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a week of mostly shore fishing?

WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
Hi everyone,

I am getting ready to be down for a week or so to do some surf fishing (hope this is okay in this forum as most of my questions are general).

Will be fishing the Indian Shores area, surf in the gulf & intracoastal. Mostly hoping for whiting, sea trout, sheepshead (though haven't caught any in the years I've gone), pomp, whatever else comes along. 

Firstly, I was thinking of investing in a good surf rod & reel while I am down there. This should be something that can travel well and only gets a couple weeks' use a year. Ideally suited for short casting in the surf and longer tosses further out with bait fish. 

I was looking at Dogfish Marine & Tackle as a good place to pick some stuff up but for the rod/reel, I am open to ordering online from somewhere and having shipped. 

Then, once I'm fishing, thinking some basic saltwater rigs with frozen shrimp off the beach. 

What's my best set up in terms of main line and leader? 

Usually we do an inshore charter one day... wondering if it's worth switching it up to go for grouper or snapper, any thoughts (this is late March and early April)? I used to get a bit seasick when I was younger but I see some offshore photos where things don't look too rough. 

Appreciate any/all assistance. 

Replies

  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    Go to Dogfish when you get here.  Explain where you will be fishing and what you will be fishing for, and they will guide you in the right direction.  Good people there.

    For general surf and inshore fishing, I'd go with something like 20-30lb braid and about the same size leader flurocarbon leader depending on species and water conditions.

    Late March/Early April is generally about the time the fishing gets pretty good at our nearshore reefs with kingfish, cobia, etc. starting to show in our waters.  You'll likely need a bit different setups to go after those fish, and most guides will provide tackle as part of their fees.

    Good luck & hope this helps...Mike
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    What's the biggest stuff I can target from shore with a surf set up and grunts/pins as bait?
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,011 Moderator
    Late March and Early April will possibly bring Snook on the beach, many will be females with some over 40", but you don't need or want a surf rod for this fishing as they will be in ankle depth as you wade the shoreline.  A 7 or 7 1/2 ' med heavy rod, a 3000 size reel and 20# braid will do the job.
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    Pardon my ignorance... if I'm fishing in ankle deep water, aren't I surf fishing? 
  • RollinRollin Posts: 1,547 Captain
    I think Jack is trying to tell you the snook will be in the the shallow water very close to shore where they can pen the bait against the bank. You'll be throwing down the bank almost parallel to the shore. You won't be going for distance at 90degrees from the bank.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    edited February 2018 #7
    Listen to Jack.  He knows very well what he's talking about.  His advice,  "a 7 or 7 1/2 ' med heavy rod, a 3000 size reel and 20# braid will do the job," was dead on.

    Jack also works at a B&T, which one escapes me at the moment but he might share.  More to the point, if I were you it would be someone like Jack (or Jack himself) that I'd be seeking out in person to discuss this with.

    To expand on the point Rollin was making:  When most people from up north say "surf fishing" or when Jack says "surf rod", they think 9+' long rods used to cast baits 50 yards or more straight offshore.  That's not, at all, what fishing our beaches for snook is March/April about.  So while it may be accurately described as "surf fishing" it implies a technique we don't really use for fish like snook along the beach in Pinellas County.

    Hope this helps...Mike

    p.s. once you catch a snook, you will never look at a walleye the same. 
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    Makes sense... thanks for the explanation.

    when I am not snook fishing, how far could I expect to be able to cast the rod/set up Jack described?
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 669 Officer
    First,Your on vacation and want to catch fish,use fresh  shrimp not some Walmart trash.Second,
    good choice on rod/reel.Use on big Northerns later.Third,cast as far where the water breaking
    that were the snook and maybe pompano are feeding.
  • fordmag84fordmag84 Bradenton, Fl Posts: 89 Greenhorn
     Big jack are fun, but a 40"+snook is a fish of a lifetime. 
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the tips so far. From what I've gathered I need a medium-heavy rod, a 3000-4000 reel and 10-20 pound braid with a 20-30 lb flurocarbon leader. 

    What is a good brand name you'd suggest for the braid?

    Should i use a swivel to attach my braid to fluoro or practice my line-to-line knots?

