Trolling Off Pompano Beach

By: Ryan Nance

ADD TO FAVORITES
Deep-sea fishing off Pompano Beach yields kingfish, barracuda, bonito, and more.

The tip of the rod started with a sudden dip. Eddie, the baiter on our boat, Rebound, had been fiddling with the other main deck line, tying a fluorescent swag of nylon onto the pair of hooks and bait. The instant he caught the jerk of the line out of the corner of his eye, he neatly stowed the tackle and rushed over to the shining reel. He cranked it furiously a few turns, then looked over his shoulder at me.

"You're up, chief."

I stepped up and tried my best to match his frantic pace, leaning against the weathered wood of the gunwale while white spray speckled the back of my neck.

"Hey, hey, hey. Slow down a bit. Just keep the line taut and reel it up slowly," Eddie advised. I cranked as regularly as I could, but the tension on the line would let up suddenly and then snap even stronger than before.

When I reeled up the planer board and sinker at the junction between the wire and the monofilament lead, Eddie took over, pulling in the line with his gloved hands. As he yanked the fish out of the water with a long-handle gaff, I saw that it was a fairly large king mackerel, its burnished blue-gray back and identifiably dusky fins and white belly gleaming in the bright sun. He dropped it into the fish box mounted at the back of the boat's deck.

"That's gotta be at least a twelve or thirteen pounder! That's a trophy fish for sure," Eddie congratulated me.

Earlier that morning, as mist drifted inches above the glassy, indigo harbor waters, I parked just across from the dock, where the Rebound was tied. Captain Stan Hunt was cutting thin strips of bonito for bait in the pre-dawn half-light, the iridescent skin flashing as he flipped it over to cut all but a slight band of red flesh.

When I'd left the Fairfield Fort Lauderdale at the Fairways of Palm-Aire, it was still dark. The pool below our balcony was lit and completely still. My wife was going to opt out of the deep-sea fishing and instead explore the resort's amenities, perhaps even visit its spa.

The other passengers were staying at the Fairfield Sea Gardens Beach and Tennis Resort and the Fairfield Santa Barbara Resort and Yacht Club, both on the beach just down A1A from the marina. There were five of them: a father, his two sons and two friends. Jacques, the father, was the only one who'd been deep-sea fishing before. The rest of us were unsure what to expect as the boat chugged slowly under a drawbridge and past the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse and a pair of jetties.

Once we reached open water, Eddie climbed down from the command deck and sprung into action. He dropped the lines from the two lower-deck rods, letting the reels whiz for a while. Next he let three other lines into the water, then handed the rods up to Stan on the bridge. In total, we were trolling five separate lines, each at a different depth, each aimed at a different kind of fish. Eddie explained that many fish migrate through these waters because the reef offshore drew such large schools of baitfish.

After our first great hour - eight fish - we decided to try our luck at trolling for wahoo. Eddie methodically switched out the leaders, bait and lures and told a great fish tale. Apparently, earlier that week, the Rebound had taken out a group from Ireland that caught two 20-pound fish in their first ten minutes. Ah, the luck of the Irish!

As we drifted back into the slip at the marina, we were all exhausted and excited. All told, we caught 12 fish (no wahoo), ranging from a few smallish mackerel and a bonito to a great barracuda and three ten-plus-pound kingfish.

For more information on fishing and boating opportunities at the Fairfield Fort Lauderdale at the Fairways of Palm-Aire and at other resorts throughout Florida, visit www.ExtraHolidays.com or call Extra Holidays at 800-438-6493.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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