Finally, a chance to get on the beach. Low winds, light seas and plenty of bait was the recipe for some beach side action this week. This is the time of the year we expect to see some big tarpon come by for a visit. The rough seas and mighty winds of late have kept the small boats in the river or in the driveway so it was a welcome adventure to go check out the beach.
Good friends John and Scott joined me on the “Finding Equilibrium” to see what we might hook up. In the back of everyone’s mind was the silver king. We were fortunate to spot some pogies before we left the confines of the Port. John took out his castnet and after a few throws we had plenty of bait for the day.
As we traveled south we saw bait pods from time to time and stopped to check out one area where the pelicans were diving repeatedly. The water in this area was a little discolored and was a likely spot to find some predators. With no action from this spot we motored a little further south.
John spotted some fish busting bait on the surface and we moved into the vicinity and Scott started casting a metal lure, the kind often used on Spanish Mackerel. It wasn’t long until he was hooked up with a hard pulling fish. As Scott brought the fish to the boat we could see it was a nice fat bonito. John had cast out a live pogie in the same general area and he too was soon hooked up with another hard fighting bonito. The bite slowed and we moved, again, further south.
We final found an area where we spotted some rolling tarpon. We set a couple of rigs in the pole holders with live pogies pinned to a stinger rig and slowly trolled through the area. At the same time we had tarpon rigs baited with live pogies in case a rolling tarpon was close enough to cast to.
We continued to see tarpon but always at a distance, too far to cast to. The slow trolling produced a couple of sharks and a couple of break offs that we did not identify. Then a silver king struck my trolling rig, made a lazy roll and went deep. The drag was screaming and the line was ripping off the spool as the big fish headed for the eastern horizon. It was quickly obvious we would have to chase him to retrieve some line so Scott fired up the engine and started the pursuit. When I had gained enough line to feel comfortable I yelled “ok” and Scott slipped the Yamaha into neutral and we settled into a game of tug-of-war. We repeated this process a couple of times as the drag screamed and the spool emptied.
John grabbed his camera and climbed up in the tower in hope of some photos. Forty minutes later and the big fish had never made the characteristic jump that we all expected. John reminded me that when they jump it helps wear them down but this big guy just never did jump and never seemed to wear down. Finally, in what looked like a half-hearted attempt to become air born the fish stuck his head out of the water, made more of spiraling motion and went back down. I thought at the time the line seemed to wrap around the fish when it made the spinning move. It disappeared beneath the surface and seconds later the hook pulled loose. It was over, no breakage, just something in the roll must have changed the angle of the hook and out it came.
After that we hooked up a couple more sharks but no more silver kings. We headed back to port with the knowledge that summer, the tarpon, the bait, the calm summer seas, were finally here. By the way, that’s why I have got to get back to the gym. You need to be in shape when you hook in to a big silver king!
As always, you can visit my website at www.inshorefishingadventures.com to view pictures of the fish we catch in the Cocoa Beach area. That’s what it’s all about. Good fishin’.