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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Y'all,


SHORT VERSION AT BOTTOM!
Every year for as long as I've lived my extended family goes to a place just east of San Destin for a week of family reunion and beach fun. This year we go on May 28.
I have tried surf fishing the past two years, with pretty pathetic results. I have the proper rods and reels (a 'big' spinner; a spinner; a baitcaster), but it's my 'terminal tackle,' technique (surely the #1 problem) and no doubt a whole host of factors. What I've tried in the past is a top and bottom rig (unsure of name; its where there's a weight at the end and two hooks suspended off the main line a ways up from the sinker). What most often happens here is little fish gibble up the bait, which is frozen shrimp or squid. I'd like to use sand fleas, and as a kid I remember they were as common as the sand they hid in. I've not seen one for years. Anyway, how might I stop these thieving little fish? Is there a better rig I might be using? Better bait? Some lost colony of sand fleas? Or even frozen sand fleas (Bass Pro doesn't have them)?
I also use a popping cork (a transparent half-water filled easter egg with a treble hook about 18" behind it. It is 'baited' with a piece of a McDonalds straw and does catch fish - but only small, very close to shore types. Still, it's fun to do while I feed the other little fish from my two larger poles that have been cast out and set.
I've tried other lures, especially pompano jigs, but with exactly ZERO success - on the pompano jigs, spoons or any other lure I've tried. This HAS to be due to my technique. No question. So here is where I need y'all's help the most. How (where) should I cast and most important how do I retrieve/reel it in? Any lures or etc y'all recommend? I'd be very grateful for recommendations.
What I don't bring with me I get from the Bass Pro in Destin which I'm sure is nearly identical to the stuff sold for/in Pensacola. If they've something I should have, please tell me.
I'd like to catch literally anything, excepting sharks, so long as it had some size to it and gave a decent fight. Pompano is what I'd really like to catch, though. I'm strictly catch and release, so you can catch them later (I would cook them up but with approx. 40 family members to feed I'd have to be the world's best surf fisherman!).
I am going to try something new this year. I'm going to catch one of those little guys with my drinking straw, hook him to a larger hook and cast him out to swim around and hopefully catch the eye of his older & bigger cousin. I only know very basic info on how this is done. Either hook him above his midline behing his top fin, the same but UNDER the middle line or through the nose. Assuming these are the correct methods to hook him, how should I fish him? My new reel, bought just last week, is: Okuma Avenger ABF40 which is supposed to allow live bait to swim freely without opening the bail. This is about where my information on fishing a live fish stops. How far do I cast him? Is there a special way to cast with a live fish on the end? Both God and I will love you if you'll take me through it step by step!
Information on all tackle and techniques is needed. I'd be (VERY pleasantly) surprised if one or some of you all wrote out complete advice sets, but if each of you will help me with something then eventually I'll get to the point where I can actually catch a fish worthy of a picture. In my two combined weeks I have caught only ONE fish that MIGHT have rated a picture. A Schoolmaster Snapper, just over 9 inches. Hardly worth anything. And believe me, I fished every day often for hours. I tried going an hour before dawn and going at night. Nothing but those obnoxious little fish - though to be fair to them not a few were as big as my snapper. I am unsure as to their various species, knowing only two - needlefish and ladyfish; both possibly the smallest of their species ever to be caught with at least a little regularity. The ladyfish are fun but disappointing because when I hook one I think I've finally gotten a 'real' fish, until I land the pathetic little guy. The other species are, to me anyway, nameless.
On bit of advice I found was to use a special type of spoon (unnamed) and reel it some and then let it sink to disturb the sand in order to mimic a sand flea or whatever. Any idea what product he was talking about?
Another thing, is there ANY way to keep your top/bottom rig from drifting in through what I'm guessing is wave action. I've used massive pyramid weights and even tried this unusual spider looking sinker. They help, but it's always driven in.
Before I fiorget, what type and weight of line? I've been advised fluorocarbon as your water is so clear - so OK, I'll use it. But pound test? What I've used in the past was a 20# line and a 3-40# leader.
So I'd ask that you'd pitch in with some info on one or more of my questions. I'd be thrilled to death to catch a large gamefish, and since he'd be going right back there'd be no loss to your chances, right?

