January delivered big catches after a hit and miss December that had many wondering if the fishing, conditions and weather would ever align. The previous weeks we’ve been blessed along the Space Coast with ideal surf fishing conditions, cooperating fish and pleasant weather. You can’t beat Florida this time of year when one can hit the sand and enjoy the spoils of the surf fishing species on tap. Everything from pompano, black drum, bluefish, whiting and sharks were active and frequently caught during our surf fishing charters and seminars.
Florida pompano are clearly the talk of the town when it comes to surf fishing Brevard county beaches in the winter months. Anglers flock in droves to the Space Coast to try and catch this prestigious species. Known not only for the delicious table fare they provide, but also as a hard fighting fun species that can bend the rod and send surf fishing anglers into euphoria. For those that have been in a hot pompano bite they understand the pursuit of replicating those amazing memories day in and day out.
The key to catching pompano consistently has been the mastering and understanding of reading the water. After the hurricane in November many of the sandbars and troughs have shifted about throughout our region spanning from Cape Canaveral to Sebastian Inlet. The technique of reading the troughs, run-outs and sandbars as a course study has directly resulted in those having success and others not as much. Fishing the different troughs and run outs throughout the region using Fishbites Clam and Crab scent has proven to be the hot ticket item on the Pompano palate. Fresh shrimp, sand fleas and clams in combination with the Fishbites and rigged on pompano rigs proves to be irresistible as of late.
Pompano aren’t all that’s on offer though as we’ve experienced a red hot month for catching black drum and bluefish. The black drum have ranged in size from undersize puppy drum to behemoth sizes pushing over 40lbs. Although you are allowed to retain one larger than 24”, I recommend releasing the large ones to sustain the fishery in addition to the fact they don’t taste well and commonly have worms when they grow larger. We’ve been catching the black drum on the same setups as used for the pompano fishing.
Bluefish, as persistent as they may be, have offered a lot of relief for those looking to bend a rod and head home with somewhat of a guaranteed catch. Fresh shrimp, clams and chunked baits have accounted for most bluefish catches and the artificial lures used for them haven’t been quite as hot. This month I’ve seen a run of some of the largest bluefish hitting our shores as far as I can remember. Bluefish make a great fish jerky and for that reason we’ve kept most for the smoker, but be sure to bleed and get your fish on ice immediately for best results for table fare.
Lastly the shark fishing charters spike way up once again in the previous weeks. December hit a bit of a slow spot but that seems to be in the rearview mirror. Blacktips have been the main shark species while shark fishing near Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach. Oftentimes when you lose your whiting or pompano catch on the retrieve you can attest that to the mighty blacktip. We’ve caught multiple blacktips in the last two weeks with surf angler pompano rigs attached as the sharks most likely ate your pompano or whiting on the retrieve. We’re always sure to untangle any remnants of anglers’ rigs and line and get the shark in its way in a hurry. Looks like another good week of surf fishing in the forecast so be sure to get out there and give a go.
As a reminder we’ll be running our monthly surf fishing seminar on February 11, 2023. If you’re interested in learning to surf fish like a pro then give us a call to book your spot. Everything is included in this 4 hour hands on seminar and we’ll be fishing during the interactive lessons. Look forward to seeing you there.