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Went out to Johnsons beach again yesterday, for the fourth time since Christmas. I arrived a little before 3PM and set up four poles. The first was a light line with a piece of cut shrimp on a small hook with a 1 oz sinker, which had to be changed to a 2 oz quickly. I then set up two heavier lines with live shrimp and the last was a heavy surf rod with a dead cigar minnow. They stayed undisturbed until the sun set, when one of the medium rods took off. I thought I finally had a nice fish. It ran me down the beach nearly a 100 yards before I reeled it close enough to see what it was. It was the was the second ray I have caught in my four trips to Johnsons Beach sine Christmas. That is all I have caught in my four trips there, two huge rays. I want to catch a fish!
 

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I know that is aggrivating. I may try to go in a few days since we will have constant north winds which will clean up the surf and lay it down completely. Florida Sportsman Magazine had an interesting article I read yesterday about sight fishing in our part of the Gulf for bull reds.
 

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Neptune calls me "Daddy"
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These are the SLOW DAYS of fishing in P'cola. You can catch fish, but they are few and far between.


Enjoy your time on the beach... fish will come.

Jim
 

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Good comments! As others have said, hang in there, put the time in and you'll catch fish. This time of year I wait for a south wind to blow after a cold front passes. I believe in what's been called the first rule of surf fishing…There has to be surf to catch fish. Its not 100 percent, but surf moves the bait around and the fish follow.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the tips, I am going to keep at it, I have the time and it beats working. I am trying different things, I have been trying different baits and presentations and have been able to find the deeper spots and even what appear to be openings in the sand bars. I know I will find fish eventually.
We are certainly enduring a cold front, and it looks like it will return to the 60's by the end of the weekend, with warm rain on Monday. I will likely try again Sunday or Monday. I have tried to fish incoming tides, but I am not sure at this point if that maters much since they haven't produced anything for me anyway.
I would love a nice black or red drum, but would be happy with anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have heard from a couple people now that they are edible and have a scallop like texture. I have not tried them, I wouldn't know how to clean or cook them. I have never seen them on a restaurant menu which usually means there is a reason....
 

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The reason you haven't seen fresh ray on a menu, is they must be caught, cleaned, and eaten fresh because of the uric acid that seaps through their skin. Now, on another note if you have eaten sea scallops at a restaurant, or purchased from a local reputable seafood market you most likely have eaten ray. They plug their wings and flash freeze them. Easy to tell because they're all the same size. Fresh ray is quite delicious, and YouTube how to clean them, almost like any other fish. Everything from sea is edible and tastes amazing in some way.
 

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I have some comments and questions about your experiences. When you say cut shrimp, do you literally just mean cut up live shrimp?

Now I'm a relatively new Floridian, but I've learned a lot in a year. For starters, like others said, a south wind or even east or west is crucial. A north wind is garbage for standard set line surf fishing. Also, fishing in little to no surf is almost a waste of time. If you use shrimp, I highly suggest peeled market shrimp. Not live(whole) or DEF not frozen! Another thing that has greatly upped my numbers is tiny (1/0) circle hooks with no beads or floats. Just tiny hooks.

This is just my opinion and things I've learned while in my time here so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
"Fresh ray is quite delicious, and YouTube how to clean them"

OK, I will look it up and give it some thought, I do love scallops. Anyone else want to chime in on eating rays? I am curious now, any thoughts welcome, whether cooking or dislikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Simonj31 -

When you say cut shrimp, do you literally just mean cut up live shrimp? I have been using both live and fresh dead shrimp. When I say cut shrimp I just meant I cut a live shrimp in half. I have never tried peeled shrimp, not really sure what that means?

As far as hook size, what size fish are you catching with #1 hooks?

Thanks for the tips, they are appreciated.
 

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Master of Disaster
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Might I suggest trying near some jetties or piers and pilings.... They were tearing up the sheepies and bluefish before this cold weather set in. Not sure how they will be biting now..... Just a little drive to Perdido Pass, Alabama, from over there.
 

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id be happy with 2 big rays, but thats me and a few others. Just gotta stick with it. I went sharking and threw out my surf rod with a whole mullet head and about 4am I get woken up and hear my reel. Ended up being a 32'' Red. I either lost a red or a small shark right when I got there on cut mullet.
 

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Simonj31 -

When you say cut shrimp, do you literally just mean cut up live shrimp? I have been using both live and fresh dead shrimp. When I say cut shrimp I just meant I cut a live shrimp in half. I have never tried peeled shrimp, not really sure what that means?

As far as hook size, what size fish are you catching with #1 hooks?

Thanks for the tips, they are appreciated.
Pompano, Drum, Blues, Reds etc... Bigger is not always better. Check out my post from last week. Caught a bunch of Reds, to include two bulls on a 1/0. No issues what so ever. When I switched to small hooks might bite rate went way up!

By peeled I mean take the skin/she'll off of the meat. If you buy market shrimp just peel it right off. If you have live/fresh dead, twist of the head and the very end of the tail. Then peel the rest off, leaving only the meat.
 

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believe it or not I have caught all my reds(all bulls) on a 12/0 hook, and the rest were on 16/0 hooks. All had cable leaders as well. The reds arent too picky. ive used mingo heads, ladyfish, cut blue and mullet.
 

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I've use frozen shrimp just about every time I go out. I haven't had problems catching reds, black drum, and pompano using it. Thaw, peel, and if the fish are biting..they will hit it.
 
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