To sum all this up, I need help with:

-How to reel in lures.
-Which lures?
-WHERE to cast?
-What terminal tackle (top/bottom rig is all I know - there's fishfinder rigs, morticians rigs and I'm sure many more. I don't know them, can learn them on Youtube but should I? What to use?)
-Bait? Are there any sand fleas left at all?
-Line and leader?
-How to hook and present a live fish bait?
-Ending the minnow buffet from my top/bottom rigs?
-Preventing my rig from drifting in?
-Last but far from least, God's help!

Sincere Thanks from Baton Rouge!

Jeremy
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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I'm another week at a timer, but apparently have a lot better luck than you. I use 15-30# braid and most of the time no leader at all, unless I'm shark hunting.

Dump the frozen shrimp unless you just want catfish, the squid is ok. Get some "fresh dead" at the bait shop or go to a local fish market and get fresh. You may want to look at your hooks. If you are having bait stolen that much they may either be dull or too big. For your drop rig are you using wal-mart frankinrigs? If so then you may want to learn to tie your own using 20-30# fluro. I use Mono, but most people advise against it. I still catch fish and it's cheep.

I like this guys rig.

Other baits you'll want to look into is are fishbites http://fishbites.com/ They absolutely will not come off the hook and have been as good or better than natural bait. I've also had good luck with Berkly gulp 3" swimming mullet and shrimp on a jig. http://www.basspro.com/Brand-Berkley-Gulp-Alive/_/N-1z0ukop?cm_sp=BrklyStltGlpMay2014_CFM If there are pinfish in the area they will eat them up. Good news is you can put a chunk of what's left on a bottom rig. They don't work as well as the fishbites, but they will attract fish.

I love Kastmasters for action fishing. I've caught trout, spanish makeral, ladyfish, crokers, hardtails and even a small shark on them. Change up the presintation if something isn't working. Bounce off the bottom, reel it in as fast as you can, pull it in slow or whatever else you can think of.

If your bait is drifting that much either the surf is really bad or your drag isn't tight enough and the waves are pulling it in. Get a sand spike, pull your line tight and keep as much of it out of the water as you can. A sand spike is a 3-5' piece of schedule 40 pvc cut at 45 degrees or deeper. Drive it in the sand 18" or more slightly toward the water, but not enough that a fish could pull it out. http://fishingdestinguide.com/BEACHFISHING-SANDSPIKE.html Read the thread at the top of the surf fishing Q&A page on reading the surf and throw into the holes or gut. You may be throwing on top of the sand bar and your bait is being eaten by crabs and tiny fish.

When you cast, you want your drag pretty tight. After casting take up all the slack until you feel the weight set in the sand, then loosen your drag to the point that there is just a little bend in your rod, the line is taught, but you can easily pull it out with just two fingers.

All this being said, the fish may not have been biting that week. :)
 

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Surf Beast
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If you want to catch some pompano here is how you do it. Get a 7-10 ft rod with a reel no smaller than a penn 4000. Spool with 20# braided or mono line. Use a simple leader with two hooks and a 3oz pyramid weight at the bottom. Dont use the walmart leaders because they are two flashy. Just use a plain monofilament leader. Use sand fleas because frozen shrimp can target any fish as sand fleas are mainly fed on by pompano. You can buy sand fleas at a bait and tackle place. You can buy a sand flea rake and try to catch them but as you said they are finicky and hard to catch by someone who does not know how to locate them. Cast in a trough between the beach and a sandbar. Remember pompano can come right up to the beach and their is no need to try to get it way out their. Also pompano are hard to catch in the summer they mainly run the beaches in april amd may.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FIRST, THATKS TO ALL Y'ALL!

