A Day at the Beach

While I'm lucky enough to enjoy a good bit of offshore fishing for my job as editor of Marlin, it's not the only fishing I do - not even close. In fact, since I live in Orlando, about 45 miles from the beach, I tend to do a lot of bass fishing in our area's numerous lakes or fishing for trout and reds in central Florida's inshore lagoons. However, one of my favorite things to do is to hit the beach for a bit of early morning surf fishing - especially when the pompano start running. Unfortunately, as much as I like to do it, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I suck at it! Most people assume that surf fishing doesn't require any special skills or techniques, and nothing could be further from the truth. Just like preparing for a trip offshore, a beach excursion comes with a host of details that you need to take care of. You've got to figure out where the fish are, what they're biting and what kind of tackle to use. And you always have to keep in mind that no matter how much stuff you think you need to bring, you'll have to lug all the crap a mile down the beach to get to your favorite spot. Pulling a heavy fishing cart through the sand really makes those calf muscles burn, baby, which is probably the only real exercise I get! Recently, Nick Honachefsky, the managing editor of Saltwater Sportsman, said that he'd been crushing the pompano over at Playalinda Beach near the Canaveral National Seashore. Since Nick hails from New Jersey and spent many years chasing striped bass on the beach, he's sort of a surf-fishing expert. So, after hearing several corroborative tales, I decided to walk over and ask him if I could join him for a pompano expedition on the upcoming weekend. He said sure, he'd love to show me the ropes and catch some "pomps." I was so excited about the prospect of eating some tasty pompano that I even ditched my son's precious little-league game. Nick could certainly outcast me, but he couldn't overcome the Ferrell curse - although I caught a smattering of whiting, jacks and ladyfish, we didn't get a pompano bite the entire morning. I gave up around noon to head home and spend some time with the kids, and sure enough, on Monday morning Nick strolls in and tells me that he caught a really nice pompano shortly after I left. Of course he did.