Author: Patrick Meek
Every spring when the water starts to warm up, many surf fishermen from Panama City Beach to Pensacola, FL pull their rods out of storage, service their gear, add fresh line, and hit the beach again searching the surf for the elusive silver nugget.... POMPANO!!!
After returning home from work in late March, the wife and I hit the sand again in search of the tasty seafood we wait patiently all winter for. I read reports coming in from Panama City, Destin / Ft. Walton that the Pompano were starting to show up in small numbers and it wouldn't be long before they traveled west to us in Pensacola. The water temperature in the surf had been fluctuating from 67 to 68 degrees making it just about right for them to show up again in numbers. Once we found the right spot, we set up 5 surf rods all loaded with 20 lb or 30 lb Bullbuster braid baited with fresh dead peeled shrimp or sand fleas and staggered the distance between the 5 rods. I would cast two 12' rods just over the sandbar and one 9' rod in the middle of the trough. My wife would cast two 10'6" rods just inside the bar.
Most Pompano were caught just beyond the first sandbar, but we still caught a few inside the bar as well.
On one particular day, I met up with my good friend John F. on the beach to do a little fishing with him and he had already put one Pompano in his ice chest. After we got set up, it wasn't long before one of my 12' surf rods starts bending. I go over to the rod and reel in a nice 31" Redfish.
"We were not sure what she had on, but we all knew it was no Pompano."
After a good release, it was my wife Heather's turn to step up. It wasn't too long until her 10'6" surf rod doubled over and the Van Staal 150 SXP started screaming drag. We were not sure what she had on, but we all knew it was no Pompano. John and I stood and watched as Heather had a nice fight on her hands and then as she was bowed up on her fish, my 12' surf rod bends over. At that moment, Heather and I had a double hook-up!
Heather was first to reel her fish in which was a healthy 36" Black Drum!
I was having to go over and under rods as the fish I had on was charging west to avoid getting tangled up in lines. There's nothing as exciting than a big fish pulling drag off a spinning reel! Once I thought I was putting enough heat to this fish, it would charge again. Finally, after about a 13-minute fight and 20 more feet down the beach, I landed the biggest Black Drum that I had ever caught off the beach measuring in at 43".
After reviving my PB Black Drum, it swam off strong hopefully to one day give another surf fisherman the joy it gave me. A few more Pompano were caught and we decided to call it a day.
What’s great about this time of year is that not only the start of the "Spring Pompano Run" begins, but the Redfish and Black Drum are still cruising the surf area looking for crustaceans to feed on which make a fun catch while waiting for the "Silver Nuggets" to strike.
More catches off the beach using Bullbuster fishing lines:
Until next time...
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