The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Monday, October 8, 2007

April 30 - May 7th - Saltwater special - Miami Beach Florida







My wife and I took a short vacation to Miami Beach, along with our youngest son Eli, 16 months old. We stayed in North Miami beach, the hotel we were at owns the 167th / Newport pier. The was extremely convenient, as I didn't need to pay any access fees and could come and go as I wanted, as the pier is in the hotel "yard". The only drawback is that most of the pier has been closed due to hurricane damage in October 2005, apparently they haven't been able to get the construction permit to repair it. The pier is located on the beach, only the first 150-200 feet are currently open, so fishing is in water 3-4 feet deep. Saltwater fishing is quite different from freshwater, the fish seem a lot pickier about what they eat. My guess is that they are "spoiled" due to the abundance of prey, which makes them a lot harder to catch. When you add the low / high tide factor, fishing gets more complicated. Of course they payoff is a lot better, as pound for pound they fight a lot harder, and you can find many fish that will eat a freshwater sized trophy for breakfast. Here is a quick run down of my fishing experience on that trip: Sunday April 29 After checking in at night, my wife went to sleep and I hit the pier at about 11:30 PM. A couple people were still out fishing, the pier manager assured me that fishing was terrible, and no inch has been catching anything decent for months. I decided to try a live 12 inch mullet hooked up to a 7' catfish rod with 80LB Fireline XDS, followed by a 45LB steel leader. I dropped the bait under the pier next to the lights and waited. I kept seeing huge Manta rays cruising around, finally one settled right over my bait. I let it sit for about 45 seconds or so, and set my 7/0 hook right into it. The ray measured about 4 ½ to 5 feet in diameter, my guess is that it weighed between 100 - 150 Lbs. Of course I stood no chance with my equipment, as once it realized I hooked it, it took off at high speed. I kept tightening the drag, reeling and running backwards on the pier, but I was no match for this monster, it just kept taking line, as If I hooked into a moving car. Finally, it took most of my 200 feet of line, I didn't want to lose the whole spool, so I thightened the drag to the max, and it snapped free within a few seconds. When I reeled in, I found it snapper the 45LB steel leader, leaving only the swivel still attached to my "Pike" rig. That was a great intro to saltwater fishing. April 30 2007 I tried a night time fishing trip on Kelley's fllet, they take you out with about 25-30 other fishermen for $30 per 4 hour trip, We left at sundown, after about 25 minutes, we anchored at 100 feet, over a rock pile. I spent the next 4 hours getting bitten off by tiny snappers, finally hooked one 10 incher. I sent it back down as bait, but lodt him in the rocks. The average catch was 12-14 inch snappers, I was pretty disgusted with the whole idea of taking a boat that size into the open sea to catch fish smaller than the bait back at the pier. May 1, 2007 Back to the pier, for evening / night time fishing, as daytime is reserved for beach activities with my family. I hook up with the locals fishing for snook. They start biting around 8"30 PM, over the next hour, the pier anglers hook about 12 snook, and lose them all, including one myself. These fish are hard to hook, was they inhale mullets and run with them extremely fast. They then managed to throw your hook or snap the line against the pier pilings. Mine fought for about 30 seconds, and threw the hook as soon as I tried to put pressure on it. May 2, 2007 I try daytime fishing with live shrimps on carp rigs, catch 5 sailors choice fish under the pier. These are also quite hard to hook, as they have small round teeth, crunch the shrimp and pull it of the hook within 1-2 seconds. I lose about 24 shrimp in 1 hour to these sunfish-like fish. May 3, 2007 I try evening fishing off the pier again, no bites on the mullet, a pick up a "sabiki" rig to catch pilchards off the pier to use for bait. The Sabiki has about 6 #12 hooks, with a tiny piece of fish skin and red string to tie it down. Jigging them in a school of pilchards will usually result in multiple hook ups. Nothing bit on the pilchards either, although I caught a small sting ray on a frozen shrimp. May 4, 2007 I head on on Kelley's morning tour to try for kingfish. The sea was unusually calm, and were were drift fishing over 130 feet with angkers on both sides of the boat due to the lack of waves. I hook a small triggerfish on the first cast, turns out to be all I caught on that trip. 1 person caught a 3 foot king fish, a couple others caught mutton snappers using bottom rigs instead of kingfish rigs. When I return, I head straight for the pier, and Managed to catch 2 more sailors choice and a pompano on live shrimp. May 5, 2007 Back to the pier for nighttime fishing, not a bite in 4 hours on live mullet. May 6, 2007 A couple nibbles and shrimp, no hook ups. Major storm moves in just after sundown, I head back and pack up the gear as we left the next morning. Overall, I learned a lot on that trip, and also saw many big game fish swimming around the pier, including 2 tarpons in the 150 LB range, about 12 snook over the few days, probably in the 10-15 LB range, and a coule big jacks in the 25-30 Lb range. I also spotter about 25-30 manta rays, between 50-200 Lbs, as well as a couple manatees one night that came to drink from the live well drain. The weather over the week was in the 85 - 90 farenheit range, sunny with not much wind.

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