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SWFL HELP! - I promise I won't ask for fishing spots!

Dust8713Dust8713 IndianaPosts: 3 Greenhorn
Hi! First off, thanks for clicking. I am an avid angler from Indiana. I have never saltwater fished and am taking a trip down to Ft. Myers over the week of Thanksgiving. I plan on surf fishing during my stay. I have done lots of research and have hopefully enough knowledge base (reading shore, rigs, species...etc) to land some fun. My main question is what should I target mid to late November. Obviously, I would love to catch some Pomp, but I'm reading conflicting information about how prevalent they are during that time. I have looked up swfl fising seasons and seen lots of charts, but most of them are just listing broad "fair" conditions for lots of different species. I would love to catch anything while there, but if there is a species that I could also harvest and eat, I would love that even more. So far, I have only found that Jack Crevalle is not good to eat?
 I am almost finished building my beach cart set up - a couple 9' rod and reel (5000-6000) combos and a smaller 7' combo for closer guts/troughs, 30lb test mono(?), circle hooks, pyramid and breakaway sinkers...etc. I'm familiar with most leader rigs, but looks like a combination of fish finder rig, carolina, and pompano rigs are the way to go. My only other question in that regard- if there is a good chance to catch pomp while I'm there- can you use multiple hooks on your leader? According to MYFWC, multiple hooks are not a legal means to catch them, but I'm reading articles and seeing multiple videos of fishing them this way. Am I missing something? Thank you for any help and info you're willing to share. I'm happy to return the favor, but lets be honest, no one vacations to Indiana...  :p

Replies

  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 985 Officer
    The 7 ft rod will be your most useful on the SW coast
    Take your line strength down to 15lb. Can't say what fish will be around this year. The water is still pretty warm and that is a good thing. Should be pompano and Whiting in the trough 


  • Dust8713Dust8713 IndianaPosts: 3 Greenhorn
    ok thanks, Lostconch! Really appreciate the feedback! 
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,024 Officer
    Lostconch said:
    The 7 ft rod will be your most useful on the SW coast
    Take your line strength down to 15lb. Can't say what fish will be around this year. The water is still pretty warm and that is a good thing. Should be pompano and Whiting in the trough 


    Exactly. No need for casting a mile there, or on any beach really.

    Most good fish are closer than you think. 
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,260 Moderator
    ^^^^  What he said.  2500 or 3000 reel
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 873 Officer
    Dust8713 said:
    Hi! First off, thanks for clicking. I am an avid angler from Indiana. I have never saltwater fished and am taking a trip down to Ft. Myers over the week of Thanksgiving. I plan on surf fishing during my stay. I have done lots of research and have hopefully enough knowledge base (reading shore, rigs, species...etc) to land some fun. My main question is what should I target mid to late November. Obviously, I would love to catch some Pomp, but I'm reading conflicting information about how prevalent they are during that time. I have looked up swfl fising seasons and seen lots of charts, but most of them are just listing broad "fair" conditions for lots of different species. I would love to catch anything while there, but if there is a species that I could also harvest and eat, I would love that even more. So far, I have only found that Jack Crevalle is not good to eat?
     I am almost finished building my beach cart set up - a couple 9' rod and reel (5000-6000) combos and a smaller 7' combo for closer guts/troughs, 30lb test mono(?), circle hooks, pyramid and breakaway sinkers...etc. I'm familiar with most leader rigs, but looks like a combination of fish finder rig, carolina, and pompano rigs are the way to go. My only other question in that regard- if there is a good chance to catch pomp while I'm there- can you use multiple hooks on your leader? According to MYFWC, multiple hooks are not a legal means to catch them, but I'm reading articles and seeing multiple videos of fishing them this way. Am I missing something? Thank you for any help and info you're willing to share. I'm happy to return the favor, but lets be honest, no one vacations to Indiana...  :p
    Not sure about the multiple hook rigging. Unless I am freelining a live bait or fishing an area without much current to sweep a dead bait down, I always just used a Carolina rig on all my setups both light tackle and big game..except instead of the swivel I just tie a line to line knot.

    There’s all kinds of stuff you can catch in the surf at your time frame in that area. Spanish mackerel, jacks, snook, bluefish, ladyfish, whiting, Black Drum, speckled trout, redfish, mangrove snapper and sheepshead (if you’re near a structure of some sort), blacktips, blacknose, and sandbar sharks, tarpon when the water temperature is still warm enough and if they aren’t solely focused on traveling south for the day. I’ve even caught king mackerel and Bonito in the surf in November. A larger bonito nearly spooled my 4000 spin reel one time LOL. 

    I’d fish your lighter setups in the trough, and your heavier ones out past the sandbar.


  • th19999th19999 Posts: 238 Deckhand
    I am not sure about the multiple hooks not being allowed. Maybe treble hooks with bait??

    Over here on the east coast the typical setup for pompano is a 2-3 gold hook pompano rig that looks like a dropper rig with gold hooks.


  • AlwaysLearningMoreAlwaysLearningMore Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Here's the FWC text on hooks for pompano:

    "Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook (any hook with two or more points and a common shaft) in conjunction with live or dead natural bait."

    My understanding is that this prohibits treble hooks (or double hooks or quad hooks) with natural bait.  But I believe that you can have more than one single-point hook on one leader as long as they are fastened to the leader separately.

  • Dust8713Dust8713 IndianaPosts: 3 Greenhorn
    Awesome! Thank you all very much for that info. I guess ill be returning my 10' and 11' rods and both of my 5000 size reels  :| And, thank you for clearing up the hook issue. I didn't see the "common shaft" verbiage in what I was reading. From all the videos and articles I've read, sand fleas are the prime bait. This might be the most pedantic question I ask, but I can't seem to find a straight answer here either. Will I be able to find my own sand fleas in that section of Florida? I've seen posts where people cant find them at all, and then, I watched videos where guys walk out and dig down to fists full of them. Would I have better luck just bringing a casting net? 
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 1,051 Officer
    Catching sand fleas is a binary situation.  It will either be easy, or impossible.  No middle ground.  It all depends on the type of sand making up the surf zone of the beach.  Super fine "sugar sand" is bad habitat for sand fleas; they can't dig very well because it packs too dense (which the tourists like) and the water doesn't pass through it, making the oxygenated layer in the sediment too shallow.  Most beaches that get "re-nourishment" will have this sand and won't hold fish (or the food they need) very well.  Look for coarse sand comprised of shell hash and large silica sand grains.  Natural beaches.  These will hold sand fleas and a lot more fish than the hard packed sand beaches.  As a general rule, if it's really easy to walk along the water line, it's not a great beach for fishing.
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,024 Officer
    ^^^^^^ Nails it again.

    I call it the "red sand", even though it's not quite red.  Look for that. 
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 910 Officer
    Look for their V shaped filter fins.  They stick them up when the wave is receding.  They will tell you where they are if they are there on every wave.  I agree they are usually in more shelly sand than the hard pack.  Small live or fresh dead shrimp also work almost as well.
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 1,024 Officer
    I find that peeling your shrimp when surf fishing increases the success ratio. 
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