As I mentioned in my previous post , bottom fishing is not only effective for spot but also for several other species commonly found in the surf. The basic rig used is the same for most species and so is the bait. This allows you to catch several types of fish during the same day without having to change anything. One of the things I love about saltwater fishing is the uncertainty of the catch. You can target a specific breed of fish , but you may end up catching six different species and none of the type you set out to catch.
The Northern Kingfish , also known as a Sea Mullet or Roundhead , is a fairly common species of fish here on the East Coast. They are a spirited fighter , especially once they have reached lengths over 12 inches , and can make for a fun day of fishing when they are abundant in the surf. They can be caught on a wide variety of baits. Squid , shrimp , cut bait , bloodworms and sand fleas have all produced for me in the past.
Atlantic Croakers are another common fish caught in the surf. Like the Norfolk Spot , they are a member of the drum family and can be found in schools at certain times of the year. Croakers get their name from the distinct noise they make when caught. While other members of the drum family are capable of using their swim bladders to voice their opinion when being handled , the Atlantic Croaker is certainly the most vocal. They can be caught using squid , shrimp , cut bait , clams and occasionally live minnows.
The Florida Pompano is common in coastal waters south of the Chesapeake Bay , although catches have occurred farther north. Small schools of Pompanos can often be seen feeding on barnacles around pier and bridge pilings and they will also feed in the surf where sand fleas are present. Pompanos will readily take small pieces of shrimp or sand fleas presented on a bottom fishing rig. Catch rates may be improved by the use of smaller size 4 or 5 gold hooks.
Summer Flounders or Flukes are highly sought after by both commercial and recreational fishermen. They are strictly regulated at this time in an attempt to restore the fishery from decimation due to over fishing. Thanks to these restrictions , I have personally noticed an increase in size and numbers of fish in the past few years. Summer Flounders are often caught on bottom rigs baited with shrimp , cut bait and squid. There are several other methods for Flounder fishing that I will cover at a later time.
This covers some , but certainly not all , of the most common fish caught when using a bottom fishing rig. Red Drums and Black Drums are both a possibility as are Bluefish , Speckled Trout and Weakfish , but I feel these species deserve a more detailed write up because of the many different ways they can be caught. Stingrays and Skates are also a common catch , but because of the danger involved when handling Stingrays they will also get a separate page here on the blog.
Have a great day!