Spring time surf fishing patterns are in full effect with the lineup of species acting accordingly. Pompano fishing remains a staple this time of year, and we’re seeing a major push beginning to happen on our Space Coast Beaches. Fishing near Sebastian Inlet and Melbourne Beach have seen consistency with the larger pompano and bull whiting. Surf fishing catches in Cocoa Beach brought in whiting, bluefish, black drum and single-digit pompano. Regardless of the beach location, guided shark fishing trips have produced big numbers of blacktip sharks, sandbar sharks and lemon sharks.
This time of year continues to be red hot for shark fishing the beach. If you ever wanted the excitement of a drag screaming acrobatic blacktip shark, then now is your opportunity. While the smaller 3-4 ft. sandbar sharks will keep your rod bent with shorter runs and violent head shakes, it’s the incredible blacktip shark that will steal the show. Commonly mistaken for a spinner shark, the blacktip is notorious for breaking the surface displaying power and agility in its head-shaking leaps and wild twisting contortions. With that being said, be prepared for a battle and use heavy drag to land the shark fast. Our surf fishing equipment for catching sharks has 100 lb. braided line with a casting shark rig on 12/0 circle hook with wire leader. Be sure to land these sharks quickly and expeditiously, dehook and get them back into the water and ensure a safe release.
Warming water temperatures caused the Spanish mackerel bite to thin out between locations, but the bluefish continue to be present and numerous at times. Casting cut bait like chunked mullet or ladyfish will ensure your chance at a load of bluefish. Casting spoons and gotcha plugs with long cast makes smaller spinning tackle fun and exciting to differentiate from traditional surf equipment. Recently some fish have been holding on the inside trough, but higher numbers are being caught on the midrange distance considering the tide.
Whiting, in my opinion, are one of the most under-appreciated species we target, having been on fire on certain days catching whiting in the hundreds on multiple days last week before the front. These bites don’t last forever and are quite a site to see. Using solely Fishbites in the white crab and electric chicken shrimp flavor provided all that was needed to be reeling in doubles each cast. Be sure to vary distance and be disciplined in not overcasting the larger pockets of fish. The majority of successful days came on a mid-tide with fish holding closer to shore feeding in crustaceans. I love me some whiting and the big ones have held a large percentage of total catch with multiple fish weighing in around 2 lbs.!
In summary, the fishing hasn’t been incredible with consistency so fish as much as possible to find the best opportunities. Specifically when the water is dirty, you can expect to see the bonnetheads and catfish in force with the more treasured pompano and whiting showing themselves sparingly. Take note and dedicate more time to the cleaner water conditions, calm seas and light wind days. Those conditional factors alone will dictate the number and types of species to be on hand for the day. Looks like a beautiful week ahead so get out there and catch ‘em up!