There is one road onto and off of this island. Once on the bridge, you hit land on the island and there are two little streets that go off to the right. Take a right before or after that gas station on to one of these little streets and there are two bait shops (one on either street) Survivors and Fishing HQ (I think). I always go to survivors, get a few dozen live shrimp and some frozen squid.
Buy everything else first here in Tally because they rip you off on the island.
Get your bait and then you continue down the main road (the one off of the bridge) it dead ends with a stop sign (“T” Intersection) facing the public showers and bathrooms and you have two choices...
Make a left, drive a few miles and get into the state park, then you can drive down to the several beach lots and fish the surf. I caught a blue that way last weekend. Go all the way down to the very end of the state park if you do this, go to the big beach houses with the parking lots, park there and then walk further east on the beach.
Or you can head right at that stop sign (back at the “T” ), work your way to the left (towards the gulf) and park at one of the sandy beach spits that the county has kept open for people like me. There are just little signs [Franklin County Beach Access] and a trash can or two, park there (DO NOT BURY YOUR WHEELS IN THE WHITE SAND) walk down that trail and there are beaches. I do this more than anything else because I can bring my beagle and my cooler with beers in it. I can’t tell you what’s biting because the reports from the island kind of suck. I have caught flounder, speckled trout, whiting, sharks, pompano, spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and a lot of those G#d Da##ed Catfish there even when the when cite said they it was going to be slow.
Or you can double back after you get your bait, go 200 yards down that bridge and there are people fishing from the bridge there, there is a parking lot on your right. This is a big sheepie spot. Don’t kill any of those crazy birds on that causeway, they are like suicidal this time of year.
I haven’t fished from the bridge because there is a busy road there and that isn’t my thing.
I hit up the surf with a fish finder rig and some shrimp. If the shrimp are not working, I use squid heads (tentacle/eye parts). The farther out you can wing it, the better. If you see sand fleas in the surf, pompano are not far behind. Wade out a little, toss out a bait, catch a tan, scan for babes (they are in season ). Pompano however are within 20 feet of the beach if you see fleas and want to keep your feet dry. Don’t get speared by a catfish if you hook up with one.
One more thing....how important would you say live shrimp is? I know I've fished at Playalinda before and I haven't really seen a different between live and frozen shrimp. I already bought squid today at Wal-Mart and was thinking about getting some frozen finger mullet when I get down there just in case I run across some blues or macks.
Live scrimps are not all that important, frozen will work out for you too. The squid I used was frozen and it worked out fine. Lots of times if you get to the island a little late, the bait shops are out of livies anyway so I have used frozen a bunch.
I might be down there on Sunday in a red Ford Explorer with Texas Longhorn stickers so if you see me (beagle, cooler, shark tattoo on right arm) say hello
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