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Old 08-27-2014, 11:46 AM   #1
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Default First shot at surf fishing..tips appreciated

Hey folks. I am new here, and found this place by google searching about surf fishing. My family and I will be making a trip tot he Ft. Walton / Destin area this Saturday. We may stay over night, but not sure yet.

I have done some pier fishing in the past, but I'd really like to try some surf fishing. This is mainly for my little girl..I just want her to experience some fish catching.

Since I am from Alabama, I know I need a license. I guess I can get this at any bait shop? I'll just need a license for a day or several days..whatever is offered for a short period.

We will be going to Beasley Park probably..that's where we usually go. I just hope I don't see a 'No fishing' sign there.

I am a pretty experienced fresh water fisherman for things like bass, crappie, etc. I don't know exactly what the best thing is to use for salt water surf. I've watched a ton of youtube vids and done some reading -Here seems like a great place for info.

I'm going to have to pick up some tackle, so I have been researching that. Best I have is probably a 6-7' rod, and I doubt it is stout enough for surf fishing. I figured I'd hit bass pro and pick up a decent medium to heavy rod. I have some good reels that can hold 250-300 yards of 20# line. I got that info from a youtube vid. I see many people fish on bottom with a pyramid weight and a pompano rig or something similar. Figured I'd give that a shot.

I see that sand fleas are good, as well as shrimp or some other things. I guess my use of sand fleas will be dependent on my ability to actually catch some. I think I have the idea of how to find them and catch them by watching some vids..lol. Can't be that hard.

I'd like to catch some fish to eat..like the pompanos or other stuff that you guys might recommend. I hope I don't catch a shark but I know it's a possibility. I see the catfish are pretty much worthless too.

We plan on heading out to the beach and getting there about 8 or 9am, and probably staying until about lunch. Then we will go get lunch and come back afterwards and maybe stay till 5 or 6. I'd like to have a pole in the water if I can.

Any hints you guys can provide would be great. I like fishing with my kids..but it isn't any fun for them if we don't catch anything. That's happened a time or two and they lose interest pretty quick..lol.

Last edited by theirons84; 08-27-2014 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:54 AM   #2
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Welcome. I am new here myself and have nothing but great things to say about the people here. Everyone seems very very helpful. I am in a similar position and will be heading down with my family in a few weeks. There is so much information here that sometimes it is overwhelming. I think the best part about surf fishing is that you can get a good sand spike (rod holder) and just wait until you get something. You can play with the kids and do other things and not have to have your hand on the rod the entire time. The other fun thing is actually catching the sand fleas. My little boy (almost 4) loves this part and loves when I catch some of the bait fish with my cast net and plays with them in the bucket. He is usually over the moon not even catching anything. I would bring something with you though just in case you can't catch any sand fleas or any bait fish to use. The best times I have found to fish are early (between 7am and 9am) and late, usually about 1-2 hours before sunset. If you can stay that late, you should have a good shot at catching something. You are on the right track with the pyramid sinkers and the pompono rig. I would recommend using something with floats as it keeps it off the bottom but I have been told the "Pomps" are sight eaters and this might deter them. I just enjoy having someting on the other end pulling to be honest. Best of luck and enjoy the fishing!
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:57 AM   #3
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Your gonna need a bigger pole. Honestly surf fishing requires poles 8ft+ to fling that bait past the second sand bar. Stagger your bait over different sand bars and water depth. Right now theres few few few pompano running mainly they are in the spring but plenty of blues and spanish. The main thing your going to catch is whiting. Pretty good edibility in my opinion. And chicken rigs and pompano rigs with the triangle weight are a good start, and investing in a sand flea rake is well worth it. I use an 8ft pole with 30# test.

