October Surf Report

Late September and the surf transitions from tranquil to rough! Mild northeaster's clash with offshore tropical depressions creating heavy seas from the north well into south Florida. We know that when it "rains mullet" [as the locals call it] beach and jetty anglers go nuts. The snook are lean from the summer spawn and swirling on the inside shore break curls devouring finger mullet. Tarpon are commanding practically every school of bait from Sebastion to Boynton Inlet! I know, I amongst many are coming out of summer surf hibernation and are getting ready for our northern allies to arrive.
As the predators move on we are enjoying a wicked good bluefish run! On the beach, the pier, and the inlet jetty, jack crevalles and bluefish are smacking x-wraps and bomber lures. Rapala's, Mirrolures, spoons and jigs are working as well. If your heading to north or central Florida you could probably stop at any beach thru Jacksonville and catch blues. Melbourne north you will start seeing the spanish mackeral and tons of glass minnows. The migratory process is definately evolving!
Naturally the devoted anglers that read this column are waiting to hear what I enjoy reporting about most. Pompano! Resident pompano have made a few approaches to the Hobe Sound and Juno Beach areas. As Tropical storm Joaquin passes outside of the Bahama's the ground seas have picked up dramatically. The trough and the bars have a suspended turbidity that pompano don't swim in. No sir. No grit in their gills. In the coming weeks the seas will subside and the ocean will clear. During the transition of brown to clear waters there will be an intermediate aqua color phase. This is when it is still rough enough to suspend the dusty silt from our beaches and create a pretty sea foam green extending out to our second bar. Boom! This is pompano acclimated water! Anywhere on the coast of Eastern Florida this short lived phenomena should be fished. Why is this so important? Pompano feel safe from major predators in waters that are clean but yet hazy. Plus they need clarity to find shoreline sand fleas, mollusks and crabs to feed on.
Yesterday, Sept. 28 th 100's of juvenile 6 to 9 inch silver nuggets were caught at the Lake Worth Pier. The sea condition was rough but it was aqua hazy. Juno, Jupiter and Hobe Sound are brown and turbid. Today I was on the Juno Beach Pier and saw the blue water transitioning to brown approximate 1/2 mile off the beach. Numerous birds were diving on that color change. I would suspect small spanish mackeral and jacks.
We always discuss water temps falling, winter arriving, and tropical storms as the sparks that initiate the migration. With our sea temps at 85 degrees and Jacksonville at 81 degrees the northern pomps won't arrive till late November. This follows the same data as the past 2 seasons. The Carolina Pomps are in the Myrtle Beach, S.Carolina area and numerous silvers are in the San Simon's Island region. So until our waters reach the low 70's we won't see these guys. No worries! Unless you've fished those regions and caught those cold water pomps it doesn't matter to Florida anglers. We have a huge resident pompano population living all summer in the deep Atlantic waters up and down the eastern coast of Florida. These warm water fish only need a 4 to 6 degree drop and some serious N. Easter's to move them to our beaches.
I've presented the aids that I use to be a commercial pompano fisherman. I don't pull any punches. So its gonna start. Be ready. Go out and practice. Spike in, bait up and cast. You might very well have rotten line, broken ceramic guides, a reel that needs lube and or repairs. Maybe your ready to be more serious this year and entertain an upgrade in tackle to better reach that second bar on those wintery windy and rough days. Buying a great combo may very well last you a life time and put more pompano in your freezer. Thru out the 60's I worked at Lott Bro.s and I can very well tell you one thing. For over 50 years they have always been supplied and ready to meet your needs!

Tight Lines Pompano Rich Vidulich

"The Rise of Kingfish"
By George Lott

In late summer when the bait is just starting to go north, we have a kingfish run here in south Florida. My father told me that in the past years this run hasn't been as good as it was 15 to 25 years ago do to the netting that went on in the 80's and early 90's. Since then netting has been banned in Florida and the kingfish population is on the rise.

