By Captain David Lifka

If you have never given surf fishing a try at any of our area beaches, right now is the perfect time of year to do so. Mild temperatures and calming spring winds make for easy and comfortable fishing conditions. As spring continues to progress, the whiting bite is going strong and the pompano bite is steadily on the increase.

Both whiting and pompano are common species of fish to be caught in our beaches waters, with pompano being a little more seasonal than whiting. Both can be fished for similarly, with whiting being the more prominent and easier of the two to catch. Both filet nicely with a light mild meat, but hands down, pompano is a local favorite and prized fish to catch.

JR Dental General, Specialty, Dental Lab

Because whiting and pompano use the surf zone of the beach to find their meals, both species pretty much share the same diet plan. Fiddler crabs, sand fleas, shrimp, and clams found in the waves make very good baits, but sand fleas and shrimp seem to be their favorites. Finding bait stores on the way to the beach or at the beach shouldn’t be hard and obtaining current fishing information from the bait store can often be helpful.

Any light spinning tackle can be used to catch either species of fish. Twelve to fifteen pound test line is more than adequate to handle these fish, and using braided line could pay dividends with the extra sensitivity it delivers. Surf rods are great for longer casting, but not required to be able to fish in the surf. Being able to reach the trough between the two areas of breaking waves, or just past the sand bar is usually the best area to fish. The last couple hours of the incoming tide and first couple hours of the outgoing is a good time span to look for.

Using a simple “Fish Finder” rig with smaller saltwater hooks works best for whiting and will sometimes catch a pompano or two; however, “pompano rigs” work best. They are the preferred rig by nearly all pompano fishermen, and work very well on whiting. Pompano rigs can be bought online or at any bait and tackle store, which is easier than making them yourself. A variety of sinkers from one ounce to about six ounces will be nice to have on hand depending on surf conditions.

Fishing Report: Freshwater bream, bass, and catfish all looking good in area creeks, ponds, and mouth of creeks into the St. Johns. Look for St Johns River fishing to be improving quickly, with reds moving in on docks. Surf fishing continues to be best bet.

Whether you catch one, some or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.

Email your Catch of the Month photo to Be sure to include the name of the person(s) in the photo, the name of the person who took the photo, the type of fish and date and location of the catch. We will select a photo each month for publication

Photo courtesy Jim Bagnardi

Trey Bagnardi of Julington Creek with a mixed bag caught in the Intracoastal: Red fish, Jack Crevalle, and Black Drum.


  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin, call to schedule your virtual tour
  • Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor
  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Memorial emergency We have the compassionate team and technology to take great care of you or a loved one in an emergency
  • Ellegant earth solutions complete lawn maintenance with 28 years experience
  • Fresh Look Lawn Maintenance
  • I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • The right cleaners, LLC House cleaning services
  • Nautilus Behavior Health Let us help you and your family be at your best
  • Nemour's Childrens's Specialty
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • River City Roofing call today for your free roof inspection
  • Join us for Easter River of Life UMC
  • Vote Rod Hardwick for st johns county sheriff Working together for the strength of our community during challenging times
  • Preddy law firm estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, guardianship
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • Eddie Creamer Property appraiser
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Strandz hair studio. For a beautiful new you!
  • Support Community Journalism The Creek Line
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Julington Creek Chiropractic & Wellness Center P.A. serving st. johns county for nearly 21 years
  • Tutoring club. Worried about the FSA? WE CAN HELP.
  • Custom heating and air
  • Academy of Dance
  • Affordable Water
  • Baptist Medical Center South
  • All About Ballroom
  • Central Bank, Come see us for a small business loan!
  • Episcopal Church of Our Savior
  • Irritated Eyes? Your not alone its allergy season! Schedule an appointment with clayeye for some relief!
  • Do you only want cremation?
  • Craig Funeral services, Funeral, Crematory, Memorial Park
  • Cronin Ace Hardware
  • Vote for Christian Whitehurst! for St. Johns county commissioner, District 1
  • Ian MacDonald Mortgage loan originator with Regions Mortgage
  • Doug Nunnery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Finding the right doctor just got easier, Dr. Levine Baptist primary care
  • Nemetz dental associates
  • Deerwood Academy register now for 2020-2021 VPK
  • Excel Pediatrics 2 locations Durbin creek and Avenues
  • Eye center of st augustine, The eye surgery Center of St Augustine
  • Famous Automotive and tire center
  • Fruit Cove Baptist Church
  • The Goddard School summer camp
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • The Legacy at st johns the ultimate resort styled living
  • Weaver and Stratton pediatric dentistry & orthodontics. Exams. Prizes. Fun!
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Memorial Emergency Mandarin
  • Mint cleaning tips for a clean virus free fresh home
  • George R. Hentshcel CPA, P.A. Taxes, Accounting, & Consulting
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Tousel and tease beuaty parlor! family friendly walk-ins welcome
  • Mandarin Garden Club Annual Plant Sale
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • The Windsor Senior living facility
  • Being Well Florida News line is excited to introduce Being Well magazine
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman Cancer center, Leaders in proton therapy
  • Elder Source for senior and care giver resources
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • New! Camp Yalla Summer Camp grades 7-9
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty, Dental Lab
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021