JOHN F:
Dropping any kind of leader just seems like a bad idea. Why would you suggest it? The flashy barrel swivels? I've gotten advice to dump all flashy terminal rig, except the hook, so I'll do that. But I got have more reasons to get rid of all leaders! What are they?
Seems odd to dump the shrimp altogether, as it's been my only producer - however pathetic. I shall give it a go, though. As for squid, how should I hook them/present them? What I have done in the past is just using the 'head' to make a sort of mini-squid. No joy. I've also tried just using them as just cut bait in no real shape at all. Any clarification, please?
My hooks ARE going to get an overhaul. I'm going to go with: 'Mustad UltraPoint Demon' hooks both in-line and offset. I'll ask the guys at Destin's Bass Pro as to the proper size.
I HAVE been using the Wal-Mart rigs, or their equivalent. I like this guy's rigs, too and will ge giving them a go. I've also come across these: 'Matzuo Pompano Wide Gap Rig with Kahle Floats and Fluorescent Beads, Gold' and will try them as they will get my bait up off the bottom.
If I can find the Fishbites, I will be trying their 'Xtreme Scent Release Shrimp 3.5" Lures.' It's too late to order them online. The Berkley Gulp! I have tried, but will try again. Can't hurt. Kastmaster spoons and things like them I've used. It's how I'm retrieving them that's the problem.
I have used sand spikes, of course, and this year have actually made some MUCH taller ones to use. I'm hoping this will make a difference.

BEBEE:
I've got a 12' rod and the Penn Fierce 5000. I've been told by a great many people, most importantly the locals down their at Bass Pro Destin that Flourocarbon is the way to go because of the clarity of y'alls water. I will 100% bring up and press for the pros and cons of braided or mono with them this year (I go buy my line from the first thing so they can remove old line and put on new - I'll have opportunity). I'll ask about proper leaders and have already been advised against anything flashy in the way of swivels, snaps and crimpers.
Sand fleas. As a kid and younger man, sand fleas were about as hard to catch as bending over and snatching them up as the wave receded back down the beacj. No digging or rakes needed, you could easily see dozens swimming about in the wave wash. Are there still some down there? Seems unlikely as I used to see them with the naked eye but I will ask around and if necessary will buy a rake. Were they not like that in Pensacola 10 and more years ago? Just easy to see?
As for where to cast BANANATOM, you too my friend, I know the theory but never seem to find the right spots when I want them. Or I will find one that looks right, and then see one firther down the beach and relocate. I know to watch wave crsts and color changes and the rest - I just wish there was a surf fisherman in my family to pass this info along.
I have a good feeling about this year, my third in Destin. I will apply all of your advice as well as the advice I've gotten from Youtube and elsewhere. Please say a prayer from May 29 on for a week.

PLEASE KEEP THE ADVICE COMING!!!

Thanks,
Jeremy Pan
 

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Surf Beast
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FIRST, THATKS TO ALL Y'ALL!

JOHN F:
Dropping any kind of leader just seems like a bad idea. Why would you suggest it? The flashy barrel swivels? I've gotten advice to dump all flashy terminal rig, except the hook, so I'll do that. But I got have more reasons to get rid of all leaders! What are they?
Seems odd to dump the shrimp altogether, as it's been my only producer - however pathetic. I shall give it a go, though. As for squid, how should I hook them/present them? What I have done in the past is just using the 'head' to make a sort of mini-squid. No joy. I've also tried just using them as just cut bait in no real shape at all. Any clarification, please?
My hooks ARE going to get an overhaul. I'm going to go with: 'Mustad UltraPoint Demon' hooks both in-line and offset. I'll ask the guys at Destin's Bass Pro as to the proper size.
I HAVE been using the Wal-Mart rigs, or their equivalent. I like this guy's rigs, too and will ge giving them a go. I've also come across these: 'Matzuo Pompano Wide Gap Rig with Kahle Floats and Fluorescent Beads, Gold' and will try them as they will get my bait up off the bottom.
If I can find the Fishbites, I will be trying their 'Xtreme Scent Release Shrimp 3.5" Lures.' It's too late to order them online. The Berkley Gulp! I have tried, but will try again. Can't hurt. Kastmaster spoons and things like them I've used. It's how I'm retrieving them that's the problem.
I have used sand spikes, of course, and this year have actually made some MUCH taller ones to use. I'm hoping this will make a difference.

