One of the most popular types of fishing in Florida is fishing from the beach. Florida offers 1197 miles of shoreline with 663 miles of that shoreline being beach. While some beaches do not allow fishing (check the local regulations before going), most beaches can be quite productive.
Most beach fishermen, also known as surf fishermen, prefer to use a very long rod with either a spinning reel or a bait caster. Rods with lengths of 10+ feet allow the beach fishermen to cast out beyond the breakers in most conditions.
There are two main rigs that are used most frequently when fishing from Florida beaches. The double dropper rig and the fish finder rig.
The double dropper is a rig that consists of a weight at the bottom with two hooks about 2 feet apart attached above. The hooks are attached to a drop loop, and above the hooks is a barrel swivel. This rig is most frequently used with fresh dead bait and smaller baits like sand fleas.
The fish finder rig is also known as the Carolina rig. It consists of a single hook on a 2-5 foot leader, attached to a barrel swivel with a glass bead and an egg sinker above the swivel. This rig is often used with live bait.
Bait and Lures
The single most popular bait in the Florida surf is shrimp. Frozen and live are both frequently used with great success being found with both (Live Shrimp or Frozen Shrmp). Any popular live minnows work well for sport fish, such as finger mullet, mud minnows and glass minnows.
Popular lures to throw while fishing Florida beaches are Gotcha Plugs, Gold Spoons and Berkeley Gulp baits. The vast wide-open spaces of the 600+ miles of beach in Florida means there is plenty of room to cast. Work a lure up and down a promising section of beach for the best success.
Experienced surf fishermen look at the surf and can tell where the best place to cast is. Many beaches will have 2 places where waves break, and right behind the breakers is the best place to put a bait or lure.
When using live or frozen bait, it is best to have 2 poles set up. Cast one behind the first set of breakers and one behind the second. A pattern will emerge showing whch area will be the better place to cast. If one area is out fishing the other significantly, cast both poles to that area.
Another consideration is structure. Fish often congregate around structure. Near shore reefs, pylons and rocks will attract fish seeking safety and are often great areas to fish.
Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to watch out for bathers and surfers.
- Areas with many bathers/surfers should be avoided
- Use only as much weight as needed to hold bottom
- If fishing is slow, you are on a FLORIDA BEACH! ENJOY IT!