Tag Archives: Surf Fishing

Jekyll Island Shark Fishing

A buddy of mine is getting married very soon, and with any marriage comes a bachelor party. Well, being the grizzly men that my friends tend to be, the party was scheduled to take place on Jekyll Island, camping and shark fishing for 4 days. The only problem is that none of us had ever sharked fished from a beach before, but with the help of the internet, and the Shark Fishing Handbook, we had a vague idea of what we needed to prepare for, but still were pretty clueless when it came to actually putting a real man eater on the sand.

Since none of us had ever shark fished from the sand before, we had to acquire all the necessary gear.  Thanks to Craigslist, we found a screaming deal on a Penn 9/0 Senator reel and matching rod.  Thanks to a friend who works at a manufacturing supply house, we were able to get all the steel cable we needed for leaders and, as luck would have it, we also tracked down a kayak.  So, for a total investment of right around $100, we were ready to hit the beach.

When we got to Jekyll the first thing we noticed was just how swift the current was.  Granted, none of us were big surf fishermen, but we have also never experienced such swift current with almost zero waves.  Still, we had prepared for big current and big waves, with over 14lbs of lead to weight our baits down, so we were off and fishing.

As we fished, we were able to slowly refine our techniques, and on the second day/night of fishing, we had everything down pat.  Instead of using lead to hold our baits, we would tie on a rock to the line, using 15lb monofilament line.  When a fish would bite, the line would easily break, allowing us to fight just the fish and no additional weight on the line.  This was also nice when it came time to check baits.  Instead of dragging in a giant weight (which was a real bear), we were able to snap the line holding the rock on, and it was much easier to reel in the line.

Through the 3 nights and 4 days of fishing we caught countless small sharks, a couple very large rays and 3 nice sized lemon sharks.  The favorite bait seemed to be a bonita in the 1.5lb – 2lb range.  We did have a large, 5lb or so bait out the last night, but it never got touched.  For a group of first timers, we all went home feeling like the trip was a success, returning home with all our limbs in tact, and wanting to all get back on the beach in the near future.

Siesta Key Surf Fishing

Living in North Georgia means that as I was growing up, most vacations would be spent along the Florida coast.  Every trip I would spend hours just thinking about sitting on the sand and *maybe* catching a fish or two during the entire trip.  If there was a pier near by, I knew that would be a sure thing because honestly, who can’t put a piece of squid on a small hook and drop it straight down.  My whole life, catching fish in the surf has intrigued me.  I think a lot of this has to do with trying it for so long, and never catching a single thing.  In fact, I remember being pretty young, walking down the Panama City beach one evening and there were two guys surf fishing.  All of a sudden one of them jumps up and starts reeling like mad. He ended up dragging a small catfish up on the bank, and I was amazed.  These guys were using the typical, 12 ft+ rods, giant spinning reels and very large lead weights.  When I saw this, a light went off in my head, and I thought I finally figured out surf fishing.

Well, fast forward almost 10 years.  I have acquired a few of these long rods and heavy weights.  My surf fishing success has increased a great deal, but the problem was there didn’t seem like much sport in it.  I would have to stare at the rods just to make sure I noticed a bite, and then when I did, reeling the fish in was little more than dragging in 5oz of lead that occasionally tugged back.  I was using a one size fits all approach to surf fishing and didn’t realize it.

That was, until I got to Siesta Key last year.  I decided to throw some of my bass fishing gear as well as a some of my freshwater trolling gear in with my few surf rods.  As it turns out, this was a fantastic idea.  The surf in Siesta Key was very minimal, and I was on a mission to downsize my gear to fit the conditions.  Not only did we catch a TON of fish (still mostly small sharks and catfish), but they were a ball to reel in.  I still had the old surf rods out, but this time I had much lighter line and much smaller weights on them.  Plus, I up-sized the bait some, and tried to target some bigger fish that would put an actual bend in the rod.  All in all, it was a great fishing trip, and a real eye opener!

Snook

The first snook I ever caught came from the surf on our last night!