Drop hook, line and sinker

With 72 miles of coastline in Brevard, there are plenty of hotspots to catch a variety of excellent species when surf fishing. Gina Ragan

Brevard beaches are a great place for surf fishing

With 72 miles of beaches, the Space Coast offers plenty of opportunities for surf fishing. With calmer seas and warmer weather, summer can be one of the best seasons for beginners and youngsters to learn the sport.

Lots of free advice and information is available – from online resources to professional Surf Charter guides to area bait and fishing spots. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be expensive to get started for the first time.

“The fishing is not difficult, the fish will eat anything at any time,” said Joey Antelloni, a longtime Brevard fishing guide and expert angler.

Born and raised in Palm Bay, Antelloni learned to fish with his father and grandfather on the beaches of Indialantic. Since then, he has made fishing his profession. The most important advice he gives is to be patient, careful and have fun.

Known as the YouTube fishing guru of the Space Coast, Antonelli has been sharing his fishing knowledge and stories via the web since 2006. He has attracted nearly half a million viewers who regularly visit and subscribe to his site. .

He was also a guest speaker at the Florida Sport Fishing Association meeting in April, where he shared his knowledge of surf fishing – from bait, tackle, rod selection, best spots and more.


multiple fish with one cast

Treble hooks are a great choice for landing multiple fish with a single cast. JOEY ANTONELLI

All the beaches of the Brevard coastline are divided into several sections, depending on the topography.

Hollows form off the shore and can vary depending on how steep or steep the beach is in the water.

At the north end – of Canaveral National Seashore [New Smyrna to Port Canaveral] — the bottoms are sandy and these hollows are less pronounced.

From Patrick Air Base at Satellite Beach south to Indialantic there are coquina ridges. Attached to these small reef-like structures are colonies of sabellariid worms. Further south, from Melbourne Beach to Sebastian Inlet, the dips become more pronounced, as the slopes are more vertical.

As the shallow water in the sandbars prevents water from flowing back to the ocean, the incoming pressure builds inside these troughs – until it forces the ruptures.

For swimmers this scenario can cause dangerous rip currents, but for surf anglers it can provide a gold mine where small invertebrates such as sand fleas and other baitfish are dislodged among the waves. Predatory fish wait along the edges of the bars to feed, creating a super fish highway.

Everything from whiting, croaker, pompano, bluefish, mackerel and even snook can be found along these hollows.

“Seasonal bag limit and species rules also come into play,” Antonelli said. “Before venturing out onto the beach, it’s always a good idea to check the forecast, water conditions, tide tables and wind direction.

“The offshore winds make casting easier and the water is clearer, but fish tend to stay in deeper water during the day and venture inland at dusk. Almost all species are most active when light levels are lower, and these times can maximize the chances of success, especially during new or full moon tides.

Because conditions change quickly with the tides, it’s also nice to have fishing buddies who are willing to swap information regarding daily hotspots.

small fishing box

Surf fishing beginners will need a minimal investment which includes a rod, reel, surf fishing rigs, rod holders, bait, bucket and a small tackle box. Gina Ragan

The choice of baits and rigs can mean the difference between success and failure.

“When it comes to casting the bait over the waves, considering the rig is just as important as deciding what bait to use,” Antonelli explained. “Whether you’re learning to tie your own or buying a professionally made one, the initial investment is worth the initial outlay to use one with a fluorocarbon line. This type of line, when immersed in the water, becomes practically invisible.

“Rigs should be streamlined to allow for a long cast, allowing the bait to sink naturally to the ocean floor and hold the bait firmly. Essentially a lead weight, with one or more hooks and a barrel swivel can be used to catch a variety of species.

“Trebles are an excellent choice for catching whiting and smaller species, and the experience of landing three fish at once may be an angler’s fondest memory,” he added.

Antonelli recommends consulting various websites such as www.go-salt-water-fishing.com Where www.saltstrong.com to find information on popular choices, or to visit any retail outlet for advice.

“There are several rod lengths suitable for surf fishing – and it’s not always necessary to use a longer or heavier rod,” he says.

“A setup that allows casting greater distances is needed when fish are further away, with average rod lengths ranging from 7ft to 12ft. Tides and shoreline characteristics can determine casting distance and protocol Surf fishing rods come in power levels ranging from medium to heavy and shorter rods can be used for casting when high tides prevail.

“Rod action is measured by the point at which the rod begins to bend. Since most surf fishing involves the use of rod holders, there is no need to have a rod” fast-acting,” Antelloni explained.

“Conventional bait casting types or spinning reels are commonly used, with the faster action surf rod being ideal when using lures.”

As for reels, he suggested one that comes with a 25-50 pound braid. [the preferred line type for surf fishing] that can hold 300 to 500 meters.

“The versatile medium-action rod can be swapped out with smaller reels to catch everything from tarpon to bluefish and whiting, usually in the 2-5 foot range.

artificial fish gum

Artificial fish gum is a great alternative to live bait choices and can be used to catch most species. JOEY ANTONELLI

Antonelli also said that while there are thousands of theories about the best bait for surf fishing, like humans, each fish has its own taste buds.

“My advice is to keep a diary of the baits you’ve tried and the success you’ve had, noting which fish ate what, your best catches and the circumstances surrounding the catch which may include the time of the day, etc.,” he said. “That goes for your rigs, your floats, your weights and just about everything.

“While many species prefer live bait – prawns, glass minnows and native clams, scallops or sand fleas [which can often be found along the outside sandbars and onshore buried in the sand] – are considered the best. However, frozen varieties, lures, and artificial gum fish bites are also popular choices. The latter can hold better on a hook.

“The small varieties of Atlantic croakers are an excellent choice for catching the coveted snook and pompano, touted as two of the tastiest varieties found in Space Coast waters. Local surf fishing reports are a great way to stay on top of what’s biting where.

He said that in addition to a rod and reel, other useful items include a bucket, a cooler, a good fishing knife, needle nose pliers, a hook remover, hook holders. rods, a net and a small assortment of dedicated equipment.

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