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Casting call.

This time of year, often overlooked oceanside piers have a lot to offer and at a very low cost. Migrating Spanish mackerel, bluefish, king mackerel, pompano, jack crevalle, ladyfish, sharks, tarpon and snook are only some of the fish species that can be targeted from the ocean piers.

So where are the top fishing piers? Let's start at Deerfield Beach and then head south to Government Cut: Deerfield Beach Fishing Pier, Pompano Beach Fishing Pier, Anglin's Fishing Pier in Lauderdale-by the Sea, Dania Beach Pier, Newport Fishing Pier in Sunny Isles Beach and the South Point Fish Pier in South Pointe Park, Miami Beach. Almost all of these piers have parking at a nominal fee and the cost to fish from the pier ranges from just four bucks to seven bucks. Spectators can use the pier for just a buck or two. A few of these piers have decent restaurants at the foot of the pier.

Most of the fishing piers have bait and tackle shops that also rent fishing rods and equipment. in some cases you can rent the outfits by the hour or for the whole day. Keep in mind it's not high quality gear, but it could possibly provide you plenty of fun and the possibility of a quality catch. If you like using your own equipment, here's an example of what you might need. Fishing rods should be 7-foot for casting near the pier and 10-or 12-feet for the ability to cast a sinker a couple hundred feet out into the ocean. Reels can be spinners or conventional and should hold at least 250 yards of 20-pound monofilament line or 30-pound braided line. Leader material can be fluorocarbon, monofilament or wire in strengths from 20- to 50-pound. Black swivels can be used to connect the leader to the mainline. You will need an assortment of hooks in sizes from a No.2 up to 7/0 hook. You will need shortshank, circle and longshank hooks to cover all of the possible fish species. To keep your baits on the bottom, lead sinkers from an 1 ounce up to 6 ounces may be needed. Use egg sinkers and splitshot to fish near the pilings of the pier and pyramid and bank sinkers to keep your baits out and away from the pier. Shiny spoons, red-and-white jigs and bucktails and shiny plugs will work well on the mackerels, bluefish and tarpon and snook. Live shrimp, sand fleas and clams will catch the snappers, pompano, black drum and sheepshead. Bring some sabiki rigs to use to catch baitfish plus a bucket with a battery operated aerator to keep your bait alive.

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Learning how to fish a pier can take a lifetime but it doesn't have to. Buy a Florida Sportsman Sportsman's Best book and read through it to give you a leg up on the fish you want to target. For example, if you're looking for snook and pompano, then concentrate your efforts near the surf. The snook and pompano like to feed in the trough just outside the sandy beach and in between the sand bars. The snook and pompano are feeding on the sand fleas, shrimp and crabs. Big tarpon will follow the mullet schools that like to stay close to the shore as they migrate south. Spanish mackerel and bluefish will look for small baitfish from the outside of the sand bar to the end of the pier. Kingfish, bonito, big jacks and possibly a sailfish can be targeted on the outside of the end of the pier. These fish are looking for big live baits. The snappers, groupers, sheepshead and black drum can be caught next to the pilings or out over the rocky bottom of the reefs that some piers have.

If you're not sure of how to fish the pier it pays to watch the regulars. You may not have all of the equipment the regulars have or the pier knowledge they have, but if you watch these fishermen you can quickly pick up a few ideas and tricks.

HUNTING From Nov. 19 through Jan. 1, antlered deer and fall turkey can be targeted with centerfire rifles, pistols, shotguns, muzzle-loaders, crossbows and bows in Zone A. Gray squirrels can be targeted throughout Nov. in Zone A with legal rifles, shotguns, air guns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols. Quail can be hunted from Nov. 12 through Mar. 5,2017 with legal rifles, shotguns, air guns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols. Ducks, coots and light geese and Canada goose can be hunted from Nov. 19 through Nov. 27 and Dec. 1 through Jan. 30. The Holey Land Wildlife Management Area is a great area where many of these species maybe be encountered. Consult the brochure for hunting dates on that and other regional WMAs.

* BEST BET SOUTH

Look for lots of small mutton, mangrove, yellowtail and lane snappers plus red, black, gag and Nassau groupers to move into the Finger Channels during the month of November. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel ladyfish, jack crevalle, pompano, bluerunners, yellow jacks, barracudas, sharks and tarpon will join the snappers and groupers. Anchor in a spot that looks fishy and deploy a chum bag loaded with ground frozen chum. As long as the tide is moving, fish will continue to find the smell of the chum and then move into casting range. Fish live and dead baits on the bottom and on the surface to coverall the bases.
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Title Annotation:SOUTH
Author:Sherman, Allan
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:909
Previous Article:Looking for the Lee.
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