Space Coast Surf Fishing Adventure

    By Terry Gibson

    Imagine fishing miles upon miles of golden, undeveloped beaches and pristine water.

    From shore or by boat, the teeming nearshore environment just north of Port Canaveral in the Canaveral National Seashore offers great fishing for bluefish, pompano and whiting, along with a few other seasonal swimmers such as snook.

    In the winter, anglers using cut mullet as well as spoons and plugs catch one bluefish after another. They’re great eating fresh fried or smoked.

    Whiting are most abundant in the summer. These small, delectable members of the drum family are most abundant in the spring, summer and early fall. You may catch a few of their close cousin, the croaker, which also boasts firm, flakey white meat. These two species readily devour cut shrimp, clam strips and sandfleas. One of my favorite ways to fish for them is with a nylon jig tipped with shrimp. That tactic puts you on the ready to catch basically anything that swims in range.

    Pompano are the rock stars of the surf-fishing scene. You’re hard-pressed to think of a better eating or harder fighting fish for its size. These one- to five-pound members of the jack clan can be fickle. Surf anglers fishing from the beach prefer mole crabs, or “sandfleas” as they’re called locally.

    You can catch them along the water line in the beach using a sandflea rake, which are sold in local bait shops. Clams and shrimp also work well. Anglers fishing from boats usually cast pink pompano jigs.

    Here are some great tips on tactics and tackle from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.

    The north access point is in Apollo Beach, near New Smyrna Beach. You can also find access at Seminole Rest in Oak Hill. The southern access point is at beautiful Playalinda Beach, near Titusville.