Yes, there is no doubt about it. Kingfish love pogies. And Tarpon do too. On a recent trip out of Port Canaveral we made a stop near some other boats cast netting for pogies (Atlantic Menhaden) near the Cocoa Beach Pier. As we pulled in for a cast I saw a fellow angler named Fred drop his net over the side. He motioned to cast in his direction. I made the cast but the net came up empty. By this time Fred pulled his net to the boat loaded with pogies. It was if he had caught every bait in the pod before we got to cast. . He motioned to come on over and he handed us a bucket of pogies and we never had to make another cast.
We thanked Fred and headed south to do some slow trolling for kingfish. We had three rigs ready with wire stinger rigs. We would run one long, one medium, and one short in the prop wash. By the end of the day we had caught fish at all three distances.
The first knockdown came on the medium rig and turned out to be a huge tarpon. The fish would easily be over 100 pounds. We were not really surprised because the last two trips to this area had also produced tarpon. The first angler up was Tracie so she strapped on a fighting belt as Jim held the tarpon at bay. Tracie took the rod and placed it in the belt to begin her adventure with the tarpon. After about 15 minutes she actually had the huge fish within about 25 feet of the boat and I praised her for her effort. Then the big tarpon decided that was a little to close and began taking line again. During the fight which lasted about 20 to 25 minutes the fish jumped 5 times to add to the excitement. However, as is often the case the big fish pulled loose and the game was over. Tracie took off the belt and returned to her reading on the front deck. Jim mentioned how hard it was to hand that fish over to Tracie – he wanted one for himself.
We continued our slow trolling through the next few hours experiencing several knockdowns and landing four nice kings. We release one alive and threw three in the fish bag. As we headed for port the afternoon thunder storms were building and we made it back just before they hit. This time of year you need to keep an eye on the sky, because those storms come up quick and it’s a lot better to have the boat on the trailer when they hit.
Well, just as things were looking good in the nearshore waters the next trip out was a disappointment. There were no pogies to be found. We trolled frozen mullet and had two knock downs without a hookup. We also tried some artificials without success. One cuda followed the short line for a while but never struck. As we headed for port, one of my guests said, “Well it was a nice day for a boat ride.” Doesn’t that just about say it all?
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’.