I started out my surf fishing charter in the morning leaving Strike-Zone in Melbourne heading to meet with a client in Sebastian hoping to put him on some pompano and whiting. We looked at the ocean which was absolutely as good as it gets as far as conditions for surf fishing goes!
Light offshore winds, beautiful Bahamas color water and a couple really nice outflows. We continued to look out about 200 yards and could see schools of Spanish mackerel as well as a couple tarpon rolling on bait pods. I looked at my client and explained to him that we would be casting out 120+ yards to get to the schools of pompano hanging on the outer bar.
I caught us some nice sand fleas the day before and was anxious to get a few out there. As we sat and watched our tsunami airwaves slightly bend holding our 4oz sputniks in place, we patiently waited for a strike. About twenty minutes later, it was like someone turned on the light switch! My client reeled in pompano after pompano getting his 6-fish limit within 40 minutes! Still having an hour to burn on his charter I asked if he wanted to try for a permit since we still had some nice fleas. He insisted we try!
I tied on two of my different riggs. A “Pompano Riggs by Couture” with pink and white float and also white and chartreuse. I hooked on the two biggest fleas I had and walked down to the water’s edge. I took my time setting up for a long-range cast, with my arms up and out straight with my weight behind me in perfect Rich Vuldich form, I launched my rigg to what looked like was going to land on the moon, and up ended just short of 175 yards!
As I started walking back to my sand spike from casting the second rod, I begun to reel my line tight to get my weight to set in the sand. As my hand was leaving the rod, I felt a huge THUD! Rod tip started bouncing. I start reeling tight to get my circle hook in the fish’s mouth, after he realized he was hooked, my Penn 704z went into hyper speed mode (you know the one where your drag is smoking, saltwater misting off the reel and the reel is making a noise that only dreams are made of?). I handed my client the rod and began coaching him. I was explaining to him, “don’t drop the rod tip, keep it up at 45 degrees or higher, and whatever you do, don’t stop reeling!”
As I say that to him, out of the corner of my eye I see our other rod bending down to the sand screaming out drag! I bolted towards that rod before it pulled out the spike just in time! I lifted the rod up reeled tight and we both were doubled up on permits! I managed to get mine in before my client. I threw my fish by my beach cart and started running 30 yards down the beach to help land his trophy fish. I walked out to the first trough and grabbed the fish by the tail. I was worried if he put too much pressure on the fish close to shore, that our 17lb main line would break from our 20lb shock leader and we would surely lose the fish.
This fishing story certainly had a happy ending that concluded with my client obtaining his limit of pompano and a permit over 22 inches. As well as catching my personal best land-based permit measuring 28 inches — evidence that elephants really do eat peanuts!