Summer is here and the Tarpon are too. We headed out of Cape Canaveral last Saturday with a crew of three young men ranging in age from 10 to 13. A quick stop along the beach for some pogies and then out to 40 feet where the kingfish had been biting. The hope was to get each of the boys on a nice King. Their fishing is usually in the river for smaller prey.
After 30 to 40 minutes of nothing hitting you could see the boys were bored with the routine of trolling. I donít blame them; it is boring when the fish are not biting. Enough of this I thought and we headed further south toward Patrick Air Force Base. It turned out to be a really good move.
We set up our lines with one long, one medium and one short bait only about 40 feet back and started the slow troll again. Another 20 minutes went by and the boys were beginning to lose enthusiasm again. They were not so sure about this kind of fishing. Then, the first knock down brought them all to life, only to be disappointed. The fish was not hooked. We had asked the boys ahead of time to determine who got the first fish. It was Robert up first, so Micah was next and he put the fighting belt on to be ready.
It wasnít long until the next knock down and the sweet sound of a drag screaming bite. Micah picked up the rod and for only a few seconds felt the pull of a hefty fish. Well, we were 0 for 2 as Caleb fastened on a fighting belt for his chance at a fish. These two bites had brought the boys around and their attention was turned to the rods more than before.
Bam! A huge hit, a spiraling fish and the fight was on. Caleb hung on tight and used every ounce of his weight and the strength of his arms to hold on to a huge Tarpon. I reminded him that when he got tired he could hand off to a buddy and let him fight the fish for a while. ďIím ok,Ē he said. A few minutes later he said ďok Robert, you take it for a while.Ē We had two fighting belts on board so we had Robert already suited up and ready to go. He took over for a while before passing it on to Micah. Micah fought for a while and handed it back to his brother Caleb. And on it went Ö
The boys traded the rod a total of 13 times each before landing the big fish about two hours later. All of a sudden this kind of fishing was not so bad. We got everything shipshape and headed for the ramp with a bunch of boys who got a lesson in fishing as well as a lesson in teamwork. Man, thatís what itís all about!
The kingfish bite has been hot outside the Port. Head out the Port and take a right down the beach looking for diving birds. They will show you were to stop and pick up a few pogies. Prepare each rod, starting with a bimini twist to make a double line. Tie the doubled line to a 60 pound mono leader about 4 to 5 feet long and add a stinger rig.
Capt. Keith Kalbflesich showed me his method for rigging a 4/0 and a 6/0 octopus hook on a short piece of wire cable of about 40 pound test. He uses a wire snell knot to secure the hooks. Visit his website at www.capt-keith.com and look on his articles page to see how it is done.
The distance between the hooks is determined by the size of the bait you use. I like to make them up ahead of time in several sizes. Pin a pogie through the nose with the forward most hook and pin him in the back with the other. Leave enough slack between the hooks to allow the pogie to swim freely. Lately the bite has been in about 30 to 40 feet of water, so head on out, put down some baits and catch a kingfish.
As always, you can visit my website at www.inshorefishingadventures.com to view pictures of the fish we catch in the Cocoa Beach area. Thatís what itís all about. Good fishiní.