On June 13, 2002, my friend, Frank and I, were fishing on a pier in Broward County for tarpon.
Very few people know the almost religious experience of catching trophy tarpon on spinning tackle from shore.
For those of us who are addicted to the annual migration ritual, it defines our entire lives in May and June every year. No matter the weather, conditions or our health, we are there, bowing to the tarpon gods with every back-breaking pull they thrust upon us.
This particular day was absolutely nasty. The wind was gusting near 35 knots, the seas were nothing short of a washing machine and there was enough lightning to force my dog to flee under the bed for good.
Undaunted, as tarpon anglers are, we braved all manner of fury because the bite was incredible. There was a shocking price to be paid, as I found out.
Lightning struck the pier, knocking us both to the ground. It took me a good 30 seconds to regain my composure.
Now, this story is not about man versus nature. This story is about the wisdom of Frank. He took a few moments after the strike to perform a quick count of limbs and teeth. Frank then looked at me with a smile and said, "So, do you have fresh bait for me?"
If you find what you love and do it with passion, everything else is an acceptable risk.
Offshore report: The weather forecast for this week is hit or miss at this point. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. The offshore bite is much the same. Plan your day around looking for sailfish in the 150-foot mark and trolling for dolphin closer to the Gulf Stream. Floating debris may also hold wahoo as you approach the Gulf Stream.
The sailfish bite is dependent on cooler water pushing down from the north, which should occur given the early weather forecasts.
Several commercial anglers have reported snapper being caught on reefs and wrecks in good quantities. Try using a sliding sinker rig with a sardine on a 3/0 circle hook.
You may also have a kingfish pick up the line while snapper fishing.
Inshore report: For the bass and crappie anglers I have only two words, Rim Canal. Fish are pushing out of the lake due to the low level and creating an incredible bite in the Rim Canal.
Snook are feeding at night on most bridges and inlets. The southeast winds really have these fish turned on at night. I even witnessed a school of croakers being run up on the beach by feeding snook. Jacks, bluefish and mackerel continue to run the beach, but are concentrated better on north to northeast winds.
The pompano are here, but it is a very sporadic bite. Fish are being caught from Blowing Rocks Park on Jupiter Island down to Boynton Inlet.
The best bet this week is Peck Lake. The mackerel are not only prolific, but larger than usual. Several anglers have reported 8-pound plus mackerel.
Tight lines, crystal clear waters and sunny days to all.
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Rob Fielding is an addicted angler and the owner of Sharkey's Tackle in Jupiter.. For more information call (561)630-3100 or e-mail Rob.Fielding@SharkeysTackle.com.