BEBEE:
I've got a 12' rod and the Penn Fierce 5000. I've been told by a great many people, most importantly the locals down their at Bass Pro Destin that Flourocarbon is the way to go because of the clarity of y'alls water. I will 100% bring up and press for the pros and cons of braided or mono with them this year (I go buy my line from the first thing so they can remove old line and put on new - I'll have opportunity). I'll ask about proper leaders and have already been advised against anything flashy in the way of swivels, snaps and crimpers.
Sand fleas. As a kid and younger man, sand fleas were about as hard to catch as bending over and snatching them up as the wave receded back down the beacj. No digging or rakes needed, you could easily see dozens swimming about in the wave wash. Are there still some down there? Seems unlikely as I used to see them with the naked eye but I will ask around and if necessary will buy a rake. Were they not like that in Pensacola 10 and more years ago? Just easy to see?
As for where to cast BANANATOM, you too my friend, I know the theory but never seem to find the right spots when I want them. Or I will find one that looks right, and then see one firther down the beach and relocate. I know to watch wave crsts and color changes and the rest - I just wish there was a surf fisherman in my family to pass this info along.
I have a good feeling about this year, my third in Destin. I will apply all of your advice as well as the advice I've gotten from Youtube and elsewhere. Please say a prayer from May 29 on for a week.

PLEASE KEEP THE ADVICE COMING!!!

Thanks,
Jeremy Pan

Sounds like you have the right equitment. As for line type flourocarbon is probaly better but i really dont notice much difference between them. As for sand fleas, I wasnt in the surf fishing game 15 years ago so i wouldnt know how abundant they were. I know they are quite hard to find but if you invest in a rake and some reaserch and time you can find them. You have to be able to learn how to locate groups of them and properly catch them. You can watch videos online about that. If you do not want to do that then you can buy them frozen at a bait and tackle shop. Although, fresh is always better and they are very expensive for what they are. So in all just follow the guidelines move around if you have no luck, and just have patience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Bebee:

The only place I know to go to buy bait in the area I'll be in is that Bass pro shop; new spots welcome!. Where we are - just immediately east of the resort 'town' of San Destin. It is a place called 'Four Mile Village' in Coffeen Nature preserve. Link here: http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rental...est/beaches-of-south-walton/four-mile-village
and
http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Four%20Mile%20Village&state=FL
The second link is better. Zoom in to Four Mile Village itself. You'll see Village Road is the only (gated) entrance. We get houses on Village Beach Road West (two this year) and as they are on the beach serve as our, well, beach houses. I'll use one as my 'base camp' to walk down and fish from. I'll actually be staying on one off of Missile Hilld Road called 'The Mockingbird House.' They're all named, the houses. Why Missile Hill? This whole place, Coffeen Nature Preserve, was a freaking shore battery. My father was in missile artillery in the Vietnam era Army (he was in W. Germany in charge of 3 Pershing tactical nukes (!!!) aimed at E. Germany.) and is very sure that this was NOT a missile battery but housed emplacements for shore battery naval guns. The ramps they used to move the monstrously sized guns are still there, as are various bunkers etc. Why there was such a battery in THAT location is a mystery - perhaps a practice faci8lity? I doubt we were worried about an invasion of the Destin area! A little trivia for you. But it lets you know where I'll be fishing very exactly.
Sand flea rakes are not cheap, but I will be looking for their tell-tales now that I know what they are from Youtube. I wasn't a fisherman 10+ years ago, either. Not a salt water one I should say.
My parents, aunts, uncles and g-parents WERE when we were very little (remember we've been going to the same spot for 39 years) and tell frustrating stories of just throwing out a line with 3 hooks, waiting about 5 minuts, and pulling in 3 eating sized fish. I remember we'd even eat them fro9m time to time. This was when there was NOTHING out there. When you had to drive to Fort Walton to get groceries and gasoline. To say that my skin turns green at these stories in an understatement. And NONE of them were really very dedicated fishermen. Just doing it for fun sometimes. Grrr.
Now, of course, the area is cluttered with huge hotels and shops. While our little Village has a empty beach with only the occasional stroller or jogger crossing in front of the houses, the fish are mostly gone. Along with: sand fleas, shells, sand dollars, sand crabs etc etc. All of these I remember being so common as to not even being worth remarking upon. If you found an intact sand dollar the size of a small dinner plate, you'd remark on that. That's all. The game fish were VISIBLE regularly as we swam - as were the sharks, which scared us but never acted aggressively. Manta rays over 6 feet wide were seen, and sea trutles too (the sea turtles are still regulars). As we went at different times during the summer, April-September, sometimes we'd be there for some spawning events. I remember a sea skate year where they were EVERYWHERE and a crab one, too - we ate great that year! We kids would go out at night and catch them with nets and flashlights. It took less than an hour to get enough to feed 40 or so people in that time. I remember them telling us they were getting the pot ready so get out there. Alas, I was born too late. My kids will be lucky to see a single fish at this rate.
Enough reminiscing. Thanks for the help and kep it coming!
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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I didn't intend for you to drop the leaders and shrimp altogether, just frozen shrimp and big walmart leaders. Frozen shrimp tends to fall off your hook really easy and seems to attract catfish. The walmart leaders are just bog and thick and the desirable fish are easily spooked. Sometimes less is more. I seem to remember walmart having fishbites. As fore the squid, I've always used them as cut bait. Once you catch something on the squid cut a chunk or strip of it on and and sling the fresh stuff out.