PS, I use to love fishing that beach. very secluded from the rest of Destin and the High rise condos.
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:23 PM   #4
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Ok so an 8'+ rod will be sufficient. How far out is the second sand bar? That is something I'm not really clear on yet either..how far out the bait needs to be. I'll pick up some pvc and rig some sand spikes up too.
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theirons84 View Post
Ok so an 8'+ rod will be sufficient. How far out is the second sand bar? That is something I'm not really clear on yet either..how far out the bait needs to be. I'll pick up some pvc and rig some sand spikes up too.

about 100 yards out for the second bar and about 50 for the first. look on google earth for where you are going to be and you can get an idea. like the other guy said get a 8'+ pole. you'll be super lucky to catch pompanos it will be more likely to catch red fish if you use sand fleas. Make sure that you set the drag lose cause if something decent hits it it'll take your rod.
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:50 PM   #6
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Yeah I was thinking to slack the drag off to pretty much all the way. I have no idea what I might catch..so I guess that having the drag is the only thing that might save me. My only issue with google earth is that the pics may not be up to date. Doesn't the surf change from time to time?
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:03 PM   #7
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Here's a google earth shot of Beasley park. I'm guessing the first sand bar is pretty much the first 10-15 yards of water edge, followed by the deeper water (the darker water), and then the second sand bar is where the (c)2014 google text is?
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:09 PM   #8
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Its 200 yards to the edge of the second sand bar.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:56 PM   #9
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I would second that everyone on here is really helpful. I came on here last year when we went to Destin and I wanted to try surf fishing. While the June grass got the best of us, we did manage to catch some fish and will be planning on doing the same this year. As you can see I am back lurking on here again, but still have a month to go.

I will say on the sand fleas, I bought a cheapo rake from walmart (also got my license there) and figured out after about 10 minutes a) cheapo rake bend heapum easy, b) you don't really need it. Look for the "V"s they make as the surf goes out. That's their two feeder antenna making a wake in the surf, you will see dozens of these indicating a colony. Then walk over there, scoop the wet sand with your hands and throw it up the beach. They're easy to catch out of their element, if your kid is old enough she'll love doing that part. It's easy to get a dozen in a couple minutes, and unless you plan on fishing a ton of rods that's plenty for a bit. I tried to fish the pregnant ones when I could, their eggs are a bright orange and I figure any fish will attack what it thinks is the most bang for the buck. They carry them just like a crawdad under their tail. I bought a rod and reel at the Bass Pro, there's good guidelines on here about how much line and test you want on there. I also hit up youtube to learn how to tie the leaders and rigs for circle hooks and pyramid weights. Honestly I think casting may have been my favorite part, with a 3oz pyramid on the end of a 9-10' rod you can absolutely chuck your line. Slightly different than the fly fishing I've been doing lately. Making a rod holder is as easy as cutting a 8' section of 1 1/2-2" in PVC pipe in half at an angle. If you want to get fancy you could drill a hole through both sides and put in a dowel rod to create both a rod stop and handle for planting it. And keep your rod tip high, helps you detect a bite and keep oblivious beach walkers from tangling up in your line (which I think is inevitable). Although we did not catch much last year we had fun, and it's a lot different than fresh water because you have no idea what you're going to pull up. We saw redfish, turtles, and had a 4ft shark come within about 15ft of us. First shark I'd ever seen at the beach and certainly the closest I'd gotten to one outside of an aquarium. However it goes you'll have a good time.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:56 AM   #10
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Thanks for the great responses folks. I took a trip to bass pro last night and picked up a rod and reel. I had a reel I was planning on using but I was worried that it would not be big enough to hold the amount of heavier line I needed. I got a nine foot rod. I figured this would be good enough for a first try at it.

I got a bunch of tackle, and basically just tried to mimic the stuff that I had seen used in all the videos and literature I've been scouring over. I got some 3 and 4 oz pyramid sinkers, 5mm reddish colored plastic beads, 3.0 octopus up-eye hooks (all I could find around here..not a huge selection of salt water stuff), 12" 20lb test leaders (the steel cable kind), and some 20lb test monofilament line. I got some floats too, but they are not the kind I had seen in the vids. There is a guy rigging up what he calls "float hooks" and he is using small acorn shaped floats. I bought some floats that I can cut into a similar shape.

I guess for starters I will just use a drop rig with the two hooks and a sinker. I got the cable leaders, but I'm not sure if I will need them. I feel like if a shark were to hook up on a shark his teeth would just cut it. I'm hoping I can keep as much tackle as possible. Any hints on how to set it up would be great.
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