    I had another question re: what people feel would be best use of my time. Right now, we're doing one day an in shore charter (that may target nearshore if weather allows) and I am planning to go to Fort Desoto one day too. I'm also considering either renting a boat to fish the intracoastal and nearshore gulf myself, or possibly going to the Skyway pier (I sort of feel like charter, Desoto daytrip, boat rental and pier day would be a lot to fit it).

    My question is, all things being equal, do you think I'd be better hacking around in the intracoastal on my own in a rented boat, or trying the Skyway pier? 
  • humblerhumbler TampaPosts: 130 Deckhand
    The captain for the inshore charter should be able to give you all the answers you need. The same tackle he uses will be what you want for the beach, ICW, Fort desoto etc. Pay special attention to his rigging methods and ask a lot of questions.
  • ScoutboatScoutboat Posts: 2,436 Captain
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the tips so far. From what I've gathered I need a medium-heavy rod, a 3000-4000 reel and 10-20 pound braid with a 20-30 lb flurocarbon leader. 

    What is a good brand name you'd suggest for the braid?

    Should i use a swivel to attach my braid to fluoro or practice my line-to-line knots?

    I had another question re: what people feel would be best use of my time. Right now, we're doing one day an in shore charter (that may target nearshore if weather allows) and I am planning to go to Fort Desoto one day too. I'm also considering either renting a boat to fish the intracoastal and nearshore gulf myself, or possibly going to the Skyway pier (I sort of feel like charter, Desoto daytrip, boat rental and pier day would be a lot to fit it).

    My question is, all things being equal, do you think I'd be better hacking around in the intracoastal on my own in a rented boat, or trying the Skyway pier? 

    I once lived in Gulfport and some of the best wade fishing that i've ever had was in Boca Ciega Bay.
    There's a public fishing pier with ample parking.
    Park at the pier and wade east toward Clam Bayou.
    Jim
  • fordmag84fordmag84 Bradenton, Fl Posts: 89 Greenhorn
     Learn the uni- uni knot for braid to leader, if you want the best braid to leader knot, look up how to tie the FG. Uni is easier to learn, but with some practice you can do the FG, it is far superior. Please don't use a swivel, there is a time and place for a swivel, and it's not much for inshore. Maybe with a spoon, and some live bait rigs.
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    Scoutboat said:
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the tips so far. From what I've gathered I need a medium-heavy rod, a 3000-4000 reel and 10-20 pound braid with a 20-30 lb flurocarbon leader. 

    What is a good brand name you'd suggest for the braid?

    Should i use a swivel to attach my braid to fluoro or practice my line-to-line knots?

    I had another question re: what people feel would be best use of my time. Right now, we're doing one day an in shore charter (that may target nearshore if weather allows) and I am planning to go to Fort Desoto one day too. I'm also considering either renting a boat to fish the intracoastal and nearshore gulf myself, or possibly going to the Skyway pier (I sort of feel like charter, Desoto daytrip, boat rental and pier day would be a lot to fit it).

    My question is, all things being equal, do you think I'd be better hacking around in the intracoastal on my own in a rented boat, or trying the Skyway pier? 

    I once lived in Gulfport and some of the best wade fishing that i've ever had was in Boca Ciega Bay.
    There's a public fishing pier with ample parking.
    Park at the pier and wade east toward Clam Bayou.
    Jim
    Scoutboat said:
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the tips so far. From what I've gathered I need a medium-heavy rod, a 3000-4000 reel and 10-20 pound braid with a 20-30 lb flurocarbon leader. 

    What is a good brand name you'd suggest for the braid?

    Should i use a swivel to attach my braid to fluoro or practice my line-to-line knots?

    I had another question re: what people feel would be best use of my time. Right now, we're doing one day an in shore charter (that may target nearshore if weather allows) and I am planning to go to Fort Desoto one day too. I'm also considering either renting a boat to fish the intracoastal and nearshore gulf myself, or possibly going to the Skyway pier (I sort of feel like charter, Desoto daytrip, boat rental and pier day would be a lot to fit it).

    My question is, all things being equal, do you think I'd be better hacking around in the intracoastal on my own in a rented boat, or trying the Skyway pier? 

