By Peter Krause
Many times, the best fishing can be found on the borders of things. The change of color, the sudden change of depth and the edge of plant life are all borders where fish may prowl. One of the most productive borders may be found throughout the entire east end of the county - the border between land and sea.
The surf is a battleground between shore and ocean. On the land side, birds and crustaceans feed on anything that might get stranded from the water. On the ocean side, fish and crustaceans feed on anything that might get captured from land by crashing waves.
The waves themselves capture and strand, pull from the sand and bury underneath. Along our coast, fish dance just behind the breakers, waiting for a meal while avoiding the possibility of being stranded.
Each species has its own adaptations, though competition will cause many preferences to overlap. Whiting and pompano will snap up a sandflea or cut clam.
Snook and small sharks will grab smaller fish, especially if they seem injured.
Winter bluefish and summer crevalle jacks will tear through schools of migrating baitfish.
Redfish, black drum and sheepshead will find any small crustacean, from shrimp to crab.
Most of these fish find the natural trough in the sand created by the breaking waves. The slack water of high and low tides amplify the trough, but it can be found during mid-tide if the beach geography is right.
A sandbar forms seaward of this trough, moving back and forth with the tide. Sometimes fish will cruise the far-end of this sandbar, and some surf anglers will wade out with a pocket full of bait and fish just beyond the drop, into the ocean.
A number of fish will be right in the trough, however, and sometimes these fish can be surprisingly large.
If the surf is right, there will be two distinct sets of waves. The first is caused by the sandbar at the far end of the trough, and may show high, peaking waves or actual breakers. The second set of breakers is right up on the beach. The area between the two sets is the deeper trough zone where fish tend to cruise.
Don't be one of those anglers who stand on shore and cast bait as far as rod and muscle will allow. In many cases, these fishermen are throwing their bait over the fish they are trying to catch.
We are still in a transition time between warm and cool seas. Depending on weather and water clarity, mahi may be found from 20 fathoms to the Gulf Stream. Kingfish and cobia may be even closer.
Surf temperatures are also in transition, which opens the door for pretty much anything. Snook have been biting up and down the beach, inhaling live finger mullet or fish-like lures.
Live shrimp is the bait of choice for many anglers looking for trout, snook, redfish, ladyfish, or mangrove snapper. Each fish has their preferred area, but fishing near structure or depth changes may give a mixed bag.
Bass are biting all over local lakes and freshwater canals. Plastics, spinnerbaits and small live shiners are all producing, especially near plantlife such as lily pads or grasses.
Peter Krause has fished all over the Florida since his childhood, when he pulled bream out of the Everglades canals. He has fished Brevard waters for more than 10 years. Peter can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures of great catches can also be sent to him at that address.