Fresh is better than dead, dead is better than frozen.:thumbsup:
 

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I second the "drop the walmart and frozen shrimp" comments.
Tie your own leaders from 15-30lb flourocarbon or mono (flouro better) use the smallest swivels that meet your weight needs. I lightly spray paint mine light tan (VERY lightly). Just enough to knock the shine off. You this days or weeks in advance so that they do not smell like paint.

Use fresh shrimp to catch small (and large fish) use the small ones as cut bait for larger ones. Dont discount the sharks either. They are alot of fun to catch off the beach, but they draw huge crowds. haha. Funny how few of them get back into the water after you catch a shark. I also agree with the fishbites. I started using it last year. At times if will outfish real bait. It is really difficult to get off the hook too. I use a piece about the size of the end of your finger. One piece can last all day. You can also use a tiny piece to tip your casting jigs. Yesterday, I tried tipping my pompano jigs with a gulp minnow. It was good for Ladyfish. Others have great success with gulp, but that was the first time that it has ever worked for me.

As for hooks, use a 1/0 circles. They will be good for pretty much anything that you will want to catch off of the beach with a bottom rig.

Also try buying some tiny chartreuse or orange (chartreuse works better for me) bream floats. Cut them in half and put them on your rig just above the hook so that they slide down and cover your hook knot. It adds color and a tad of buoyancy to your bait. Skip ALL of the shiny crap that is made into those walmart (Eagle Claw) rigs. EVERYTHING is scared of those except hardheads. haha
 

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I don't have a dog I the hunt or ever surf fish but in y mind I would not necessarily call the folks at bass pro , experts. Like anything sometimes you have to wade through the information to get the truth? Personally I would use advice from here before bass pro. Just my two cents, it's worth what I charged you for it.
 

