Surf fishing can be extremely productive in spring. It’s also a great time to sample the amazing variety of game fish that migrate through our waters. Lucky for us, these species are rarely selective and often overlooked by visiting anglers. These fish make their living in large densely packed schools, feeding opportunistically on most anything that crosses their path.
I always enjoy taking my fly-fishing school students down to the surf behind our shop on 30-A. They are always surprised by the quality of fishing. With a little bit of instruction, a trained eye will reveal a whole new world of fishing opportunities. What might appear to be a dark cloud slowly moving down the beach can suddenly erupt into a school of feeding fish. Casting a silver spoon or fly into these waters can tap into an exciting fishing experience. They will chase and take a well-presented offering with reckless abandon.
This is truly a “mixed bag” fishery. It is possible to catch up to 6 species in a single morning.
Some of the most sought after species found in the surf include redfish, Spanish Mackerel, bluefish, cobia, Jack Crevalle and ladyfish (skip jack). Although most of these species are not great table fare, they can provide hours of fun and leave the kids with big smiles. If you would like to catch something for dinner then Pompano is your quarry. These tasty relatives of the Permit are found in large schools all along the beaches of South Walton. They can be taken on fly or light tackle. The most popular method, is a simple surf rig tipped with a live sand flea (mole crab).
The beauty of this fishery is that very little equipment is needed. This includes a quality pair of polarized sunglasses, stainless pliers for cutting line and hook removal, and either a lightweight spinning or 7 or 8 wt. fly-fishing outfit. This should be all you need to get out and “get your feet wet”. Hopefully this will help you see the beach through new polarized eyes.
Jason Stacy wears many hats including: Manager of Old Florida Outfitters, lead Instructor at the WaterColor Resort Orvis Fly Fishing School, and inshore fishing guide with Shallow Water Expeditions Guide Service. For more info contact Jason at 850-534-4343 or visit www.ShallowWaterExpeditions.com