Ocean fishing can be tricky, but
extremely rewarding. There are many types of fish to catch - but you have
to know when and where to go to find them.
Bluefish can be found near holes in the water, inlets, riptides and other
moving water. If you are surf fishing, high tide and near high tide is
best, as bluefish prefer moving water. If the water is moving back toward
low tide, you may be able to catch some as well. Spotting a bluefish run
can be as easy as spotting swarms of birds diving into the water. These
birds are feeding on baitfish that the bluefish are after. Use fresh bait
such as herring or mullet if the water is particularly rough or murky. If
calmer and clearer, use shiny spoons, swimming plugs and bright, topwater baits.
The croaker is a schooling fish that will provide a nice fight when caught.
They are not generally large, and are not particularly tasty, but are an
enjoyable catch when found. These fish will stay offshore and then come
near to feed when the water is murky. You will not normally catch these
fish on clear, calm days from the beach. Use fresh cut bait and two hook
bottom rigs for these fish.
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Delicious flounder is prized by many. When fishing for flounder, be
sure to know the size specification before keeping. Fish for flounder in
clear, calm water if possible. As with many saltwater fish, flounder
prefer to feed in moving water, usually high tide but low tide as well.
Fish near jetties, points and inside edges of sandbars. Use flounder rigs
or standard two hook bottom rigs and keep the bait moving. Add neatly cut
fresh bait to the rig if you have some. Flounder hits are light, so do not
use bulky weights and tackle. Streamlined weights rather than edged
weights are best so they can run smoothly along the bottom.
King fish (King Mackerel) are fun to catch and can be found in shallow waters. They
will feed in moderate surf, and prefer a blood worm on a two hook bottom rig.
Fish around sandbars, in gullies, in holes or around points. These
fish can be found anywhere from right in front of you to further out, so
experiment with distance while casting. If you catch king fish one day,
chances are they may be there for another day or two as well.
Red Drum and Puppy Drum
Red drum and puppy drum (a younger red drum) usually stay further out to
sea, but will come offshore to feed. This fish will feed in rough water
with the tide rising or falling. The red drum will probably not bite on
calm days. Best times to fish are the morning or evening, with many
fishermen catching during the night. Use fresh bait such as mullet, or
shrimp closer to the Gulf. Use two hook bottom rigs for red drum, or lead
heads with plastics for puppy drum. Use heavy duty hooks for their bony,
As with many other species of fish, mornings and evenings are productive
times for successful angling. Read your water to determine your best spot.
Find sandbars and fish off the sides, or look for currents flowing out.
Deep pockets may find some speckled trout as well. You will have even more
luck if it is low tide with calm water. Use shiny metal lures - preferably
greens, reds or whites. Metal lead heads with plastic tails. As with
Weakfish, this fish is delicate and should be reeled in with care.
Spanish Mackerel are caught in warm, fairly clear water. They are fun
to catch and can be caught from shore. Diving birds and jumping baitfish
are a good sign of nearby Spanish Mackerel. These fish are fast, strong
swimmers and should be caught with a fast retrieve. Use lures to catch
this fish, such as shiny stingsilvers (spoons resembling small baitfish) or
light lures with golden colors. Try to avoid extra tackle - tie your lure
directly to your line. This is a smart fish - but you can be smarter!
Spot are a parent's best friend when surf fishing with children. If
they are near, they are fairly easy to catch. You will often see spot
being caught from a pier, two at a time on double hook bottom rigs. Aptly
named, these fish have a spot behind their gills. They are not large fish,
but will give you a good fight. Spot are very commonly caught in the surf.
Use small pieces of fresh bait such as mullet or blood worms. These fish
bite well in murky, moderate surf.
Sometimes called rockfish, the striped bass is an exciting catch. Most
stripers are found from New England to Delaware. If you are surf fishing,
your best chances for a catch are at night. For best results, use live
eels or other live baits. Plugs may be used as well.
Weakfish (Sea Trout)
Weakfish feed near structures such as piers and jetties. Fishing is
best in the morning, evening or at night. Weakfish can be caught surf
fishing on calmer days. Use lead head weights with white or red tails, or
bucktail rigs in the same colors. If using live bait, bloodworms or cut
fish work well. This fish is known to be easily damaged - thus the name
weakfish. Do not use excessive force when reeling in, and ice the fish as
soon as possible after catching.