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I'm a one week at time surf fisher as well. And nobody handed me the know how through the family tree. It sounds like you are on the bubble of starting to catch fish and have dumped some $ in gear. Going into BPS is a good way to spend $. But may not be the best intel for the current fishing. A local shop is though. Especially if you are nice, a bag of hot donuts never hurt a shop rats feelings either.
I've fished FL and Carolina waters since I was 12, so 30 years I guess, once or twice a year at one week intervals. There are some real experienced fishing people on this board from what I've read the last couple days, if you want my answers to some of your questions Here's my take...just keep in mind I live 8 hours from the Gulf or atlantic coast and only go once sor twice a year. (We do always get a couple meals from my fishing though)
1. Time is your most important factor. You must spend time on the beach fishing. Be early, before the sun, be late after the sun, be ready for daytime action when you see it.
2. Keep a light rod rigged with a lure of your choice for sight fishing or pitching into bait balls if they are coming down the beach. Could be a glass minnow with rattles, an old school zara spook, a kastmaster spoon, a pompano jig etc....Then be alert for birds, bait balls etc and catch whatever is eating.
3. Catch fleas. You want pomps? Like me (im headed down for family reunion for next week as well) your timing is bad, action is likely slowing down on pomps I would guess, but some will be around and they will eat a flea. Different sections of beach I've fished in Carolina and Florida over the years have confounded me with fleas at times, but you need to find them. Walk, walk, walk....They will be somewhere, unless the beach underwent surgery and was replenished. When you find them, stop...look around, see any holes in the water in front of you, maybe a slight rip somewhere? Fish it, right now. Pomps are where fleas are.
3. Shrimp is good too, but don't throw any you wouldn't cook and eat yourself, peel a little shell off, may stay on the hook better.
4. I can't recall the last time I fished squid in FL. Last I used it was on Cape cod near Monomoy for stripers, because squid were getting mauled by stripers, jumping out of the water mauled. If I did use it in FL I would cut strips and hope for flounder. YMMV
5. Leaders, don't buy them. Make them, use 20-25# mono or Flouro or whatever you have available. I think I've been using the same Ande comp 1/4 pound spool for years to tie leaders. Probably not wise. I keep it stored away in a closed bucket with nets, reels, etc...Tie a couple dropper loops, put some decent hooks on them, large eye hooks work best, but don't skimp on a hook. Circle hooks. I've used the stainless eagle claws because they fit over doubled mono easy, but I like Owners too or Gami's
6. Know your rod tip, know what a hit is and what a wave is. I had my BIL out a couple years back and the ladyfish were insane one morning, I was trying to get a pomp but kept feeding lf, happenes, this time of year. I caught well over 12 lf in about 15 minutes. sand flea eatin thieves they were. MY BIL was standing 15 feet away and couldn't buy a fish. I asked him to switch rods. His rod tip (catfish pole, a good pier/boat rod imo) wasn't picking up the nibbles. He cast twice with my rod and cqaught his first ever saltywater fish. You want a rod with a backbone for any bull red or shark you might encounter, but the tip needs to tell the story if you're fishing pomps.
7. I don't use any terminal tackle, no swivels. Tie a bloodknot between your reel line and the leader. I do a decent amount of flyfishing and maybe i take for granted that it seems simple to me, but tie some. They aren't that hard. You could use a double surgeon knot as well, just do it before you put your hooks and weight on. Weights, use the lightest possible to hold your flea in place.


Good luck. I will be west of you a few miles. One more thing, fish closer than you think, the right trough or hole that comes up to the beach will hold anything from a bull red or bull shark to the pomps you want and definitely some tasty whiting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your suggestions are excellent. Let me take them one at a time.

Local Shops: I've found 2 and those should serve me well. Got their names off Youtube and locations off mapquest. I can't bring myself to so blatantly bribe on a cold visit, but as I will no doubt be making multiple trips we'll se. I'll rely on my charm till then. Wish me luck with that.

