Surf Casting Florida

Learn how to catch more fish off of the beach.

How far out in the surf do you cast for pompano?

You have to cast out to the sand bar during the lower parts of the tide and you can literally catch them at your feet during the highest parts of the tide. It all depends upon the tide levels when it come to knowing how far out to cast to catch pompano in the surf.

In other words, the quick answer is that it depends upon the conditions. I like to look at the beach as a series of zones. Let’s say that the sand bar is 60 yards from the beach. I would break that apart into 3 separate fishing zones.

The first zone for me would be from the beach to 20 yards out. The second zone for me would be 20 to 40 yards out and the last zone would be 40 to 60 yards out.

Let’s say that you are fishing 3 different rods. You would want the bait on one rod to be in zone 1. You would want the bait of another rod to be in zone 3 and you would want the bait of the third rod in zone 3.

Give the spot 15 minutes or so to see if there are any fish around and reevaluate what to do if you don’t get any bites. If you do start getting bites then move your other two baits into that zone.

Pompano are in schools so once you find one, you will probably find a lot more.

I am a kayak fishing guide on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I have fished the beaches, mangroves, grass flats….. all over Florida for more than 40 years. In the article below I will talk in more detail about how far to cast for pompano off of the beach.

Watch the video below to learn more about where to fish when you are surf fishing.

You just never know where the pompano or whatever fish you are trying to catch off of the beach will be. You will have to do some experimenting to figure out where the feeding fish are. You have to find feeding fish or you will get skunked on your fishing trip.

When I first hit a beach that I want to fish off of I will look around for life of some sort. It might be sandpipers and plovers digging for sand fleas. It might be pelicans and terns diving in the water for food. It might be a great blue heron or a snowy egret standing on the beach.

You need to find a beach with some life on it or you might be in for a bad day of fishing. The best signs of life are feeding fish where you are at. If the bite is on and you see feeding fish in the surf, then you have a great chance to catch some fish.

The tide is very important for beach fishing because more water allows more fish to come close to the beach. That makes a lot of sense right? Less water means that some of the bigger fish can’t get too close to the beach. Simple.

I like to fish the higher parts of the tide for just about everything. I like high tide because I can use a normal sized fishing rod instead of a 10 feet plus sized surf casting rod. When the tide is high you can bring you 7 ft. rod and catch tons of pompano, whiting, snook, tarpon, bluefish, permit…….. within 30 yards of the beach usually.

That is my kind of fishing.

Let’s talk about those fishing zones again. You will want to test out your stretch of beach for 15 or 20 minutes and then move if you don’t get any bites. Pompano are hard to find sometimes. They might be hot and heavy on your beach one day and the next day that school might be 10 miles North or South of you the next day.

Some times they might stay on the same stretch of beach for a few days before they leave for somewhere else. You just never really know what they are going to do next. The water temperature might be just right. There might be a lot of food around. There might be no predators in the area. You just never know really.

That is what makes pompano fishing so much fun. Their transient nature makes them very elusive at times but when you find the schools it can be a day full of fun fishing for pompanos.


Surf fishing is tons of fun and I hope that this article helps you catch more fish. Just remember that those zones are a big deal. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to fish somewhere that has no fish. You have to test out the stretch of beach where you are fishing to find out where the feeding fish will be.

I like to look at it like a grid. I see the water in front of me as vertical and horizontal lines. You might have to modify your casting distance from the beach out into the sea. Might have to modify your position on the beach and head up the beach some or down the beach some.

BUT once you find the feeding fish stay put. Don’t leave feeding fish to find more feeding fish. Pompano will stay put if there are no predators around them and plenty of food for them to eat. They are rarely solitary so if you catch one, then you will often catch more as the school moves through your fishing spot.

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