For Dorothy the beach is a place to walk, pick up shells and sit around and do nothing. While I enjoy much of that, especially with a Jimmy Buffet approved drink in hand, I also love to fish the shore. There is an excitement about surf fishing that to me just doesn’t exist in a lake or a river. Do a bit of research on any lake or river (fresh water river) and likely there are 6-12 fish if that which are commonly caught on rod and reel.
When you look at fish you are likely to catch the number is likely to be closer to 3-4 than 12. And frequently to catch any real variety you will have to employ a variety of techniques, baits, depths, approaches to catch any significant number of fish species.
Now fishing with mostly life shrimp and one method, these are the species I caught over 9 days on the Sanibel island coast…
- Cero Mackerel
- Spanish Mackerel
- Hard Head Catfish
- Jack Crevalle
- Blue Runner
- Speckled Sea Trout
That is 9 species and I am leaving out some of the little odd bait fish stuff that also managed to get hooked like Pig and Pin fish. With that I’d be over a dozen.
I also took a guided fishing trip and focused on big fish. While we didn’t get any real monsters and gave up catching a lot of little stuff to target something bigger, I did get to cross an item off my bucket list. That was a Goliath Grouper in the 50 pound range.
I also caught a black tip shark in the 20 pound range on the same trip. On top of this I got to see a small shark cut a nice Jack in half with a single bite, allowing me to reel in the head, which we then used to catch the grouper.
Now I have had some good days/weeks on lakes and rivers but nothing like this!
I have fished the Texas coast many times and while not quite the diversity of Florida’s coast it is also a great deal of fun. I have often caught red fish, sea trout, whiting, sand trout, croaker, sail cats, hard heads and a lot of other stuff in a single trip.
I have also managed to catch a few small black tip sharks down there. I even remember one day when the surf was really clear and I was standing about waste deep on the second sand bar and several of us watched a bull shark that was at least 8 feet cruise by just 10 yards in front of us, while we all backed slowly onto the bars shallower area, no one panicked and the fishing continued. This is why I love surf fishing, you never know what you might catch or what might happen.
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- My basic gear, not much different from lake fishing
- Medium action spinning rod
- Snap swivels
- 10-14 pound premium mono
- Bait casting sinkers
- Bait holder hooks #2 – #4/0 generally snelled
- Circle hooks #2-2/0 also snelled with floro carbon
- Cut bait (shrimp, cut whiting, squid, etc)
- Live shrimp
- Stepping gear up for bigger fish
- Medium Heavy to Heavy Action rod and reel
- Braided line is almost a must have
- Steel leaders – not without problems!
- Large circle or khale hooks
- Simply put, bigger bait
- Don’t buy rod holders they are too cheap and easy to make
- Paddle boards, surf boards, etc. – not necessary but functional
- Thoughts on the Sand Blaster type technology
- Taking a multi day trip and including a guided boat trip
- The basics of surf fishing – easy as it gets
- Guts and bars are your friend, if they are there
- Tides, incoming is best but it is not that simple
- Understanding tides and tide charts
- Surf reports, calm water equals better fishing
- In summer cool calm mornings trump tides, in fact they seem to trump everything
- Seasonality – what is there and when
- Piers – sometimes the only valid option but crowded
- When wading shuffle – sting rays!
- Beyond Cut Baits and Life Shrimp
- Whitebait, Theadthins, Pinfish, etc.
- Cast nets – they work, they have limits in the surf
- Sand Fleas and Small Crabs
- The DOA shrimp – probably one of the best artificials that exists
- Safety and Comfort Gear
- Needle nose and hemostats – consider a glove
- Basic first aid kit – have aloe gel on hand
- Jelly Fish Sting Treatment – Link
- Good knifes and a cleaning board – if keeping fish
- Really good cooler, lots of ice
- Water, water, water, water and water
- Sun Block – water really fries you
- Fishing Shirts – (these are my favorite ones) – (same company generic version)
- Bait buckets for live bait, bait containers (avoid the chomp)
- Umbrellas, canopies, tables, etc. – Camps are comfortable
- Check AirBnB – Lots of stuff is available on or near the water
- Bonus – canal homes equal crabs at low tide!
Resources for today’s show…
- Join the Members Brigade
- Join Our Forum
- The Year 141
- Walking To Freedom
- TSP Gear
- TspAz.com – Support TSP When You Shop Online
- The Granddaddy’s Gun Club
- Biltong for Breakfast
- Zombie – The Cranberries
- Zombie on Song Facts
- Zombie – Bad Wolves Version
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