1)Not a problem. I'm out an hour before the sun, take a siesta from the heat by noon, am back with a 'what if' light rod like you suggested except I keep a swivel snap so I can change between what I want to fish. Jig or lure mostly, but also what I've called a 'bottom rig' all my life. Back in late afternoon with all 4 rods and all gear till I'm called in to dinner and then, supposing I'm not either too inebriated, tired or otherwise engaged am back out for a couple of hours of night fishing. Every day, weather permitting, this sums up most every day I'm at a beach.
2)see above
3)You and others have said the fleas are still out there. I just remember them being pervasive. As in zero looking for them required. Walk to surf, stoop, snacth them up by hand. I'll definitely be flea hunting this go around, as y'all have suggested.
3/2) Roger that. Frozen shrimp out.
4) Squid out, too. Utterly useless. It did bring in some useless, unnamed (to me) fish but none over 12" long. Might use it to catch fish to use as bait. I remember when the squid got too ripe I'd go throw them into the surf and drive the little guys nuts. Once took an old J hook used for bream that was in my box and just put it into where they swarmed and could reliably pull up the little guys (2-4") w/o baiting said hook or using anything but maybe 2' of line, the hook and my hands.
5)I do intend to make my own rigs as well as store bought stuff. I've decided on
Owner Mutu Light Circle Hooks – Red, 8Pk. #1 OR #2 (yeah, cut and pasted from my 'cheat sheet). Leaders will be fluorocarbon, line more of the same or braided. I'll ask around about braided but it seems to make sense for surf fishing so long as your leaders long enough.
6)I think I can say I reliably know 2 of my rod tips. I will try to learn the other 2. These 2 I don't know are brand new, cheapest I could find at WalMart and, due to their relatively small size (6'6" and 7') foresee no problems after a day or 3 of watching them. Like I say, catching isn't the problem. Catching anything worth a damn is. My heart is set on Pomps but I'll take anything - except sharks. I've never landed one nor has a buddy, we'll get them in close, satisfy our curiosity and cut the whole rig away. We don't have licenses, after all. Seen lots of bulls (yikes) and even saw either a bonnethead or a hammerhead - little fella (4<) - but I'm saying hammer and it was sure cool just to see.
7)That'll take some practice and may have to wait a few days while I do (practice, that is), but it makes sense so I'll do it.
Good luck to you off to the west. I'll be catching and releasing, barring something truly cool, and will point all fish towards the setting sun as I return them.
PS: Several of your ideas added to my cheat sheet. no greater flattery. GOOD LUCK, WYKNOT!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Agreed. After wading through your grammar I have to say I agree 100%. I've used forums for the last couple years but always relied on the Destin Bass Pro for local advice. WYKNOT suggested more mom & pop bait shops. I think that's a better bet. F the Bass Pro folks. They sell great gear, but their info has done f-all for me. I've a 'cheat sheet' from forums and you tubers who seemed on the ball. I'll add to it from the mom&pop non-minimum wage bait & tackle set.

I'd go so far as to say your advice was worth a nickel. Thanks, Murf.
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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Don't count out the sharks, they are fun to catch, even the little ones. Just don't lip them ;). I've caught a few in the 12"-4' range and a couple big boys over 8'. If you have some pliers or heavy hemostats they will dehook a small shark just fine. You just have to grab them hard behind the head and get them back in the water asap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yikes! No thanks! I'll get them into the shallows and get a good look at them in the breakers - maybe even drag one up a bit by hook and by crook as I've sen done, but I'd just as soon cut my losses, so to speak. I have never seen a truly small one caught, personally. A 12" and maybe even a 2' I might land. I do have long pliers, but I've never hooked one and haven't sen it done - which makes me odd, as I understand. I have personally gotten a 4'-ish shark into the breakers and seen what was a 6'6" bull (all roughly measured by pole and eyeball) brought in by a friend (were there no audience, I believe we would have killed the potential murderer). But no interest, unless I can hook a true blue hammer head at a time when no one is around. No giant, just something that might be worth preserving.
 

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Blowhard extrordinair
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Yikes! No thanks! I'll get them into the shallows and get a good look at them in the breakers - maybe even drag one up a bit by hook and by crook as I've sen done, but I'd just as soon cut my losses, so to speak. I have never seen a truly small one caught, personally. A 12" and maybe even a 2' I might land. I do have long pliers, but I've never hooked one and haven't sen it done - which makes me odd, as I understand. I have personally gotten a 4'-ish shark into the breakers and seen what was a 6'6" bull (all roughly measured by pole and eyeball) brought in by a friend (were there no audience, I believe we would have killed the potential murderer). But no interest, unless I can hook a true blue hammer head at a time when no one is around. No giant, just something that might be worth preserving.
LOL

They are a blast to catch. You don't know what you are missing. I take two dedicated shark poles down with me every year. The most expensive piece of fishing equipment I have besides my boat I get to use about 4 days a year.
 

