Surf fishing offers the best of beach with the fun of catching a wide variety of fish.
Walking through knee-deep water, casting as you go, is an easy and effective way to catch everything from flounder to snook. Wade fishing, as it’s sometimes called, is ideal for beginners and veterans alike, especially in an area such as St. Petersburg/Clearwater.
This peninsular paradise has dozens of great fishing spots that are ideal for the shore-bound angler. It doesn’t take much to get started. All you need to join in the fun is a tide chart, a pair of old tennis shoes and an inexpensive spinning rod.
The Big Three: Trout, Redfish and Snook
Most marine species, from stone crabs to bonnethead sharks, spend some portion of their life cycle in the vast meadows of sea grass that you’ll find in the sheltered waters of the bay, Intracoastal Waterway and the back side of our barrier islands.
Spotted sea trout, the lions of the grass beds, are voracious feeders that will strike live bait and artificial lures. While trout will eat just about anything, they have a soft spot for live shrimp, standard fare at local bait shops.
Trout share the sea grass with red drum, a.k.a. redfish, a hardy predator prized for both its fighting ability and white, flaky flesh, which is superb when baked, grilled or blackened.
But the true champion of the inshore fishery is the common snook, the legendary “linesider,” a game fish valued so highly, it has been off limits to commercial fishermen for more than 50 years.
Armed with the right tackle and tactics, the well-versed wade fishermen can catch anyone of these sportfish. With a little luck, you might catch all three in the same day and qualify for the inshore “grand slam.”