surf fishing mackerel

Last Sunday marked the beginning of our annual (sometimes semi-annual) trip to the Melbourne Beach area to enjoy a week of fun in the sun. For me, this means a week of anxiously waking up at sunrise to walk out the back door and down to the beach to get a line in the water and see what’s biting. Below is a breakdown of my day-by-day report of the fishing action in Indialantic…

Sunday Evening: WEEDS EVERYWHERE! The week got off to a frustrating start after the first few casts of the week all came back tangled in weeds. We quickly realized our fishing efforts were in vain after spending more time peeling off vegetation from our lines as opposed to actually fishing. No fish were caught and we left optimistic that tomorrow would be a better day.

Monday Morning: Out of bed and onto the beach around 6:15 AM once there was enough sunlight to see. The waters were fairly calm and I attached a top-water plug to see if anything would bite. Unfortunately, once again I was greeted with more weeds. I waded out to the first bar to find that there was a break in the weeds and cleaner water existed just beyond the breakers. The fishing resumed, and there was a good amount of action within casting distance… lots of birds diving the water and pods of bait fish getting busted. Despite my efforts, nothing was interested in any top-water plugs or suspension baits, so I threw on ‘old-faithful’… the classic silver spoon. Immediately, I was greeted with lots of acrobatic lady fish attacking my bait. In realizing many consider lady fish ‘junk,’ they provided with loads of fun action for this non-local fisherman. Despite tarpon and other fish being spotted within casting distance, lady fish were the only ones that provided me any action. Towards the late morning, the water started getting sharky and I decided it was best to get back on land. We attempted to do some bottom fishing with Pompano rigs as well this morning, but there were still too many weeds to keep the line clean. The weeds came back in full force during the afternoon and it was impossible to get any lines in the water.

Tuesday: No fishing… spent the day in Orlando and let the youngsters run wild at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Wednesday morning: Woke up at dawn again to check out the beach and see if the weeds had moved on. I was beyond frustrated at this point and was a bit worried a week of fishing may get ruined by the weeds. To my surprise, the water clarity had cleared up significantly and the fishing resumed. We set up a few pompano rigs with Fish Bites and fresh shrimp to see if any keeper whiting or native pompano were around. Meanwhile, I threw some artificials in the surf to see if anything other than lady fish would take the bait. There wasn’t much visible action taking place in the surf this morning, but the fishing was fairly solid nonetheless. The pompano rigs produced plenty of whiting, small permit, and catfish. Eventually, with the dirty water being dominant, the catfish took over. Once again, nothing would touch a bevy of soft and hard plastic lures, but plenty of blue fish were eager to take a bite of silver and gold spoons.

Thursday afternoon: I enjoyed a very pleasant round of golf with Dad on Thursday morning, so once the rains moved on in the afternoon, we headed down to the beach to see if there was any action. As soon as we hit the sand, we could see huge tarpon rolling in the surf zone. My girlfriend, dad, and myself each grabbed a rod and hoped for the best. The tarpon blitz lasted about 45 minutes as we followed them busting on bait balls down the beach. As much as we tried, we couldn’t get any of them interested in any of the artificials we were throwing. Soft plastics, hard plastics, Mirrodines, plugs, rattle-traps… you name it. Meanwhile, my girlfriend grabbed the rod with the 1 oz silver spoon attached and she was getting hook-ups every cast. Bigger permit had moved in, as well as blue fish and spanish mackerel. Eventually, we all switched over to throwing spoons and the onslaught was relentless. Unfortunately, none of us received the ultimate prize of a tarpon hook-up, but we had a blast with the constant sound of drags screaming in the surf on every cast.

mystery fish

I’ve never caught one of these before, but her colors sure are eye-catching and she was more than eager to take a bite of the silver spoon!

Friday morning: My last morning of fishing proved to be the best, by far. My 6:00 AM walk down to the beach greeted me with massive bait balls pushed up against the shore, for as long as the eye could see. The water clarity had improved 100% and covering the water were huge, dark blue patches of bait fish. It didn’t take long for all the tarpon to move in again and the action was intense. Big Jack Crevalle entered the scene and the feeding frenzy looked like something out of a National Geographic documentary.

Normally, I’ll fish in the mornings until breakfast time before heading back inside, but today was different. The feeding frenzy was longer than anything I had ever experienced and the big bait balls hung around the surf zone until about 2:00 in the afternoon. There were other local fisherman on the beach that I had made acquaintances with throughout the week (and from previous visits to the same location). They were also throwing a lot of soft-plastics in an attempt to get a hook-up with a tarpon, but none were successful. Meanwhile, the classic silver and gold spoons were bringing action on every cast. Jacks, Permit, Spanish Macks, Bluefish, Lady’s, Sennett, and more were all landed in multitudes. One brief tarpon hook-up occurred before she went air-born and spit my bait high into the air.

Bluefish bite

Let this be a reminder to everyone not to get careless when unhooking Bluefish… I tried to quickly get this guy off the hook during a tarpon frenzy and he reminded me to pay him a little more respect by taking a chomp on my thumb.

As high tide approached in the afternoon; the fishing became tougher as the water levels were too high to wade out to the first bar and the bait balls had moved out further into the water. The action had continued in full force, until the sharks sent me packing for good. Seeing a 5+ ft shark swimming horizontally in the breaking wave right in front of your eyes was enough nightmare fuel for me to get back to the shore. After watching in amusement the sharks feed on the few remaining bait balls close to the beach, I finally ended my 7+ hour fishing day and headed for the house. Even though nothing “major” was landed from the surf, it was some of the most intense fishing action I had ever experienced for such an extended period of time.

surf spanish mackerel

Big bait balls close to the beach brought it loads of predator fish last week, including many keeper-size Spanish Mackerel. My girlfriend, dad, and myself had a blast fighting these guys until our shoulders were sore.

Unfortunately, I returned home to St. Louis without adding any more trophy fish to the photo album like our trips to Indialantic in 2018 (my first experience landing huge Snook in the surf). However, the thrill of being right in the middle of multiple feeding frenzies from the beach is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. My only regret is not taking the time to stop and take more pictures of our catches, but things were so crazy it was hard to stop casting long enough to photograph our fish.

Thanks to all the locals that provide such a wonderful location for me and my family to come visit every year. We love everything about the Melbourne Beach area and plan on continuing to visit indefinitely.