Surf Casting Florida

Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.

Best Tips and Techniques for Winter Surf Fishing in Florida

Winter is a great time to fish in Florida as long are you are fishing in between that low fronts that move through the state. The fish can sense that low pressure coming and will start feeding like crazy as the barometric pressure starts to drop.

You will want to get out a few days before the front hits and then wait a few days after the front passes through and the barometric pressure begins to climb again.

I am a FISHING CHARTER CAPTAIN on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have been fishing the beaches, grass flats, oyster bars and just about everything else in Florida for more than 40 years.

I personally love to fish in the winter time for a few different reasons:

Number one: You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn like you do in the Summer months. In the Summer, you have to get out on the water early before the water gets too hot most of the time. In the Winter, you can sleep in and relax a while before you get the beach at the crack of noon.

Number two: All you are really trying to do is find pockets of warmer water that might attract fish. As the sun heats up the waters around the beach, often the bite will turn on.

Number three: The pompano show up around my neck of the woods in the Winter months. Pompano are the tastiest fish in the sea by many peoples’ tastes and they are a blast to catch. I love catching the fish that are coming from up north down to my area in the Winter months.

Watch the video below to learn more about how to catch a pompano.

The Winter months bring other great tasting fish that you can catch off of the beach. Sure the tarpon, and the mackerel head south but the pompano, whiting, sheepshead are around in great numbers. You can have a great day just catching those three fish species.

Just remember to slow things up in the Winter months. Those fish out there are cold blooded just like a snake or an alligator. This means that they have to use their environments to regulate there own body temperatures. So if it gets too cold, they can’t really move as well as they can when it is warmer.

If you are pitching a spoon or something and reeling it in very quickly then they will probably just ignore it. They want something to eat that doesn’t make them expel too much energy. Remember, in the animal kingdom it’s all about calories in versus calories out. If they can’t get enough calories from their food to make up for the calories that they spend chasing it, then they will die.

If you are fishing with baits like clams, sand fleas, crabs that are hooked and weighted to the bottom, then just be patient. Those fish out there will smell your bait and take their time getting over to it for lunch. Patient fishermen catch more fish in the Winter months in Florida.

When the seas are rough the water will be a little bit warmer. There is friction caused by all of the movement of the water molecules because of the wave action. It is harder to feel the bite in bigger surf but if you can handle it you might catch a ton of fish.

Make sure to have enough weight to keep your bait on the bottom. You might have to go with a heavier weight so bring a selection of various sizes. You never know what the beach is going to look like until you actually go there and see it for yourself.

During the winter months your more tropical species of fish will start to disappear. The snook will either head offshore to wrecks and reefs or head inland up the many rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean.

The snook will die if the water temperatures hit 60 degrees and stay there for a few days and that is why they migrate in the winter months. The dark waters of the freshwater rivers in Florida absorb the sun’s energy better than clear water. That is what attracts the snook to freshwater during the colder months of the year.

The tarpon will also migrate off of the beaches in my area down to the Florida Keys and the Caribbean. They also will die if the water temperatures get too cold so right after the first good cold front comes through the Treasure Coast the tarpon will head south to warmer waters.

It is a shame because those two fish species are two of my favorites to catch.


Winter is a great time to go fishing off of the beach. Often times the inshore fishing will shut down and the surf fishing will be red hot. Get your surf casting gear ready and find those fish. I like to fish the higher parts of the tide because you usually do not have to cast out so far to catch fish. Lower tides are good too but you will have to cast out to the first sand bar usually.

Depending upon where you live the first sandbar can be out 100 yards and that is a very hard cast to make. The higher parts of the incoming and outgoing tides are my favorite ways to fish off of the beach.

Sleep in and have a cup of coffee before you start to get your gear in order. It doesn’t really matter that much in the Winter time in Florida. Relax. Eat a big breakfast and take your time. Winter fishing is slower paced than the rest of the year and I like it that way.

I hope that this article helps you catch more fish in the Winter.

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