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One thing I haven't seen mention of... What beaches do you hit while you're here? If you're staying east of Sandestin, it might be worth your trip down to Grayton Beach, or any of the public 30A beach access points. Even if you can't find a wash out, there are spots along this route where the sand bars are closer in, giving you access to more depths. Though as already mentioned, pomps and other fish will come right up in the surf. As for bait choices in that area, Stinky's sells live shrimp (I just pinch them in half and fish the two hook rig you described) or you can hit several of the fish markets there (Goatfeathers comes to mind) to get fresh dead shrimp.
 

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Ha! Sorry about my grammar in the last post and this one. Sorry for the long one again, but I'm a little excited about getting down to the saltwater! You got my point about buying from a local tackle shop.

I failed to mention I use a shock leader on the rod I set up with a lure. 30# mono on mine. It won't always hold up to big shark teeth (no worries they usually don't hit the small lures I throw) but handles the spainish and bluefish pretty well. It may be overkill but it's what I use in Hatteras where bluefish are common in the summer. Just check it after a catch to make sure you are still good to go. An alrbright (you can use this if you have braid on your reel too)is what I use to connect to my reel line. I use a rapala knot to tie the lure on. You mentioned a swivel, I prefer a knot. I also didn't mention a gotcha as a lure to have around but I do keep a few, chartreuse head silver body was a winner in Cape San Blas last fall.

Also, beach chair rental dudes, make friends with them if they are willing to talk AFTER they set up their stretch. Some are out of towners and may not know anything, but if you get lucky a local is working, if you are super lucky he fishes and will know what is biting and where. They will also be happy to tell you when there are sharks about. I got called out of the water last year around this time in seacrest.(actually exactly today, thursday after Memorial Day)A condodweller was having breakfast on the balcony and was watching me fish, tide was out and I was wading out waist deep to cast and coming back. Flat light, overcast day poor clarity. Fishing was hot and I stayed in the water for about 30. It seems a shark twice my size circled me a couple times "you could have touched him with your fishing pole" was the verbatim. He sent his wife down to tell the to the chair rental dude. He and I had talked that morning and I asked him to watch for me since I couldn't see anything in the water. I looked back at the beach after releasing another skip jack. I still had a few fleas in my chest pocket. Beach chair dude gave me the "X" and I waded out of the waist deep water. Unfortunately my whole clan heard the comments he made to me. "Mr. "so and so" has lived here for 15 years and aside from the whale sharks in 2013 has never seen any shark so large from his balcony...and the one that circled me wasn't a whale shark". My wife was mentally scarred as a little girl when she watched JAWS and is terrified of sharks. Phobia like terrified. She has daydreams when I'm in the water with the kids where she gets interviewed by a news team. "Did you know your husband would attack a shark like that? What went through your mind when he beat the shark off the little girl that was body boarding?" I'm glad it happened at the end of our week last year. I spent a few minutes that morning on the dark beach before fishing seeking fresh manna from scripture. (Just keeping His light on the stand, not under a bowl.)

But catching sharks? Yes!...yes catch em, beach em, unhook em. Circle hooks are your friend so long as you have a pair of long needle nosed pliers. I get more sketchy with rays than sharks. Hilton Head one year I couldn't catch anything but sharks, I think I caught 2 blow toads and about 100 12-18" sharks in a weeks fishing.
 

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I don't wade out in the morning unless it's on a flat, nothing more than knee deep. The man in the grey suit comes in close in the mornings. :yes:
 

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You've received a ton of useful info already on this thread...and I second pretty much everything I've read and learned a lot myself.

Just an additional note: There is a YouTube page with a lot of good info about pompano fishing, surf fishing in general, reading the beach and also typing your own rigs. Check out 311POPE.

Here is one of his videos about reading the beach:


You've made an important step already by coming to the forum for advice. These guys have taught me a ton this spring and helped me get my first several limits on pompano.

Good luck!
 
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