    I once lived in Gulfport and some of the best wade fishing that i've ever had was in Boca Ciega Bay.
    There's a public fishing pier with ample parking.
    Park at the pier and wade east toward Clam Bayou.
    Jim
    Is that the Williams Pier?
  • ScoutboatScoutboat Posts: 2,436 Captain
    I've always known it as the Gulfport fishing pier.   It's the only one in Gulfport.
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the help so far. Just reading through, I have a few more questions...

    1) For my mainline braid, I was thinking of going 15 or 20lb test and a fluoro leader of between 25-40. Other than cost is there any reason not to use 40? I was thinking something higher because I want to hit some of the piers for macks. Would going as high as 40 for the leader hurt me in trying to just catch some whiting and trout on the beach? Would it really be worth it to buy two strengths of fluoro and use the lighter one on the beach and the higher one when going for macks or something heavier? Would a 20lb mainline allow me to handle most things, say best case scenario I ran into a grouper on the Skyway pier and had to lift it up or ran into a shark on the beach? 

    I am bringing multiple rods so I am also considering going a bit higher on mainline for the biggest one and using that mostly for the piers and fishing white bait on the beach in hopes of running into something bigger and keeping a lighter mainline on my main rod for fishing shrimp or sand fleas for whiting etc. 

    2) Can I keep a small number of baitfish (eg 3-4 pins or greenies at a time) in the same pail as live shrimp or will they demolish them? My best guess is the baitfish will be too stressed to feed in the pail but wanted to make sure...



  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,011 Moderator
    Your 15-20 main line is fine, 40 is much too heavy for trout and even reds.  It's okay for macks but you may still be bitten off.  I fish 20# fluoro for trout and reds.   40 is okay for big snook, but I usually use 30.  I've been worn thru or cut off by mama snook, but you will get more hits with the lighter line and leader.

    If you run into a grouper on the Skyway, you would be in trouble with 20# braid.  If you get into this trouble, start shouting and hopefully someone with a bridge net will come to your rescue.

    Yes you can keep pins and shrimp in the same bucket.  I've never had any problems mixing baits
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    How does one rod with 15# braid mainlnie & 20# fluoro leder for light surf fishing (whiting, trout, pomp, whatever swims by the first 15 yards off the beach), and a second rod with maybe #25 mainline and #30 fluro leader for tossing bigger baits as far off the beach as I can manage and using on the Skyway Pier, sound?

    What brand would you suggest for the braid mainline? Seaguar seems like the mainstream choice for a fluoro leader? 
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    edited March 2018 #20
    Walleye,  Those setups sound fine to me.  As for your questions:   Braid is braid, to be honest.  You really can't go wrong with any of the popular brands.  My least favorite is PowerPro.  I really like Suffix 832 and Tuffline XP and Spiderwire Stealth.  You are correct that Seaguar is the standard for leader (and Suffix fluro is good too).
  • WalleyeSashimiWalleyeSashimi CanadaPosts: 24 Greenhorn
    So many different options for braid... do I want something coloured, not coloured?
  • FishWithChrisFishWithChris TallahasseePosts: 143 Deckhand
    just get a standard green or whatever colour line you fancy.  They're targeting the bait, which is behind a clear leader - so that is invisible in the water.
    Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn. ~Chuck Clark
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    Green is fine, but I've caught more than my share of fish with florescent yellow braid.  Like Chris said, it doesn't matter much.
  • marexmarex Posts: 170 Deckhand
    For the money, you can't beat 15 lb Daiwa J Braid. Good combination of strength and capacity on 3000 or 4000 reels. Color is more personal preference. The braids in dark greens seem to be a safe bet but if you like to be able to see your line all of the time, bright green or yellow may be better for you.   And 30lb fluorocarbon leader will do just fine for most inshore fish.
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 508 Officer
    Walleye, I couldn’t fully decide with the colors either. So half my rods have the Green pp and the other half have the Yellow.

    I had to have some in the bright yellow, because a lot of my fishing will be at low light or nighttime conditions. And I need to see my line.

    I love and appreciate all your questions, because I had the same ones. Thanks for starting this thread man and good luck on your trip!👍😊

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