This year and last year I haven't noticed many big kingfish in the 50lb range, but what I have noticed is that there are tons of king mackerel in the 5 to 20lb.range. Although I have heard about the occasional "Smoker" this past August I heard of probably a thousand or more "snakes" caught. Almost anyone that I talked to that went fishing out in the ocean this pat summer, was catching kingfish on anything from jigs, live and dead bait, and event trolled lures. This summer I caught about a half dozen on trolled ballyhoo and live bait like greenies, goggle-eyes, sardines, and menhaden
The kingfish tend to congregate around drop offs and wrecks in any where from about 20 to 125ft. of water. They tend to live in schools, although the 40 to 55lb. smokers have been said to swim in pairs. They feed on anything from squid to large baitfish such as goggle-eyes and blue runners.

There is an arsenal of angling methods used to catch these fish. The way I like to use most is live chumming, because it is more hands on and sometimes is known to catch more fish. Another method that I have used while fishing with my dad is slow trolling a big bait like a blue runner out of and outrigger. This sometimes results in a bigger fish. This is how I caught my biggest fish. You can also fish off of a pier. Nice sized kingfish are known to come right in by the pier and feed on the baits that are at the pier for safety.

You can use lots of different kinds of tackle when fishing for kingfish. You can use light tackle in the 12 to 20lb. range. I prefer to use a 20 to 30lb. rod Lott Bros custom rod with a shimano TLD 15, spooled with 475 yds of 20lb. test line. I also use a G-Loomis 15 to 25lb. rod with the same reel. Kingfish can also be caught on standup gear. I suggest using anything in the 15 to 40lb. range, just in case you hook into a "Smoker."

This is one of the most fun fish to fish for in my area during the summer. I would recommend this to anyone young or old. HAPPY FISHING. <*)))><

Summertime Speedsters
By Mike Beebe

As the heat of September continues to cook, so does the South Florida Wahoo season. Although Wahoo are caught year-round, the most numbers and the largest fish are targeted from June through September. Wahoo are a member of the pelagic family of fish. They are super fast swinmmers, strong fighters, and great to eat no matter how you cook them. With the exception of some billfish, Wahoo are one of the only fish to have a single species tournament, such as The Bahamas Wahoo Championship.

Key factors such as bait supply along our coast (i.e large schools of bonito and flying fish), and water temperatures in the 80+ degree mark attract fish. Another key factor is a good north current, which is usually present in the summer, along with a full moon.

As the dolphin bite slows down, offshore fisherman look for an alternate plan. Surface rigs give way to sub surface fishing with downriggers, planers, and the ever-popular wire-line. Techniques change, such as trolling speed, depth, and time, which all vary from angler to angler. Highspeed artificial lures do well when trolled at 10 knots or above, and large well-rigged natural baits such as split-tail mullet, bonito strips, or horse ballyhoo trolled between 5 and 9 knots seem to be the most productive. Wahoo will hit a variety of bait at various speeds, but the most important factor is well-presented or good swimming bait. If it doesn't look good to you, Wahoo probably won't like it either.

A Wahoo's mouth is a cutting machine. The hinge of the mouth passes its serrated teeth and depending on the size, the scissor like action can sever a full size bonito in half in one quick bit. Wire leader is a must for Wahoo fishing, with number 9 being the preferred size, or 175 lb cable when using lures.

Since Wahoo are known for long, lightning fast runs, line capacity and smooth drags are most important when choosing your tackle. 4/0 sized reels with 40lb monofilament will handle most situations just fine, however most serious Wahoo fisherman choose 6/0 or 50lb class outfits for either surface or subsurface baits.

Wahoo are pack feeders, and on any day, with good conditions, more than one bite can occur in single area. A GPS waypoint or certain depth and landmarks allow one to work a productive area. Telltale signs of fish such as active baitfish (i.e. bonito or flying fish) and good clean water make for a good place to start.

A good amout of Wahoo seem and caught have cut a hooked bonito in half and then returned for the other piece. Most of the fish that do this are over 50 lbs. Last summer, I I weighed a Wahoo for another angler with a similar story tipping the scale at 72 lbs.

Working at Lott Brothers tackle shop in North Palm Beach, I can definitely tell you the Wahoo holds the most burnt drag, burned thumb, lure crushing, line breaking, reel spooling, one that got away stories than any other fish.




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