3:00-3:45 Mark Naumovitz--Team Hobie,MarxSportingGoods
Jeff Weakley--Florida Sportsman Magazine Editor
Author Sportsmans Best--Kayak Fishing
Staff from: Hobie Cat, Ocean Kayak, KC kayak, & Old Town will also be attending the event

Beach Fishing

Springtime in West Central Florida – and anywhere on the Gulf or East coasts of the U.S. – is a very special time for sports fishing. While some people think that we have 'no seasons,' nothing could be further from the truth as water temperatures are fairly predictable from year to year. Water temps hit the 80s in the summertime here, and can fall well into the 50s in the winter. Fish know and expect such changes, and when the temps start climbing above 65-to-70 degrees, just about every species we hunt, target, and sometimes even eat knows that it's time to eat and breed. They move, they make beds, they swim in circles, and they eat. Most of all they eat. And when they eat its baits.
Frederic LA man, a sunset, a rod-and-reel. Photo by Fredric L.
This image from shows that fishing in the surf is not a lot different in Australia than it is here on Florida's coast. Long rods let you cast far outside the first ridge where you may catch large sharks, cobia, and big snook in the surf this time of year.

Tips for Beach Fishing

This is the kind of article that is sure to have dozens – hundreds of dozens – of anglers saying, "but you forgot to say" and you can fill in your own blanks. Surf fishing is like golf. Everybody has their own look, feel, smack, approach, cast, or whatever, and you can fish on the beaches from the time you're six till the time you're ninety-six and keep learning stuff. It's when you stop learning stuff you should be afraid. Surf fishing is good fishing. It's quiet, there are no boats running over your lines, and man, are there fish on those beaches.

Species You Will Find on the Beaches in the Springtime

At this time of the year, the snook that were in deep offshore spots are moving into the big (and small) passes for their springtime breed – something called "balling." The snook that were deep in the residential canals come out to join the fun in the passes too, but running up and down the beaches gives them far more food to find, and in the springtime, it's there that the big fish are caught. Springtime surf fishing for big snook – on baits, on lures, or with a flyrod -- is something everybody into this sport should experience.
Big Fish AustrailiaA big fish caught in the Australian surf.
Mackerel swim the beaches in the springtime too. The biggest King Mackerel – often there to eat their smaller Spanish cousins – are common surf catches too. So too are big Cobia. Called 'Crab Eaters' by the old-timers, they earned that name for a reason. Fishing for Cobia with a quarter blue crab – or small live pass crab – can produce fish way above 50 pounds any time of the day.                             
Another classic image we found on the web, this time from Thanks to them for this incredible image, and check out their cool outdoors site if you get a chance. They have some hunt videos there that took a good amount of time from our lives to watch. They are that good. If you're like us and just as in love with Whitetail deer as you are snook, and turkey turn you on as much as tarpon, you really should check out some of the stuff you can see there.
Bald EagleSurf-fishing has its quiet rewards.
Shark swim those beaches all year long, but in the springtime they know full-well that the common prey they seek themselves are feeding on smaller baits and too distracted to listen to the deep throb of that scary shark music until it's too late. Sort of like the girl in the beginning of that old movie. Me? If I heard that music I would have stayed out of the water in the first place. The surf is shark heaven, and you're never in the water here without being within 100 yards of some shark. They might be small, they might be big, but they're surely out there.
Did you ever hear you can beach fish for tarpon? Yes, tarpon. You can use a jig, spoon, lure, crab, whitebait under a bobber, or a piece of squid, and catch the most incredible tarpon in the world right here on our beaches in the springtime and all the way through the summer. That's worth a story in of itself, but trust us and do not hook a 120-lb. Silver King on a seven-foot spinning rod. They will take everything you own and still be hungry for more. But jumping one – forget landing one – is something anybody who fishes here should try at least once in their lives.
Dave-Irving-tarponYou can catch one too! Photo by Dave Irving.
Whiting caught here are not the true whiting you catch from piers in New Jersey, mind you. Up there they're called Kingfish and are caught – just like our whiting – in the short, close surf. You can catch them on shrimp pieces, and they work very well in a wide variety of recipes. They fight well also and if you catch three or four they can make one hell of a meal.

Tackle for Surf Fishing in the Springtime

Most of the beaches here have two lines – one trough is close to the edge of the beach -- and another one is off about 100 yards where you see birds standing in shallow water. Barely one foot deep on low tides (sometimes dry in the winter), these ridges are the edge of a drop-off that even here – where we do not have true drops – represents a change in depth and structure that attracts fish. The reason this matters is because it can define what kind of tackle (or assortment of tackle) you take to the beach.
We usually take three or four rods. A few eight footers much like we use anywhere. Even a 7'-6" snook rod is fine for putting baits anywhere inside that shoreline and that first ridge. But if you want to put heavy baits out – and put them out with four ounces (or more) of lead and four ounces of dead bait past that ridge line – you need weight in tackle. Many surf anglers who do it all the time swear by 10' and 12' rods, capable of throwing six or eight ounces of lead a long way with no problem. Shark anglers, for example, do not mess with light tackle on their journey; they stick to long rods, heavy reels, and the ability to cast eight ounces past that ridge line. And they land Bull sharks weighing hundreds of pounds, too. So pick your poison and match the tackle to the fish you're fishing. Line is another personal call. Some people prefer monofilament, some braided line. There are trade offs for both.
Christine OlsenTwo guys sharing the surf - alone. Photo by Christine Olsen.

Baits for Surf Fishing in the Springtime

Baits are like anything else on the surf. You can use artificials, of course. For example we always keep some silver spoons that can cast a million miles when surf fishing. We also take two long rods – 12 footers – and sand holders. They're equipped with heavy-duty reels, but we do not overload on the line strength. Twenty-pound mono or 50 lb braid is fine, but if you're shark fishing with heavy weights, go to fifty braid. Much more than that and your casting is limited.  You can land a fish on very light line, given the open water and room to play them.
Dead baits are fine. You might try salting them – brining them – to toughen them up. This reduces the amount of times you have to replace them because little tiny fish ate them off the hooks.
Live baits always work best. Live shrimp and any live baitfish such as Scaled Sardines, Threadfin, or Pinfish. You can catch a wide variety of live baits on the beaches using the standard Sabiki rigs we use when we're fishing on boats for tarpon, grouper and other fish. They work fine in the surf.  Take a bait rod with a few sabikis and the right weights to toss them. The bait is usually closer than the fish chasing them to the beach.
And don't forget your coolers, sunscreens (!), sodas, foodstuffs, families, and music. It's all good when fishing in the surf. Make sure you wear good polaroid glasses, too.