Why I fish!

Fishing is a passion. I have fished most of my life off and on, and live near some of the great fishing areas in the continental US. I fish offshore between Miami and Palm Beach, catching Sailfish, Spearfish, Swordfish, King Mackerel, Wahoo, Cobia and other migratory and local species. I have fished the bottom for African Pompano, Grouper, amberjack and Snapper. What has really caught my fancy is Flats fishing, and I have recently become more active fishing in Florida Bay, Biscayne Bay and the Florida keys. This is my home ground and I hope to become familiar with it.

Offshore fishing is exciting and involves some knowledge, but Fishing the flats is another story. I could never figure out where to start. The flats are fishable perhaps 1- 1 and 1/2 hours on each tide. If I could locate fish, they were almost always either too close, out of range ,leaving and/or scared. And to hook one is another challenge. Casting has to be pinpoint, silent and smooth. To Quote Marble Madness by Electronic Arts, "Everything you know is wrong!" as I quickly found out. Hooksets by jerking the rod tip as with bass fishing can almost guarantee a lost fish. I never felt a pick up by the fish. If I did, the fish immediately dropped the bait or fly and left pronto. The fish, especially bonefish, will usually reject a poorly cast shrimp or fly. But, if well cast, a fly or shrimp will almost always get a bite. When the fish eats, you need to reel quickly and smoothly bringing the line taught. If the fish senses pressure, he will usually turn and run the opposite direction. Then you can set the hook, but not before. Many times, the fish are coming at the boat, and this initial reeling must be at lightspeed to tighten the line. Great stuff! Oh yeah, you also need to know how to see the fish. No easy task even with polarized lenses. Rarely and only at specific times can you see tailing fish. More often they are mudding or simply swimming along without any surface indications of the fish.

When hooked, however, the fish are tremendous fighters. Blistering first runs 100 yards and more are common. Drag systems must be preset, lubricated and smooth. Permit seem never to run out of steam, and can fight for 45 minutes, to swim away looking fresh. Fighting fish like this that strain the drag and tackle to the maximum must be precise and ultra smooth or line twist and fray will do you in.

I have found that fishing with a guide is the only practical method of fishing in this environment. For most of my life, I participated in both Offshore and inshore fishing. I never utilized a guide or charter captain yet caught fish. This is not to say that techniques could not have been learned or improved. But, on the flats, I found a guide is almost a necessity.

The value of a guide has three forms. Finding the fish, Helping you catch the fish, and chasing the fish in the event of a hookup. It truly is brutal work pushing a boat around the flats, especially if going upcurrent or upwind. An almost photographic memory of the flats is also important. The guide with whom I fish, Mark Krowka, can see fish that few can, and provides memorable fishing experiences.


Offshore action has been pretty good during the cold spells and seems to drop off when the weather warms up. We had catches of 1/4 sails on Tuesday 12/30 and were 3/5 on 1/11 abroad Bound 'N Blue out of Palm Beach. The past Sunday, we had One Sail on briefly, Several toothy critter cut offs (monofilament leaders are no match for those teeth) and some Bonito. Ellen Hamilton of Boca caught a 15 lb black grouper. We also saw quite a few porpoises. offshore. On the radio, good kingfish action was reported early in the day with fish in 80-100 feet off Deerfield and Ft. Lauderdale. Otherwise it seemed that the day was slow overall with very scattered sailfish, and some dolphin offshore.