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Old 02-22-2015, 09:50 PM   #1
learning to surf fish!
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Default New Surf Fisherman in Destin

Hey everyone,

I have been scouring these boards all day and still have a few questions for my upcoming trip to Destin and my adventures into surf fishing. We will be arriving in late March and staying for three days. Our house there is right off the beach by the Crab Trap area. Will these beaches be super crowded early AM and will there be fish biting then? I hope the water temp is a little higher for Pompano but really we want to catch anything and have a good time. I hope we can go a couple days before sunrise and have some fun. My dad, brother in law, and I hope to have some good times and maybe even catch something despite our best efforts.

So we have nothing for equipment, limited knowledge, and a limited budget. We go to Destin 3-5 times a year at various times so the equipment does not need to be high quality now. I am sure we will upgrade as time goes on but for now budget/entry level gear will be fine. Would it be an OK plan at this time of year to get a smaller rod/reel to cast from the water or wait until it gets warmer?

As far as rod/reel, is it OK to just go to Wal Mart or Bass Pro and get a cheap spinner combo, as long as the rod is 9' or 10' and the reel around 5000? Also, I am thinking just decent 20# braid line? Flourocarbon leader?

I want to not have to tie or make anything as I don't know how and we won't have time learning/doing that on this trip. Where can I get pre made pompano rigs? Will I need any other lures, weights, etc. I assume the 2-5 oz pyramid weights correct? Also do they need to be colored orange?

Will we be able to find fleas on the beach at that time or will we need to buy bait?

What else am I missing that I will need to get in order to get up and running? I feel like I have a good grasp of reading surf and the very basic of knowledge at this, but after reading so much today it is slowly becoming a blur and still a bit confusing. All help is greatly appreciated, this board is really great by the way!
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:25 PM   #2
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Destin will be busy in March, but you guys can always walk the beach, look for some good spots, and hopefully avoid the crowds. If you haven't already read it, I would suggest the thread on reading the surf to help you find the fish. https://www.pensacolafishingforum.com...ad-surf-65252/

I think you will be fine with a combo from Bass Pro, 10'-12' surf rod, depending on what feels best to you. I stick with 2-3 oz pyramid sinkers, and they hold well even in rough surf.

We hope there will be plenty of pompano around in March. Grab a couple of pompano rigs. Maybe try one with floaters, and one without. I like to try different rigs and see what works. I did find a few sand fleas today. I never use frozen sand fleas. Peeled shrimp is a great bait in the surf, and many different fish will bite it.

Where you decide to fish is more important than all the fancy gear. If you're on the fish, and they are biting, an old rod, decent reel, and rusty hooks will land fish. Just get out there, enjoy the environment and keep some lines in the water...you'll get a bite! Good luck!
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Old 02-23-2015, 01:40 AM   #3
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The bait stores have leaders already made for around $1. They have 1 or 2 hook rigs get a couple of pyramid weights like Pilar said & clip a 2 or 3 oz on the bottom swivel. I've caught plenty of pompano on peeled shrimp.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:35 AM   #4
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x2 on everything said above. No, your pyramid sinker's don't have to be orange.
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:11 PM   #5
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I would go into Half Hitch and tell them everything you just asked. The guys there can set you up with a cheaper rod and reel combo that will last longer than a random set up at bass pro or Wally world. I've actually found a lot of prices at the Destin tackle shops (Half hitch, The Ships Chandler) to be cheaper than what I've found at bass pro or Wally world. Not for everything, but for some good quality tackle and local knowledge it can't be beat!

You'll be fine fishing with dead peeled shrimp, or even cut bait. I've caught reds on cut Boston mackerel in the winter. Fish anywhere along the beach where you're at and read the surf to find some spots. If you haven't got bit in an hour, move down about a hundred hardes and try again after reading the surf some more.
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:07 AM   #6
learning to surf fish!
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Thank you all for the responses! I am looking forward to it and will head over to the Half Hitch as it is also real close to our house. I have read the post here on reading the surf and also to any other new guys, the POPE311 videos on Youtube are awesome visual references for learning.
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:20 PM   #7
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You don't have to get high end stuff, but you need to get reels that can handle the salt water. When I first started surf fishing I got the walmart specials and they lasted about 3-4 days in salt water. I would look into the Cabelas salt striker, penn fierce or similar. I love to surf fish with spoons and jigs and use a 7' ugly stick graphite light M action with a Penn Sargus 3000 and 10# braid. When bait fishing with this combo I use as little weight as possible. A carolina rig works well with it. I've caught lots of spanish, trout, hard heads, hard tails croakers and about anything else in the surf. It's a lot more fun than a 10' broomstick. I also have some bigger stuff, but that's my go to combo when I want to have fun.

Also look at these http://www.basspro.com/Fishbites-EZ-...duct/10215441/

They are very easy to use and work really well.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:12 PM   #8
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get decent tackle as far as reels and go cheap on the rods no reason to put braid on a reel that will be crap in a week look on ebay or craigslist for an older penn 650/0 or 750/0 maybe a 704z u should find those for 40 to 70 $ they are close to bulletproof u are in a great area for pompano that time but flees are tough get some shrimp as a backup and look at night for flees and orange leads are overrated put pink sure seems to work
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:14 AM   #9
learning to surf fish!
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OK so I am here in Destin fishing these last two days and need some more help to try and catch something. I have been the last two morning with only one bite. I bought a Penn Fierce 9' combo and then just a cheap 8' combo to have two set ups. I went to Half hitch next and bought the pompano rigs they had along with 3 oz sinkers. I also got a package of orange fishbites and a dozen live shrimp. I am on the Destin beach around the Crab Trap restaurant. I have tried to find darker spots and areas where the Pelicans were diving for fish.

I have one day left so I was looking for some help, another trip to half Hitch to load up on more stuff and then get after it. Thanks for any help!
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:38 AM   #10
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If you don't know how to fish live shrimp (I don't) then get fresh dead. You might try casting different distances or fish like you would a plastic worm in the winter. Throw it out and reel in really slow. I did this in pensacola a few years ago and discovered the fish were about 10 feet from shore just outside the wash. I tore up the whiting, caught a couple trout, lady fish and even a spadefish.
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