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On Surf Road

November 2009 Web Xtra Coverage. In the November issue of Florida Sportsman, writer David Conway rides with one of the best surf fishers in the state, Larry Finch of Jacksonville. Not only can you pick up tips from Conway’s story on how to improve your catch ratio in the surf, but Finch provides his cell phone number to let you know where the bite is hot. Check it in the November issue.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Stops for Winter Surf Fishing.Remember the new law; to fish from shore you now need a license.

 

East Coast:

 

Little Talbot Island State Park offers camping and surf fishing for pomps, bluefish, black drum and striped bass.

 

Beaches on the south end of Amelia Island and at Matanzas Inlet have just been opened to driving, increasing access to excellent surf fishing for redfish, flounder and pompano.

 

Paying to drive along the gently-sloping New Smyrna Beaches is well worth it. They’re pompano central for the east coast in the winter.

 

 

Larry Finch at New Smyrna beach fishing for pompano.

Try Playalinda Beach, east of Titusville, for sandfleas, whiting and pompano.

 

The Canaveral Seashore beaches had plenty of sandfleas but a poor pompano season last year, so folks here are naturally hoping for a rebound this year. The pomps stayed more to the north and the south.

 

At Sebastian Inlet State Park and Wabasso Beach, you can catch whiting and pompano without too much pressure.

 

When pompano are on the move around beaches to the north and south of Fort Pierce Inlet, they sometimes hold near the jetties on either side of this inlet.

 

Jensen Beach’s wide beaches and good cuts draw plenty of whiting, pompano and black drum.

 

Take Bridge Road east to Hobe Sound Public Beach. It’s one of the best in the Southeast for winter fishing.

 

Juno Pier is very good spot for fishing with kids, especially on the weekdays, for snook, pompano, tripletail and mackerel.

 

In South Florida, the fish are in the surf, but fishing has been squeezed by limited public access first off, and on public beaches, by the popularity of swimming. Lifeguards really don’t allow daylight surf fishing, but if you get there about sunrise or after lifeguards leave, you can make a go of it. Otherwise, try the jetties at Port Everglades, south side, and the jetties at Haulover. Both jetties are paved for safer walking.

 

West Coast:

 

Among the many stellar beaches for surf fishing along the Panhandle, includeSanta Rosa Island, between Navarre and Pensacola Beach, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and to the east, the beaches of St. George Island State Park. These beaches have easy access and great cuts that funnel reds, pomps and whiting to the shoreline. Also on that list would be Topsail State Park.

 

Mexico Beach is well known and productive for pompano and whiting, and the fishing only gets better into the fall and winter.

 

Dan Russell Pier, in Panama City Beach, reopened over the summer and puts shorebound anglers over the fish.

 

Go to St. George Island for whiting and redfish.

 

Cap San Blas is famous for its redfish, whiting and speckled trout, especially at the Stumphole area.

 

Try the south end of Pass A Grille beach for whiting, Spanish, trout, mangrove snapper, reds and more.

 

The beaches at Fort DeSoto are very fishy, and draw a wide variety of species, including pompano, permit, trout and Spanish.

 

The Coast Guard Beach at Gasparilla is known for snook, reds, pomps and trout.

 

Blind Pass, between Sanibel and Captiva Islands, is now open and offers parking and surf and bridge fishing for reds, snook, trout and sheepshead and snapper.

 

Bowman’s Beach, famous for snook, also offers other nearshore and inshore species to anglers.

 

The Point Ybel Lighthouse beach and the Sanibel pier offer real good surf fishing for big reds, snook, trout, Spanish and sheepies.

 

At Big Carlos Pass and New Pass there is beach access for surf and bridge busters. Snook, sharks, giant jacks, big reds, trout, giant black drum, sheepies and more all visit there.

 

Lovers Key State Park has a tram ride to the beach and plenty of variety of species, including trout, snook, reds, shark, cobia and even tarpon.

 

Lely Barefoot Beach, north of Wiggins Pass for whiting, is a good haunt for pomps and sheepshead.

 

Delanor-Wiggins State Park on the south side of Wiggins Pass draws in pomps, whiting, blues, Spanish and sharks.

 

In the Naples area, the most popular shore spot is Naples Pier, but south of the pier, all the way to Gordon Pass, the beach also offers good fishing. Look for redfish along the pilings.

 

–The FS Team 4casters, www.floridasportsman.com/4cast